Thursday, September 8, 2011

Break It Down Again

Freshly Baked ReMixer Challenge 2011 went through a bit of turmoil due in part to confusion regarding the start of the mixing phase, delayed responses and other lapses affected by the life schedules of those involved in the compo. The challenge nevertheless managed a fair turnout of eight entries. Chernabogue was given a gentle King's Quest VII tune to arrange, and turned it on head to create moody, stomping electro. wildfire fulfilled my Blast Corps remix request with chord variations propelled by synth-beats, resting on a bed of strings. Rexy tacked Final Fantasy X using her characteristically conceptual approach, starting light and gradually gaining a heavier low end, building to a dense composite of instrumentation. Amphibious was served “The Boundless Ocean” from Final Fantasy III, which was interesting coincidence considering he had recently released his Oceans EP; he served up his distinctive ambient style by working the e-piano over a minimal percussive loop, and then lifted the low-pass cap to open up the soundscape.

Prophetik went about doing a solo in his Smash TV by “faceroll”ing the keyboard and editing the results to fit the key; it fits well with the frantic electronics and breakbeats that the remix consists of. Xarnax42 offered a chilled out iteration of the Golden Sun battle theme with the promise of developing it further; in the current form it swells over the course of its duration and tops out in the final seconds. Moseph initially intended to do a full-orchestral arrangement of Terranigma, but settled on a hybrid of strings and e-bass led along with sliding synthesizer melody. The eighth entry of the round came from Gario, who put together a frenetic chip-influenced version of Felix the Cat in a short time; by Gario’s own description, “It's fun while it lasts.”

JHCompo on Tuesday featured “Before the Dawn” as its theme, open up the compo to interpretation. nikola set the mood of his piece with a solo arpeggios before dropping the beat and widening the stereo field. jesm04 graced the piano with a hip-hop vibe, a flurry of electronics and violins. MandraSigma lamented the escape of a hedgehog by spinning drum loops under quirky lo-bit harmonies. Xarnax42’s “Renewal” noodled on acoustic guitar samples accompanied by the keys, coming together at the final chord. coda continued his seemingly arbitrary replacement of words and themes with the word dog, uploading glitched percussion punctuated by piano chords and fuzzy bass. mistermv also carried an industrial vibe and imbues it with elements of electro and weighty pads. Obtuse started his entry with synth stabs and thickened things out with sonorities and piano filling the empty spaces.

sci discarded his initial ideas for the compo round and scrambled together an offbeat tune featuring vocals from SunshineSmiles. MisfitBYTE’s low fidelity tones precede the entrance of guitar soloing on top of bass plucking in a somewhat discordant manner, perhaps fitting the “We Sleep, They Ooze” title. X-Trav made his first appearance in JHCompo using an ominous bassline and piano lines that play off a minimal beat. SonicThHedgog succeeded in getting his track in before the deadline a second time, admittedly rushing his work but nevertheless delivering a pumping session of Star Fox rock. Finally Jarski created his tune in half the allotted time, displaying a slowly fading chip-hop riff beefed up with dance rhythms.

The theme for Thursday's OHC was "Break it down", bringing to mind a comment made by the organizer starla in a previous round that led to my dramatic reading of the phrase. After my new intro, nikola reportedly "took a giant crap on [his] DAW and hit render"; the result resembles a rock tune fed through an ancient chipset. Mirby again showed her unique approach, composing several arrhythmic keyboard takes into a swirling blend. MickRip returned after hiatus with organ and distant drums that rush in to meet it. TheMisterCat also made an unexpected appearance using orchestral growl, strings and harmonized singing. Fusion2004 offered a short entry, possibly as a precaution to prevent its "epic"ness from destroying the world. Usabell stated that he wasn't feelin' the compo theme, and centered his track on slap bass, e-piano and snare.

Obtuse experimented with electro house leanings and built steam off of a steady kick and tribal strikes. sci fulfilled my request to use a sample of the Tenacious D song "Classico" that I prepared for him, putting the clip through the wringer by applying various pitch and glitch effects. DDRKirby(ISQ) put the entire listening party into a dark place with his gloomy tune, but eventually lifted them up using funky rhythms. General Mumble similarly put bells to use in his submission, which give way to screaming distortion that dominates until a return to quiet later on. munchi's high pitched vocal chants reminded me of Daft Punk's "Technologic" but otherwise goes on its own patch via energetic drum patterns. jarski deleted his melodies by his own admission, leaving behind a fat beat, bass and dots of lead synth.

Foozogz's breakbeats apparently hit a dirty spot on his CD and skipped for a fair while, followed by a series of unfortunate events. Forty-Two prompted listeners to turn up the volume for his composition spotlighting extensive barafon work. mv seemed to put his usual trip-hop aside in favor of electronic disco complete with diva voice clips. Shadix got straight to the point by serving up a piercing riff and exotic percussive instruments, then switching to rockier drumming. Jakesnke17 dropped out of the listening party momentarily, but not before slamming down a dance vibe sprinkled with chiptunage. At the end of the night, frkygp rushed out his mellow bass and hi hats, hinting at the longer excursion it could have been.

The way I interacted with certain members of the compo community is a great metaphor for my path in music. At first I approached, not knowing much about the subject. Instead of gradually gaining an understanding, I jumped the gun and latched onto the subject obnoxiously. After getting burnt as a result of that clinging, I moved on to things that bring me joy. My creative life has taken a few left turns, but my enjoyment of creative competitions has not diminished. What has changed is how I express my interest, and I believe that change is one for the better.

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