Thursday, December 29, 2011

That's All

OLRmageddon LV ushered in the winter season using a “snow and ice” theme. Entrants had the option of remixing games that featured a snow or ice level theme. For bonus points, one could also include a live recorded element. One entrant took his clarinet and turned a Mario Kart: Super Circuit tune into a mildly discordant romp that fades out in the midst of woodwind screeches. In “Clowns” a Sonic 3D Blast track is reconstituted into a mostly unrecognizable form with the subliminal message “I will win this contest”.

Jildon channeled his inner Beatdrop for his take on Ice Cap Zone that pounds the dancefloor for three minutes. A Mega Max X track was strummed along with vocals in something resembling a rhythm under the name “My Heart Is an Icy Land”. Donkey Kong Country 3 underwent a surf rock transformation under the well thought out title “Skidda’s Skid Marks”. Perhaps a more direct title came out of a remix of Donkey Kong Country 2 called “Winter’s Cold”, delivering the message with over-compressed electro.

JHCompo on Tuesday similarly brought the participants into the realm of the cold, offering “Warmth” as a theme to remedy the situation. SonicThHedgog apparently decided to upload a song by “Jefferson ft Aires” instead of creating an entry, giving a “marry christmas” with autotuned rap. Maraki made an unusual heart[h] pun for his ambient take on the theme incorporating glass bells and sax. “For Warmth” MandraSigma performed his standup routine gaining enthusiasm from a canned crowd. Duosis cut up a sample and worked in into a funk beat with alternating hi-hat patterns in “I’m Ever Cold”. liquid wind also brought in bells for his tale of prehistoric men huddled around a fire. 

nikola cranked up his Game Boy for an 8-bit cover of Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold” to warm the listening party. Shadix initiated a “Fire Dance” declaring that he needed more timber as burning crackles permeated his entry. swordofdestiny returned to JHCompo with a quick, fanciful dance track that he described as “stupidly happy house”. jophish attenuated his warm synths for his composition full of “Color” and bloops. Kay Faraday took his piano and oboe and riffed out a brief entry to make his “Return to the World in My Dreams”. Rounding out the entries with a late upload was housethegrate, who served out mellow funk rock to heat up the night.

Thursday’s OHC seemingly had no theme as the round began, although this was remedied in a few minutes as "The Big Finale" was set in place. My introduction included a clip of the singer Annette Hanshaw saying "That's all," a signature ending of her recordings. CJthemusicdude's entry consisted of rhythmic chords that lead to two uncredited music segments. MandraSigma declared that "Gobbler's gettin' terminated..." as he makes the hunt for wild turkey. nikola majestically made his exit among brass and orchestral percussion fitting for "An Outroduction". 

JackShine submitted his first OHC track in under the space of fifteen seconds of vocal utterings. elsalluz returned to compo with perhaps his most ornate composition yet, displaying his tribal "Coconuts" with pride. Forty-Two showed off his chilled pop music containing a central synth arp and peripheral harmonies. DDRKirby(ISQ) harkened back the round's "Theme is TBD" roots by traveling to a place "No one knows!" other than a familiar chippy off-road. While also serving as backup organizer for OHC, Fusion2004 composed a vibraphone tune that opens up to an orchestra and a fair amount of blips.  

BrownPony carried the bleeping over to his own track and verified its functionality with a "Hello world!" Foozogz promptly made the dance floor collapse with a final boss encounter with no regard for mastering. sci apparently had the theme of JHCompo in mind when he decided to start a campfire, and wrote his ambient piece accordingly. Zovi on the other hand disregarded any adherence to theme, and simply made a beat he could jam to. munchi put up a practice run he made prior to the round, while Duosis wrapped things up by slicing a horn-filled riff as the "End Credits" rolled.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Everyone Knows It's Windy

People’s Remixing Competition 208 marked the eighth anniversary of PRC, and with it a free round. Participants were free to arrange any video game tune not covered on OverClocked ReMix, with particular emphasis on the Warlords III source material that had been neglected in PRC207. sggod89 chose to remix Killer Instinct in a heavier guitar-laden style complete with his gritty vocals. chroxic took a Kirby 64 tune and gave it the dancefloor treatment, titling his work “Kirby Benassi” due to its bass sound. marcusg’s “Kirby Save Hut” slid around for a session of slick electro before he left for vacation.  

Binweasel combined Codename: Iceman with Phoenix Wright and Battlefield 1942 for an audacious mashup transposing the all the material to the same key. DjMokram was the only one to tackle Warlords III, and he did so by working it into a more cinematic, percussive piece incorporating a variety of styles. Finally evktalo elected to remix Death Track by replacing the jazzy noir vibe with electronic bass and Rhodes piano. 

JHCompo on Tuesday dealt with affection in all its forms, with a theme “About Love”. After my opening narration, nikola professed his love for 8-bit video game music and LSDJ. Under the clever alias "fibre", fivre sneaked in a bit of punk rock from the Kids film soundtrack. Duosis chopped up an orchestra-hit and layered in acid bass along with some funk drum loops to express hate. coda walked in an e-piano wonderland with warm synths evoking the love of nostalgia. Andy Kelley opted to go for seriousness with moody electro with a chintzy sliding lead. housethegrate returned to celebrate the holiday season using piano octave riffs, arps and a bevy of guitars. 

Kay Faraday activated his “Kawaii Love Robot 3000” for an efficient, bouncy series of sensations. Maraki plugged in for an ambient session of strumming and plucking in the desolate sound field. SonicThHedgog rode off on a yellow creature that was confirmed to not be equine, but nevertheless speedy. MandraSigma built levels of keyboard riff, and then settled on a hip hop beat with an unexpected verse of rapping. At the end of the listening party, Evil Shrubbery wubbed briefly with some sporadic drums and an untz outro.

Thursday’s OHC featured "Howling Wind", which I replicated with the sounds of my mouth. After my uncanny sound effect, DDRKirby(ISQ) detailed the harrowing experience of the "Cave Wind" by way of compressed drums and lo-bit riffs. nikola perhaps picked up on the 8-bit and submitted some chip music of his own, at a speedy pace. Draconiator returned for compo with thudding trance, wondering if some cobwebs had accumulated in his absence. dusthillguy needed to download more RAM, but nevertheless uploaded a brief entry in his unique style with samples of my voice. Scootabag provided somber acoustic guitaring to signal the onset of "Sunset Winds".

Obtuse crashed onto the scene with a wall of white noise and made use of Famitracker for the night. Flik came out of OHC retirement clutching his sitar, ethnic percussion and itchy throat. Bartekko altered a cliche to create his song title, and brought in oon-tiss to compensate. Shadix sequenced a piano composition for "Wind Town" and provided an adequate explanation for why starla was away for the round. LyokoFreaks worked his guitar along several chords before a searing lead comes in over a bed of hiss. MandraSigma offered a spastic tune incorporating pitch vocal sounds rising from the "Ashes in the Wind".

Forty-Two's choir pads bring to mind rubbed wine glasses as the harmonies elevate through time. DDRKirbyISQ uploaded the second of his two entries for the round, a field recording that falls away in favor of delay-piano, incisive synth patterns, and pounding beats. sci's piece is covered in a glaze of compression and breakbeat, topped with hints of singing. Acuity served up a dissonant beginning filled with wind chimes, and then switches to a vgm selection of instruments propelled by thick drums. munchi wrapped things up with by wandering drunkenly through a bunch of glitches, perhaps hitting the eggnog too early.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Me Is

The Fake Infomercial Challenge by virt prompted participants to sell a product by way of music and a message. bjkmenu asked his audience if they had tried “Jacobsen Pork Rinds” to which they replied with a resounding “no”. coda promoted his foley-recording business with a dense portfolio of sound effects at a million-dollar value. Flik gave a convincing narration to his ad for the PubeDragon personal hair groomer, bookended by a soap opera. Inspired Chaos kept it short and simple by asking “are you tired of doin’ stuff?” and providing a concise answer. mad pitched a “super hyper” microphone of some sort, detailing the technical specifications and running out of material toward the end.
nobody must have tried “Abberall” before selling it, seemingly bouncing off the walls as he described the product. Prince of Darkness warned not to shake a baby, and instead urged customers to buy the Baby Shaker 9000. surasshu started by asking a common questions about toast, complete with a sad trombone cue. virt himself entered with an infomercial about Sticky Icky, a substance that may or may not be illegal to possess and sell. Finally xaimus served as a spokesperson for Nut Rivers International, saying “I don’t know about you, but…” and suddenly realizing that he actually doesn’t know about you.

For JHCompo on Tuesday I selected a “Fruit Paradise” theme that resulted in varied interpretations. Suggestions of how to tackle it included "a field of oranges", "a field of habaneroes" and "a bunch of gay dudes". Following my introductory narration, coda’s “doggleberries” laid down fat electro with tinges of a bygone chip age. Scootabag wondered whether his paradise was real or a mirage, using a Rhodes-centric backing for support. Evil Shrubbery stumbled upon the fruit of the gods as well as plucked acoustic bass with a series of drum fills. 

The temptation rose for Duosis incorporating chopped orchestral samples, set in bed of flanging and breaks. housethegrate evoked memories of Super Mario Sunshine, particularly in the use of bongos that sound like fruit being dropped into a basket. mu chose to “swim” in a sea of bright synthesizers elevated by piano and guitar chords. SonicThHedgog loaded up Fruit Farm Zone, Act 1 propelled by brassy riffs and a fair amount of distorted guitar. At the end of the listening party, ProjektZero made his return to JHCompo with an improvised love song containing plenty of groove.
Thursday’s OHC had a minor typo in “The Distance” theme description: “theme is” was typed as “the me is” which caused me to stumble on mic when reading it. Arcana is bound to get sued by George Lucas for tinkering with his intellectual property, although Lucas has done a lot of that on his own. CJthemusicdude opted to cover one of DDRKirby's past entries, taking the arps on a similar compelling journey. LuketheXjesse took his guitar and his laptop on "The Long Road Ahead" laden with metal. General Mumble sifted through ambience for much of his tune, and then met up with a funky beat. sci dusted off an old record and put it through the sampler-o-matic for a dance session. Forty-Two had his microphone just close enough to the "End of the Tunnel" to capture his mellow composition filled with piano and woodwinds.

Scootabag showed his way around a repeating chord progression topped with extensive keyboard soloing. Jakesnke17 traveled to "Trazodonia" for a field recording of local sounds, then took a moment to write some trip-hop over it. DDRKirby(ISQ) dripped into a soundscape broken up by staccato chiptunage. Shadix traversed a landscape of layered chordal instruments and effective dissonance, but decided against walking into Mordor. munchi dedicated most of the allotted time chatting with his brother; the piece manages to resemble a song despite all the things that could have gone wrong. Finally MandraSigma slid his un-tiss track in, but nevertheless missed the planet speeding away from him.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Compo Harder

Wily Castle Remix Gauntlet’s fifth round resulted in twelve entries containing a variety of styles. The theme chosen was of Wily Tower 2 from Mega Man 8. A small debate also brewed over Ben Brigg's team being designated as "The Mega Ballers" instead "The Hard Men". DarkSword, in typical fashion, corrected the name and obfuscated further conflict. The Soundevotion Competition also reached the end of round 62 after suffering a delay due to bugs. Despite the glitch issues, eleven tracks were uploaded before the deadline.

JHCompo on Tuesday had a humble turnout based on its “Shark Waters” theme. coda made the unusual move of not referencing a dog in his track title, opting for a fanciful tune reflecting his “shark friend”. Torzelan pulled out his e-rock riffs as became one with nature for “Dancing with Fishes X”. Newcomer rkmusic suffered a crash or two, but came through with a sweeping cinematic piece. SonicThHedgog beamed with pride at the fact that he “I escapez shark in liek few level WOO!” using layered guitars, topped with some strings and switching to a slower electro beat. Finally MandraSigma picked up coda’s slack by naming his entry “dogfish” and submitting mellow funk.

Thursday’s OHC raised the question "Of What Remains" 10,000 years into the future. Following my vocal introduction, MandraSigma offered an answer in the form of "industrial old growth" replacing the Earth's vegetation with endless fields of un-tiss. Scootabag wondered who really won after the dust settled, starting off with reflective strings before venturing in to wub-wub bass. LuketheXjesse made a rare OHC appearance and put up metallic riffs whilst wondering how the compo regulars got so good since the last time he entered. CJthemusicdude played around with automation and a hammering beat, ending with fading delay. Fusion2004 established his chord progression early on with searing lead, and then settled into pads and soloing for the duration.  

Bren warned of the hodgepodgery of his composition, but pulled through with his distinctive collection of synthesizers. Acuity shook the dancefloor for an esoteric look at the distant future, pausing momentarily for a piano and organ session. sci unearthed "the last surviving compo entry" awash in white noise and cracking, but addible enough to discern tickled ivories and a repeating word. Forty-Two was concerned about the issue of being "On Your Own" by way of plinking keys and sustained chords. General Mumble insisted that the year 12,011 will consist of a four-letter word being pitch-shifted to resemble the Windmill Hut theme from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  

Arcana's track brought to mind SimCity during the listening party, as well as traces of Ice Cap Zone topped with untz. DDRKirby(ISQ) discussed the remaining robots look over the settlement of dust, and sent along heavily affected lo-fi dance music. replacer collaborated with stablefree for a jovial session of electronic, shrugging of the quick piece with a "Whatever". Hapi-San imagined the BBC News Theme in the far-off future surrounded by lush nature sounds and trance. munchi's echoing bursts of synth are guided along with piano arpeggios and a spaced out snare. Finally Duosis altered a cha-cha clip for a minimal headbobbing tune with choir and acid bass. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Beginning

Wily Castle Remix Gauntlet reached the end of its fourth round this past Saturday with 12 entries. The Wily Theme selected, Mr. X Fortress came from Mega Man 6. Among other interesting developments, the round brought about a rare vocal appearance from Rexy, who did her best growl for her and Brandon’s metal take on the material. OLRmageddon LIV featured a sports theme for contestants to tackle: remixers could choose any sports game to remix, excluding fighters and driving games. Perhaps not surprisingly, considering the limited choices, zero entries were submitted. 

JHCompo on Tuesday had “The Grind” as its theme prompting participants to either get down to business, or be lazy. The SolidComposer founder superjoe submitted a quick musical piece with his usual pop-punk chord progression, this time set to a swung percussion. Newcomer LyokoFreaks melded distant lo-fi percussion with flute before laying down rock drums and guitar chords. Obtuse created a session of 8-bit, explaining that “This is how it feels when I check my email when i get in during the morning.” SonicThHedgog attempted to troll the listening party by starting quietly and bursting to maximum volume, not realizing that the waveform of the track was visible to all. Finally MandraSigma uploaded a chill electronic composition with a bit of record scratching, admitting that he was “Hardly Working”.

Thursday’s OHC made the unusual choice of a musical-specific theme: "Compose a song for an early 90s 2D platform game." On that note I appended my vocal narration with an 8-bit rendition of an old composition of mine, "The Beginning". On the flip side, dusthillguy avoided chips by submiting guitar strums under the title "sadsong". frkygp brought things back to form with a conceptual piece that goes from a happy-go-lucky vibe to a menacing bass line. CJthemusicdude entered a 16-bit cavernous zone that holds some mysticism, if not plagiarism. Doctor Arcana fired up synth brass and an assortment of elements for "Space Jump 16", raising the question of where the previous 15 installments went.

Forty-Two made a rough estimate of the length of his "2-minute-ish loop" entry, a driving electro tune laced with piano. sci took his chiptune leanings to epic heights as appropriate for being inside "the biggest space castle of the fleet." jarski had perhaps the most distinctive song description of the night for his dancefloor shaking chip music, consisting of a series of emotions. munchi's biggest selling point for his game was the "SUPER-" prefix, suggesting his product is merely a repackaged cash-in. MandraSigma sent along a chill composition defying the "Shred the Beast" title: maybe this was the edgy Americanized title of the game. 

Hapi-San succeeded in beating all the levels and reveled in his victory by using major-key arpeggios. Destroid dived into a sea of ambiance as well as a plot twist in the narrative description. ancara22 rushed in with bit of banjo enveloped in strings and broad piano chords. At the end of the listening party, the setting of DDRKirby(ISQ)'s headbobbing entry is vague enough to be placed anywhere between 2090 to 2099, explaining the various sounds that no early 1990s console could possibly produce.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Trains and Traditions

Wily Castle Remix Gauntlet entered its third round, prompting the teams to designate their remixer. The source tune chosen was Wily Stage theme from Mega Man 5, prompting each team to incorporate its Robot Master's theme for submissions. In total the round brought about ten entries. People’s Remixing Competition 207 on the other hand suffered an absence of entries; contributing factors may have been the lack of a MIDI transcription to work with, or unfamiliarity with the Warlords III: Darklords Rising source material. 

JHCompo on Tuesday had a theme inspired by an offhand comment in IRC: “Train Ride”. b-type almost literally took a page from The Little Engine That Could and sent along an chip-hop beat missing effects “because **** the police”. coda travelled on his “steamdogger” using an energetic mixture of shaker, piano chord jabs and arpeggio. Alestance applied a more conventional locomotive sound including a filtered train whistle. Obtuse chose a different angle for his take on the source, and from the very first chord establishes an “Alien Train”.
mu’s short-but-effective track rides a drum loop with a variety of riffs within the minute-long running time. irrelevnt took out his guitar and put together a piece that could probably fit well in a spaghetti western. MandraSigma made a bouncy electronic track that sounds like it was extracted from a video game, presumably one about locomotives. beek initially ran into trouble signing in, but laid down the funk with Ableton Live once everything was settled. 

Thursday’s OHC featured a "strange foreign tradition" theme, reflecting the U.S. Thanksgiving that fell on that day. The compo organizer starla was away for the holiday, and thus deadline extensions could not be issued. My entry had a bit of family participation due to relatives visiting; a turkey gobble appears courtesy of my brother's mobile app. DDRKirby(ISQ) composed a piece called "Reminiscence" (not to be confused with Ramaniscence) that explores nostalgia by way of 8-bit ambiance that leads to dancefloor action. td244 traversed with caution offering moody orchestral that builds to a crashing chord.

Forty-Two dedicated his stirring piano-and-pads entry to "a person very special to me", but neglected to mention who this referred to. OHC first-timer LyokoFreaks found himself asking a bunch of questions regarding premise of his own industrial track. MandraSigma created a chill, quirky tune and prepared to make the "Clock Tower Base Jump" as mandated by tradition. Finally the doctor Arcana journeyed along the violin-filled "Highway of Heroes" passing by many signs stating "vi-IV-I-V".

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Between the Eyes

Kwakfest on Saturday started a compo weekend and marked its triumphant return after a year-long hiatus. A whopping 23 entries that night resulted from its loose theme related to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Saturday also happened to be the second round for the Wily Castle Remix Gauntlet, in which DarkeSword selected Wily Stage 1 from Mega Man 2 for team members to tackle. Punchfest 16 occurred on Sunday, thus continuing the weekend festivities. The theme for the round was “Vertical Shooters”, opening up a slew of video game music for participants to remix. For a bonus, entrants could also elect to do it vertically, with SnappleMan adding “I don't care, find a way.”

For JHCompo on Tuesday I selected a theme inspired by the NYPD’s recent actions on Occupy Wall Street protesters: “The Raid”. The ambiguity in the phrasing meant the entries largely leaned toward military movements. Alestance rolled the timpani and fired brass as he pondered over a day he will never forget. irrelevnt posted army chatter that is ominously cut off in mid-sentence. liquidwind’s track is washed over with flying jets, an explosion and a percussion session. LoneStar made her second JHCompo appearance, offering live electronic work self-described as “Omigosh Too Long (It Really Is Mix)”. coda again referenced canies when he deployed the “D.O.G.Z. Squadron” with a composition that recalls the days of the Sega Genesis. zebra’s ambient glissandos established the mood before settling in a lo-fi beat. Finally Torzelan preceded his frantic metal with a voice clip and proceeds despite a momentary bit of silence.

Thursday’s OHC featured "The Stranger" as its theme, thereby giving me the opportunity to read aloud some Billy Joel lyrics. Fusion2004's description almost looked like a transcript of a film trailer voiceover, which suited his string-heavy music with bits of electro. Forty-Two found himself in a "Kingdom of Ice" framed by Rhodes, bells, and pizzicatos. HarryNilsson'sGhost's conceptual piece starts off with a raw synth tone tamed by pervasive drum machines. The good doctor Arcana experienced sensations that could be diagnosed as dubstep-like, but with a dollop of bloops. swordofdestiny began with a quick stereo pan to clear the air, then offered a cautionary tale by way of brass intertwined with e-lines.  

Hapi-San swung "Along in the Rain" by putting his double bass and organ next to a spacey lead and heavy sounds of a storm.  Flexstyle perhaps worked on music in isolation for too long, as he proclaimed "I Just Want a Friend" and put out a mellow dance tune. Billy Joel was kind enough to join the round and retroactively created the song "The Stranger" to meet the compo theme. munchi stumbled into OHC through "The Fog" and found his way along by following the harp arpeggio, piano and head-bobbing drums. sci continued his megasong for the month and threw in all manner of elements, including chip melodies and a warped vocal clip. 

DDRKirby(ISQ) fired up a "Grooveshark" funk beat embellished with violins and and e-piano breakdown. frkygp was no stranger to audio panning, and worked out some electronic music despite apparently having Ableton crashes. CJthemusicdude's entry brings to mind the Dragnet theme and Tums ads, all while being cautious of the stranger. As the listening party winded down, Zovi presented a 5-minute excursion into aural madness narrated by muttering voice. Acuity finished things off with a more straightforward synths to make the body, and rests on a bed of delayed piano.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Volcanoes Make Better Lovers

People’s Remixing Competition 206 had a set of confusions, but persevered with a single entry. Due to an oversight, the Xenogears source selected for remixing had already been covered on OverClocked ReMix, and therefore ineligible for the round. Incidentally the error was pointed out by Rexy, who previously had been the organizer of PRC. After the track was pulled, a different Xenogears composition was put in its place. In addition, Daylight Savings Time affected the deadline in certain parts of the world. The sole participant AlexSmith took the orchestral source material and paired it down to delay-piano wrapped in a sparse beat that lends itself to a chill sound.

JHCompo on Tuesday saw the return of F4T4L in the chat and several regulars as participants. That night’s theme was “Mountain Peak”, which may or may not have been done in a previous week. The pads in Amphibious’s track bring to mind distant Mellotron flutes, while the piano arps and hi-frequency synth easily convey the chill of a summit. irrelevnt nailed the theme using a different tack: by muttering various mountain-related things whilst guitaring. Jakesnke17 served up his tribal drums with a bevy of strings as he traversed his way “To the Top”. StatusD once again created an expansive medley of dance rhythms, this time using usual meter and totaling over 7 minutes. Finally coda put up a bright electronic tune after a last-minute name change; he noted that “hill of cu sith” was perhaps worse than his original song title.

Thursday’s OHC featured a particularly verbose description for its “Speedy” theme, which allowed me to record a soliloquy ending with a CSI Miami-style pun. Zovi expectedly sped up his tempo until his track became a wall of noise, and threw in some trash talking text for good measure. Tomapella admitted that his entry resembled his previous one, but pressed on with improved instrument sounds. dusthillguy insisted that no one steal his song despite it being based on a sample, which itself is sent into a grinder. RAMPKORV apparently referenced the chatroom discussion on female height, and again made his piano tune without being able to hear it. Serisium got some good use out of an orchestral VST, going through the selection of instruments and ending on a lone violin line.

sci's track steps on itself from the very beginning and hangs on a particular word for half its duration, then sprints at double speed to the end. DarkSim worked frantically around a percussive chord progression topped with panned wub-wubs featuring Emunator. DDRKirby(ISQ) went with speed in the drug sense, showing off his 8-bit dance music to anyone who dared look inside his trenchcoat. Suzumebachi intended to make a song about horses, but opted to hop on a chocobo instead as used a samplepack to that effect. Foozogz saw the "Speed" and decided on speedcore, thus ripping the high end of the soundscape with distorted beats. General Mumble nearly missed the start of the listening party and plopped synths that may very well have been spun at speed before a dizzy breakdown. 

Vector strummed for sixty minutes, and shaved it down to just over two; he made up for this shortness with a particularly long track title. jarski effectively portrayed the theme by making head-bobbing fast electro, gaining infinite mass as he accelerated to light-speed. Usabell wrote down his detailed explanation for his entry and used the power of electronic nostalgia to reach the finish line in under 12 parsecs. MandraSigma composed with a distinct set of sounds in his attempt to be "Faster Than Imagination". munchi served up R&B with a jazzy flavor, with the prospect of lyrics in a future version. At the end the night, Destroid looked into my medicine cabinet and had a trip with layers upon layers of layers.

*Blog post title created by Instant Title Generator.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hallowed Nights of Impact

OLRmageddon LIII brought upon Halloween festivities with a Castlevania-themed round. Participants were allowed to remix any game in the series, and for bonus points encouraged to integrate elements of Oktoberfest. Brunzolaitis wasted no time for his bonus, right away working in crowd sounds before his polka arrangement bursts in punctuated by clanks, pops and ending with a belch. OneUp similarly went right in with blasts of tuba setting the mood, joined by accordion and rocking drums establishing the 3/4 time signature and then switching to various accented forms of 4/4. dasaten seemingly neglected the oompa-oompa for his remix by beginning using harpsichord and choir; as a lingering note fades, the track turns over to distorted guitar riffing and a clip of Ozzy Osbourne. 

JHCompo on Tuesday continued the end-of-October vibe as I selected “Spooked” as the theme. irrelevnt sent up layered acoustic strumming featuring a fair amount of studio hiss; the track doubled back on itself halfway through and went in reverse. Obtuse resumed his 8-bit kick and made a go at being “SpookyInBbMinor” on a noise channel soundbed. Alestance made use of footsteps and a stock scream sound followed by a session of funky synths guided by drum loops. chunter’s near-silent entry filled the void with crickets, strings and occasional piano chords. ToN seemingly submitted “Spooky Ambience” but instead offered a collage of voices attempting to make scary noises. nysnamovois’s “Spooky Ambience Deux” seemed to make up for the previous effort, but sounds like a series of chipbent toys crossed with a test of the emergency broadcast system. 

JHCompo newcomer cryora went through a “Night of Delerium” of piano and choir topped with bells, particularly of the cow variety. MandraSigma’s record-scratching intro sets the tempo for a light dance tune seemingly clashing with theme of the night, as indicated by his sarcastic description: “ooo. Scary...” Jarski went into “the dark alley” filled with sub-bass and pervasive chiptune dub. liikwiid worked with default FL instruments due to a loss of his sample library, but nevertheless put together a chill piece surrounded by mellow soundscapes. At the end of the listening party mu sent along a quirky composition that would not be out of place in a far-off Banjo-Kazooie game, ending with a brief tongue-razz.

Thursday’s OHC featured a theme with no description, "The Impact" inspired by the compo organizer starla's recently damaged car. With that in mind, I sang an improv into Microsoft Songsmith, which automatically fashioned a backing track. RAMPKORV again worked out a song without being able to listen to it, a piano solo that lasts four minutes and ending with a pounding clang. dusthillguy went through his distinctive set of instrument samples including a guitar twang fade out. Vector's "second composition ever" recalls breakbeat, only with the melodic elements combating rather than playing off the rhythms. Suzumebachi managed a 10-second orchestral entry despite damage to his arm hindering the all-important use of a mouse. HarryNilsson'sGhost reasoned that the drums in his electro piece represent the impact, and these methodically settle the groove with a farty bass ending. Serisium's high pitched lead is supported by almost tribal sounding drum machines and some shredding.  

Obtuse's "Noise Impact" sounds like a modem starting up at first, but eventually goes into a deft dance session. SupaSpeedStrut refused to clean his dirty synths for a session of minimalism described in the listening party as "derka derk donk donk". zorg perhaps proved that "music can explain everything" by way of mellow ambiance with gritty bass lines. CJthemusicdude used bouncy, wah-affected electronics followed by a shuffled beat. Usabell knocked the party of its feet with orchestral segments despite the handicap of being one hour late to a one-hour compo. Forty-Two uploaded yet another uplifting pop tune, aptly delivering "Good News". General Mumble Frankenstein'd his entry through a mixture of methods and somehow kept everything not just coherent, but bangin'. Actual exploding clocks would have been more subtle than sci's track, which dives into frantic elements and tails off with an orchestral hit.

Arcana musically scored a hypothetical situation where the final moments could affect change. Zovi attempted to troll the listeners by composing a quiet segment that leads into ear-blasting noise. munchi brought his kid to the mic to perform an introduction, then chopped the results for some dance music. DDRKirby(ISQ) provided insight into the making of his extensive "Voyage" beginning with subdued soundcapes and finishing off on a lo-bit excursion. biggiantcircles threw his hat into the ring and made music to that effect, rising to the challenge of an adverary with a cinematic sweep. MandraSigma showed off his organ before being raided by a sound clip and a narrow drum riff. Acuity played with an unusual scale, the result being a mildly unsettling vibe. Finally natsukashi experienced "A normal day in space" which spans about a minute in Earth time.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Confused and Dazed

People Remix Competition 205 had an unusual choice of source material for participants to tackle. The game Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is perhaps better known for its psychological horror and dense storyline than for any hummable tunes. Nevertheless the sweeping source is more than fitting in context of the climactic moments of the game. Follow a deadline extension, sggod89 managed to put out an arrangement for the round; he wished to use a real bass guitar for his track, but settled on an all-synth excursion with a rockified middle section. As he was the only entrant, he obtained first place by default and was awarded with “infinity points”.

JHCompo on Tuesday featured “River Rapids” as theme, which led to a rush of entries. RAMPKORV suffered several issues due to a software upgrade, and composed a quick tune without being able to hear it. Alestance’s first JHCompo entry “rapid decline” showed a fast increase in electro stylings making use of VOPM and FL Studio's 3xOSC. coda threw a bone into the river presumably to continue his ongoing dog theme, this time to the tune of dance chords. dusthillguy submitted a brief, soft foray into nostalgic electronics with both the title and description of “snos”. mu’s piano-centric work is punctuated by bright bursts of synth and doses of rhythmic pew-pew. FLD brought along a “River canoe and a keg of beer” as well as lo-bit electro to make up for the problems he went through last week. Jarski also represented the r00t3d collective by presenting spiky untz and a fake-out ending.

Clockwerk floated through a mechanized jungle, careful to avoid the jutting rocks of distortion. Zerothemaster drowned in bass frequencies and chaos, but not before inserting a field recording of flowing water and a number of polyrhythms. mv stepped into the “Rapid Water” for a foray into trip hop centered around a eerie tone and eventually strings. braket uploaded a combination of text-to-speech and subdued drum beats with chippy blurbs. nysnamovois went for a verbose song title complimented by his narrow soundscape of effective e-harmonics. StatusD’s “River Trip” lasted nearly seven minutes and goes through several permutations before finally crashing into an expletive. SonicThHedgog tore up the listening party with electric guitar licks lasting about forty-five seconds. Finally a load of Maraki show that rivers and waterfalls are the natural extension of orchestral brass and pads. 

Thursday’s OHC was cloudy, incoherent, and obscured, and that was just the theme for the night. Zovi subsequently fell into a daze amongst the wildlife, with a kazoo in his mouth. Obtuse resumed his chiptune phase with a rush of white noise and culminating in a dance pulse. natsukashi posted a tribal piece complete with unusual harmonies and scales. Interrobang Pie initially broke his entry by using a lengthy title, but reuploaded his 8-bit prance that apparently ends with Mario going to hell. StatusD worked some magic using triplets and his Korg Electribe EMX-1, ending in a wash of delay. jarski brought in his Game Boy for more music and to observe the "colourful sky" in shades of grey. HarryNilsson'sGhost paid tribute to a breed of dog and laid down an off-kilter selection of drum patterns. Bren's signature chord progressions show even when constrained to 15 minutes, wondering whether to go with "Gloomy Haze" or hazy gloom.

sci entered a "German Dream Factory" prompted by utterances in the language via multiple repeated clips. General Mumble repeated a bad word and smash a shovel into the ears of the listening party with breakbeats and searing synth. Sadsic slid deftly into a hip hop groove making use of the stereo spectrum leading to mellower sections. ShrackAttack's life flashed before his eyes as orchestral elements set the somber moments before his passing. DDRKirby(ISQ)'s ambiance exemplifies the sensation of being disoriented with no previous recollection, though this picks with a bit of electro. munchi was slapped for having a potty mouth, and explained that he was preoccupied during the compo. SupaSpeedStrut sent a long and introspective lead couple with low end growl and reverb-drenched drums to boot. Finally, Dr. Arcana sent along a "March of the Dizzy" topped with bells and strings that danced into the night.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Saddest Key

Soundevotion Competition reached the end of round 61 on Monday and brought in six entries. The rules suggested punk rock, instrumental or industrial, but the style was open from entrants to explore. aged made a point of stating that his track was unfinished, repeatedly using the word “bad” to describe every aspect of the production; the track does however make effective use of bells, piano and mechanical rhythms topped with desolate vocal stylings. chunter wasn’t sure whether to title his entry in English or Spanish, and settled on a subtitle as he strummed along a series of delayed guitar chords with synthesized speaking. JustinCredible dropped acid bass alongside a solid snare, disported lead and floating synth lines propelled by a sampled speech. Knetter brought out the titular “Musicbox” for a dance session made exclusively from the elements included in the samplepack. Church tolls sound at the start of Shadowbane’s piece, joined by gloomy pads and fitted into an industrial shell with poetic monologue. 

JHCompo on Tuesday featured “Banquet” as its theme, much to the delight of entrants who coincidentally wished to have a heartburn-themed round. The listening party had a couple of inconveniences, as the first entry by FLD was put up as a test while the second by RAMPKORV served as an exercise in unlistenablilty. Afterward the banquet started off proper: Obtuse went to the land of funk and jammed around deft bass playing. chunter created a tune based on a clavinet riff building up to an electro rhythm. nikola exclaimed “LOL not enough time” and put together electronic loops with key and chord changes.

bjkmenu won the “chicken award” once again delivering his distinctive humor and by way of pitch-affected vocals. mu appeared and submitted “you”, a mellow groove culminating in a recitation of the alphabet. irrelevnt ventured into the studio to record himself on guitar whilst emitting various bodily sounds and applying synthesizers. StatusD uploaded a multipart track spanning nearly eight minutes of colliding e-harmonies. Bringing up the rear was Evil Shrubbery who slid in a keyboard session thickening out to a wide swatch of synths totaling a little over a minute. 

Thursday’s OHC had "The Game" as its theme, opening the door to jokes about the losing thereof. Following my vocal introduction, RAMPKORV decided that the theme was something else entirely. CJthemusicdude's choir pad and militaristic percussion pervade his story of "That Ninja Game", a tale of love and glory. Hapi-San encouraged others to relax in the early stages of The Game, offering ambiance as a way of cooling down via crashing waves. Serisium made his first OHC entry, consisting of a handful of lo-bit harmonic elements ending with the crackle of a noise channel. frkygp continued the 8-bit incursion with a sparse beat grooving through a circuit. More chiptunage appeared courtesy of  Jimmy, whose entry is reminiscent of Mega Man. Obtuse in an unusual change of form created chip music of his own, which by his description is tinged with medieval and tango elements. 

sci's scenario implies that he is more adept at composing than at game design, submitting a slung synth-filled beat. mv went off the beaten path by referencing chess, and his tune reflects this game using strings graced with dense trip-hop. Forty-Two wrote about the video game trope of "That Snow Level", melding piano and pads with headbobbing bass and chimes. Arcana's entry was uploaded by DDRKirby(ISO) as he had to leave; since the tune was created with an iPhone, it is entirely possible that Siri the digital assistant had a hand in it. jarski as part of the r00t3d collective presented an 8-bit arp that met other harmonic elements and eventually laid down the unts. Sadsic inserted quarters into the "Jungle Game" (unrelated to Jumanji) and brought upon a disjointed ascent into madness. Destroid saw fit to reestablish the theme with a game that is probably not produced by Milton Bradley.  

Hapi-San Again put up an entry, disqualifying it due to being a revised version of a a track from last week. DDRKirby(ISQ)'s track also recalls Mega Man before slamming into an extended disco-bit session. Shadix brought the house down and the lighters up by showing off a R&B song complete with vocal harmonies. Zovi went the abrasive chip route, at one point filling the soundscape with a wall of crushed noise. munchi blew on his cartridge and made his way though the levels to the eventual e-guitar solo. SupaSpeedStrut put sidechains to use, accentuating the kick drum to reach the phased-out end of "lvl 1". natsukashi stood in the "Castleyard" at the end of the listening party delivering a Baroque approach to chip, punctuated by thuds.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Within the Extreme

Mirby’s ReMixing Bout 003 managed a turnout after two rounds of inactivity. This time the compo featured Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story as its source material, and a pair or arrangements were submitted. The organizer Mirby encouraged the participation of Obtuse, who in turn coerced Mirby to create an entry herself. Obtuse’s remix starts off with piano arpeggios and strings, joined later by harpsichord, woodwinds; the “Medieval Beach Castle” vibe resumes with a more rhythmic backing as the source becomes prominent. Mirby submitted an entry that begins with a sole pad and builds with other instruments; unlike some of her previous compo material, a steady tempo is established that keeps the arrangement consistent. 

People’s Remixing Competition 204 served up two sources to remix - Call of Duty: Black Ops and Super Hang-On. Despite this, only one entrant submitted in the time allotted, thereby gaining first place by default. Xsquader admittedly put his remix together in “about a hour” giving the “Winning Run” theme from Super Hang-On a grittier, moody edge. The compo admin Bundeslang jokingly stated that Xsquader won by “infinity points” and thanked him rescuing the compo round from having zero entries. 

JHCompo on Tuesday featured “Let It Out” as its theme for the night, and I made a point of making the description ambiguous. Naturally one of the first assumptions was that it had to do with flatulence. Obtuse let out “some 80s gas” by way of vintage-sounding synthesizers and an unrelenting drum loop. bjkmenu was the first of the listening party to equate the theme to the Baha Men song, thus performing a cover version in his distinctive tongue-in-cheek style. mv went “All Out” and uploaded a lush trip-hop number with lyrics such as “Accumulating the sighs of a million wimps.” coda answered the Baha Men by stating “i let the dogs out” thereby satisfying his usual canine quota for the week and composing something that may have been inspired by a Sega soundtrack. mu provided a series chimes that served as an intermission for the evening, followed by a distant holler.

irrelevnt’s waveform image alone conveys the gradual intensity of a “barf” and was titled as such. StatusD let loose his hardware synths once again, telling the two-part story of a scientist escaping from his mind and later “doing serious ****”. At the end of the listening party, SonicThHedgog’s “YAHHH!” sets it mood with a clean, delay-affected electric guitar that erupts to a session of shreddage. Two entrant brought up the rear that night: TheoryOfN continued his collab with the mysterious entities Storm Moore, B-Ri, and Mr. Bird, and added a new member MC JC to the hip-hop troupe. Right before the curtains closed, Dj RoboRob shook SolidComposer off of its foundation by creating an extensive dance tune with perhaps the longest buildup section ever submitted to the site. 

Thursday's OHC had a shorter-than-usual theme description, prompting me to put my vocal narration through the Songify app. The two following entries were the result of time constraints: DDRKirby(ISQ) created "funktatious junk" ahead of the round not knowing whether he would be able to attend otherwise; Arcana sent along a piece made in twelve minutes due to visiting guests that he tended to that night. CJthemusicdude chose to cover an unidentified piano composition heard in a YouTube video, promising "10,000 internetz" to anyone who could identify it. Obtuse venture to the 80s again although in this instance it was "in Asia Somewhere" and thus explored exotic scales. LuketheXjesse failed to disappoint in sending along walls of metal as well as a left-turn sound clip outro. Hapi-San named his bassline-centric electro track per Luke's suggestion, submitting his first ever OHC composition. Suzumebachi's staccato bass strings form the basis of a hypothetical film score, tailing off with a 3-4-5-1-8.

General Mumble felt free to experiment due to the nature of the theme and fired off a searing arpeggios leading to breakbeat and eventually a edgy melodic buzz. sci seemed confused about the concept of his own tune, but nevertheless put up ambiance that ends with a spastic fit. Forty-Two warned that his entry may have been too soft, but it picks up steam as drums and pianos fill out the soundscape. A low groan occurs at the outset of Usabell's submission, establishing a gloom that is lifted as a dance beat propels it along. munchi played with his vibraphone accompanied by timpani and a lo-fi lead and cluster of percussion before a more convention kick drum settles in. SupaSpeedStrut's hiss and crackle pervade his "distorted stand-up bass" backed with a headbobbing beat. Finally Shadix fortold the coming of a rift in the heavens that may or may not annihilate the planet with choir, acoustic drums and jazzy bass.

At one point in the week I was witnessed a conversation regarding events that predated my presence in the arrangement community. While it felt alienating to read about a past I wasn't a part of, it made me realize that the time I've spent here has had an effect on my life, if not others. As time goes on, our present events become anecdotes to look back and reminisce upon.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

One More Thing

Doubles Dash Compo occurred at the end of September to give entrants ample time to “get back into the swing of things” as the organizer Level 99 put it. As usual in DDC, an editable EtherPad page was set up to facilitate team-ups just before the start of the round; on this particular night however the page was promptly pillaged by Monsquaz enthusiasts. In the spirit of collaboration I recorded my spoken-word intro with OCRE, who also put in a falsetto rendition of the Beyoncé song “Irreplaceable” for good measure. Level 99 teamed up with Xenon Odyssey and tagged in Cyril the Wolf for bass after his partner disappeared; the result is an anthem about returning home. Xarnax42 showed off his vocal chops joining up with MickRip, whose guitar work eventually steals the spotlight and keeps it for the remainder of the song. 

A wild OLRmageddon LII appeared, and with it a slew of entries based on the "water game" theme given. Participants could remix any game tune as long as that game had water in it, and for a bonus could include elements of jazz. Brunzolaitis served up three entries for the round: His Morrowind remix starts off with a voice clip joined by delay-affected chords, then lays down un-tiss as the dialogue increases; His take on Mother carries a thinner sound built around a disjoined beat and topped with something resembling pop vocals. OneUp quickly settled on organ for his Super Mario Bros underwater theme arrangement with a synth lead that is given some time alone before morphing into a distorted electro edge. Brunzolaitis’s third entry took on The Neverwood by first embracing the swing rhythm for the intro, then gripping onto acoustic strumming and spreading electronics over it. Rexy remixed James Pond: Underwater Agent with a mellower, hi-hat based swing by contrast; her “License to Kazoo” was in full effect, playing off the flute at the opposite end of the stereo field along with syncopated piano chords and other jazz tropes. Finally dasaten put together a quick Mega Man 9 remix consisting mostly of accordion and clashing basslines. 

JHCompo on Tuesday featured “Crime Scene” as its theme, and I recorded a “Crime Scene Intro” (CSI) accordingly. chunter submitted a subdued, Rhodes centric piece that would not be out of place in a special victims unit. coda similarly went for a softer route, riding a four-note riff along varied textures as his “crimehound” was afoot. Obtuse’s “TV crime scene” imagines an SUV driving to the scene bringing along pulsing dance rhythms. nikola was able to make a arpeggiated snippet for the compo using his friend’s DAW at a café. StatusD returned to create music that he described as “kinda weird slowpoke stuff” generated from the iPhone app Nanoloop. ShrackAttack generated a minute-long ambient excursion, the length of which was attributed to being thirty minutes late to the round.

Jarski evoked a sense of “mysterious murder” by way of an electronic growly buzz, and the sets down a head-bobbing beat. irrelevnt polished up his guitar strings and uploaded a multifaceted meld of strumming, shreddage and noodling. Detective Tuesday fittingly made his appearance to investigate and showed his laidback, funky jam as he pored over every clue. Evil Shrubbery worked out “It's Existenze!” a moody fragment of pads and effects proceeded by an orchestral hit and extensive silence. SonicThHedgog made it in at the last moments with a sparse beat with industrial and trip hop influences, and then blew out the listening party’s speakers with dubstep at the end. TheoryOfN somehow latched onto the list of entries with a rap collaboration between Storm Moore, B-Ri, and Mr. Bird. 

Thursday’s OHC was apparently home to an Occupy ThaSauce movement as Monsquaz people flooded the IRC channel #thasauce prior the compo round starting. The the theme for the night was "Meeting the Mark" and this I recorded my vocal narration to that effect. dusthillguy once again used pitched vocal samples to convey his quirky melodic structure and sped things up near the end of his entry. Zovi openly wondered where Mark went and offered oldskool gabba for the listening party. RAMPKORV submitted his piano styling as usual, this time guided by hi-hat and synthetic accompaniment. Jeffthestrider made his first compo entry and put together a searing lead backed by a steady drum machine. Sadsic decided that his "whirlwind of synths" met the mark using filtered snare and a breakdown two thirds of the way in. Destroid's track  featured either a crying animal or a small child, depending on who listened to it during the party. The good doctor Arcana practiced vision, direction, and execution to compose an efficient dance track. 

General Mumble equated the night's theme with gunfire, and did a cover of the Metallica song "Shoot Me Again" in the style of upbeat electronic. Obtuse brought out echo-affected piano for the sake of being "Legendary", propelled by a breakbeat. sci ventured to the far reaches of his unique musical style and decided "maybe you needed the other target, anyway". jarski linked a smiling dog for his entry and fell back on loop out of supposed laziness. munchi successfully made it on time and wrote an initially violin-filled, drum heavy  piece about the moment one completes a video game. Forty-Two felt relieved about completing a university assignment and composed a blissful tune to celebrate. DDRKirby(ISQ) begins with pads that open up to a constant kick and and arps, declaring a launch by way of trance. Suzumebachi graced OHC with his presence, lamenting reuploading but otherwise delivering a breezy session of rock. At the end of the listening party, Acuity went up and down broken-up chords with harp over a bed of strings, eventually putting out gritty electro to fill out the soundscape. 

I’d like to take a moment make a note about the recent passing of Steve Jobs. If it wasn’t for a fateful day when I stumbled across an Apple Store and fooled around with GarageBand, I probably wouldn’t have gone on to produce music in other DAWs. I’ve met many people in the community as a result of exploring music production and entering compos. In a way, it all leads back to him.