Posted 2015-12-21, evaluated by djpretzel

It's been an awesome year for Super Castlevania IV on OCR - Vampire Variations III gave one of my personal favorite game soundtracks of all time a worthy full-album tribute, PLUS we've got this non-album arrangement of some of my favorite sources from Phonetic Hero (Pete Lepley), who kills it with a hybrid/dnb IDM take on several themes, making masterful use of the notorious "Amen" break:

"Here's my annual solo remix submission, heh. :P I guess there's a bit of a story with this one: Super Castlevania IV is one of my favorite games of all time, and I'd originally intended to do a 3-part concept album covering Simon's journey through Dracula's Castle with this sort of musical aesthetic. After starting two other tracks alongside this one, I hated the direction they were going and decided to can them, possibly splitting the album concept into two separate personal projects to re-approach later - one more dance-oriented and one more cinematic/orchestral (seriously... I love this game).

This one, I thought was way too cool to pass up though, so I spent the last couple weeks finishing it up and getting the mix where I wanted it. The Amen break drums are always super fun, and I had SO much fun just going nuts with the drum writing (as I'm apt to do). I think IDM as a whole is underappreciated, and I wanted to capitalize on the crazy drum writing and interesting progressions that are (somewhat) typical of the genre, while still keeping melody at the forefront and making sure the tune was solidly structured. The synthesis was a headache at times, but super fun at others, and I'm really pleased with the result. A lot of the cooler synths are GMS, which is A DEFAULT SYNTH IN FL 11. I'm probably most proud of the bass I frankensteined together, and that really prominent phased bass layer is from GMS. The other pieces were a bass guitar sample I put some distortion on, a filtered/processed saw to get some high-end buzziness, and a sub when it was needed. So, yeah, I guess that's about it for now, hope y'all guys enjoy. :D

I seem to be having pretty bad luck when it comes to the Js picking up on my source usage lately, so I'll go ahead and include a breakdown:

  • 0:00-0:58 - Intro arps from 3-1 with various layering/texturing as well as interpretations to keep the progression smooth
  • 0:58-1:36 - Melody A from 3-1 comes in, 0:04 in the source
  • 1:36-1:55 - Melody C from 3-1, 0:36 in the source
  • 1:55-2:14 - Back to Melody A from 3-1
  • 2:14-2:32 - Melody and lightly interpreted progression from 3-2, 0:18 in the source (fun fact: pieces of the melodies in 3-2 are taken from melodies B and C in 3-1 and reinterpreted). Interpreted arpeggios from 3-3 also start to sneak their way in toward the end of the phrase
  • 2:32-2:52 - Original melodic material over the same 3-2 progression with interpreted arpeggios from 3-3 (beginning of source) in the backing sine pluck
  • 2:52-3:29 - Back to 3-1 arps for a break with added textures
  • 3:29-3:48 - Melody A from 3-1 again, w/ +3 'zazz bonus
  • 3:48-4:07 - Melody A from 3-1 with original solo (2 GMS leads layered), adding an ADDITIONAL +4-'zazz (that's +6 total, if you're some kinda math whiz)
  • 4:07-4:44 - 3-1 arps again with a delicious new progression and some comparatively laid back groovin'. 3-3 quotes make their way into the ends of the 4-bar phrases in the mono sine
  • 4:44-end - Original melody over 3-2 again, with 3-3 in the background"

I for one REALLY hope that Pete follows through on the album plans... or at least sends us more SCIV mixes ;) This one's quite a treat - intelligent, layered arrangement meets twirling, acrobatic breakbeat work and a grisly & grimy bass, with accompaniment that glues it all together & makes it sparkle. As an interesting sidenote, The Winstons (group responsible for the track that the "Amen break" sample is taken from) are finally getting compensated for the world's most notorious breakbeat via a GoFundMe campaign - pretty cool! Pete does an excellent job integrating multiple sources; I'd say 3-1 dominates, which is fine by me since it's one of my favorites, but the other themes serve a purpose, and transitions are very natural. All in all this is one of pH's best arrangements yet - great combination of production skills & smart arranging - and is like icing on the cake for fans of SCIV's soundtrack, augmenting VV3's heapin' helpin of TLC with another dose that's badass in its own right. Great to hear more from Pete, would LOVE to see him follow through on additional plans for SCIV, and I'd like to think him and AGAIN thank the VV3 team for making this the best year ever for one of my favorite soundtracks!



Latest 14 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2018-05-07 02:07:25

The glitchy bass and the fast percussion was an unexpected combination, but one that meshed well in my opinion with the backing beat that worked like a musical metronome as well as sounding nice on it's own. And my love for well-placed bells extends to this mix as well. The whole arrangement is fun, and the break was perfectly executed. Not bad at all.

Venom Fighter X
on 2016-02-22 10:21:00

The gated choirs were a nice touch.

on 2015-12-27 04:05:22

Damn it Pete, ya beautiful, brilliant bastard. :-x

How could I not remember this one? Seriously though, if there was any shadow of a doubt in your mind that it turned out awesome, erase that from your memory banks. This couldn't have been anymore awesome. \m/

on 2015-12-27 03:04:48

I am thoroughly enjoying this thanks to:

- the deliciously badass combo of grungy bass and rapid percussion (I can't get enough of it)

- how the order/arrangement of the sources makes it seem like Simon is getting glimpses of the challenges in the next two areas while swaggering through The Cave

- the sine wave/whistle-y quips of The Submerged City (4:09+)

- the occasional church bells

The artist sure isn't kidding when he says he had fun making this. Not hard to see/hear/feel/smell/taste why. :)

on 2015-12-23 13:07:25

Well done Pete! I'm loving the balance between the intense and complicated drums versus the soaring, somewhat simple, melody. It creates a nice atmosphere. Nice instrumentation choices as well!

on 2015-12-22 21:10:36

Holy moly, those drums are going crazy. The production is on point, letting the melody stand out bright and strong while the drums do their own thing. The trancelike melody doesn't seem to fit quite well with the intenseish background, but the arrangement is more than solid enough to make up for that.

this is some sexy af stuff

Meteo Xavier
on 2015-12-22 02:35:00

**sus, how long did it take some to finally cover these tracks? Better late than never, but damn I wanted to hear this a decade ago at least.

on 2015-12-22 02:20:10

Nice, fat bass. Sweet drum writing, although I am a bit tired of the amen break after having listened to earlier Squarepusher (look him up for some truly insane mangling). That whistle synth is nice, but the following lead is great. Nice phasing on the break afterwards. I also like how all the glitching and intensity works with a nice atmosphere going on in the background. Some good stuff.

on 2015-12-21 22:07:40

pH has a knack for chopping breaks for sure. Personally though, I felt the bass and energetic drums distracted from the more atmospheric background textures, making it sound like energetic foreground on top of chill background, so it was a little disjointed in that respect. Maybe some of the background could have also been slightly glitched to work more cohesively with the foreground. Either way, I do like the amount of detail put into the bass motion (I hear that high-end buzziness which is cool) and the beat-chopping, and the break at 2:53 - 3:30 was welcome to keep the pacing from getting too similar. That solo at 3:49 - 4:10 was really good too.

on 2015-12-21 21:03:12

Damn the sound design is cool here. Bass sounds awesome, as do the drums with the crushing and whatever effects you applied. Drum writing is also pretty interesting with all those fills. Leads are also very cool but maybe a bit quiet? It seems that drums and bass are the main focus here but I'd like if the leads and other elements were a tad louder too.

Anyway, this is a very good song. I'm not familiar with the sources at all but I enjoyed it. Cool mood, awesome samples and fun writing overall.

on 2015-12-21 19:06:13


on 2015-12-21 17:48:41

So you finally sub'd it, eh? :D I love it, the soundscape is awesome, the ear candy is real, and it's a really unique take on the source. Production is super tight too. I'll come back to this one a few times for sure! ;)

on 2015-12-21 14:31:10

I've been huge fan of this track since I heard it on Pete's Soundcloud. Dat breaks are just crazy! Astonishing work :)

on 2015-12-21 03:03:48

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

Sources Arranged (3 Songs)

Primary Game:
Super Castlevania IV (Konami , 1991, SNES)
Music by Masanori Adachi,Taro Kudo
"Limestone Cavern (Stage 3 BGM 1)"
"Submerged City (Stage 3 BGM 3)"
"Waterfall (Stage 3 BGM 2)"

Tags (8)

Drum and bass
Bells,Breakbeats,Electric Guitar,Electronic
Effects > Glitching

File Information

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