Do you like videogame music? Do you like... unauthorised arrangements of videogame music?
Shhh! Squares might be listening!
No squares around? Are you sure? Only hip cats?
Okay then. In this regular column, I’ll be drawing your attention to tunes and musical projects of a fan-made and videogame-related nature. I’ll generally keep things current, but just for this first column I’m going to talk about some older stuff, for the benefit of any readers who have never heard of a videogame music arrangement. Let’s get you caught up! You wacky guys!
ESSENTIAL DOWNLOADIN’ #1: XOC SMW
Jason Cox (XOC) is an energetic but easy-going virtuoso, who from time to time will take an afternoon nap in his studio and wake up to find that he’s recorded a masterpiece in his sleep, using whatever objects were within reach. One such involuntary emission from a couple of years back is XOC SMW – his cover version of every piece of music from Super Mario World.
It is sooooooo good.
XOC’s arrangements are not just totally, joyously awesome – they are also... how to put this... perfectly Mario. Forget your feeble, boring orchestral arrangements – XOC SMW is exactly what Mario music should sound like with real instruments. Why am I trying to describe this in words? Just go and download the thing – it’s twenty-one tracks of PURE SMILING.
More recently, XOC has recorded cover albums of Kirby’s Adventure and Gremlins 2, plus a bunch of equally wonderful original material. Check it the hell out of here!
ESSENTIAL DOWNLOADIN’ #2: METROID METAL
Stemage is a motherfucker with a guitar. And from that guitar, he launches the eerie, unsettling melodies of the Metroid series into space, like fire-breathing space-dragons, flying at the speed of rock! They puncture suns and pierce the barriers of the universe – and that universe is an electron in an atom in a cell in the base of your spine, and the shivers you feel are the fire-breathing space-dragons rocketing upwards into your brain stem, to feed your animal urges for violence and sex.
If you’re not interested in Metroid or metal, download Metroid Metal and you will get interested. That’s a promise, and if you make me break that promise, I will punch you.
OC REMIX ROUNDUP
OverClocked Remix is the most popular website for videogame music arrangements. In fact, with VGMix on seemingly permanent hiatus, it’s the only major site dedicated to the hobby.
Here are some very brief reviews of a selection of the latest tunes released on OC Remix.
Audix – Super Mario 64 – Devastation’s Doorway
A nicely produced, moody but upbeat piece of dance music. Not meritless but not very original either, and lacking any sort of structure or direction. Some cool moments though.
Zohar – Chrono Trigger – Wind Scene Concert Paraphrase
Almost as wanky as the title suggests, but performed more than well enough to get away with it. A gorgeous and delicate piano piece here, for those who like that sort of thing.
chthonic – Tetris – Linear Groove
Aw yeah! Fuck yeah! I can’t get enough of this. Imagine all the sprites from River City Ransom gettin’ funky to some hip-hop beats... then they go for a ride on a cloud! The cloud takes them to wondrous lands! Then they come back home and party. That’s just how they roll.
Random Hero – The Addams Family – Nightmare on Cemetary Lane
Cinematic! Pity there’s no movie to go along with it, ‘cause this music is quite boring by itself. Could stand to be a lot shorter, too – it became plodding well before the halfway mark.
Polar – The Great Giana Sisters – Giana’s Homecoming
A gentle, understated synthesizer piece. Just as it threatens to get boring, the electric guitar comes in, and carries the piece to a very successful acoustic conclusion. Quite lovely.
See you next time!