Posted 2020-12-30, evaluated by Rexy
There's room in 2020 for one more, and it's a pitch-perfect tribute to Angelo Badalamenti & Twin Peaks, by way of... a Lemmings mix?!?... from about:blank (Chris Bouchard) - get your coffee & your log and settle down for a smooth, dreamlike ride:
"This is a shameless love letter to the 90s -- a reinterpretation of the "Tim 1" music from Lemmings in the style of Angelo Badalamenti's Twin Peaks theme. The title references both the music's appearance in the level "We All Fall Down" in the SNES version of the game and "Falling," the Julee Cruise version of the Twin Peaks theme.
It took an enormous amount of restraint to make something minimal and not dig into my usual bag of tricks. I recorded real bass, acoustic, and electric guitars for this, along with about 10 vocal takes that were layered beneath a pad at the song's climax. For the arrangement, I had to slow down the original and rewrite sections with fewer notes to make this work, but everything surprisingly fell into place once I found the right tempo and recorded the bassline. I am fully aware that this is an extremely niche concept for a Lemmings remix, but I hope it can stand on its own for any listeners who may be unfamiliar with Twin Peaks."
Just to be clear, we love niche concepts at OCR. We practically ARE a niche concept, so it'd be weird if we didn't ;) As a fellow Twin Peaks & Badalamenti fan (still love his "This is the girl"/espresso cameo in Mullholland Drive), I think Chris nailed the aesthetic of the iconic opening credits; this conjures banal rural imagery from the Pacific Northwest, with classic outlined green typography. Part of that aesthetic is minimalism/simplicity in general, but the combination of a bass/baritone guitar with delicate synth arpeggios on top is quite specific, and well-realized. Rexy evaluated:
"Right off the get-go, I could sense Badalamenti's influence on the track - a similar palette, the stylistically human timings, and the rhythms across the bass and Rhodes piano. All mentioned live instrumentation - bass, guitar, and layered vocals - are clean and well-executed. I'd also like to home in on that acoustic guitar at 2:34 with the ethereal delay effect fitting well and adding to the ambient space. The mixdown feels more dependent on lower frequencies for most of the way, but that's something I can chalk up to the style more than anything else, and the shaping feels more rounded by the track's climax at 3:17.
Chris also kept the loop's chord structure underneath while changing the lead progression in various places to fit this mood. Most of this change is simply from taking notes out from the melody and occasionally adding new harmonies. However, for the C section at 1:43, said melody instead got swapped out for an improvisational passage working in tandem with the keys. The climax based on the A section was also an uplifting resolution, heading in a post-rock direction with the drums and dealing with the melody straight. It's an enlightening twist to hear the lead being modified substantially throughout and all of a sudden getting referenced as-is, so consider me surprised.
Seriously, I love it when an arranger dares to head outside of the box, and this is something more mysterious-sounding among Chris's subs, with the execution also paying off. Nice work!"
This mix has the additional bonus function of reminding me that I still need to watch the third season. I do think towards the end, when the vocalizing gets layered in and the guitars are a bit more active, that things deviate from the TP vibe a wee bit, but it does provide more structure & development. Overall, I love that Chris went ahead with this concept, and how well the Lemmings source fits the style. I'm obviously biased, but I'm reminded of my own "Riders on the Storm"/"Dark World" Kondo/Morrison Zelda mashup from 2014 - similar idea, applying the DNA of one composition to another in a more explicit/identifiable fashion, and I think it can be both fun & musical. Kudos to about:blank for an engaging, persuasive execution of a cool concept - enjoy!
on 2020-12-30 19:42:31
funny. i'm mostly off the internet these times, and the only two series i have on my hard drive are twin peaks and stargate. i've become very familiar with this theme.
right off the bat, the bass just don't do it justice. i know the guttural feeling when i launch an episode of TP. it's not present here, it's just too clean. more bass boost and smudging with the string ensemble would have been needed.
the 4-5 minutes do just whizz by, so i think it does something right. but i just can't fullly conjure up that *waterfall* of emotions that's linked to TP, cuz the frequencies are too separated and drawn back.
i have to commend anyone who attempts to do a mashup of a video game and twin peaks in 2020, though. nice work man.
i just would've hoped your mastering would've done it justice. capture that analogue lower mid and bass range of 1990. i'm afraid this mix could be much more with a bit of appropriate mastering applied.
i played some lemmings somewhen in 92 - 93, but it was most certainly without a soundcard - so whatever brilliant parralels you drew between the OSTs is lost on me. i'll check it out at some point.
it's very definitely a nice mix, and the TP refernce is obvious, but i have to be insistent about getting the mixing/sound right on this one - it's just seems crucial when you do a tribute like this. so it's a slightly unfair/special piece to judge, to me. myself, with my lackluster mixing skills, i'd need a loooooong time to get a badalamenti-like sound that pleases me right. so i probably just wouldn't do it.
but still allow me to raise my criticism, cuz twin peaks to me is just sacrosant. can't help it.
how do you like the 3rd season?
on 2020-12-30 09:21:41
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Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Lemmings (Psygnosis, 1991, DOS)
Music by Brian Johnston, Tim Wright, Tony Williams
- "Tim 1"
- Ballad, Rock
- Chill, Mellow
- Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Electric Piano, Organ, Synth, Vocals: Male
- Arrangement > Minimalist
Production > Live Instruments
Time > 4/4 Time Signature
Time > Tempo: Slow
- 7,072,672 bytes
- Size: 7,072,672 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 3bf292d6abe28e858676baf5b888c1b5
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