ReMix:Super Mario 64 "Bluesuperstructure" 5:16

By Michael Hudak

Arranging the music of one song...

"Dire, Dire Docks"

Primary Game: Super Mario 64 (Nintendo , 1996, N64), music by Koji Kondo

Posted 2021-11-22, evaluated by Liontamer

While "Bluesuperstructure" might sound like something IBM would build to play chess and/or beat Ken Jennings at Jeopardy!, it's actually Michael Hudak's experimental glitch/piano take on "Dire, Dire Docks," continuing a series of mixes he's submitted following this aesthetic:

"Kondo's original song is a modern classic, and has been remade and remixed probably thousands of times in dozens of styles, so I wanted to try something with it that I hadn't heard before. Imagine the "Jolly Roger" sheet music somehow imposed onto the surface of the ocean, with the notes floating and rolling atop the water, getting pulled away from one another or bumping into other notes, spinning and churning, maybe briefly meeting again in some areas. Some parts drift away for good. That's the best way I can describe what was going on in my head. I was especially interested in seeing how many variations on the source's initial piano riff (left-hand arpeggios and then right-hand diad stab) I could make without getting repetitive. The last section was tough to crack, and at first I wasn't sure if I wanted it so sparse, but after a lot of tweaking I think it now sits as a good contrast to the rest of the song, without feeling glued on. Tons more artistic choices in here made for all kinds of reasons that I won't spoil.

Made with about a dozen pianos with different settings and in different places in the stereo field (dropping in mid-note in most cases). I've done this clipped piano collage style several times before, but I aimed to make this ReMix less "glitchy" (a placeholder term I still don't love) than others by rolling back a lot of the sample transients by a few milliseconds here and there. There are three reverb send layers: a close layer (less than 10 meters on the verb), a medium, and a distant. Dividing the track into three distal circles like this really helps the different parts sound distinct, even when the piano timbres are similar, or are panned in similar areas in the stereo field.

Source breakdown:

  • 0:00-0:13 = 0:43-0:55 in source
  • 0:13-1:56 = 0:00-0:26 in source
  • 1:56-3:08 = 0:43-1:48 in source
  • 3:23-4:53 = 0:00-0:26 in source

As always, thanks for sifting through this one.

Happy 25th to Mario 64, the game that changed everything."

I do think "glitchy" is probably the most intuitive word one could use - other candidates would be clicky, chopped, spliced, diced... it's essentially like a collage of piano timbres, carefully cut out & pasted around a melody, and Hudak's grown quite proficient at bending the style to his well. I appreciated the description of the different reverb trails & panning; as with so many things, it takes a lot of work/fiddling to make a spontaneous, almost seemingly-random end result. It would be interesting to run these mixes through something like iZotope RX's click removal and see how they fared, but the clicks are (very much) part of the experience, and I dig the spot-application of some lofi/grit to the mix. I happen to think that this entire approach tends to work better around a strong, ideally recognizable/familiar main melody, and "Dire, Dire Docks" is exactly that; I definitely get the feeling of waves/motion in a style that gels with the source context. Liontamer writes:

"I don't know what I heard, but I know what I heard. Nice work, Michael. :-)"

Very Yogi Berra. Michael's works in this style are all siblings, sharing some common DNA, but they all have unique personalities, as well. This one's relaxed, and I love how it builds & evolves over time, exploring the source and iterating on aspects of both sound design and arrangement, which essentially become the same thing for a mix like this. This theme was always super-mellow (never seemed very "dire" to me!), and I think that's retained to an extent, but there's more of a push forward to see what comes next & how the artist will permutate the components. Sonic deep sea exploration that Cousteau or Zissou could appreciate - great work!



Latest 4 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2024-03-31 19:35:23

Whatever noise that was at 1:20 woke me the fluff up. (In a good way). This song was a trip. Very well done, kudos.

on 2022-01-25 03:08:03

I really like the song, but the audio popping spikes get painful to listen to after a while.
Otherwise its very good all around.

Mr. Hu
on 2021-11-23 11:42:19

I am honored by the Zissou reference.

on 2021-11-22 12:02:41
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Super Mario 64 (Nintendo , 1996, N64)
Music by Koji Kondo
"Dire, Dire Docks"

Tags (10)

Piano,Sound FX
Effects > Glitching
Effects > Lo-Fi
Effects > Reversing

File Information

8,267,648 bytes


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