Just in time for the holidays, video game music powerhouses Smooth McGroove and GameChops have teamed up to bring you 14 pulse-pounding remixes of your favorite tunes! While it’s literally impossible to pick favorites, I’ve managed to narrow it down to three standout tracks. Let’s start with James Landino, who not only remixed multiple songs on the album, but also organized the entire project:
James’s remix of “Dark World” from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a prime example of his skills as a producer, with squeaky clean production and his ever-present attention to detail. Screaming synths accompany Smooth’s angelic voice in this epic electro house treatment, and the results couldn’t be more satisfying. Smooth’s vocals are utilized conservatively during the buildup, evoking the childhood memories you would expect, and then James gets a bit more creative with the vocal samples during the drop. Though simplistic, the drop elegantly delivers high-energy electro like a pro, and the entire song is sure to get any dance floor bouncing. I particularly enjoy how James is able to bridge the gap between video game music and more standard EDM, making it easier for DJs to expose new crowds to our style of choice.
Next up is Dj CUTMAN himself, covering my personal favorite track from the Mega Man X soundtrack, Spark Mandrill’s stage:
The intro prominently features Smooth’s excellent brand of beatboxing, before quickly moving (dashing?) into the theme we all know and love. Trap and hip-hop influences are definitely a main focus of the remix, and it works perfectly. Cutman’s signature mixing style fits the source material like a glove, and with a bit of drum and bass influence thrown in the mix it really comes together as a cohesive whole. Prepare to head bang your way through this one, because the hype levels are maxed out! If I was forced at gunpoint to choose a favorite remix on the album, this one would probably be it. Highly recommended for any video game music fan.
Finally we have Grimecraft, with his remix (of Smooth’s version) of David Wise’s excellent “Stickerbrush Symphony” from Donkey Kong Country 2 – Diddy’s Kong Quest:
This one’s got more of a chill vibe, as it should, considering both the source material and the remixer himself. Grimecraft brings his usual future bass / trap influence to the table, and it succeeds with flying colors. Thick and emotional, this one will give even the most cold-hearted Grinch the feels. Silky smooth synth chords played on delicious pads, with an expert application of Smooth’s… well, smooth vocals make this a perfect nostalgia trip for any fans of the original tune. Steel drums complement the ambiance nicely, and the percussion keeps everything feeling modern and masterful. It’s some of Grimecraft’s best work, video game remix or otherwise, and the climax of the song especially showcases his signature skills. Absolutely love it.
So there you have it, my first impression of the powerhouse album that serves as a perfect punctuation to a great year of GameChops releases. Don’t get me wrong, though: every track on this release is gold, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not picking it up.