2011: The Year in ReView
As another year comes into place and the one we just finished slowly slinks into the past, so too comes the time when Mirby must stop being lazy and start writing articles again instead of letting the release dates of albums fade into the obscuring mists of time. With a new year comes new articles, and there’s no better article to bring it in than a retrospective of 2011. A lot of things happened this year, even more than in 2010, so I’ll keep it brief. And so, here begins the retrospective.
ReMix: ThaSauce kicked things off on January 4 with three mixes; two from the Sonic games and one from Super Metroid. OverClocked ReMix posted their first mix of 2011 on the following day; this one was a mellow rock track from ilp0, remixing “Gold Mine” from the SNES game Wild Guns. With the mixpost came a call from djpretzel. “If there’s one theme I’d like to personally endorse for 2011, it’s ReMixing unmixed games.” We’ll see if his endorsement held up through the year. And then, on the tenth of January, the world got… The Answer. No, not the self-help book, the Armored Core Tribute Album. Mattias Häggström Gerdt headed up this album, featuring Jillian Aversa and DragonAvenger as well. And then, on January 27th, SEGA called OCR out for having zero SEGA Pico remixes.
On February 3, OCR posted their first Pico remix courtesy of zircon; it was a mellow mix from Tails and the Music Maker. Just four days later, Heroes vs. Villains was released. Pitting the Bad Dudes against OCR regulars, it took hero themes and villain themes from various franchises; OCR took the heroes and Bad Dudes took the villains. The result was a delight; the pairs of tracks work well on their own, but combined creates a melodious melee, one where each track plays off its companion. Near the end of the month, another original soundtrack was released on OCR, this one for Missile Master Episode 1: Invasion; it was composed by Kunal, one of the Bad Dudes. Fitting for the other album release that month.
March started off immediately, with the long-awaited Pokémon album, The Missingno Tracks, dropping on the first. Paying tribute to music from the series so far (except for the then-unreleased Black/White), it was two discs of remixes ranging various styles. On the 25th, OCR released another pure Joshua Morse album, this one for the Mega Man series. Entitled The Robot Museum, it took a single track from each of the first 8 games (along with the Data Base Accessed theme from Mega Man and Bass), and got the JM touch applied. Finally, on March 29, Benjamin Briggs released his Attention Deficit EP, an eclectic mix of styles all containing his chippy touch.
April started off with another OCR prank, this time a “reveal” of the full year’s album lineups, totaling 38 new albums. Some gems included “Hers - Female Character Themes by Female Artists,” “Up, Up, Down, Down Lower - Porn Grooves of Game Tunes,” and “Beyond the Beyond - Beyond the Beyond the Beyond,” among others. In more realistic news, Sonic the Hedgehog: The Sound of Speed was released on the twelfth, completing the trilogy of Sonic albums on OCR. Though it was a single disc, the entire album was full of gems. Or should I say… emeralds?
May was a relatively quiet month. Support OCR Month, which usually happened in April, got off to a late start and carried into May. Though the goal was set at $5,000, people went abobe and beyond to bring the total for 2011 to an amazing $7,514! Incredible rally from supporters to get that much to OCR in just a month. halc released his Pixel Perfect LP on the 16th, which fit perfectly with his EP from the previous year. Together, the two create a complete album, and a good one too!
Malcos releasing his It Started in 2012 album in June. Equal parts orchestral and electronic, the album takes the listener on a quest as it details future events that will occur in a universe separate from our own. And while not strictly music-related, everyone’s favorite person to blame Liontamer AKA Black Dynamite and his long-time girlfriend Paige became engaged this month as well. WillRock also released his own EP on the 19th, entitled Refractions of a Dream. Loosely inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic “Alice in Wonderland” and possibly also “Through the Looking Glass,” the album is comprised of some pretty trippy songs. Seriously, I blame this album for all my sleeping problems (not really). Also of note was the general public’s introduction to the OverClocked Plaid Muffins, through the mixpost of “Ska Buffet (All You Can Eat: Clean Version)”, a clean cut of their track on the upcoming Milky Way Wishes album.
July may not have kicked off with a “Four for the Fourth” as in 2010, but it give us NiGHTS: Lucid Dreaming on the fifth. Worked on with love for the game, Stevo Bortz, aka Level 99 or he of the awesome beard, the track featured two discs that took the listener on a journey through the game. Except guided by music instead of some flying jester. This was also the first album I reviewed without being familiar with the source material; doesn’t really matter, as the album is fantastic either way. Also in July, YouTube favorite FamilyJules7x began a hiatus from his weekly game music guitar covers; after a year of releasing a song weekly, he felt the need to relax. He ended Year 1 with a cover of the Super Mario 64 Credits theme.
August happened to be Metroid’s 25th anniversary, so a bunch of Metroid music was released. First it was Harmony of a Hunter on the 7th, and then Theophany’s Crystal Flash EP later that same day.Shnabubula and a friend also made a tribute song for the anniversary along with a video, which was later featured on IGN. The song itself was posted on the 12th. On August 14, Mazedude revealed his self-proclaimed opus American Pixels, the long awaited follow-up to 2006’s American Album. It will remix a bunch of songs from American composers, including Jake Kaufman and Danny Baranowsky. August 15th brought the release of Amphibious’s debut EP, Oceans. A soothing aural trip into the ocean, through its deeps, and back out once more, it was an excellent effort. Nario released an EP on the 19th, entitled More of Me. A chippy mix of a bunch of different songs, it’s a rather nice listen on the whole.
Then in September, Danimal Cannon released a video. It was a rather hilarious video (explicit too, I think), but it led to a bunch of people calling him out as racist and homophobic. The best part about all the hate? The video itself was making fun of rap, and thus was created specifically to mock those who’d complain. On the 7th, an album that often had questions about its status asked was finally released. No, it was not FFV: The Fabled Warriors - WATER. Instead, it was Mega Man 9: Back in Blue. The song arranged the majority of the soundtrack. Unfortunately, all the songs on a Mega Man soundtrack are rather integral, especially the stage themes. And this album completely neglected to have a Concrete Man remix. Sure, there were two Jewel Man mixes, but no Concrete Man.
This was even referenced in the album’s trailer, and remedied shortly thereafter with Rockin’ Sockin’ Cinder Blockin’ - A Concrete Man Remix EP. Spurred on by this grave injustice to the most concrete of ‘bots,DarkeSword arranged an emergency mixing round. Calling on all mixers via the forums, DarkeSword challenged everyone to make a mix in one week’s time. The album was posted a week thereafter, album art and all. A great tragedy was indeed averted (and the also neglected Castle of Evil got a mix from Jason Covenant, formerly known as Prophecy.) Jimmy Hinson, aka Big Giant Circles, also released a chiptune album on the 12th, entitled Impostor Nostalgia, with virt’s Bloodrayne: Betrayal Official Soundtrack released through Ubiktune the following day. Shnabubula also released his Game Genie album, a marvelous collection of original songs. The Binding of Isaac was also released at the end of September, with a soundtrack by Danny Baranowsky. The style was similar to his Super Meat Boy soundtrack, which is to say it, too, was excellent.
October was nowhere near as busy as the previous month (though that was mostly due to Concrete Man’s omission), but it was a good month nonetheless. The tenth heralded the release of Super Dodge Ball: Around the World, another of OCR’s albums that had been in the works for several years. It’s never planned that way, but there’s a few where that has happened (such as 2010’s Threshold of a Dream or 2009’sSummoning of Spirits). A lot of great tracks were to be found here, including two mixes of the Versus Play theme (appropriate for the 2-player motif of versus play itself). And on Halloween, the oft-loved Castlevania mix “Juese Belmont” finally made it to OCR. Albeit it was by Shael Riley and the Double Ice Backfire (who covered the song as part of the Kickstarter campaign for their album “Ultimate Songs from the Pit”) and not the original Disk Mastah Smokabitch. Longtime OCR members may say otherwise though, and for good reason.
November kicked off with “Cover Your Light,” a remix of the main theme of the Commodore 64 game Deflektor. OCR had been holding it for the German hard/glam rock band Zero Division since August of 2010, wishing it to be released after their latest album was released. However, since that took longer than expected, this mix sat around for 15 months. It’s fantastic, and sounds just like it was ripped from the ’80s. The 6th heralded the release of Ultimate Songs from the Pit, the album of which the Kickstarter campaign that produced the “Juese Belmont” mix mentioned above was for. I hope that made sense…The first R:TS mix of the year saw release as an OCReMix on the 17th, giving JH Sounds his first mixpost and Cyril the Wolf another one; the mix is an emotional acoustic rendition of Final Zone from Sonic 1, entitled “Finality (Radio Edit).” It’s an edit from JH Sounds’s album Hedgehog Hysteria, releaed in 2010. On the day of release for the latest Zelda game also came a surprise album: 25YEARLEGEND: A Legend of Zelda Indie Game Composer Tribute. Released on the 22nd, the album took composers of various indie games and mixed them with songs from across the entire franchise and its 25 years of captivating minds of all ages.
Danimal Cannon started December off with the release of Roots, a collection of chiptune originals. He was even nice enough to include the project files so that others could experiment with them. OCR releasedBadAss: Boss Themes on the 6th; this album was just boss themes from a bunch of different games, mostly rock and metal but with a great orchestral track and a couple others too. This is also only Volume 1; the Volume 2 thread’s already up and running in the projects board. The Bad Dudes released another album on the 20th, the Metroid Arrange 25th Anniversary Album. I’m working on getting a copy of this to review with the other two for a Metroid Triple Review, don’t worry. Also released on the 20th was the long-awaited Wild Arms: ARMed and DANGerous. This album took the the soundtrack of Wild Arms and arranged it in a multitude of styles, all of which worked wonderfully for them. And on Christmas, ProtoDome released his album BLUESCREEN, a follow-up to June’s BLUENOISE. This begs the question… is this the dangerous formula he saves Christmas with? Possibly, but it’s awesome regardless of that. As for the theme DJP set at the year’s start… I think that with all the albums released, it was more than met.
December also happened to be Reviews Month at OCR. The premise this year? OA had attained the Power of the ReMix and was poised to destroy OCR. Thus, King djpretzel and his ReMix knights had to review mixes to deal damage. Each remix dealt 50 damage to him, but each remix OA wrote healed 50 HP. Rexy and Bahamut annihilated OA, with a lot of help from many other members. However, that was but OA’s first form; the ground began to rumble… and then his true form awoke. A tentacled beast bearing the facial likenesses of other judges (including Jooj-cat) revealed itself and challenged the community to review 200 tracks to finish him off. Everyone kept doing their best, and I even got involved, doing 16 reviews a day on the 23rd and 24th, and then 16 more on the morning of Christmas. By Christmas night in my time zone, Final OA was down to needing a mere 20 reviews to finish him off. So I took the initiative and reviewed 20 more songs (bringing my total to 36 for that day alone; 78 total) to finish him. What were the spoils of battle, you ask? Well for every review written, a raffle ticket would be entered to win one of three $35 eStarland gift certificates or one of three custom avatars on the OCR forums. Rexy finished the month with a grand total of 200 reviews, and Bahamut with 118. It was a noble effort from all!
And now we find ourselves in 2012. The final tallies for the previous year are 206 mixposts and 12 albums on OCR, and 39 mixposts for ReMix: ThaSauce. That’s 21 more songs and 4 more albums than 2010 for OCR, and 19 fewer for R:TS. Regardless of that, there’s plenty more to come, just as there is plenty I’ve missed (I know for a fact there’s stuff I haven’t mentioned here). If you know of something else great from 2011 that wasn’t mentioned here, just post it in a comment! It was a wondrous year for the community, and I know that 2012 will be even better! So until next time, game on!