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.