Thursday, June 2, 2011

Under Pressure

Saturday was home to a number of competitions, some of which suffered from deadline delays or disappeared entirely. The Grand Robot Master Remix Battle at OverClocked ReMix actually raised an issue about entrants beginning work on their remixes early, but the matter was settled on the condition of assuming good faith. Out of the 16 people who signed up, 15 successfully submitted tracks for the Proto Man Bracket. DusK started his entry off with a shredded rendition of Elec Man with synth melody that segues into Wood Man on lead guitar. The honky-tonk piano intro of WillRock’sWoodChipper” leads to synthesizer arpeggios and acoustic drums. Geoffio used choir and church organ for “Sheep in Skulls Clothing”, blending Skull Man and Sheep Man and rocking the drums with harpsichord. fredrikd went to “Where Sheep Go to When They Die” breezing though Sheep Man and Skull Man with electronics and cymbal crashes.

chroxic sent along a quick “GnB” entry covering Gravity Man and Crash Man. Chernabouge’s track begins with bass playing the familiar line from Crash Man before breaking out electric guitar and then switching over to Gravity Man. Main Finger followed current trends by submitting a dubstep-tinged arrangement of the Napalm Man and Chill Man themes utilizing heavy compression. Rozovian delivered the unusual meal of “Ice Cream Nachos”, a dance tune working together Chill Man and Napalm Man. Jakesnke17’s “Switchable Fangs” brought along funkified percussion joined with strings, woodwinds and synthesizers, ending with solo piano. The defiant declaration “I am Blade Man” opens Cyril the Wolf’s track “Slice the Snake” setting the tone for e-harmonized vocals singing over thrashing drumming, followed by metal screams for Snake Man.

Xarnax42 chose to “Plug into the Order of the Groove” and served up a loosely connected set of instruments interpreting Knight Man and Plug Man in varying tempos. Neblix’s “Power Plant in the Kingdom” marries drum and bass with gasping sounds, an array of synths and acoustic plucking. pixelwave’s trip-hop entry features string sections, a pervasive bass tone and distant, reverberated twanging along with a degraded breakdown. Geeky Stoner belied his namesake by creating a sober electro remix of Flash Man, bringing in elements of Toad Man as the song progresses. At the end of the bracket, AeroZ's “Jumping Flash” uses a flatted intro as the quiet before the pulsing dance storm of Toad Man meets Flash Man.

The listening party for Dwelling of Duels took place on Sunday. It featured “Sony Month” as a theme, which coincidentally had been chosen before the PlayStation Network security debacle. Kefka’s Chrono Cross arrangement “A Tiny Dragon” settles on acoustic guitar layered with electric lead playing. Brandon Strader and Rexy teamed up to create “Hogging Molly”, a stomping take on Crash Bandicoot alternating between 2/4 and 4/4 time signatures. Greg felt there was “No Need to Hurry” with his Dark Cloud 2 remix with overlaid takes of acoustic-electric strumming. Lost in Magicant submitted a rendition of a Final Fantasy VII tune mixing together a drum loop, wind chimes, an ominous breeze and lead guitar, ending with traces of string pads. Paragon works the bass at the start of his Final Fantasy Tactics entry, and then coasts though a multitude of rhythmic patterns amidst guitar lines.

Ambient pads lie under electric chugging in jvincion’s “Wanderlust in a Burning Soul” covering Final Fantasy X. thesamareaye led a “Railway Chase” paying tribute to Mega Man X4 with keyboard synths and panned guitaring. Scaredsim’s was the first of two Okami arrangements for the round, deciding to “Follow the Wolf” using tickled ivories and lead licks playing off of each other. The second Okami rendition came from Pumpkin King with his solo piano excursion “Kaguya’s Journey”. Daniel Alm’s Resident Evil remix brings a quiet bubbling to the surface and nimbly noodles the lead with soft-styled drumming, then crashes into a louder section. A pair of Silent Hill tracks round out the Sony theme: Skummel Maske’s “Empty Promises” deftly goes through guitar arps while tibone’sOverdosis Fatalis” throws a wah pedal into the mix.

For Tuesday’s JHCompo I chose “The Heat” as the theme to reflect the concurrent humid weather I was experiencing. Following my vocal read-through of that description, MandraSigma submitted a bouncy, tinny composition including various screaming voices. OverCoat sensed the hotness with gloomy “Calor” using arpeggios and stereoized pads. mv’s dynamic electronics were put through the glitch treatment alongside steeldrum-like synths and violins as he ravaged the “Burning Landscape”. coda defied all theme expectations by making an energetic dance track about a dog volcano. Finally Dash served delay-affected arps, frenetic hi-hat patterns and fat drumming.

Trippycompo occurred on Wednesday, centered on a samplepack. The pack contains a collection of drum clips and tones, including an organ-sounding loop and electric guitar. bw’sfriendlyfatman” assumes a sparse beat until speeding up and using the organ for a breakdown. trough submitted “lalala”, a 7-second rendition of ATC’s “All Around the World”. nysnamovois’s “smack” delves into a funky rhythm before rocking out with the guitar sample. MandraSigma entered a danceyspacetavern” with 30 seconds of riffing. freedrull composed “a trippy dog” with mellowness befitting a kennel, and submitted “xaimoois” as a brief dnb alternative. passing_by put together “Blam! Analhead” and conjured the image of a ticking clock, then progressed with organ stabs and concluded with a holler.

Thursday's OHC featured "High Stress" as a theme, accompanied by a thorough description to incite creativity on the part of the entrants. My "Stress Introduction" uttered that theme with an unusually large amount of breath pauses. RAMPKORV was preoccupied and quickly recorded his keyboard playing for the compo. A wild Garian appeared with a Simpsons quote in his description and glitch-hop in the entry itself. The glitches continued in sci's "that can't be good..." containing forceful basslines. bjkmenu's singing fed through distended echo supported by drums and rhythm guitar. Flexstyle remade his song "A Sense of Urgency" for OHC, displaying dub influences and police sirens in equal measure.

Arcana expressed a "State of Readiness" with a dance beat and slightly detuned organ among other sounds. Usabell's schizophrenic entry and vocal samples brought up comparisons to RAMPKORV and dusthillguy during the listening party. ProjectSpam's mechanized track is punctuated by the repeated line "I'm so stressed right now..." and augmented by bongos. CJthemusicdude's vocoded "CADBFAF" was effectively co-written by starla, since she had suggested the chord progression for him to use. Suzumebachi managed to upload his entry despite a sluggish internet connection, serving up heavily compressed drumming and headbobbing powerchords. DDRKirby(ISQ) came up even later with a whopping 7-minute composition running though various genres and moods.

Fittingly enough, my procrastination on my recent blog post and subsequent catching up served as a stress test of sorts. I really pushed myself to write down the words you are currently reading, and I believe I have grown from the experience. Now I know that, if I really have to, I can cram my writing into an intense session and still come out of the ordeal with a grin on my face.

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