In terms of mashups between musical genres and styles, I can safely say combining EDM and A Capella was never one I thought about before. However, Youtube VGM vocal star Smooth McGroove teamed up with the people at GameChops and decided “Why the heck not?”. Thus, we have Smooth McGroove Remixed Volume 2.
Remixed by music producers like A_rival, Dj CUTMAN, Grimecraft, and James Landino., the album features licensed EDM remixes of classic videogame music from Super Mario 64, Undertale, Pokemon, Mega Man and many more based on the the a capella talents of Mr. McGroove. The album is available now for purchase on ITunes and Google play, on Spotify for your listening pleasure, or you can just watch the neat music videos like the one above.
I can safely say that an a capella of Castlevania‘s “Vampire Killer” remixed into a danceable electronic music was never something I asked for, but I’m appreciative at the quality put into the production of such a chimera of VGM and can say I give such an effort a thumbs up.
There’s been a lot of Gamechops material coming out lately, and a lot of Pokémon activity going on in the gaming world. It thus just makes sense that the two would eventually combine.
For your viewing pleasure, you can check out Grimecraft‘s interesting take on the Pokémon bike theme paired with footage from the games, cartoon series, and custom CG segments by Curse Gamepedia. (And an additional little musical shoutout at the very end.)
The music comes from Grimecraft’s 2013 PokéEP, which you can grab for free over on his Bandcamp page.
For all you Overwatch fans, the good people over at Gamechops have released a new remix of music from the game. The single “The World Could Always Use More Heroes“, created by Curly, mastered by Steven “bLiNd” Silo and master by DJ Cutman, also comes with a special extra music video with animations from PlayOverwatch.
As always you can find more remixes (including future Overwatch arrangements) over on the Gamechops Youtube page.
Here at Original Sound Version, we truly ask the burning questions that any true fan of video game music has discussed at one point in their lives or another. Michael started the question of what favorite versions of some of the most popular and heavily remixed tunes from iconic gaming franchises are your own, starting with Donkey Kong Country‘s “Aquatic Ambiance“. Now it’s my turn to pick your brain about arguably the most well-known and therefore remixed track from the Castlevania franchise – the original Castlevania‘s iconic stage 1 music, “Vampire Killer”.
It was hard for me to choose which Castlevania track I wanted to use for this question, as “Vampire Killer”, Castlevania 2‘s “Bloody Tears, and Castlevania 3‘s “Beginning” (Or the “Big 3” as I call them.) are almost equally arranged in proportion across both the Castlevania franchise itself, as well as within the remixing community. However, it feels right to start at the very beginning (No pun intended) with “Vampire Killer”, which was composed by the duo of Kinuyo Yamashita and Satoe Terashima in 1986.
“Vampire Killer” – Castlevania
The tune is catchy and full of determination, which made it perfect for first-time players and veterans alike to start off their journey to Dracula with. It’s had several iterations within the Castlevania franchise over the years, showing up arranged in later games such as Dracula’s Curse (As castle track “Deja Vu”), Super Castlevania 4, Rondo of Blood, Legends, Dawn of Sorrow and more. It serves as that constant reminder of the series’s ties to one another and of that first faithful trek we took as Simon Belmont. If I had to choose my favorite iteration of the track from within the series, I’ve grown to truly love Castlevania: The Arcade‘s part-organ, part-rock synth version played during the first boss fight.
Video credit of Nyx Cyan
The track has also been remixed by the fan community in just about every style imaginable, from the jazzy swing of Nostalvania to the electric grooves of Zircon and everywhere in between, to the point of near-exhaustion. Yet “Vampire Killer” persists as one of the most recognized video game tracks in gaming history, and still manages to inspire creativity and energy from musical vampire hunters to this day.
So what is your favorite version or arrangement of “Vampire Killer”? Do you have several? Let us know in the comments!
A few weeks ago, Shaun posed the question of what the very first game soundtrack album you ever heard was. This got me thinking of my own past dealing with video game music and getting into “the scene”, as it were. I started thinking about the first time I started looking up game music on the internet (circa 1999-ish?), which lead to my eventual discovery of video game music *remixes*. While arranging game music had been something people had been doing for a a while prior to the internet really gaining traction, sites like Overclocked Remix & VGMix became the centralized places for potential arrangers to congregate and show off their works by the early 2000’s. The scene grew to the point musicians were challenging one anothers abilities in arrangement competitions, and thus places like Dwelling of Duels were created.
So this got my brain juices flowing in my quest to remember what my very video game music remix was. (No small task, as my memory is shite.) Having scrolled through the plethora the old arrangements I’d saved over the course of almost a decade an a half of saved remixes, I settled on two that clicked the lightbulb in my brain. I’m not sure which one came first as I’d discovered them pretty much at the same time in 2000. Back then I’d stuck to the game music I’d been limited to as a kid, which was 90% Sega Genesis titles, which some Amiga, NES and Gameboy thrown in here and there for variety.
Castlevania being one of my most beloved game series back then (despite only owning 2 titles, and playing others elsewhere), I remember somehow traipsing across an arrangement from Castlevania The Adventure by Mike “McVaffe” Vafeas called “Tempest Mix“. Trance and techno music appealed to me heavily back in those days, and this arrangement of “Revenge” from Castlevania Adventure hit the spot for me. It had just enough of the source to grab me and keep my head bobbing for days. This is the same reason I’d come across the other arrangement I remember as being one of the two “firsts” I’d found. Golden Axe was another penultimate title for me as a kid, so “Death Adder Trance” by OCR founder David “djpretzel” Lloyd also hit the spot in terms of appealing to my love of Golden Axe’s music, in this case level 1’s “Wilderness”, and satisfying my fixation on dance-able music. For years I’d pop both of these tracks on from my burned CDs of remix music I’d accumulated and blast them in my beat-up Buick Century.
So what was your first video game music remix? It doesn’t have to be your favorite, but the first you remember listening to ever. Were you specifically looking for arrangements from a certain game? Where’d you find it? Let us know in the comments!
If you follow game music remixes at all, you’re no doubt familiar with the acapella game music arrangements from artist Smooth McGroove. He’s covered Mega Man, Super Mario, Undertale, Final Fantasy, and many more of our favorite game soundtracks. Last year a group of ten music artists collaborated to create a remix album of some of Smooth’s game arrangements, titled Smooth McGrove Remixed. Yes, it’s game arrangements of game arrangements. Cue the Inception music!
While all of the tracks on this album are worth a listen, I’ll be highlighting the track that put the collection on my radar in the first place. This particular remix comes from Ben Briggs who adapted Smooth McGroove’s cover of the “Super Mario Bros. 2 Overworld Theme.”
While this is a remix by Ben Briggs, McGroove’s vocal performances remain the focal point for a majority of the track. The source tune itself was already upbeat and energetic, but the combination of McGroove’s interpretation and the chiptune sounds and drum beats from Briggs brings up that energy even more. There are some other fun sonic touches like the use of the New Super Mario Bros. vocal pads and Mario voice clips that add to the charm as well.
Ben Briggs brings in some melodic musings of his own to the remix, including references to other Mario games like Paper Mario and the original Super Mario Brothers. As the track progresses the synth instruments start to take over more of the remix, with some instances of the original vocals dropping out completely. It’s a fun mashup of styles and this remix along with the others on the Smooth McGroove Remixed album are worth checking out if you haven’t already.
You can check out the full Smooth McGroove Remixed album on the GameChops page and you can of course find Smooth McGroove’s own acappella arrangements on his YouTube channel and on Loudr. Additionally, you can find more remixes from Ben Briggs on his Bandcamp page.
One of my favorite game soundtracks from the Super Nintendo era is Super Metroid. While it may not have the catchy melodies of some of its peers of that day, it builds a great atmosphere for the game that’s hard to forget. For this week’s Arrangement of the Week, I found a rock cover of Super Metroid’s music that strays far from the tone of the original material.
“Dancing in the Jungle” is a rock interpretation of the “Brinstar Plant Overgrowth” track by artist Cyril the Wolf, aka Connor Pelkey. I think you’ll find he’s done something quite interesting with the Super Metroid material.
While creating a rock version of this particular track is nothing new, the lighter tone for this arrangement is something that caught me by surprise. Cyril the Wolf has created a 70s style rock cover of the music, which results in a much brighter and upbeat version of the music. Usually cover artists create something that matches the dark atmosphere of the game, but this arrangement takes the road less travelled and it stands out as a result.
The piece has an almost disco genre feel, with it’s steady drum beats and lively bass line. I particularly like the inclusion of the organ throughout the track. There’s enough variation in the guitar parts as well to keep the listener’s interest and the the arrangement is just the right length to be enjoyable without overstaying its welcome. It’s another excellent cover of one of my favorite game soundtracks.
Have any favorite Super Metroid covers, remixes, or arrangements? Feel free to share them with us in the comment section. You can check out “Dancing in the Jungle” at OC ReMix.
Many of the acoustic arrangements that get coverage on Arrangement of the Week fall into the classical/orchestral genre of music. However, I do come across acoustic jazz covers that, while not as common, bring a welcome breath of fresh air to the usual collection of acoustic game music arrangements out there.
For this week, we have another piece from artist Nostalvania titled “Seven Pipes to Heaven,” a reference to a Miles Davis jazz standard “Seven Steps to Heaven.” The track is a jazz trio arrangement of two pieces, “Birabuto Kingdom” and “Muda Kingdom,” from Super Mario Land by composer Hirokazu Tanaka.
Nostalvania’s arrangement starts and ends with material from the game’s first level Birabuto Kingdom, while keeping the Muda Kingdom material in the middle. Despite altering the meter to 7/8, the melodic material is still quite recognizable. Improvisation sections also act as transitions between the two themes, providing some original material along with the Super Mario Land tunes. The Muda Kingdom music was actually a little harder for me to spot initially because it blends so well with the original improv material.
I like how the arrangement manages to capture the spirit of earlier Miles Davis jazz ensembles, even if the ensemble instruments are different. The material from Super Mario Land fits the genre well and the memorable melodies shine through as a result. The meter change is also a nice touch, creating an uplifting but slightly off-kilter sway to the music. Overall, it’s another wonderful jazz adaptation by Nostalvania of some great game music.
Have any favorite jazz covers of video game tunes. Let us know in the comments. You can check out Nostalvania’s “Seven Pipes to Heaven” on OC ReMix.
One of my favorite things about searching for remixes and arrangements for videogame music, is that it often leads me to discover music from games that I’ve never even heard of. Today’s Arrangement of the Week selection led me to one such discovery.
The “Desert Castle Theme” is a piece from the Nintendo 64 game Chameleon Twist. The game is a 3D platformer that stars a blue chameleon, named Davy, who traverses the game’s difficult levels by using his incredibly long tongue. Despite owning an N64 back in the 90’s, I don’t recall ever seeing or playing this game. So it was a cool surprise to find a track from the game being covered by metal remix artist ToxicxEternity.
As with many of the other metal remixers on YouTube, ToxicxEternity performs the various parts of his creation on camera, with gameplay footage displayed behind him. Like the original piece, the arrangement opens with a few chord riffs before launching into the melodic material. The melody itself transfers quite well to the electric guitar and doesn’t receive a whole ton of embellishment, which I actually like in this instance. There are a few dramatic flourishes added during repeats of the melody, but each iteration sticks fairly close to the original “Desert Castle Theme” track.
Most of the build up and improvisation comes during the last section of the piece. Around the 2’03” mark ToxicxEternity turns his focus on the opening chord progression, with some rapid arpeggios building on top of the accompaniment guitar riffs. A few synth instruments come in as well around 2’55” before the arrangement starts to wind down. All in all, it’s a simple and well polished metal arrangement that highlights the music of a lesser known game soundtrack.
Have you discovered any cool game soundtracks through metal remixes, arrangements, or covers? Let us know in the comments below. You can check out more of ToxicxEternity’s metal videogame covers on his YouTube channel and you can support more of his work on Patreon and Twitch.
Fall seems like it will be a good season for huge remix album releases. Tomorrow marks when you can expect the release of Final Fantasy IX: Worlds Apart arrangement album by Overclocked Remix. The 4-disk album will feature a whopping 58 tracks arranged from a large cast of artists new and old and directed by Cain “Fishy” McCormack. The album will span the entire soundtrack of Final Fantasy 9, originally composed by Nobuo Uematsu.
“There are so many variations that we actually had to limit the number of versions of similar themes. Twice in interviews, Mr. Uematsu has said that the Final Fantasy IX soundtrack is his favorite of the series, and you can definitely tell he got carried away given the depth on display. Even if you don’t agree that it’s his best, I definitely think it’s the most cohesive effort in the series.” – Cain McCormack
This marks the fifth full Final Fantasy arrangement album released under the game music arrangement community Overclocked Remix‘s label. Like the past mega-albums released, Worlds Apart will be released digitally for free. Go to the website for Final Fantasy IX: Worlds Apart tomorrow for more details about the release, and let us know what you think.
Back at E3 in June Konami rolled out a new trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain featuring one of my favorite New Order songs, “Elegia”. The dark and brooding instrumental 80’s synth/rock track is like nothing else I’ve heard from the group and it fits the themes of Metal Gear Solid V perfectly. I suppose you could also read way into the Konami news and find some irony that the last trailer directed by Hideo Kojima is set to a song that is literally titled ‘elegy’.
Now imagine for a minute that Big Boss were to find a Game Boy in his latest adventure and, in true Metal Gear fashion, it contained an eerily prescient 8-bit stealth action game. Then surely the music in that game would be none other than this chiptune version of “Elegia” from Taylor and Sinner Fox Studios. It’s every bit as haunting as New Order’s original with minimal instrumentation, a nice crackly low end and an indeterminate array of chiptune sounds. No, this literally wouldn’t be coming out of a Game Boy or any other console I could identify.
The track isn’t a final version either and comes from the mini-album “Quantum”, a collection of “scraps” from Taylor’s unfinished project. You can grab “New Order – Elegia(Koneko’s Chip. Ver)” along with the title track “Quantum” for as little as you want (including free) over on Bandcamp. With The Phantom Pain so close I couldn’t help but share this track and imagine how it might fit into the crazy meta-meta-verse of Metal Gear Solid.
Occasionally I find myself searching bandcamp for keywords of things I like and stumble onto something great. Video Game Explosion is a recently released compilation by Square Punch (Lukas Daum). The album is available on Bandcamp right now for “name your price” and features five solid tracks remixing music from Castlevania, Lufia 2, Mega Man 2, Mega Man X and Mega Man X2.
Not only is the music great, but the cover art created for the album by Mike Lyon aka xHOJUx whose additional art you can check out on deviantart.com
I found the album because I was was searching for the keyword “SeaQuest”. I was big fan of the SeaQuest DSV/2032 television series. Square Punch created an awesome chip tune version of the SeaQuest 2032 theme song originally composed by Russ Landau, the game never existed but this will do just fine.
Square Punch has also released some great electronic albums also available on bandcamp for “name your price”. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Gather ‘round, video game music nerds—I’m not going to let you sleep on what I’m calling right now as my favorite video game score of the year: the Owlboy OST.
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