ReMix:Donkey Kong Country "Kong's Final Swim" 10:59

By ZiSotto

Arranging the music of one song...

"Aquatic Ambiance"

Primary Game: Donkey Kong Country (Nintendo , 1994, SNES), music by David Wise, Eveline Novakovic, Robin Beanland

Posted 2016-11-30, evaluated by Chimpazilla


ZiSotto (Zack Sottolano) follows up his long-form Chrono Trigger debut from 2015 with another lengthy & ambient take of another iconic game/track, clocking in at just under 11 minutes of ambient Ambiance. His submission comments are.... well, you just read 'em :)

"Ahh, Donkey Kong Country. I can still remember the first time I played this masterpiece of a game for the trusty SNES. I was enjoying a fine day of swimming at the community public pool, saturating and infusing my 11-year-old skin with dark, Caribbean suntan oils, causing all the poolside mothers and grandmothers to gawk and eventually be forced to dive into the pool to cool down their rapidly ascending body temperatures before Zack Fever overtook their helpless bodies. Was it possible for an 11-year-old to have such a stunning, nearly asphyxiating physique? (Some of my memories of this day may be a little fuzzy.) After finishing up a day of cannonballs and snack bar pierogis with the fam, I headed over to my sister's friend's house, Lauren, where I was offered to play this new game, DKC. I was totally blown away by the state-of-the-art graphics (which, for the time, were the most beautiful of any game I'd played to date). Even more so, I was really taken aback by the soundtrack, which seemed to capture every nuance of the environment; the real feel of adventure, excitement, and mystery lurking around every corner, behind every imaginary wall, underneath every crevice, inside every magical, propellant barrel. I was completely enchanted with the diverse and perfectly meshed sounds. I remember even pausing on certain levels (as the music would continue to play), and leaving the music on as the "mood music" for my room, and also when I went to sleep. I would later discover the composer was the famous and brilliantly innovative David Wise, who remains to this day as a favorite composer of mine. I would credit a great deal of his work as my inspiration for trying my hand at creating, developing, and producing my own music. Thanks, David!

This piece holds a rather loose interpretation of the original, but still uses the source material frequently throughout. I took a look at the sheet music to assist with writing and just started composing various tracks to accentuate the melody, which eventually got quite carried away to reach the final product you are listening to; there is a lot of artistic liberties taken that stray a good deal from the main melody. I began this project back in October and have been chipping away at it off and on since, investing a painstaking amount of time, and altering it over 50 sessions, sometimes completely scrapping sections, other times, endlessly tweaking controls to get just the right sound. I ended up with 139 total instruments, mostly all of which feature written automation of some sort controlling volume, modulation, and effects. This song was created using Cubase 8.0, and also a new addition to my repertoire, Spectrasonics' Omnisphere 2, which I can't say enough positive things about. The vast amount of customization of sounds is unreal, and you could spend weeks just going through the pre-set instruments, let alone using the synths and other tools to create your very own unique vibrations. "Aquatic Ambiance" is probably one of the top 3 most recognizable and memorable tunes from the game, so I hope my interpretation does it justice. Thank you for listening! :)"

Clearly, Zack Sottolano is a man with a lot to say, who takes the time to say it - musically and textually. Gotta love it. Even more than his debut mix, this clicks - it's an ambient, explorative take of an ambient, explorative source, so that's pretty intuitive, but the cornucopia of sounds & micro-textures and the patient, evolving approach to introducing them suits this source especially well. I didn't get bored, and it's almost eleven minutes of slow, deliberate development, so that's saying something. Chimpazilla concurs:

"I never thought I would DP a nearly eleven minute long track, but this one kept me entertained all the way through. So much detail, while being a deeply chill and evolving track, all while keeping the source material fully present. Nice!"

From an aesthetic perspective, many of the comments from Zack's debut mix still apply here, if you want some more specifics... plus you should check that mix out, if you haven't yet & you dig this. Distinct, deep, & deliberate, ZiSotto gives us more of his unique approach to VGM arranging and manages to make "Aquatic Ambiance" even more ambient; great tribute, and quite the journey!



Latest 9 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2023-09-04 17:34:10

This is incredible. It's so relaxing and even when the main melody of the source wasn't directly out front, I could still feel the spirit of the tune. Long and chill, but super interesting throughout which is a hell of a feat. I could easily see myself falling asleep to this ReMix. Damn good stuff.

on 2017-04-06 15:43:33

Challenge accepted. I've been looking for "the" Aquatic Ambiance remix for uh, a decade now and just gave up. This was the one tune that was just so good (so chill!) in the original that no one could fully top it for me.

And then this came out. So, yes I can handle it ... even during a gentle rain under a tin roof in a lush forest, on loop. That's the new challenge. Who wants to be the second person to take it on?

on 2017-01-02 03:34:18

really love this, thanks for sharing

on 2016-12-01 13:23:49
14 hours ago, Uffe von Lauterbach said:

Aquatic Ambiance never gets old, so of course I can listen to this for 11 minutes. But I thought there was a limit on music duration.

Interesting bit of trivia: this one track forced OCR to change its standards on length and file size, adopting the current standard we know and love today due to its sheer overwhelming awesomeness. Such is the way things go sometimes, and I don't think a single person is worse off because of it.

Except Pretzel's hosts, but whatever. :P


This is a great arrangement - takes its time and does so in such a way where it doesn't really lose you. The harmonies are rich, and honestly it never falls into the temptation of bringing everything in at once and blasting you, either. I like a good blastin' from time to time, but I appreciate the music that lets you just enjoy it in the background, too.

I like it a lot. Do give it your time and attention, this track deserves it.

on 2016-12-01 12:00:32
3 hours ago, evktalo said:

As a plus the samples and their usage reminds me of old school tracker tunes.

Good call, yes... it's not a traditional ambient approach, there are certain sounds used that stick out some which recall trackers/mods to me, too.

12 hours ago, Uffe von Lauterbach said:

But I thought there was a limit on music duration.

There's no strict limit any more, but there's a practical limit in the sense that the arrangement has to keep developing and also can't just be dozens of tunes thrown together into a mega mix or something like that :)

on 2016-12-01 08:23:23

I enjoy long-form ambient very much and this is a welcome addition to OCR catalog, personally speaking. Well paced and sounds pleasant. The guitar samples are a little funny though, and some of the pitch bends kind of stick out here and there. As a plus the samples and their usage reminds me of old school tracker tunes. The good far outweighs the minor criticisms there.

Uffe von Lauterbach
on 2016-11-30 23:11:49

Aquatic Ambiance never gets old, so of course I can listen to this for 11 minutes. But I thought there was a limit on music duration. Anyway, I like the section around the middle of this track. Strange sounds began to be introduced and it building up was pretty nice. ZiSotto did a great job at capturing the aquatic feeling that the original had.

on 2016-11-30 21:47:06

It's a shock to listen to -- because it doesn't feel like 11 minutes. So peaceful. -_-

on 2016-11-30 12:15:54

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

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Donkey Kong Country (Nintendo , 1994, SNES)
Music by David Wise,Eveline Novakovic,Robin Beanland
"Aquatic Ambiance"

Tags (10)

Choir,Electronic,Sound FX,Synth
Time > Duration: Long

File Information

15,911,247 bytes


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