Posted 2020-10-02, evaluated by Liontamer
To celebrate today's release of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, the judges panel's own Rexy (Beverley Wooff) - also a Crash Bandicoot superfan - has crafted this spontaneous, sinister & yet fun/funky rock/fusion arrangement of the "Dr. Neo Cortex" theme from Warped:
"So... 2020 marked the year where Crash Bandicoot is on the receiving end of a new game after over a decade. Say what you want about the year that went past, but to me, that is one heck of a blessing! And hearing about the game - Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time - following on from the events of Warped (a 22-year gap!) inspired me to not only mark the occasion but also throw myself headfirst into a major challenge.
Naturally, the event that ended Warped was the final boss encounter with the series' main antagonist Dr. Neo Cortex and the path to the good ending. So, this marked the question: can I create a posted boss theme arrangement with no outside help?
Here's the thought process behind the source choice. One of the cool compositional choices throughout the original trilogy is bringing leitmotifs back for the boss characters in updated compositions. Crash 1's incarnation of Cortex's theme was slow and tense, making more sense with the setting than any actual battle encounters; the second game relied on a brisker tempo and spy-film-esque chords to fit his "is-he-isn't-he" stance on turning over a new leaf; and then the third one brought in a dramatic and more melodic composition befitting of not only the stakes involved but also Aku Aku and Uka Uka having their own showdown in the same confined space as you. It's a cool evolution and one I wanted to bring tenfold into the arrangement.
Compositionally, it follows the source through one loop, but I made a load of twists and turns through it. Firstly, I changed the time signature from 4/4 to 12/16 and went with a shuffle groove that formed out of it. Secondly, I broke down the segments of the source and found ways to expand or develop them individually, or even bring riffs from individual segments in when necessary. Thirdly, 4:09 calls back to the part of the melody in the Crash 1 version that got used in Crash 2, but omitted in Warped for some reason - and that's a shame because those swifter plucks there were a great change of pace. Fourthly, some of the breaks (2:31, 3:35, 4:29, 4:35, 4:46) are Rush-inspired Morse code rhythms for various aspects in Crash lore. And while not a compositional technique, I finally bit the bullet and invested in Omnisphere, which helped build up a lot of the palette including a similar guitar tone to the one that marked the leitmotifs.
I'd also like to apologize for the wall of text, but you can tell that I'm excited for Crash 4's launch from that alone. I don't know what else the future holds, but one thing for sure is that I will stan that orange marsupial anew!"
Crazy stuff! Love the title pun, of course, but this might just be Rexy's most ambitious/complex mix yet, at least from an arrangement perspective - plenty of curveballs, unusual signature, some less common chords/modulations, and five jam-packed minutes of groove. Dig the opening gravitas of the church bells and the build to the in-game dialogue-fueled transition to the beat drop at 0'55" - nice chip hits, too! Bev provided a much better play-by-play than I could, so I don't need to retread, but it's a fun, dense mix with particularly nice drum work & creativity to spare. Rexy has repped Crash on OCR for many years, and this latest mix is an opus fit for the release of his 4th major adventure & another energized, varied, and dynamic arrangement - enjoy!
on 2020-10-04 06:41:44
This is beyond any levels of incredible, holy cow! I just LOVE this. I mean, I downloaded the track and then just listened to it 10 times in a row The intro is a little long in my opinion, but when it hits, it hits soooo hard. I... I don't even know where to begin. First of all, I'm not familiar with the original, but I can absolutely clearly feel the cartoon-ish evil/crazy/mad vibe going on, and it's simply adorable! The arrangement is top-notch too - there's plenty of variety, never becomes boring for even a second. The diverse instrumentation is also worth mentioning, I guess. I've always been a huge fan of drums/percussion in Rexy's stuff, and this remix is no less amazing in that regard - especially the breakbit at 4:25, that was really nice! And oh my, there's so many various leads - chips, piano, bells, all kinds of synths, wow! And there's even some guitar here and there... This is pure win. Definitely one of the best remixes of 2020!
on 2020-10-03 11:48:02
The groove here is so GOOD. I loved this one in its WIP stages and the final product is even stronger There's really so much going on here, you never hang on one idea for too long and never seem to run out of new directions to take the arrangement, either! Rock solid stuff, Bev!
on 2020-10-02 11:36:09
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Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Crash Bandicoot: Warped (Sony
Music by Josh Mancell,Mark Mothersbaugh
- "Dr. Neo Cortex"
- Bells,Chiptune,Electric Guitar,Piano,Sound FX,Synth
- Time > Tempo: Fast
- 8,848,361 bytes
- Size: 8,848,361 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: e99fd54e41750a427a189eceb2ca406a
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