Commandcom, aka Jorge Mira Boronat, is single-handedly making a home for the MSX on OCR: This is his third mix, and it's also the third mix he's done from an MSX game. They've also all been Konami games, which makes sense since the publisher had a strong presence on the platform. While many of us may never play an MSX game, the music still resonates outside the original demographic that did, and I'm really glad Jorge continues to drive that point home. Somebody else needs to step up to the plate and join him, but then again there are also plenty of games on other less common platforms that still need some sweet ReMixin' love. He writes:
"King Kong 2 on the MSX2 platform was an enigmatic game to me, as it was in Japanese when I played it and it was a sort of RPG. You played the son of Kong, trying to rescue your mum (not dad) who has been captured. The fact is that, as I couldn't (can't) read Japanese, (same happened with 'SD Snatcher' and 'Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake' but (some) 'key words' were in English) so I didn't actually advance much in the game. :P BUT I kept trying MAINLY because of THE MUSIC!!
And, those were the days of 'key codes' to save your game, so it was not the ideal scenario (Japanese and kanji codes to save your progress...mmmm) so, the fact is that I was very exposed to the tune of the first stage over and over (as I didn't save that much), which, I think, is a killer one! (and kept me coming back to the game). To me, it resounded like Adventure, Mystery and some Drama (basically, the three 'segments' of the song, in that order.)
Also, it has a chord progression which I am also paying tribute to with this mix! (So it is a double tribute!) The chord progression of the 1st segment (the 'Adventure' one) is one of my all-time-favourite chord progressions. You can find it in Salamander's Stage 5 ('Burn the wind') or in Galactic Attack's Stage 1 (Taito, Saturn, Arcade) When I'm on a deadline (and that happens quite often) that chord progression is, for me, a winner. Be it a documentary or a short movie or anything, it always works!!
My first intention was to make it 'a la Indiana Jones', a simple March, as it leads to. Then, I changed my mind to a 'Western', kinda 'Sunset Raiders' which could also work. The trouble of both is that (at least for me) they were quite 'lineal and obvious' and won't have fun doing them. SO I tried something else and stopped by 'Pirtates of the Caribbean'. THAT was fun!! (And it worked)
...I focused on 2 of the 3 parts of the song: The 'Adventure' (1st) and the 'Drama' (3rd). What did I use?
- Cubase 5
- EastWest Symphonic Orchestra
Nice. Jorge consistently provides really interesting anecdotal background on his experience playing the games he arranges, as well as insight into his creative thought process. It was worth explicitly mentioning the chord progression, for example, because it *is* relatively distinct. Things intro with piano and some solo winds to set the stage, then at 0'17" StormDrum makes itself known with big, rolling percussive gestures, paving the way for epic ensemble strings and beefy brass. zircon writes:
"Wow, I've never heard of this game at all, but the source tune is absolutely great! Also, I'm a huge fan of the soundtracks for the PotC trilogy, so now I really can't wait to hear what you've done.
I have to disagree with Darkesword that the samples are "obviously fake"... we've posted mixes with WAY more unrealistic sample usage. I think the samples are used very well here, especially because I own QLSO and I know how easy it is to make it sound bland and uninteresting. The rhythm section is solid as well, but maybe a little repetitive, with few changes to the rhythmic texture or the tempo/meter. I would have liked to hear some cool triplet fills for example."
To a trained and antagonistically observant ear, any sample library can sound artificial, but I'm gonna echo Andy in saying that this is pretty darn solid, and well-employed. Larry adds:
"Gotta agree with zircon in that this was a great source. Definitely a nice pirate/adventure feel to this one, Jorge. I just caught the remastered version in the inbox and had to shoot a comment here after taking a listen. Great work, keep them coming!"
Ditto that. While King Kong 2 isn't a game most listeners will be too intimate with, I think most of us appreciate a great melody, progression, arrangement, and epic, Pirates of the Carribean-style orchestral production, and that's what Jorge delivers.
on 2013-03-03 13:27:44
arrr, avaaaaaaaast me harteys, etc, etc. Has that same great energy as Kara-Turian nights!
on 2012-05-03 09:36:48
Yep, you can't really miss the PotC feel in this one, which makes it that much better in my opinion. The piano and strings were excellent in this and it screams "we're going on an epic journey". Love the way the drums were used here, not too loud, but you have a great crisp sound to it. Great ending as well.
on 2011-12-13 03:17:01
King Kong! All I know about Konami's handling of it is that he appeared in Wai Wai World on the NES, but that was it
What you did with the source does indeed feel so much like that a movie score in a way; starting with that gentle piano intro, moving onto an interpretation of the theme that does strike similar dynamic similarities to the main theme of Pirates of the Caribbean (seemingly an intent due to the mix description), along with some nice buildup work in the middle and variation on the riff once more. It to me may sound like a straightforward arrangement, but what was handled with the source even in the lesser pronounced sections was highlighted remarkably well, and thus I approve of your passion for all things MSX with what you did.
Production wise, it managed to sound very sharp and well established; the strings to me feel lush and them along with the driving percussion are seen as key components for the track's realisation. That piano to me does indeed sound very heavily snapped though, which I'm not even sure is the intent of the work, but if something like that could be more realised given the nature of it being a 'key' instrument (double meaning?), then I can see you going places for even a fourth MSX arrangement for the site.
That said, hopefully you'll make a return in 2012 with more ways to honor the system! I'll be keeping a hold on this one
on 2010-12-07 15:20:21
This song just woke my roommate's cat up from his slumber by the heater. It's too adventurous to ignore!
on 2010-12-05 17:08:46
If there's something I targeted to do with the 3 MSX mixes was, far beyond a better or worse interpretation of the source, being able to transmit the true feeling of excitement I had when I played these games.
I'm 37 right now, and most of them were played when I was 13.
So SD Snatcher was a spionage trhill, Salamander a dangerous and tragic epic space battle, and King Kong 2 a misterious and powerfull adventure in Japanese that I never got to understand.
The second goal was, again beyond the scope of the site, a true tribute to these genious that trough music and wonderfull games made me felt true emotions in fornt of a computer.
And last, but not least, a vision of true REMAKES of these games that, in my opinion, would prefectly suit these magnified versions I wrote.
So, if by any chance Konami has plans to do so, needless to say I would be trhilled to get the job, but please, whoever got it, I wish they got to transmit this sense of excitement via melody-based themes that I miss nowadays in recent games.
on 2010-12-05 14:47:48
This is a very interesting song. I think that most orchestral remixes which go for the movie soundtrack feeling end up sounding too close to something e.g. Hans Zimmer would produce, loosing their video game roots.
This, however, is different. Except for the string-heavy section around 1:50, it never sounds too movie-ish; there's always a hint of good ol' video game composition to be found in it.
Obviously, I haven't listened to all movie soundtracks out there, so my comparison might be me just talking out of my ass, but that's how I feel anyway. Great job.
on 2010-12-05 13:14:12
the percussion really makes this exciting, and the constant string arpeggios give a great sense of powerful adventure. Commandcom really has a great ear for exciting arrangements, and I am excited to see what he's got in store next.
on 2010-12-05 10:21:28
Loved listening to this: The pirate feel is unmistakable, and it really adds some nice charm. Imagine: King Kong....on a pirate ship. Pure awesome.
Anyways, the orchestration is done really well, and I thing the arrangement is pretty awesome. Nice work.
on 2010-12-04 23:14:57
This is a really cool arrangement; definitely Pirates of the Caribbean-esque. I would say, though, that the PotC soundtracks definitely has in general a more dire/urgent edge to them, but this is definitely just as epic. The piano lead is amazing; I just love how it flows.
I really like this a lot, but I do feel like something is missing; there's just some level it doesn't quite hit, but it's still an awesome song.
on 2010-12-04 14:32:23
Not familiar with the source, but ooh, I like this arrangement. Really nice powerful, adventurous sound, too. Well done.
on 2010-12-04 12:37:08
This... is an epic friggin' mix. Great work once more, commandcom. You're starting to show your verstality, and I love it. Can't wait for your next track.
on 2010-11-20 20:32:57
Nice work, bro.
on 2010-11-20 19:45:50
Feels great to have this one posted! I'd like to encourage all of you to take a listen to the incredible work Konami did back in the 80s with the MSX. There are, literally, dozens of masterpieces from a musical and gaming perspective. Take a particular look at 'King's Valley II', 'F1 Spirit', 'Space Manbow', 'Penguin Adventure', 'Knightmare', 'The Treasure of Usas', 'Firebird', 'The Maze of Galious', to quote some titles unavailable outside the MSX world. 'Penguin Adventure' has Mr. Kojima behind it, for example. Konami was so into Sound Design and Music, that included a Custom Sound Chip (called SCC) into their Rom Cartridges that expanded the 4 channels found on the MSX up to 9 adding 5 extra channels. And they really did use that added hardware bringing into the games some of the best music you've ever hearded into a videogame, just for the sake of highlighting the custom hardware.
So yes, I'm quite biased towards Konami and the MSX. But this comes for a reason, one I've tried to emphasize with these 3 mixes I've done into this EP 'Push Space Key (A Konami Tribute)': I just can't stand the feeling that all this incredible work just doesn't get the recognition it trully deserves.
I'm preparing for a second EP 'Press F5 to continue (Another Konami Tribute)'. (Obviously, you can imagine both sentences 'Push Space Key' and 'Press F5 to continue' were almost tied to every Konami game written for the MSX) The schedule is right now '2012', so, anyone getting some more MSX love before then?
on 2010-11-20 13:04:21
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Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
King Kong 2: Yomigaeru Densetsu (Konami
Music by Motoaki Furukawa
- "Stage 1 BGM"
- 3,408,574 bytes
- Size: 3,408,574 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 6de8f7533842b6c4e018f63e7235ab1c
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