ReMix:The Lawnmower Man "Cyber Mower" 5:34


Arranging the music of one song...

"Level 1: Suburbia"

Primary Game: The Lawnmower Man (THQ , 1993, SNES), music by Allister Brimble

Posted 2015-07-09, evaluated by the judges panel

Some of you may be too young to remember, but there was a period of time in the 1990s when we were CONVINCED that Virtual Reality was:

  1. Right around the corner...
  2. Going to completely rock our world...
  3. Able to turn gardening assistants of below-average intelligence into maniacal geniuses...

Sure, the technology was almost certainly going to result in any number of dystopian scenarios, too, but Denzel Washington would protect us and it would all work out. If you've been saving up your nickels & dimes in fevered anticipation of the VR revolution since then, your ship may finally be coming in with the Oculus Rift, HoloLens, Magic Leap shizzle, and/or Project Morpheus. One or more of these may go the way of Nintendo's hazy-shades-of-crimson Virtual Boy, but it's hard to imagine ALL of them failing. It thus appears that we are once again on the cusp of VR bliss, and this time the prognosis looks much rosier. Seems like an opportune moment for our FIRST EVAR ReMix of Allister Brimble's soundtrack to The Lawnmower Man for the SNES, from newcomer APZX (Austin Simons), who gives the original first level BGM an outer-space EDM/dance jam treatment with a satisfying 5'33" duration & a delicious, late-breaking synth solo:

"A remix of the first level song in the SNES version of the Lawnmower Man. I have always wanted to do a remix of the first song from this game, because I remember hearing it and saying to myself, "This is freakin' AWESOME!" What really got me going with the original though was that bassline. It just sounded right. Fast-forward to now and I had a recent stroke of inspiration and that is when the track "Cyber Mower" came to life. I know it is a terrible name. But to be fair, I have never been good at coming up with names. There really is not a lot of fun production notes though, other than it came together very quickly.

Right, so I'm resubmitting this. I feel it differs too much from my original vision of the track, which the panel had picked up on, but did not feel it worked for OCR. I completely understood where the panel was coming from, honestly, and while originally irate, I thought about it and ended up agreeing the with panel in the end. Now, the track is still very much "Cyber Mower," just with "enhancements" (I hope). Other than revisiting the mix, which I always had personal complaints about, the primary focus was on the middle of the track. I spent a lot of time deliberating on how best to keep a nebulous middle that was more interesting to listen to. To that end, I reworked the macro dynamics of that portion of the track quite a lot. Added in some more instrumentation primarily in the form of another layered pad, a lead that borrows mostly verbatim from the source, and some drums that, while short-lived, I can only describe as cyber meets ambient, which really doesn't make any sense. Overall, I have to say that I think the track is more energetic now with a more complex flow. Don't know what else to say."

Realllllly glad Austin tweaked & revised this, because the result is a stronger track that unanimously passed the panel and which feels solid & complete. 5'33" is on the longer side for this type of ReMix, but there's a lot of development and my interest was held throughout. Palpable addresses this point:

"Interesting source and interesting arrangement approach. I liked the spaciousness and relaxed feel of the first minute or so. There was good use of automation and layering to provide direction while keeping the actual melody content minimal. Tasteful use of FX in the middle section and after. Really, I think this kind of arrangement that doesn't focus much on melody is tough to do. It's very easy to be too aimless or too repetitive, but you successfully avoided that."

With specific regard to the revisions made, Chimpazilla adds:

"Now that's what I'm talkin' about! That middle section was such a huge missed opportunity, now it is COOOOOL. That's the stuff. All other issues I mentioned have been addressed. You made a very good 3d soundscape. This is epic now, I'm super loving it. Putting it in my favorites folder."

Agreed; this arrangement does a great job of walking the line between a groove that you can kinda lose yourself in but also something that develops nicely and throws some curveballs. If I were mowing my virtual lawn in cyberspace after a long drive on the information superhighway, I know that I personally would enjoy such tunage ;) Great debut from APZX that focuses on some esoteric-but-deserving source material and gets us all appropriately pumped for VR 2.0, which will be an improvement over VR 1.0 in that it will (probably) exist!



Latest 6 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2015-12-15 16:26:22

The intro is very repetitive IMO, and lasts too long. Next it gets more interesting! It reminds me a little of Game Dev Tyccon's soundtrack (a long shot lol!) It gets super nice after the 4-minute mark. The outro/ending was a nice call to the intro! I enjoyed it, even if the intro was super long ^^

on 2015-08-13 00:31:49

I love that line at that beginning of the track, as it has a lot of starting energy, but it seems to linger just a bit too long until things finally kick off and release at about 1:10. Very 90's computer sci-fi sounding to me, which takes me back to some of my earliest game memories on a computer, so while not the same system or even game, it was cool to hear something in that vein again. The section that followed into it's second and third minute was definitely awesome and had a nice balance to the beginning and the ending of the ReMix. Only thing I didn't care for was the siren transition, but that's mostly on me and I would have loved it more if tweaked in speed or tone just a little differently. So yeah, great balance, nice arrangement and solid enough production. Super debut, dude, a great mix indeed!

on 2015-07-26 05:38:17

Very well done. I thought the beginning progressed a bit too long but then the groove hit well at 1:21. Awesome!

on 2015-07-17 18:01:21

I like the way the track opens up with basically a jazz chord ostinato with filter modulation. It gets a little repetitive with that though, since that goes until 1:09 without changing between that many chords, so that chord repetition could have been remedied with a few more chords interspersed within that timeframe. So, 1:09 is where the track started getting more interesting for me.

When we get there, I appreciated the shift at 1:24 to more of a "Big Beat" type of feel, although the dropoff at 1:39 was rather sudden. Even something like a change in the drum pattern near 1:39 to signal it would have helped. When we did get to 1:39, that was the highlight of the track for me. Finally we get some meaningful dynamic contrast, IMO. The bass could have been heavier there, but no big deal (you had basically a low, detuned saw, whereas something closer to analog and/or FM is what I would have done instead).

From 1:39 until 3:55, the flow was great, and worked well. In fact that is my favorite part. The siren transition was OK at 3:55, but I would have done something closer to a resonant FM tone instead (sounding somewhat bubbly, in other words); just something to consider as an alternative at some point.

The solo starting at 4:06 was a good change of pace and did incorporate originality. It was making a lot of jumps, though, and in that sense it makes the melodic contour sound somewhat meandering to me. Maybe some spots in the solo there could have a few long notes so that there's more of a separation between phrases, if that makes sense. But that doesn't really make it a bad or not-good solo necessarily. I understand if you wanted to keep the empty feel of space. It's good, and it just could be a tad better.

I do like this overall, but in the future, I think you could work on the amount of repetition you have, and when in your structures you can incorporate more dynamic contrast for maximum effect. Nice work!

on 2015-07-12 00:20:30

That introing A-note groove is bright and reverberific. I think the first contrasting E note comes in just a little late (by maybe 4 As), but no biggie. It's also nice to hear F take A's place alongside the source melody's first entrance for a double dose of variety.

3:13 is my favorite part - it feels wonderfully sad and lost as it portrays an interdimensional dystopia. (The shimmering bell-like synth is a lovely complement, too.) Of course, such a section wouldn't be possible without the delicate, furtive mini-transitions preceding it, like the virtual reality-ish section at 1:53, the windy, "tapping" echoes at 2:22, and the shaky, "not long for this world" rendition of the source at 2:29, so I gotta give props to all those players that make the coming emotional impact stronger.

I also notice that while the "phasing" sounds at 3:52 rise in key and frequency to the point where they sound like a laser gun or alarm, 4:41 sounds like a deliberate inverse of that. If that was intentional, cool.

on 2015-07-09 15:38:29

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

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
The Lawnmower Man (THQ , 1993, SNES)
Music by Allister Brimble
"Level 1: Suburbia"

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