ReMix:Aquaria "Underwater Caves" 5:52

By Gaspode

Arranging the music of one song...

"The Traveller"

Primary Game: Aquaria (Bit Blot , 2007, WIN), music by Alec Holowka, Ian Holowka

Posted 2024-05-15, evaluated by the judges panel

Gaspode just achieved his baker's dozen on OCR earlier this week, and now with a double-up today, he's joined the top 100 OC ReMixers in terms of number of ReMixes on the site! He's done Amiga love, and now Gaspode's back to PC indie game love by splishing & splashing with Aquaria, complete with spoken word spices! Though Gaspode didn't get far in the game, he was swept in by the music:

"Aquaria was a game I sadly never played properly. But I immediately fell in love with the soundtrack, which was one of my first purchases on Bandcamp. With this remix, I tried to represent a kind of travel through the underwater caves, including sound samples of water and bubbles. To emphasize the loneliness, I also incorporated the sound of a pulse pumping slow and faster. The remix became quite long over time, but I think it is worth the trip."

Gaspode got the judging feedback part-way through since it was splitting us down the middle, and he came through with several meaningful refinements. With the full notes in the Comments tag of the MP3 should you need 'em, Gaspode walked (paddled?) us through the imagery & overall flow (like water):

"The Journey:

The original remix was built up like a journey through Aquaria. That's the reason why most of the main parts are still existent in the new version.

- The intro starts with a splash and then dives deep down into the ocean. There's a noise sound in the beginning which is rising down to emphasize this. And there's echo sounder-like sound used in the drums starting at 1:10.
- At 1:40, there's the breath of Naija, the protagonist of Aquaria.
- The center part starts with the pulses, which become faster at the end, to increase the drama.
- The climax of the main theme ends with the waves above the sea, but it is not clear what became of Naija. [...]

The biggest change is in the middle part. Chimpazilla suggested that a spoken text could maintain the interest. Inspired by this idea, I wrote a poem from the perspective of Naija about her journey through Aquaria, spoken by text-to-speech (via In the game, there's something similar when Naija narrates the intro.

Naija's text is introduced by »The Verse«. According to the story of Aquaria, »The Verse« is something that flows throughout Aquaria and »binds all as one«. The lyrics of Naija are inspired by the text she speaks in the intro."

While this piece was improved mid-judgment, Gaspode also recommended we reach out to artists with the judgments from approved mixes awaiting posting, for potential updates, and the judges have been cutting down the wait time enough where we can start doing that, so kudos to him for a great idea and for encouraging us to step up our communication. :-) Even after Gaspode's various revisions, this track takes its time to spin up, yet is successfully buoyed by a graceful, gradual, and mellow soundscape, duly noted by judge Flexstyle:

"That really is a long intro for an OCR submission. I was wondering when we'd actually get to the source, but we did get there about a third of the way through the track, starting at roughly 1:30-something. From there forward the source is pretty audible until the sound-effects ending. [...] The poetry insertion does a good job of carrying the middle section, and I like how it's even roughly in sync with the rhythm of the track. Neat touch. [...]

Actual arrangement of the source material is pretty simple, but the track is creative, it tells a story, it's presented well, mixed cleanly enough, and it has ~vibes~ for days. I give this one a YES"

A pretty long intro section, sure, but here it is in all its glory, moving the Overton window of acceptability, am I right? This felt to me like the kind of melodically conservative but substantively transformative arrangements that I've heard at Remix.Kwed.Org. It's actually more measured than what I'm used to from Peter, even though he hails from Germany, so the musical sensibilities here do align well with the European electronic side of the scene. Interesting to hear a markedly different approach in Gaspode's instrumentation and style, but it's pulled off swimmingly!



Latest 2 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2024-05-17 10:47:10

That 4 note repeating pattern is very ear-wormy. The effects of the ear-worm are amplified by the excellent production of this remix. The intro and ending for this remix are incredibly strong. Excellent job with this remix!

on 2024-05-14 23:38:48
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Aquaria (Bit Blot , 2007, WIN)
Music by Alec Holowka,Ian Holowka
"The Traveller"

Tags (11)

Electronic,Sound FX,Synth,Vocals: Female,Vocals: Male
Lyrics > Language: English
Lyrics > Lyrics: Original
Time > 4/4 Time Signature

File Information

9,252,524 bytes

Listen to the whispers of The Verse...

Deep in the ocean down below
where dark and dangerous waters flow.
Concealed within this vivid gloam
there is a place I once called home.

But I am not supposed to stay,
'Cause loneliness drives me away.
So I'll be strong, I have no choice.
Call out in song, and use my voice.

Through coral banks and caves so vast
I seek the truth, search for my past.
Don't let my aim get out of sight
until the answers comes to light.

And while my journey sets me free
I use my strength to finally
reveal, behind the barrier,
the secrets of Aquaria.


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