ReMix:Castle of Illusion "Bitter Sweets" 2:24

By Eino Keskitalo

Arranging the music of one song...

"The Dessert Factory"

Primary Game: Castle of Illusion (Sega , 1990, SMS), music by Kamiya Studio

Posted 2024-01-01, evaluated by the judges panel

Happy New Year! Did you know that the original version of Mickey Mouse, Steamboat Willie, hit the public domain today? At least for the inital version of the character, anyone can do whatever they want with it and Disney's unable to say no. What better way for us to welcome this changing of the copyright guard than a Mickey Mouse-themed arrangement! We've start the year with Eino Keskitalo's electrojazz expansion of the Dessert Factory theme from the 8-bit score to Castle of Illusion (starring wouldn't you know it... ;-D)! Eino revived this one after more than a decade on the shelf, originally arranged for the People's Remix Competition:

"Another old compo tune of mine that I've finally finished to submission state. This one debuted in People's Remix Competition round 210 way back in 2012 - over 10 years ago! How amazing is it that PRC is still going? I've thrown in some jazz samples since then and like to think I've channeled some early spirit of the Finnish ambient/jazz classic RinneRadio into the tune...

Castle of Illusion on 16-bit vs. 8-bit is very interesting. Castle of Illusion for Master System (or Game Gear) is a pretty cool game. It's not a downgraded version of the Mega Drive original, but a well thought out 8-bit reimagining, ending up a very polished and playable platformer. The 8-bit version is not trying to do what 16-bit version is doing but only half as good; it's solid and whimsical in its own right and in its own, perhaps more deliberate style. Great animation - and great music. The 8-bit version has some bespoke tunes, though this one is not one of them, appearing also in the 16-bit version.

I had all sorts of thoughts of extending this one with additional source tunes and whatnot, but it sounded rounded out enough to me now. The soundtrack also has specific tunes in each version, although the cake level theme is in both. Mega Drive/Genesis version actually has a variation of the theme that I long considered using to extend this arrangement, but I think I'll just wrap it up now rather than sit on it for longer! I finally decided it was actually already OK, just needing a little bit of polish. So, it's short but hopefully sweet. If you like it, you can simply listen to it again!

While I was balancing the mix, I got some nice feedback from Sega fan djp on the forums, nice! I worked most of that in, for example, I turned down an arp figure in the mix quite a bit, which in my mind had a big impact on the whole. Funny how that works. I got some more nice feedback on the Workshop channel in Discord, but I decided it's now time to let this go or I'll keep working on it for another 10 years...

Thanks to Pleiade who helped with mixing for the compo version back in the day; also shoutout to Dj Mokram, another Castle of Illusion fan! Perhaps we will collab on some Castle of Illusion stuff one day. :-) Cheers."

The community's long-running compo The People's Remix Competition actually just called it a day at round #472, with the final winner awaiting announcement next week, so a huge kudos to Bundeslang for running it so long, along with past runners Rexy, kamoh, The Orichalcon, and creator reelmojo, who collectively helped and encouraged many artists to hone, grow, and test their arrangement abilities. With a history as long as Dwelling of Duels (also running since 2003), PRC has led to the creation of many memorable, meaningful tracks! As Eino mentioned in the context of this Castle of Illusion piece, some of seeds planted in PRC bloom years later, like this arrangement did, so we know this won't be the final time PRC is repped with a featured ReMix. :-) Judge prophetik music praised Eino's sound design and subtle attention to detail:

"oh, that fat overtony bass and snappy snare are a great vibe right off the bat. really eclectic combination of synths right away. the not-sax and arp leads do a great job of keeping the melodic material front and center without ever really focusing on it, which is a neat trick. there's a lot of blurbs and bloops going on that keep your ear moving.

there's a bit of a reset at 1:37, and then there's some funky beat work at 1:47 under a second reimagining of the melodic material. some more intense drum work and a glitchy fade, and it's done quick.

this is a great one! there's a ton of clever ideas taking the original's unique elements and recreating them in new ways. and it sounds super clean despite the variety of stuff going on. excellent work."

Cool vibe with fun instrumentation choices; I initially thought some additional elements earlier on wouldn't have been a bad idea, but the texture's actually filled in very nicely once you pay attention to and appreciate each individual part. Super clean stuff, for sure. Later we have the cool rhythmic change at 1:45, which was a nice idea to keep things moving, and Eino filled in the textures even more to altogether bring more intensity ahead of the crescendo-ing beats at 2:06. Having heard the source tune, the arrangement certainly stands on its own, yet since it's from a Mickey Mouse game, it somehow still feels kind of quaint. Representation piques my interest even more than hearing the standards of the VGM arrangement scene, so I LOVE that another Master System game is getting some coverage; awesome choice, Eino. :-) Is this truly something we'd describe as bitter? It sounds pretty sweet to me!



Latest 2 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2024-01-02 05:50:06

Even though it's before my time, glad to see old PRC mixes live on among the community. Really makes me wonder how we can continue it's legacy in a more modern way? Anyway, great job here and looking forward to your next tune!

on 2024-01-01 15:03:12
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Castle of Illusion (Sega , 1990, SMS)
Music by Kamiya Studio
"The Dessert Factory"

Tags (9)

Origin > Competition
Time > 4/4 Time Signature

File Information

4,384,062 bytes


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