ReMix:Bastion "The World That Was" 4:12

By Outset Initiative

Arranging the music of one song...

"In Case of Trouble"

Primary Game: Bastion (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment , 2011, XB360), music by Darren Korb

Posted 2024-05-08, evaluated by the judges panel

Though I'm surprisingly not a big physical media person when it comes to game music (got a ton of comics and graphic novels though), there are some soundtracks I've gone out of my way to physically own, and that includes all of Darren Korb's Supergiant scores. For several years, djpretzel and I were audio jurists for IGF and we both got to witness Bastion in action before it was released. Obviously, the visuals (Jen Zee!), the gameplay, the voice acting, the KID -- everything was incredible and attention-grabbing back then. I was even in genuine skepticism that this was the actual gameplay, rather than a stylized form of a trailer when I first saw video footage of it, that's how mind-blowing it was. Outset Initiative reworks Bastion's spirit of wonder in a different way with a contemplative, mellow, and extended interpretation that adds further twists halfway through. After not being satisfied with the mixdown at the outset (;-D), Outset Initiative took his time sprucing it up for a primetime spotlight here:

"I originally composed this remix in 2019 for the Materia Community album EXILE: A Tribute to Supergiant Games. This song has always been a personal favorite of mine from the Bastion soundtrack, and it was certainly one of the more challenging pieces I've worked on to date. Darren's guitar performance makes up so much of the feeling of the original, which isn't something that you can just translate into MIDI. Since I wasn't using any guitars in my composition, I decided to directly follow the chord structure from the original to make sure there was always a clear link back to the source. That gave me a bit of freedom to have some fun and riff on the piano, which gives the track a loose, jazzy feeling that I really enjoy.

Due to some poor mixing decisions I made on the first iteration of this track, I decided to shelve the remix after the album launched and not to submit to OCR. The community album ended up getting pulled from distribution a few years later, which was a bummer... but it did give me an opportunity to revisit the track. I had some inspiration and free time a few weeks ago and decided it would be fun to resurrect the project and re-mix it from scratch. It was an enjoyable process and gratifying to see how much my process has changed and improved over the last few years. It's amazing how much you can do with tight EQing and a clear vision of how you want the track to feel and how each instrument should fit into the mix. I ended using probably 1/4 of the plugins as the original version and the difference is night and day. It's a good reminder that less can certainly be more, especially in our digital world where there's a plugin for everything.

I'm quite glad I took the time to come back to this one -- I hope y'all enjoy!"

Before discussing this arrangement, we can't ignore the scintillating guitar and songwriting talents of Darren Korb, who dropped into games with a meteoric impact when Bastion landed. Korb's got a unique story to landing into video games with Supergiant as well as his approach to music that was fun to learn more about in his interview on Austin Wintory's Game Maker's Notebook podcast that I recommend! Outset actually focused on an instrumental track of Darren's, "In Case of Trouble", and he had no trouble -- from an interpretation standpoint -- of fashioning engaging, transporting textures, according to fellow Korb fan prophetik music:

"oh man, i just love darren korb's compositional style. thanks for giving me a reminder to listen to all of his soundtracks today.

opens with some highly filtered pads that have a lot of motion on them, which is fun. there's some tempo-synced elements that come in at 0:30 - very patient opening - and some piano. beat comes in at 1:05 in a way that i didn't expect, which is fun. bass is highly filtered, almost sounds like it's next door vs. in the room with us. piano performance has some jazz elements in how the melodic material is rendered which is nice.

2:05 is a new feel, between the new beat and the really effected wind synth (i can't really describe it). that's out quick though, because it's soon after into a much more ethereal section noodling with that wind synth and sustained rain sfx. beat is back at 3:01 and this is a cleaner soundscape, focusing on the keys. the subtle tempo-synced gated synth in the background is nice. the drums and backing elements fade down over time, leaving just the keys and bass eventually. and that's a wrap.

this is a great adaptation of a really fun original. i was very curious how you'd be able to replicate what is essentially a guitar groove with some big string swoops with what you opened with, but this is definitely a super interpretive arrangement of a motif-driven original. your arrangement is just full of space, which i think is a really neat parallel to the game itself. excellent work."

I hope Outset doesn't take it the wrong way, but the jazziness of it, the relaxation of the piano, the DEEP bass and beats, it all gives me some tangential SimCity/world-building vibes, it's all just so chill and loopable, even when the energy picked up with those 90s-style leads at 2:06, and especially when the textures churned and swirled at 2:40. I admittedly wasn't on board with the piano sample when it arrived because it felt too exposed to start, but once things filled in and evolved more and I got immersed in the fuller arrangement at 1:19, I was a believer. Count judge Flexstyle as a fellow believer, as he had nothing but praise for Outset Initiative's careful construction:

"Y'all, this is what sparse instrumentation looks like when executed right. Those drums? Simple as heck. Not super dynamic samples, but sequenced in a way that stays interesting the entire time, creating movement in exactly the spots that need to move forward, and groove where it's time to just sit a spell and vibe out. The bassline is simple, very relegated to the low spectrum, but it moves in a way that lets everything else shine through without letting the low end feel empty. Piano? Not busy, but still melodic and intentional. Pads? Not dense, but they lift the song up right where it's needed. Sound effects? Right where they need to be to fill the soundscape. The pan flute sample lead? Plenty of subtle movement on a patch that could have been dry and boring without careful, judicious treatment. This hits like a lot of late '90s/early '00s lounge vibe music, but maybe with a more dynamic lead line on that piano, and I think it works REALLY well overall.

I love the original song -- Bastion is in my top-5 favorite OSTs for games I've actually played (and the game itself is fun and thoughtful) -- and this absolutely does justice to it. Can't wait for this to hit the front page!"

YES, welcome welcome as a featured ReMix once again to Outset Initiative! With him, prophetik, Flex, and me, we've already a nice circle of Darren Korb fans here at OCR (can't wait to eventually pick up the Hades II OST the next time I see a Fangamer booth); even new judge Hemophiliac has his own Hades ReMix in the works, so the appreciation and respect for Korb's music around here is wide-ranging. Kudos to Outset Initiative for tangibly representing our collective fandom here with his ReMix, not just settling for "The World That Was" when this first released, but molding it into "The World That Should Be", now sounding its best! :-)



Latest 2 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2024-05-10 12:48:41

The percussion in this remix is TOP notch for sure. The production in this felt very musical and purposeful. The sound design in this track is pretty bonkers, and gave the remix a very unique feel. Very chill, very cool. Great job! ?

on 2024-05-08 12:06:25
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Bastion (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment , 2011, XB360)
Music by Darren Korb
"In Case of Trouble"

Tags (9)

Ambient,Hip Hop,New Age
Time > 4/4 Time Signature

File Information

6,140,112 bytes


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