ReMix:Trenches "This Ain't No Bloc Party! This Is World War!" 2:48

By Josh Whelchel

Arranging the music of 2 songs...

"Der Scharfschütze (Defeated)", "The Engine of War (Standard)"

Primary Game: Trenches (Thunder Game Works , 2009, IOS), music by Abadoss, Troy Keyn

Posted 2010-07-29, evaluated by djpretzel

We're proud to be releasing today another free orginal game soundtrack, following up February's publishing of Kaleidoscope with the original score to the iPhone/iPod Touch game Trenches, by Kenneth and Troy Keyn! You may know Kenneth better by his handle, Abadoss - he's been around a long while and has some great ReMixes to his name, and I'm glad he approached us about releasing this original soundtrack for free, through OC ReMix. Please help us seed the torrent, as that's the sole means of distribution at this moment.

I admit I'd never heard of Trenches before he told me about it, but then again I don't own an iPhone or iPod Touch. It turns out the game has some really impressive production values AND has sold well over a million copies, earning rave reviews from numerous media outlets in the process. Coincidentally, I actually bought an iPod Touch 32GB TODAY, and plan on checking this game out, but now you don't need one just to enjoy the soundtrack! Abadoss writes:

"Trenches brings together music reminiscent of the European nationalist composers - prevalent in the years leading up to World War I - with electric guitars and modern percussion. My brother, Troy Keyn, was initially approached about composing the soundtrack on Trenches on his own. Troy decided to bring me into the project because of my experience with orchestration and because it would be an incredible opportunity for me in my career pursuits. Michael Taylor, CEO of Thunder Game Works, charged us with the task of creating a soundtrack that would enhance the game, without sacrificing substantial and meaningful composition. I am responsible for the primary composition and orchestration on all tracks, except "Awaiting Orders" - which Troy composed - and "Promotion" - which is just a drumroll. Troy recorded the percussion and guitars and is responsible for the final sound production. I used Finale 2009 to compose each track and Garritan Personal Orchestra and Finale's built-in MIDI SoftSynth for the orchestral samples. Troy used Sonar for recording and final production."

Pretty cool, eh? Kenneth has a strong theory background and the writing here is elaborate and rich, and fits the context well. There's a good mix of orchestral and rock, and what I like especially is that there are challenging intervals and a level of complexity that you might not expect for a handheld game. While it's fairly short, everything has substance, and I think Kenneth & Troy did a great job. To celebrate the release and go along with our second publishing of a free original game soundtrack, we've also got a couple of mixes, which also happen to be our FIRST iPhone/iPod Touch mixes. First up is Josh Whelchel, who writes:

"Abadoss asked me to sit down and have a listen to his soundtrack to the game "Trenches," in the hopes of having me do a remix for the debut release of the soundtrack on OCRemix - a task I was happy and honored to tackle. Coming from a background in indie and iPhone game scoring myself, I was excited to hear what he had put together for this cute and simple game. I was pretty impressed with the result, an experienced use of orchestration was apparent along with effective soundscapes and catchy material. He managed to hit the nail on the head in recreating the "World War I" atmosphere without being too aggressive or abrasive for the game's genre, a balance that is often hard to achieve. Two tracks stood out to me above the rest, however, namely the score for "Der Scharfschütze" and the obvious "Engine of War" mode.

So I set to present these two melodies in a story that allowed for a little more freedom and intensity than the game itself would have been, and decided to tell a musical story beyond what the original implementation would allow. So we have a mix of nostalgia, groove, and, obviously, war."

War... war never changes. What is it good for? Quite a bit, in the game industry at least. But I digress; those are some great words coming from Mr. Whelchel, who's a talented indie game composer (and ReMixer) himself, and his mix reflects the respect he has towards the source material. The mix title makes me think of a certain Talking Heads song, but the feel is dark, brooding, even Elfmanesque, before drums & bass break in and create a really excellent genre mashup. Sometimes when orchestral gets paired with rock or electronica, that means strings and timpani - and that's about it - but here there's a full range of winds (oboelicious!) & brass as well - a full plate of parts - and the interweaving of them all is handled rather deftly. Great, dense stuff from Josh - check it out, and check out the full Trenches OST as well!



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2014-04-15 12:45:19

It feels like a mix of old school and new. An enjoyable blend. :3

on 2013-03-02 21:21:30

I love this song! The electronic-orchestral style works super well here. The drums feel super rock to me, and that's just awesome : D

I like most of all how this song progresses. It starts of soft, then as it goes on, it gets more and more energy, while constantly changing things up. The climax at around 2:03 was super fun to listen to, and it really gets you pumped, although I felt the transition to the ending could have been better with the drums. Not a dealbreaker though, this is a good song and I recommend it.

on 2012-09-10 14:35:54

That intro is so damn cool, then going into something a bit odder, with the same determination continuing on over the course of the mix and continuing the build-up was great. The plucking bits where nice, and like others, I enjoyed the mix of electronic and orchestral here especially towards the end. But the end just left me wanting more. It was like it build up to something and then bam, nothing more. Don't tease me like that. Other than that, very good work.

on 2012-07-26 13:09:42

0:43 sounded a bit weird to me how the instruments melded together.

But more on the song itself, it is an amalgamation of styles held coherent by the orchestration. The samples probably could be better, and the ending leaves more to be desired, but the framework for the most part is solid. I think some tweaks could make this song a lot stronger though.

on 2010-12-09 12:10:24

Josh Whelchel is a beast, that's all that needs to be said. I love how this builds up very deliberately over time, starting off with a very small set of instruments and adding more while still maintaining the feel that was set in the original for most of the song. The thin kit drums are a bit of an odd choice for the genre and, surprisingly, I feel like they work just as good as a typical orch kit would have, thanks to the constant presence of the bells and synths throughout the song. The more intense string parts offer a good counterpoint and keep this mix interesting throughout.

I always appreciate attempts like this to keep the orchestral genre fresh and interesting!

on 2010-12-08 13:20:41

Josh Whelchel remixing an OST by Abadoss? How can you lose? Loved the orchestral elements over the really strong bass, which transitions into some amazing drums. The mix reaches an absolute fever pitch towards the end, but I must say I felt like I was left hanging with the ending. I would've loved a more difinitive conclusion to a mix, especially since it got my blood pumping towards the end. Really enjoyed the mix overall :D

Martin Penwald
on 2010-08-16 15:42:06

Interesting mix of electronic and orchestra.

Also, I agree with DragonAvenger about the trumpets; they sound very good. I also agree about the lack of a bombastic ending being a slight disappointment; I, too, hoped for more oomph in the final stretch of the song.

on 2010-08-16 15:04:33

Congrats to Abadoss on scoring this game! Nice work!

There's a surprising amount of energy in this mix which combines nicely with that 'war' sort of urgency. I liked the blend of instruments. The trumpets are programmed pretty well. I was kind of hoping for a more bombastic sort of ending, but I can deal without it.

Overall, cool track, and again congrats, Abadoss!

on 2010-08-06 14:05:33

The orchestral elements and electronic elements fit together really nicely, especially in the intense parts, but damn that snare is distractingly mushy. :-(

The drum programming itself and the fills are nice, and the brass articulations are sick, so there is a lot of quality to hear, and the fact that this was completed on a pretty tight timeline is impressive as well.

on 2010-07-31 07:56:20

This is one from a game I've never even heard of until now. But damn I like this! And the fact that Jordan was on board for a remix is awesome as hell.

big giant circles
on 2010-07-30 17:24:58

Energetic, unique, and fun, sums up pretty much everything I've heard by Josh :)

on 2010-07-29 13:59:54

I like the combination of electronic and orchestra in this song, it gave it a nice, fresh sound that you don't hear in these types of blends. Great album piece and congrats to Abadoss!

on 2010-07-29 05:51:19

Awesome job, your samples are very good! Nice job and congrats to Abadoss!

on 2010-07-29 02:38:24

didn't see this album coming, but it has already spawned some awesome remixes :D

great work on this one, josh, and congrats to abadoss on the OST! :nicework:

on 2010-07-29 02:28:48

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (2 Songs)

Primary Game:
Trenches (Thunder Game Works , 2009, IOS)
Music by Abadoss,Troy Keyn
"Der Scharfschütze (Defeated)"
"The Engine of War (Standard)"

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