The chiptune work on this Operation Wolf "Ocean Loader 5" ReMix from Retro Brothers is superb, with dynamics and stereo imaging that makes each bit pop. While this is our first mix of the game AND from these two real-life brothers (Jeffrey (Little Jester) and Nick (Saiko)) operating as a duo, Nick actually had a single Chrono Trigger ReMix posted all the way back in 2002, seventeen years ago. We catch up with the van der Schilden siblings as Little Jester (Jeffrey van der Schilden) fills us in:
"Ocean Loader 5 remix (Ocean Loader 4 remix remix :P) Original is composed by Jonathan Dunn and the Loader 5 version was actually a remix of his own Ocean Loader 4 original, which was used for games like Rambo III and Target: Renegade. Our remix follows Ocean Loader 5 more closely though, which was first introduced with Operation Wolf, but was later also used with games like Renegade III and Batman. Still makes this a remix of an Operation Wolf original. C64 loaders add a lot to the game experience (think also Last Ninja, that used different loader music before each level even). To C64 geeks, this should be bundled with Operation Wolf at the very least, since it was first introduced there. Our version follows Jonathan's remix pretty close in the second part.
While we were working on a new track for a game that is to be released on Steam, we all of a sudden freestyled a part of Jonathan Dunn's melody into our track. Needless to say, we played a lot of Operation Wolf on the C64 back in the day, so this track needed to evolve into a full remix. The lead and other C64 SID chip elements were recreated on our trusty Nord Lead 2X workhorse. Everything else comes from the Easily Embarrassed kitchen (our other music project).
Also fun to note: Nick was already around in 2002! Hope you enjoy and accept our submission!"
Always cool to be able to run with a "Seventeen years later..." narrative - benefits of being geriatric, in web terms - but also cool to get the background/context from Jeffrey re: loaders. Our standards do specify that eligible music has to be written for a game or first popularized/published with a game, so loaders of this nature do qualify, while the beloved Wii Shop Channel theme does not. I played quite a bit of C64 myself, back in the day, but my own Operation Wolf experiences were mostly in arcades, where gratuitous gun violence and questionable foreign policy decisions ate quarter after quarter. Part of the appeal was the tactile nature of having that big ol' gun right smack dab on the cabinet, but with the C64 port at least you got this sweet loader music to make up for the loss, which the RB have lovingly arranged in a 9-bit style that stays pretty close to the chip sound; portions of Sir_NutS decision border on poetry:
"We really don't have enough C64 remixes around. Every time I see a C64 I go straight up for it because I just love the soundtracks and sound of this device that legendary composers like Jonathan Dunn gave us.
Regarding this mix, it takes elements and textures similar to the ones you would find in the original machine and puts them together with a touch of modern production. Distorted, soaring PWM leads, noise-sprinkled percussion and the instantly recognizable C64 arpeggios are mixed with subtle choir pads, cleaner plucks, LP-Filtered breakdowns and some percussion elements played at a higher bitrate than the C64 was able to. It all works very well in my opinion, creating that melancholic but catchy sound that, in my opinion, represents the best you can get from this golden era of vgm."
A rather glorious, mouth-watering procession of adjectives & nouns there, at least for retro VGM fans :) Liontamer adds:
"Rubber stamp, and a big welcome back to Nick/Saiko :)
Great personalization of the theme, giving it a big presence while maintaining the core C64 sound palette."
Roger that; it's *barely* 9-bit, the sounds come off as more or less authentic recreations, and the modernization sits with the bitrate, drums, & production know-how. An unexpected return, surprise, & delight from Nick & brother Jeffrey, who pay booming chip homage to a classic C64/Dunn loader theme from a port of a classic shooter!
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Effects > Lo-Fi
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