Posted 2022-12-25, evaluated by Liontamer

When MkVaff (Mike Vafeas) submitted this track to his YouTube channel in November, I immediately rushed to check it out. "Ice Capped" is a classic that remains a relevant example of OC ReMix's arrangement standards today. To many a fan of the site, it had also stood out in many personal top 10s or similar collectives. Therefore, to arrange the same source 20 years later, and with a different take on the iconic "Ice Cap Zone" theme from Sonic 3, we have an example of how far Mike had progressed as an arranger *and* as a producer. One thing for sure, though, is that his perspective on the BGM hasn't changed at all:

"The original track in the game accompanied one of the coolest moments in Genesis gaming for me. I loved how the catchy, propulsive rhythm starts playing as the stage is introduced, and suddenly, you're speeding down the mountaintop on a snowboard. It was truly one of those moments in gaming that I'm so glad I was able to experience as a kid.

Although I previously remixed this classic track over 20 years ago, it's one of those songs that's so simple and perfect that I could probably enjoy remixing it another 20 times. For this 2022 rendition, I made the drums and synths a lot more pronounced, and went with much more of a trance feel. For the breakdown, I gravitated back to an airy piano sound - partly as a nod to my original "Ice Capped" remix - and partly because all these years later, I still love the sound of that beautiful melody played on keys. For whatever reason, the simple melody captures a feeling of cold and calm that I felt went perfectly with visions of falling snow.

The original track remains one of the most iconic in all of game music, and it was a lot of fun revisiting it after all these years. Though the re-releases of Sonic collections have since changed some of the music due to some past involvement with Michael Jackson and his songwriting team, this will always be the definitive version of the song to me - and I was glad to pay tribute to it once again."

It feels interesting to diverge from a rhythmic direction to a more melodic one, and the choice of keys and other aired instrumentation emphasizes both his producer growth and his perception of the Winter season. The opening 40 seconds with the low-passed arpeggio and chimes set the scope for what the soundscape would have, and only after then did the source BGM arrive and stay anchored for the rest of the way. The biggest beef I have with "Ice Cap" is the restrictive amount of melodic content, even if it's a non-issue for over a dozen other posted artists that also arranged it. Hence, the entire stretch from 0:55-1:37 is an excellent idea to refresh the second half with layer after layer with each variation.

The call and response on the piano in the following breakdown is a wholesome touch musically, and the called-back tone is also an emotional choice - getting used to hype the source material and offering moments of nostalgia for long-time OCR listeners. Combined with a similar recap for the final third complete with closure based on the first half of the source, we have a unique dance twist on "Ice Cap" while compositionally sounding nothing like "Ice Capped," aside from the VGM used.

I'm going to feel soft thinking about all this, but seeing Mike's decision from two years ago to emphasize his creative output on VGM arrangement has spoken volumes, especially considering he is a long-time veteran within the community. The hardest thing for any creative is knowing what to do when you think you've already achieved so much, but the moral that Mike is giving us here is that you should always feel happy working on what you think is the most natural for you. And this is a lesson worth learning as 2023 looms around the corner - but for now, enjoy the festive holiday no matter how you plan to celebrate it!



Latest 2 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2022-12-26 05:05:58

Wooow, this came out of nowhere! An OCRemix legend bestowing us with a new take on one of the tracks that inspired many like myself.... what a powerful experience. I somehow feel both 13 and 30 all over again ?

on 2022-12-24 11:32:47
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega , 1994, GEN)
Music by Bobby Brooks,Brad Buxer,C. Cirocco Jones,Darryl Ross,Doug Grigsby III,Geoff Grace,Jun Senoue,Michael Jackson,Tatsuyuki Maeda,Tomonori Sawada
"Ice Cap Zone: Act 1"

Tags (7)

Time > 4/4 Time Signature

File Information

7,690,967 bytes


8-bit Jazz Heroes - Press Start
View All

Latest Albums

View All

Latest ReMixes