Castlevania Media: Overclocked Remixes
Overclocked Remixes is a website filled with fan-made arrangements from many, many video games. All of the Castlevania MP3s can be found here (descriptions originally from OCR).
Uber-talented AmIEviL writes in:
I just returned from three months backpacking in Asia. Anyways, here´s a small castlevania medley of three tunes: the first and second level divided by the boss-theme. It features real strings and guitar. I played it even though Im not very good at neither, it was the first time I played the violin :D. But it ended up okay.
I'd say this is a pretty good way to come back after a three month backpacking trip in Asia (jealous!), myself. AmIEviL, famed creator of immaculate ReMixes like his amazing Mega Man 4 and FF6 works, brings us some CastleMania. Heavy hip-hop / rock, with monster death-metal guitar chugs of death, starts things off on the right foot - love some of the drum fills and the slide and hit at 1'06" on the "chorus". The funkdown synth section at 1'50" also kicks major booty, with a harpsichord-ish, phased synth and cut-in/cut-out drums and guitar hits.
This segues into a reserved, beautiful organ and piano segment with very dynamic ride cymbals accentuating every beat. ReMix ends beginning with the section at 3'34", which abruptly moves into heavy rolling kick drums, double-time hi-hats, and cool chromatic detuned saw synths that end the piece (with a cool reverse cymbal hit at the end). Often, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and I think AmIEviL's pieces personify that saying by having dozens of memorable sections, effects, instruments, harmonies, and what have you. But it's the way he chains them together into sonic works of art that's so impressive - his previous Super Metroid ReMix also illustrated his skills for combining multiple themes into a seamless, high-quality presentation, so check it out too. Not much else to say other than it certainly comes highly recommended and is delicious dunked in milk or eaten plain :)
Memblers has his own sound, for sure, and I think it's a good one . . . he tends towards minimalist arrangement, with LESS instruments & motion than in the original piece, but that's okay by me, and works especially well with this 'Grim Reaper' theme from Castlevania. It was done in a tracker, but the acoustic guitar sample used is quite decent. This piece has its own unique feel to it, and is quite bit "spookier" IMO than the original. Give it a download and see if you agree.
Interesting - even though this is from the first Castlevania, it's actually a ReMix of the same track I covered in ma CV4 HouseParty ReMix (CV often reuses motifs or entire tracks). Pollard has a really different take on it though, a bit slower, with a hip-hoppish drum track, a badass symphonic organ at one point, and in general just a cool hybrid of hip-hop and classical. My absolute favorite spot is when the drums drop totally out at 1'32" and the piece takes on a very spacious, distant sound, with a delicate piano and double reed over bells and ambient fx - VERY cool, adds a lot to this piece. When the drums do come back in, I would have liked for them to have done something a little different I think, but the creativity overall is really impressive - a much less obvious interpretation of the original that, while not as danceable, has more variety and some truly inspired passages.
Oh yeah. Bring on the quality. Just the listen to freakin' cool way Quasikaotic plays with the wind / storm ambiance that he begins this most badass of castlevania ReMixes with - it's GRRRRRREAT as Tony the Tiger might say. There's some mighty find DSP and processing on this track in general, with EQ and filtering and distortion and everything a healthy ear needs. I really LOVE the way he keeps it interesting, compositionally and sonically, throughout the entire piece, the choir he introduces is fantastic - what can be said? This is really good one you should definitely grab. Really.
By Steve Pordon
The thing that makes this technodance Castlevania ReMix from Mr. Pordon stand out has gotta be some of the excellent drum work and syncopation, for which it is named. A very deep thud kick, VERY analogue synths (in all aspects), and some interesting key changes also make for interestin' listenin' - different from Steve's other ReMixes in style & execution but not in that regard :) WEIRD ending - didn't know if I liked it the first time but definitely did the second. Had it been any longer, I might have complained an eency bit about repetition of some of the recurring patterns, but it sits at just the right length to remain fresh even when you're not . . . ooops, thought I was in an anti-perspirant commercial for a second there ^^. Right. If ya like techno and ya like Castlevania it's a no brainer, and the modulation work on the synths should be heard regardless. Good shtuff.
"Simon Belmont's Garage"
By Rosencrantz & guildensterN
Wow - ear candy for sonic satiation doesn't begin to describe this latest mix from Rosencrantz & guildensterN, who a while back gave us a great and often-overlooked FF7 mix (check it out if you haven't!) I am very glad these guys decided to do a sophomore ReMix, as their initial submission was imaginative AND high-quality. This Castlevania mix is also worthy of those adjectives, and features some of the wildest synth gurgles, bleeps, snuffles, snarfs, and yes, farts, to grace the ears of OCR listeners yet.
Equal parts techno, industrial, metal, and just downright experimental, I can't recommend this mix enough, as I can pretty much guarantee you'll hear some textures / sounds you've probably not heard before. There's even a brief but well-placed cameo by a well-known Queen song :) Vampire Killer is the track being covered, with biting guitars, a phat electric bass that rides ahead and behind the beat in a lazy funk at points, and mucho effects. Children of the Monkey Machine covered this track, and I took a stab at essentially the same song from Castlevania 4, but this mix is just over the top and bustin' out. Also, gotta love the upwards twang ending. You can tell a lot of fun and skill went into this, which is always a good combo. Highly recommended.
By Subliminal Labs
Konami really did have some great soundtracks, with Castlevania sitting right up on top as the king of gothic organ fugue madness . . . subliminal labs has come up with this nicely arranged, techno-rock remix of tunage from the first Castlevania that is required listening for any and all fans of this badass platformer that needs a good 2D sequel!! (that's TWO-d!!) ... major props out to SL for this one ... great stuff.
I like this ReMix because it's definitely industrial-flavored, with dashes of techno. When the distortion comes in half a minute through the track, you'll see what I mean. A good example of distortion effects being used to liven up a track, if I do say so myself. Nice first-time submission from COTMM, an acronym for 'Children of the Monkey Machine'. Don't ask me, just check out their site on mp3.com.
By Scott Peebles
Mr. Peeples, what are we going to do with you . . . you're too good. You reek of high-quality beats and processing. You're consistently kick-ass. Something MUST be done, some sort of measure taken!! Ahh, but I jest. Surely though, one of the greatest things about running this site is seeing supertalented mixers like Scott encouraged and inspired by the appreciation and feedback. This excellent Castlevania ReMix of the 'Wicked Child' theme has (as usual) a kickin' beat, but is more orchestral than Scott's other mixes, and has really beautiful sounding pizzicato strings that are at once spacious and defined. Check out the original soundtrack over at MERIDIAN, too :)
By Faried V and Leon H
Man. Man, oh man. You metalheads out there are gonna LOOOOVVVVEEE this one. It's intense. Featuring Faried on Guitar and Leon on Synths, this Castlevania ReMix is indeed wicked . . . VERY wicked. So wicked, it makes that witch from Oz look like Mother Teresa. So wicked, it sours milk and kills flowers if you play it in the same room. You get the idea. This first time submission from an obviously super-skilled duo is production quality, through-and-through. I'd knock you on the head with a good fat cinder block if you even CONSIDERED not downloading this gem. It's castlevania, it's wailing metal death guitars, it's great production, it kicks ass, and if you need any more from a ReMix, then your demands are too high. LOVIN' it.
By Kaijin and Ailsean
Oh poppa, r u gonna luv this one ^^ What was already a fantastic track originally (Bloody Tears) has been taken to new heights by Kaijin AND Ailsean - each masters of the ReMix trade in their own right. This is sort of like 'Clash of the TItans' only in this case the Titans are helpin' each other make a kickass CV ReMix. This also pisses me off because I've been wanting to mix something from CV for along time myself and this ups the ante considerably, imo :)
What we got, listeners, is a jaw-dropping rock'n'roll fest, with mighty Ailsean lending some crunchy lead guitar to Kaijin's immaculate accompaniment. A perfect collaboration, as each ReMixer's strengths are optimized to the utmost to bring friggin' fantastical ear candy straight to your noggin'. This ain't your momma's Castlevania ReMix ^^ So in case you can't tell, I consider this an ABSOLUTE must-have for all listeners, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, sexual preference, or opinion of the film 'Goonies'. Magic 8 Ball says: You will download it. From the phaser on da guitar at one point to the smokin' drum track, what else can I say but: quality.
"Bloody Tears Inspired"
By Alexander Prievert
Alexander Prievert, responsible for the great Castlevania 64 ReMix recently added, also sent me this excellent 'Bloody Tears' inspired piece from Castlevania II. His style tends towards a great sonic density that makes things sound very processed and polished. He also uses a Kawai K5000S quite alot, which is cool to me because I have a K5000W myself, which I picked up on ebay a few months back. I must say, he knows how to use it a bit better than me at this point :) . . . Just listen to the insane bassline, the great guitarish sounds, the MOTION in this ReMix - it's quite amazing, and as I said, professional-sounding. Kudos to Alexander for another great one.
And what would a pre-millennial new year's eve bash be without the king of ReMixes, or at least schizophrenia, our beloved McVaffe? Nowhere, man - it'd be nowhere. Just in time for the title to make sense comes Mr.McV's Castlevania II 'CV2K' ReMix, a quality techno ReMix with all the elements we know and love. As the night progresses, I intend to become increasingly shitfaced, as I'm drinking Jack Daniels "Lynchburg Lemonade" country cocktails - quite a good little drink. So forgive me if I can't do these ReMixes verbal justice.
The source material is so GREAT on Castlevania that if a ReMixer merely doesn't screw anything up, they've got a good mix, but McVaffe goes the extra mile with some excellent synthage that includes a lead synth modeled after the original NES timbre, something I did in my own Bionic Commando ReMix and that really works here. Also, a nicely integrated loop that is augmented + manipulated enough to be interesting. Good stuff from McVaffe - if 2001 is anything like 2000, I know we'll be seeing a lot more from him, and ALL of it will be great. Kudos to this brilliant artist, who made this year that much better!
By Vic Viper
This is Tom Strickland aka Vic Viper's first submission, it's Castlevania 2, and it has upsides and downsides. I'm thinking the pros outweigh the cons, though, and overall I enjoyed the piece - it's quite funky at times, and it doesn't hurt that the source material is some of Club Kukeiha's best. Tom sticks with a fairly straightforward interpretation, though he does great things with the bassline - one of the better synth bass parts I've heard. The reverb struck me as odd; sounds almost like a gated reverb, which is rarely applied to an entire piece and usually reserved for a snare (see half the songs on Paul Simon's Graceland). Less a gated verb and probably just a plate or small room with a short tail, it creates sort of a gym hall ambience that struck me a little funny given the otherwise cool ambient storm effects in the intro.
But foregoing that aspect, let's talk about the positives. In addition to the afforementioned funky synth bass, there are some nice acoustic drums that even go hip-hop at 1'51" in a nice little change. Though a chorused piano joins in later on, most elements are straight synth, and blend together well. Synths used for moving parts / ornamentation are especially nice, and I also dug the drum solo ending - quirky, and doesn't offer closure, but it's something different and it didn't strike me as off either (song basically enters this way, after the intro, anyway). As a first mix - heck, even a second or third - this shows a lot of promise. The bassline is definitely key, and forms a foundation that all other aspects build off. Would have liked to hear some different ideas on the reverb, and perhaps some toms on the drums for breaks / fills. Misgivings aside, this still comes recommended as it's a solid take on an amazing piece of music. VV's off to a good start.
OKAY PEOPLE - this has been a long time coming!! I've received numerous emails informing me about the talent and quality of a little band called 'The Minibosses' (great name). I've known about them since their inception and original slashdot coverage, and have been a fan. And people have emailed them mentioning a little site called OverClocked ReMix and suggesting they submit for awhile too. So why has it taken this long? Logistics, communication, etc.
Let's just say the time was finally right and thus I give you The MB's fantastic Castlevania 2 medley, which cycles through most of the games' more memorable melodies and does so with grit, panache, and a whole bunch of guitars. Yes, guitars, guitars, guitars - if you like guitars, you're gonna dig this. I make that point because their style revolves not around excessive instrumentation but around kickass playing and some very well done transitions. They remain tight as they segueway through the different sections, with some awesome riffage (on the drums as well!). Note that this is not the live version but the studio track off their cd - you of course must download this and check their site out if you haven't already. And in the meantime, I'm hoping for an original OC ReMix exclusive from one of the most visible and energetic acts in the ReMix business. Very saucy.
I know what you're thinking - what's with this "one ReMix" posting thing? Where are the three or four mix-a-night posts? Well, I'm trying a new habit where, on nights where I would otherwise not post anything due to being otherwise occupied, I post at least one mix. Even if it's just one, and it's quick, it keeps things rolling and maintains a bit more consistency, so I figure it's worth trying. Tonight's piece is from the unassumingly-titled newcomer "goat", and is a heavy, guitar-centric Castlevania 2 ReMix.
For some of you, that's probably all you need to know - it's CV2, it's heavy, it's guitars, and you're sold - but for those who want a bit more description, let me proceed. If not heavy on variety (lil repetitive), goat's arrangement is heavy on just about everything else, including some rapid, mean, thick guitar work that fits the ominous-yet-badass ambience of Castlevania like a (spiked) glove. With shrieks, chugs, cries, and screams, this is some workin' stuff, and the drums follow the hits and runs like a good metal drummer would. There's some deep, evil talking at one point, though I couldn't quite make the words out. It don't matter though . . . he could be talking about his pet ferret George and it wouldn't affect the ReMix, which I think most of you will enjoy quite a bit. There's the gratuitous guitar noodling w/ key change. Just a very tight production with excellent musicianship overall. A great metal contribution from goat - recommended, and highly recommended to guitar fans.
By Richard and Lyndsay
Hard as it is to believe, this is our first Castlevania 3 ReMix, coming courtesy of newcomers Richard and Lyndsay. It's a brief but high-quality instrumental / classical take on Evergreen from CV3, with tasteful cello, violin, oboe, pizzicato strings, and a pan flute at 0'43". Though the transition to the flute is a little sketchy, overall this is a really tight, concise arrangement that does an admirable job of assigning the various tones from the original to real-world instruments. Stereo separation is good and each element is clearly defined. The usage of what sounds like an electric bass did seem kind of odd, given the symphonic nature of everything else, but it does give the piece a bit more motion (see 0'18" for the entrance). The ritardando on the ending was a good idea as well - essentially, at 1'11", this piece doesn't make any huge glaring errors and is an enjoyable classical interpretation and a great way to start.
I'd definitely like to see Richard and Lyndsay take on a more complicated piece with more elaborate orchestration, as this sample bodes well for the outcome of such a project. Good stuff.
Super Castlevania IV:
What's this? McVaffe back in action? Actually, no. Well, not yet at least, though I have his word that a triumphant return to the wild world of OC ReMix is indeed possible (hey, who cares if Jordan plays again - what I wanna know is when is McVaffe comin' back!? ^^). This ReMix is actually from the end of 2000. I kept it around after McV informed me that he'd be taking a vacation, as I wanted material to pad his absence. Just took a bit longer than I originally planned :) This is a great, later track from CV4, which had a beautiful soundtrack by the way. McV goes heavy on the resonant analog and thick kick, but tosses in some reverbed bongo lines, maintains the harpsichord, and plays with the structure quite a bit. Things actually deviate from the original, which repeats and emphasizes the Bach-ish melody far more, but McV makes it work, as always. Should tide you over till the "second coming" ^^
Okay people, lame as it is, I'm putting a huge disclaimer on this one: it was merely a test. Not only a test of my new setup at my new house, but a test of composing a song without a single sound coming from my trusty ASR-10 - everything here is Kawai K5000 or Gigastudio. It ain't great, and I'm not gonna count it as my Castlevania ReMix for the year as I wanna do something with more depth, but as a test run of my setup, and for two hours effort, I deemed it worth posting. Oh well, at least the organ's fun. Humor me and download it ^^
Weird, but cool. Fun hip-hoppy dance beat and the classic intro organ line from Castlevania IV with a nice echo on it, throw in some nifty reverse-kicks and probably the most original element, a screaming voice that is manipulated in cool ways, and you have a satisfying ReMix that you can just picture Simon Belmont shaking his groove thang to as he busts up the undead minions of the count. I know a million people have said it, but make this a million and one: this game ROCKED. Big time. So does the mix, so grab it and boogie.
"Dance Richter Dance"
By DJ 3dn3r
Alright! A great first from DJ 3dn3r, this is a techno ReMix of a track from the legendary Dracula X, originally released for the TG16 CD-ROM, or PC DUO, depending on where you live. This was a truly great game, and is still sold on ebay for mucho bucks. DJ 3dn3r's submission is Rebirth-style techno, but done VERY well, with a lot of different parts interacting with one another instead of just one modulated and filtered synth line carrying everything, which one sometimes sees. Nice beat to it, good original track to begin with, and some well-done analog-style fiddling mean good tunes 4 ya ears, so I say grab it, especially if you love castlevania. And if you don't . . . well, there might be help for you . . . somewhere :)
Symphony of the Night:
"DJ Jimmy the Leaf"
By Jim Fingal
Ohhhh . . this one be good . . . a definite Dj feel to it, with that gritty feel, really nice use of samples, some guy saying "This is a playstation black disc" and chaotic riffs meld together for some excellent ear candy, which we wholeheartedly recommend you download now and listen to under the influence of the mind-altering substance of your choice (Yes, PEZ and Nestea count in large enough quantities) ... I never knew Castlevania could sound like this ... tres phat.
"Scriabin's Long Library"
It's a shame piano-meister Michael Contraveos couldn't lend a slightly cleaner, more open recording of this lovely Castlevania: SotN solo piano arrangement - we bugged him and did get a better version than what we initially received, but given the innovation in arranging it'd still have been nice to hear more transparent audio. For the less musically-learned amongst us, the mix title refers to one Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915), a Russian composer with some very strange ideas who explored the outer boundaries of harmony, into atonality. In fact, resident know-it-all Disco "Mad Theory Skillz" Dan Cabrera notes that this particular arrangement isn't quite as dissonant as many of Scriabin's works, and likens it more to Chopin. But I digress.
Dan appreciated the complexity of the arrangement, and so might you - it does go above, beyond, and outside traditional OCR solo piano arrangements, which usually favor ornamentation and moving arpeggio patterns over deep+"daring" harmonic structural changes. Towards the end there's a cool run and some tricky bits but most of the appeal is in the chromatic and challenging aspects of what Michael's done with the composition. Not easy listening, and not an ideal recording (shoot the volume up and perhaps EQ to favor treble and you're halfway there, tho), but very interesting and original and something to appreciate both for technical compositional merit and for musical effect. Neat.
"Tower of Ambient"
By Alexander Prievert
Man, the last couple weeks have been amazing to me, as awesome ReMix after awesome ReMix keep flooding in and I can barely keep up with things! This is certainly no exception: KorgProphecy's take on this tower theme from the Castlevania64 soundtrack, which he feels is an underrated BGM, is REALLY sonically complex and dense, with many layers of sound and ambient effects, reversed samples, and faint whispery timbres really evoking the sort of atmosphere that anyone who's played Castlevania is familiar with. Great.
Circle of the Moon:
By David Rize
Rize's previous ReMix was some rockin' stuff, but being from the (relatively) obscure Legendary Wings, many might not have been familiar with the source material. I expect no such hesitancy this time as his latest is from the recent Castlevania CotM and features familiar CV tunage done guitar-style, with rolling rock drums and some mean soloing (see 2'40") and doubling and layering that provides a very meaty mix. I especially like some of the drumming here - plenty of rolls, accents, and crashes that follow the chorus in particular very closely.
You won't find any surprises - no key change, time change, or introductions of additional instrumentation or processing, so from a certain perspective this is predictable. But predictably good, which makes a big difference. Great stuff and a textbook example of Castlevania well-adapted to the rock medium. I'd still like to hear what Rize could do if he paired his obviously ample rock skills with some electro and did some genre-bending fusions, but we don't get all that many straight rock pieces either. An improvement in terms of sound quality from his previous work (nice delay at the end), this definitely comes recommended.
By Shael Riley
Very different, and good. Shael Riley gives us our first Castlevania ReMix from the Gameboy Advance platform, with a high-pitched, distinctly electronic arrangement from Circle of the Moon. Characterizing the piece is minimal DSP (most parts being without reverb, chorus, etc.) and a smorgasbord of very high, aliasing electronic timbres and Atari LYNX-style blip percussion (portions reminded me of playing Chip's Challenge - now there was a puzzle game!) - this yields a sound that is simultaneously contemporary and retro. There are effects here, including some stutter programming and filtering, that wouldn't be possible with limited, ancient hardware, but there are also some very raw, antique FMish sounds that have a garage-electronic appeal to 'em. Doesn't sound like much else I've heard recently, and doesn't sound bad (though if you're sensitive to the upper-octave pitches, be careful), which means it gets some thumbs-up in my book for trying something new in a new way. Recommended, on that basis.
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