Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mi Vida Compo

June’s theme for Dwelling of Duels pitted contestants against each other by choosing sides. With “One vs. Many” participants could choose to remix a game featuring one main character, or a game with an ensemble. Pumpkin King decided to go solo with his Donkey Kong Country piano arrangement, building tension on the keys as he progressed and cooling off near the end. tibone and Paragon tackled the game ESWAT and centered a track on chugging chord progressions, sprinkled with 8-bit riffs and switching up with acoustic strumming. Brandon Strader appropriately started his Heavy Rain remix using the sound of falling water, a sample of dialogue accompanied by violin and opening up to shredding with drums. Technodrone brought along a versus of his own by arranging Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, displaying deft soloing and a mellow piano section. bjkmenu incorporated a 3DO console introduction to his take on Pebble Beach Golf Links offering his distinctive quirks to the funk rock stylings.

BlitzChris urged “Poly! Stop Dancing I’m Trying to Be Dramatic!” and submitted a somber piano rendition of Pokémon Red using varying tempos. Harjawaldar’s entry was one of the few that took the “Many” path, serving up pads and sporadic percussion before laying down various tones. Wasting no time on the introduction, Dr. Manhattan’s Sonic 3D Blast arrangement “Rusty Fingers” begins with a crash and melds the swingy nature of the source tune with rolling guitar and thick bass. Scaredsim selected a relatively new tune to cover from VVVVVV and placed prominent lead synthesizer driven by acoustic drumming. Adam the Careless Horse took things back to Zelda II providing call-and-response guitar screams that settle into harmony, and then galloping along an extensive medley with accordion. The alternates for the month were from Daragen arranging Killer Instinct in a style that recalls Linkin Park, and Dr. Manhattan again sending along a different version of his “Rusty Fingers”.

OLRmageddon returned after a month-long break, during which the organizer Xenon Odyssey tended to real-life affairs. The theme for the month was Sonic the Hedgehog: any main title or spinoff of the series was open for remixing. For bonus points participants could also include sound effects from the games into their arrangements. Brunzolaitis’s sped-up “criminal insanity zone” intermittently resembles Sonic 1 zone themes on harmonica with a fair share of humming and strumming. In “Metronomes Are Overrated” Brunzolaitis apparently thought it would be a good idea to actually plug his guitar in, and took the time to layer them together. cotti submitted the placid “Mobius Bogus Boogie” which may or may not be as danceable as the title indicates. ShinnyMetal threw in the classic “SEGA” Genesis vocal intro and other effects for his take on Chemical Plant Zone, sung with such spontaneity that the singer at one point wonders “what’d I just say?”

The Grand Robot Master Remix Battle reached the Saturday deadline for Mega Man Bracket Round 4. Like the previous rounds, it served as an example of how artists can go about the same source tunes in drastically different ways. TheGuitahHeroe’s remix of the Bubble Man and Spring Man themes slowly pushes its arpeggios out of a sea of pads before proclaiming “go” and slamming into dubstep with authority. prophetik’s “thirsty” is bright acoustic pop with guitar and piano chords supporting his saxophone, synthesizer lines and rising strings.

Lazy Sunday Compo occurred during Independence Day weekend in the United States, and brought in a handful of entrants. Due to forgetfulness and preoccupation, at least two contestants missed the deadline and were locked out for the night. In my absence, Xarnax42 saw fit to record his own voiceover introduction describing the fireworks theme “as JH Sounds”. The incremental fade in of zebra’s entry leads to panned kick drums, arps and eventually sustained chords. Jarski’s tinny drum beat carries along his “dubidub” for which he was “too lazy to continue” even for a competition that has Lazy in its name.

Peoples Remix Competition round 197 wrapped up on Monday with another trio of entries. Inrade, the winner of PRC196 selected a tune from Ninja Gaiden III for the new round. Xsquader submitted his entry early on featuring a slower tempo and electronic leanings, as well as his first attempt to work in guitar. beckett007 took a cinematic approach to his “Ninja Doomship” similar to what he did in a prior submission: the lo-bit sounds of the original are replaced by an orchestra, eastern instrumentation and live rocking. Zerothemaster rounded out the three entries with a minimalized, ambient take on the source that unfurls and intensifies over the course of the arrangement.

Tuesday’s JHCompo theme was “Nightfall”, which may or may not have been inspired by the newly-released remix album NiGHTS: Lucid Dreaming. I recorded my introduction near an open window to give it an outdoorsy feel reflecting the round’s description. dusthillguy’ssoundmusic” brought to mind the game Herzog Zwei during the listening party, creating musical tension over a four-on-the-floor beat. MandraSigma claimed he was “too white to be tight” for his rap entry containing repeated “uh”s and “yeah”s. ShinnyMetal composed his subdued electronic tune using the NanoStudio mobile app, momentarily facing issues with exporting and uploading it to the site. mv set the mood for his “Only at Night” with plucked cello and synths until the degraded drums, bowed strings and piano drop in.

Jacob continued the tickling of ivories during his “Tenuous Stroll” preceded by soft noise and later grafted onto violins, jazzy percussion and brass. irrelevnt had intended to incorporate lyrics into his track, but settled on an instrumental featuring live guitars and rocky rhythm. coda resumed his canine-themed song titles with “nanodogs”, a collection of spacey pads and high frequencies inevitably locking into trance. MisfitBYTE mixed together a series of affected guitars accompanied by the enigmatic description “Here we are again, smoke scenting your skin.” Newcomer Maraki showed off a promising display of piano, with the rationale that visiting nightclubs evokes thoughts of jazz. Detective Tuesday also arrived on the scene for the first time and submitted Rhodes-tinged electronica that uploaded just in time for the listening party.

Thursday’s OHC theme description was unexpectedly brief, so I resorted to reading it twice: once in English and again in Spanish. RAMPKORV sent along filter sweeps and rhythmic notes joining up with additional harmonic elements in under a minute. dusthillguy submitted his guitar and characteristically lopsided drumming, ending with a flurry of soloing. Tomapella's synth-laden pop song invites listeners to sing along to the happy-go-lucky lyrics. Dyne made a rare consecutive OHC appearance going for distorted chords that fall away in favor of constant bass notes, e-melody and drum fills. MandraSigma made another go at rap, this time with a stop-and-go beat, scratch effects and partial singing. bjkmenu faked out an intro followed by his more familiar electric noodling, urging others to "remember the hucklebuck". DDRKirby(ISQ)'s flattened percussion invariably widens into stomping electro, squashing down again for the breakdown and letting the pads take over.

Newcomer Zovi let his hair down for headbobbing synthfunk, murmuring the theme description as he went along. zorg also newly joined the OHC table with a dance tune postulating that "mr. greenbeam" could turn the White House into a dancehall. sci showed off a quirky collection of electronics and vocal segments galvanized into a cadence. Destroid's cheerful arpeggio brings out the notion that "Deven Gallo Wins the Lottery" growing more dense along its duration. Acuity's piano entry meets up with synthesizer, snares and builds up to a dominating kick drum. Arcana melded glockenspiel and tubular bells with dance components while admitting to being "Happy with the Girl". At the end of the party Shadix made his nod to the Progressive Era using hyperspeed piano and a tip of the top hat.

At one point during the party, someone suggested that I do a different language every week for my vocal introduction. I was amused by this particularly due to the idea of bringing people in from various cultures. Anyone can participate, and compos should be universal.

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