Posted 2023-12-26, evaluated by the judges panel

Whether you're religious or secular, we hope you had a Merry Christmas, all fellow enjoyers of gifts! The holidays ain't over; we've got another pair of audio gifts for you to unwrap! First off, a present that might be perceived as a lump of coal if you're body isn't ready for the avant garde. It's an icy and desolate dissection as Michael Hudak experimentally explores Sonic 3's Ice Cap Zone in a way that only he can:

""Ice Cap Zone" has a lot going for it, from the bassline, to the main melody, those repeating chords, and the twinkling arps. Just a great (maybe timeless at this point) tune, and great utilization of the Genesis's sound capabilities. This version is deconstructed, with no more than two of the elements that make the original great playing together, so some people aren't going to like it. It was satisfying to pull the original apart though.

This goes on a journey that starts in a snowy, forested area and ends in the midst of a freezing, endless tundra. Lots of granular clouds attached to reverbs attached to more granular clouds in the ending. "Ice" has connotations of shimmering, stabbing, glossy sounds, and "snow" feels more smeared, more diffused... I wanted to combine those two idioms with this piece.

Part 1 has the chords being played by a pad, and then the bass and randomly resonating strings play the melody. Part 2 has the "trees" playing the chords, and the cold, stuttering sound plays a modified version of the bassline. Then a flute comes in with the top line again. Part 3 is the chords and melody, diffused, detuned, and distorted. I think the source is pretty simple to hear, so I'm foregoing a timestamp breakdown this time, but thanks to the judges as always."

For more cold-themed experimentation, be sure to check out Hudak's EP, Polar! While tipping his cap to the way Michael pieced this together, judge Emunator saw some haunting imagery here and recommended not settling on just a single listen:

"This feels much more like a sound design showcase than a traditional arrangement, but I don't necessarily think there's anything inherently wrong with that approach either. The scraped metallic tones evoke a feeling of exploring an abandoned industrial complex that has been buried under an intense frost.

Despite going through several different motions as you approach the source from different angles, all of the sound design feels incredibly cohesive. On repeat listens, I found myself loving the subtle rhythms that percolate up from the granular clouds. For those brave enough to stomach it, I do feel like this is rewarding on multiple listens.

Not everyone's cuppa tea, but it works for me!"

It wasn't my cup of tea when I first heard it, he's got me there, though I can certainly appreciate this one for sure. Judge DarkSim was unreserved in his kudos, and even invoked a great indie game soundtrack he's arranged before as a reference to Hudak's strong sound design:

"Ice Cap Zone has been done to death, but this exhumes, assembles and reanimates it as never before. I've said before how much I love Machinarium's soundtrack, and Tomas Dvorak's compositions for that game have a wonderful, rich texture and timbre to the sound design that mean you can almost touch the sounds. What you've managed to accomplish with this Ice Cap remix approaches Dvorak's work on Machinarium, and that's a massive achievement. The metallic resonance on the lead in particular from 0:32 is extremely reminiscent, but also the bass sounds, and the tinny, granular percussion.

I've listened to this 3 or 4 times now, and I do enjoy it very much from an academic point of view. It's sort of the opposite to a regular Ice Cap mix that might be enjoyed for the bouncy beat and catchy melody. Here, the enjoyment lies in the sound design, so if you're more of a producer than a listener, there's a lot to appreciate here."

It's funny reading the judges' voting arc on this ReMix, seeing the unanimous votes progress further and further, from (paraphrasing) my "/headtilt" all the way to DarkSim's "Nice!" This genuinely grew on me since voting on it, as many ReMixes do, not that I'm surprised here when it's a such a well-done deconstruction. You don't even need to be a producer to enjoy it; with this being such a dramatic departure from the original mood of the Ice Cap Zone, your enjoyment arc may end up mirroring mine. :-D Stay open-minded and ready to brave the harsh climates with this one!



Latest 2 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Eino Keskitalo
on 2024-01-03 04:49:59

This familiar theme is such fun to hear in such manner. The reverberated, bended stuff at the end is downright brutal! ?

on 2023-12-25 13:40:18
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (2 Songs)

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"
"Ice Cap Zone: Act 2"

Tags (9)

Arrangement > Minimalist
Effects > Glitching
Time > 4/4 Time Signature
Usage > Winter Holiday

File Information

6,016,786 bytes


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