Dwelling of Duels September 2009 Results: Rareware Month

Another month means another Dwelling of Duels competition. September was Rareware month. You can download all 12 tracks in a convinient RAR file here…or just check them out individually in the following links. There’s a lot of great material you can choose from here, especially when you have composers like David Wise (Donkey Kong Country), Grant Kirkhope (Banjo), and David Clynick (Perfect Dark). Thankfully, this month wasn’t Donkey Kong Country overload. Overall, there’s some nice variety with the games chosen. Also, there’s no bad track…solid effort all around. Most of the DoD veterans are absent, but that’s good in a sense that newcomers get a better chance to shine.

Let’s start off with my favorite track this month, which also happens to be in first place…winning over most of the voters.

Ergosonic – Essence of the Woodlands (Donkey Kong Country)

Newcomer Ergosonic grants us with an acoustic rendition of a Donkey Kong Country 2 track called “Forst Interlude“. The original track is definitely a fan-favorite next to the infamous “Stickerbrush Symphony” so it was bound to get covered eventually. Anyway, this remix definitely deserves first place this month…not to mention being one of my DoD favorites. Recording quality and guitar playing are superb. Mixing could’ve used a bit more work as there are clipping issues throughout the track, but they’re barely noticeable as you’re constantly entranced with the arrangement itself. Even though it clocks at a lengthy 5 minutes, I never grew bored due to the nice variation and moody breakdowns. Top stuff, Ergosonic. Hope to see you enter again! For now, I think you should update this track a bit and remove the clipping issues as this could make a nice OCReMix submission.

LuIzA featuring Level 99 – Fossil’s Oasis (Star Fox Adventures)

Another one of my favorites makes 3rd place this month. You all should recognize LuIzA by now, who I pimped out in last month’s DoD write-up. Ever since her long-overdue return from hiatus last month, she’s been in a productive boom, producing lots of video game tracks and keeping herself busy. You all should check out her myspace for a re-recording of the track she’s most known for: Fire Cross, appropriately renamed “Neo Fire Cross”. Anyway, she enters again this month with an interesting source: Star Fox Adventures for the GameCube. Also, she happens to be collaborating with an up-and-coming remixer who’s a DoD newcomer and all around nice guy…level 99 has been dabbling with acoustic guitar game remixes here and there. He recently worked on two OC ReMix Projects: Final Fantasy IV and Radical Dreamers.  Definitely take the time to check out his tracks as well.

Anyway, it’s nice to see these two collab with this somewhat obscure game soundtrack. I think it’s the first time I listen to a Star Fox Adventures remix, and I’m happy to say it passes with flying colors. Level 99’s intro acoustic guitar and his ethnic breakdown mid-track are immediately evident here. Of course, LuIzA’s awesome scratchy guitar tones and solos are excellently played as usual. Level 99 also did some electric guitar work…I’m sure everyone can differentiate his sections from LuIzA’s. The transitions between the calm sections and rock out ones are very strong, as these two artists feed off each other’s sections well.

Fourth Place: Hale-Bopp – Sludge Pit (Perfect Dark)

Hale-Bopp returns to DoD! He produces tracks sporadically, but he’s one of my favorite game remixers because of his ability to adapt to different vocal styles easily. His guitar playing and production skills are nothing to scoff about, too. He has two previous tracks done for DoD and posted on OC ReMix. Check out his page here.

This time around, Mr. Hale pays homage to 90s grunge rock, Alice in Chains to be specific. The vocal style and harmonies, overall track flow, and the song’s title give it all away. So Hale takes all these influences and successfully integrates them with a Perfect Dark track. I think he uses the multiplayer track from the game, but personally I can relate his work more with the Perfect Dark Zero counterpart. Outstanding results, indeed. Hale has a strong singing voice and his skills continue to impress me. Here’s a true story about this remix in particular. I actually twittered this month’s DoD competition and tagged Rare composers. Perfect Dark’s composer, David Clynick, was the only one that responded and of course rooted for this track. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Fifth Place: Hat – Celtic Diddy (Donkey Kong Country)

Hat hasn’t made a DoD track in a long while, so I’m glad to see him back after so long. He’s a multi-talented individual who plays many instruments and has a good singing voice. With this Donkey Kong Country remix, he chose to play some guitars and flute live, resulting in a very celtic-esque track. Great stuff.

Seventh Place: Harjawaldar – Longing to See You (Banjo Kazooie)

Yay! A Banjo-Kazooie acoustic guitar entry…by none other than Harjawaldar. This dude continues to impress me with his DoD entries and you may have noticed that if you’ve been reading my previous write-ups. Anyway, nothing to complain about here. Very nice variation compared to the original Spiral Mountain theme. Good playing and recording.

Ninth Place: Rasgar – Check Out These Shades (Battletoads)

Rasgar is responsible for one of my favorite tracks this month…should’ve placed much higher in the charts in my opinion. Battletoads is one of those games that has some insanely catchy music. While I can’t exactly pinpoint the source tune here, it sounds extremely familiar to me. Anyway, Rasgar employs a surf-rock style to this track which is bodacious and tubular. Very nice lead guitar tone. While the track sounds very minimalistic at times, it’s extremely catchy. Keep up the good work, dude. Surfs up!

That’s it with my highlights of the month. Be sure to check out the tracks I haven’t mentioned. Nekofrog’s 2nd place one makes a lot of death metal fans happy. So if you’re into growling vocals, it’s just a click away. Don’t forget to check out that Wizards and Warriors medley, too!

Next month’s theme is all about Game Boy music. For some reason I’m craving for some TMNT III: Radical Rescue remixes. Let’s hope our DoD artists oblige us with a few.

5 thoughts on “Dwelling of Duels September 2009 Results: Rareware Month”

  1. Hehe I was searching for the results again this morning and this popped up in the google search. Great read, I enjoyed hearing your reactions to track, and am glad you enjoyed the collab Luiza and I did! And thank you for the personal kind words, my friend. I greatly enjoyed entering my first DoD and will hopefully do it again very soon. Keep on rocking!

  2. @Level 99
    Hey, man. Glad you enjoyed the write-up. In case you don’t recognize me, I’m “SwordBreaker” in the OCR forums. :)

    I’ve been thinking of writing these for AGES now…but only recently started thanks to this blog we set up. We already have many write-ups and reviews for OCR tunes it would be pointless to write my reviews here when there are dedicated threads to each track in the official site. I really want DoD to get the same level of exposure because it has some awesome material each month.

    Definitely looking forward to the next time you enter DoD, man. Perhaps you can take my request and make an acoustic remix of any track from TMNT III Radical Rescue if you’re free. You don’t need to answer of course since this competition is supposed to be anonymous. Either way, keep on making music, dude.

  3. I find it interesting that you call me a newcomer when I’ve been entering DoD for about three years. Apparently I’m pretty good at staying under the radar.

    Of course, I’m just messing around. I’m not offended or anything. In fact, I’m pretty happy that you liked my entry. You’re the first fan I’ve ever had! Thanks a lot!

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