Retro Remix Revue: Volume 1

Retro Remix Revue: Volume 1. Front. Click to zoom.
Retro Remix Revue: Volume 1
Front
Composed by David Wise / Geoff Follin / Hirokazu Tanaka / Kazumi Totaka / Koji Kondo / Masato Nakamura / Naoto Ishida / Ryoji Yoshitomi / Soyo Oka / Tim Follin / Yoko Shimomura
Arranged by Blaine McGurty
Published by Retro Remix Revue
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 1 Digital - 12 tracks
Release date September 16, 2008
Duration 00:48:12
Genres
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Overview

Retro Remix Revue is a project spearheaded by Blaine McGurty and Davis Jones. Blaine McGurty, who has a degree in Jazz Studies, is behind all the arrangements and also lends his hand at the keyboard. Davis Jones is behind the mixing, mastering, and recording of all the arrangements. Retro Remix Revue Volume 1 is an ambitious project that arranges many classic game music pieces in a variety of styles. This release features the 12 arrangements for the original digital release, though a physical release was later published featuring a bonus track from Mega Man 2. How well do these arrangements compare to those in the industry? You'll just have to read on to find out! You might just be surprised.

Body

Once upon a time, there was a period in gaming where most people fell in love with video game music. This era was known to many as the Genesis / SNES era. It is obvious that Blaine and Davis also fell in love with video game music at this time, or at least, the music made a lasting impression on them. Most of the arrangements on this album come from a plethora of titles for the Super Nintendo and to a lesser extent, the Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64. With such a diverse amount of titles, one might also expect a diverse arranged album. Fortunately, there are a variety of styles to be found on the album as well. Opening the album, "Overworld BGM ~ Ending," is a fun, jazzy take on two of the most popular themes from Super Mario World. The key factor in this arrangement is definitely the piano and it helps to recreate that playful Mario sound, while at the same time offering a bit of deviation from the melodies. Mario seems to get the most play time on this album, with additions from Super Mario Kart and Mario Paint, both of which offer some excellent arrangements on the source material, but the true star of the Mario universe on this album, at least to me, is the arrangement of "Dire, Dire Docks" from Super Mario 64. Starting off with some nice natural sounds, the tranquility of this arrangement soon becomes apparent. As with the other Mario piece I mentioned, the piano is the star of the show and helps to craft a very ethereal soundscape. The piece eventually picks up in pace and the piano is replaced with some synthesizer, but it still makes for a beautiful piece and it is one of my favorites on the album.

Another gaming icon that has is featured on the album is Sonic the Hedgehog. Both of the arrangements, "Green Hill Zone" and "Chemical Plant Zone," recreate the Genesis sound quite nicely. More straightforward than some of the other arrangements, they both instill that sense of nostalgia within the listener. "Green Hill Zone" features a nice synth solo that adds to the bubbly nature of the entire arrangement. There is also a synth solo in "Chemical Plant Zone" that definitely gives a sense of urgency, while at the same time, adds a nice little jazz element to the entire arrangement. In addition, there is a nice drum solo to bridge between the synth solo and the melody. It's a bit drawn out, but does add something you don't hear in many arrangements these days. These two arrangements are quite fun, even if they don't stray too far from the source material.

Two other Nintendo icons also get their spot in the sun. Unfortunately, there is only one piece from each series. Perhaps one of the most famous of the Donkey Kong Country pieces is arranged for this one. Having heard an arrangement of this piece already this year in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, I was interested in hearing how Blaine decided to arrange "Stickerbrush Symphony." Unlike the other arrangement, which focused a lot on strings, this arrangement keeps with the ethereal soundscape offered by the original. In addition, the combination of piano, trance-like effects in the bass line, and futuristic synth make for a nice little homage to the original. It's definitely a keeper in my book! The other iconic series, The Legend of Zelda, has a nice little two piece medley from Ocarina of Time. The first piece takes one of the ocarina melodies, "Zelda's Lullaby", and translates it to a nice tranquil piano piece. Its simplicity reflects the inherent beauty found within the piece. As the track progresses, it moves into a tropical arrangement of "Zora's Domain," that adds some nice textural contrasts, through steel drum usage and acoustic guitar, while, at the same time, emphasizing the importance of the melody once more. It's a beautiful arrangement and a fitting way to end the album.

Now, you might be thinking, "I've heard a lot of piano mentioned in this review, but is there anything else on there besides that?" Well, the answer to that is, "Yes". Some of my favorite arrangements are rock based. F-Zero's most iconic piece, in my opinion, "Big Blue," is probably my second favorite of the entire album for me. Fast-paced synth and rock bring the sound from the SNES to life, and while at first, it doesn't sound particularly different from the original, it decides to throw a curveball at you and give you an extremely long guitar solo that amps up the energy even further. I'm really impressed with the solo, too, because it manages to contain all you'd expect in a solo, i.e. fast guitar noodling, while at the same time throwing tidbits of the melody in there as well. Now if they can do something like this for the Megaman series next time, I'd be truly impressed! The other arrangement belongs to "Ken's Theme" from Street Fighter II. I'm surprised they chose this one, rather than "Ryu's Theme" or "Guile's Theme", but I'm glad they did. The percussion and the bass riffs are what make this arrangement stand out in my eyes. They have so much power behind them and really accentuate the melody, which has a power all its own. As you'd suspect, there is another kickass guitar solo in this one as well and it's even more impressive than the one in "Big Blue". Out of all the pieces on the soundtrack, this has to be the highlight for me.

Summary

In this day and age, arranged albums are far and few between, unless of course, you are Motoi Sakuraba. Even then, most arranged albums by professional game music artists tend to focus more on the current line-up of games rather than taking something from the past and giving them a facelift. Fortunately, there's Retro Remix Revue Volume 1 to fall back upon if you are looking for an arranged album that not only pays tribute to the classic tunes we grew up loving from games we loved equally, if not more, such as the Sonic the Hedgehog or Super Mario Bros. series, and one that is full of diverse musical styles. For Blaine McGurty and Davis Jones, who originally arranged and mixed video game music for the fun of it, their first official release is a wonderful thing to pick up if you are looking for arrangements that are entertaining. More importantly, you won't find any arrange albums that cover such a diverse selection of classic video game music either. Do yourself a favor and pick this album up. It's worth the price.



Album
9/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Don Kotowski

Composers

Koji Kondo (1, 7, 12)
Naoto Ishida (2)
Masato Nakamura (3, 8)
David Wise (4)
Hirokazu Tanaka (5)
Yoko Shimomura (6)
Soyo Oka (9)
Tim Follin, Geoff Follin (10)
Hirokazu Tanaka, Kazumi Totaka, Ryoji Yoshitomi (11)

1. Super Mario World - Overworld BGM, Ending
Blaine McGurty: Piano
Mike Gam: Acoustic Bass
Adam Alesi: Drums

2. F-Zero - Big Blue
Alex Machacek: Electric Guitar
Blaine McGurty: Keyboards, Synthesizers
Joe Duran: Bass
Chaun Horton: Drums

3. Sonic the Hedgehog - Green Hill Zone
Blaine McGurty: Keyboards, Synthesizers
Adam Alesi: Drums

4. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest - Stickerbrush Symphony [Bramble Blast]
Blaine McGurty: Keyboards, Synthesizers, Melodica
Adam Alesi: Drums

5. Dr. Mario - Chill, Fever
Blaine McGurty: Keyboards, Synthesizers
Drew DeCaro: Electric Guitar
Edgar Sandoval: Violin
Joe Duran: Bass
Chaun Horton: Drums

6. Street Fighter II - Ken's Theme
Jeff Miley: Electric Guitar
Blaine McGurty: Synthesizers
Joe Duran: Bass
Gregg Bissonette: Drums

7. Super Mario 64 - Dire, Dire Docks
Blaine McGurty: Piano, Keyboards, Synthesizers
Edgar Sandoval: Violin
Adam Alesi: Drums

8. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - Chemical Plant Zone
Blaine McGurty: Keyboards, Synthesizers
Chaun Horton: Drums

9. Super Mario Kart - Mario Circuit, Rainbow Road
Gary Grant: Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Blaine McGurty: Piano, Keyboards, Synthesizers
Adam Alesi: Drums

10. Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade's Revenge - Gambit
Blaine McGurty: Keyboards, Synthesizers
Drew DeCaro: Electric Guitar
Gary Grant: Trumpet
Ken Moran: Tenor Saxophone
Chaun Horton: Drums

11. Mario Paint - Gnat Attack, Save & Load
Blaine McGurty: Synthesizers, Vocoder

12. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Zelda's Lullabye, Zora's Domain
Blaine McGurty: Piano, Keyboards, Synthesizers
Jeff Miley: Acoustic Guitar
Alex Smith: Hand Percussion
Adam Alesi: Auxiliary Percussion
Album was composed by David Wise / Geoff Follin / Hirokazu Tanaka / Kazumi Totaka / Koji Kondo / Masato Nakamura / Naoto Ishida / Ryoji Yoshitomi / Soyo Oka / Tim Follin / Yoko Shimomura and was released on September 16, 2008. Soundtrack consists of 12 tracks tracks with duration over about 50 minutes. Album was released by Retro Remix Revue.

CD 1

1
Super Mario World - Overworld BGM, Ending
04:38
2
F-Zero - Big Blue
03:36
3
Sonic the Hedgehog - Green Hill Zone
03:45
4
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest - Stickerbrush Symphony [Bramble Blast]
03:12
5
Dr. Mario - Chill, Fever
03:19
6
Street Fighter II - Ken's Theme
03:48
7
Super Mario 64 - Dire, Dire Docks
04:53
8
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - Chemical Plant Zone
04:26
9
Super Mario Kart - Mario Circuit, Rainbow Road
03:14
10
Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade's Revenge - Gambit
04:26
11
Mario Paint - Gnat Attack, Save & Load
03:40
12
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Zelda's Lullabye, Zora's Domain
05:15
30.04.12
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