Posted 2018-08-23, evaluated by Liontamer

Wow. I'm kinda blown away by this latest ReMix from Radiowar (Alex H.), who provides our first coverage of the Uncharted series (U4 in this case) and who returns after many years with a post-rock/synthwave sci-fi chamber music hybrid-cinematic piece. That's a lot of words, but trust me, this has some vintage rock sounds paired with some strings paired with some VHS-era synths, and intros cinematic, and it all works swimmingly:

"Hey! It's been a while since I've submitted here. Hopefully, I remember how to do this properly. This is an arrangement of "For Better or Worse" from Uncharted 4 as it appears on the official OST as well as in-game.

The past few years have felt like a journey to get to a place where I have a healthy approach to music. I remember being discouraged by the realization that a couple of my remixes on this site were so similarly structured that their running times matched almost to the second. In a lot of ways, I was stuck in habits that I didn't know how to break, and I was reluctant to really challenge myself. With this track I hoped to change that, finding a way out of my usual routines. I was inspired by Yotto and in particular by the band Mogwai, who I had seen live a couple months back and been struck by the way their music used structures which were cyclical, yet narrative. The outcome isn't necessarily different from the sort of forms I typically write (introduction - break - climax), but I do think I've succeeded in writing something which breathes a little more. One of the challenges that I continue to face is that my writing seems to have an anxiety about stasis, that every moment should be packed with meaning or purpose. My goal is to some day write something where nothing really happens at all, for a very long time.

...Anyway, personal thoughts aside, I hope you like the track. A nice tune from a game I enjoyed a lot."

Whether that's self-diagnosis or coming from trusted others, that's a genuinely interesting observation; I can without caveat say that I've enjoyed each of the artists's previous pieces and did not feel whatever anxiety may have been present in the writing. I dig 'em quite a bit, still, and don't find them problematically self-similar either. That being said - and it's worth saying - this new piece does have a certain dynamism/spontaneity that I noticed. It breathes in that it feels more like a living thing in its procession, with some degree of the unpredictability any living thing usually exhibits. More simply put: I dig all his other mixes, but I dig this one just as much, and it's also doing something new. The sound design & instrumentation in particular are damn near perfect, if not perfect: each element pops and simmers, drums boom in a Zeppelin-esque room, synths resonate with the soul of classic gear, guitars jangle, piano moves, and strings add even more emotion. Liontamer writes:

"I love hearing more solemn themes given the interpretive treatment. Alex keeps his take moody for the opening while bringing in the guitar line at :44 that arrives much later in the source to more quickly flesh out the sound. Along with the drums at 1:05, you have a more involved build for what's a longer arrangement. I like Alex's production from 1:36-2:31, where nearly all of the instrumentation had long trail-offs; the soundscape was beautifully filled out. Radiowar got a lot of substance out of gradually building the arrangement on top of the main motif from the piano in the source; after the dropoff at 2:29, and brigning in the motif back at 3:09, the rebuild got significantly more complex, and it was fascinating to hear so much expansion until the final dropoff for the piano conclusion at 4:13. Great structure and a very creative approach. I hope Henry Jackman hears this and appreciates the direction you've taken this theme in! :-)"

I'll go a little bit further: this kills. This has the blood. Every element works, the combination is full at times but always in complementary & discernible fashion, and there's an intense focus that imbues each line with transfixing function & utility. If you're gonna return with a new attitude & new inspiration after many years, well... this is how you do it, optimally-speaking. Badass.



Latest 3 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Mr. Hu
on 2018-10-04 11:52:39

Really great drums on this, and exceptional use of cymbals especially. I've given this a couple listens every week since it was posted, and I get something new out of it each time. It's one of those tunes that, maybe because of it's spiraling structure, I always want to play again right after it's over. Honestly, one of the best OCR tracks I've heard in several years.

"Leafcutter" was always in my OCR HoF, and I think this will be in there as well. Two tracks by the same remixer!

on 2018-09-04 12:12:33

So excitied to see this on the front page! I must admit, I've never played this game, but seeing Alex's name here makes me really happy :) While he doesn't have a lot of works, I can tell there's always something quite chaiming and distinctive about them, and this one is no exception at all. Of course, it's pretty different from all of his previous stuff with this crazy mash of post-rock, chamber, cinematic, and whatnot. However, if you listen closely, you can still find a slight resemblance between some of his earlier ReMixes and this one. For some reason, Radiowar's wonderful "What's Left" is what instently comes to my mind when I listen to this track. Now, speaking of variety here, I'm absolutely stunned here. It's certainly one of those cases when there's so much diverse instrumentaion in a single track that you keep asking yourself all the time "how EVEN is this gonna work?", and yet it all makes sense and simply sounds cohesive. Brilliant! You can easily call this a great rollercoaster ride for your imagination :) Don't miss this one and download it without hesitation.

P.S. Looking forward to seeing more from Alex here!

on 2018-08-23 10:42:02

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

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (Sony , 2016, PS4)
Music by Alex Belcher,Henry Jackman (II)
"For Better or Worse"

Tags (12)

Acoustic,Electric Guitar,Electronic,Piano,Strings,Synth

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