Review: Sidologie

Artists: Marcel Donné, O2, Slow Poison

Price: £10.99 (C64audio.com), EUR 15.95 (synsoniq), $18.99 (Bjorn Lynne)


Clips from the CD

Review by Andrew Merman Fisher, Independent Reviewer of note, and prolific SID Composer.

With more Back in Time Live events coming up, there must be some more remix CD's in the pipeline. And there is! After listening to the clips on C64audio.com, I took the plunge and pre-ordered my copy. A few days later and a PREVIEW copy arrived from Chris Abbott. So, into the CD drive and time to write a few words about it.

For those not in the know, the whole point of this album (from the Equinoxe-inspired artwork to the style of the track) is to remix C64 classics in the style of Jean-Michel Jarre, and that other great synth genius Vangelis. Each track is done in the style of an earlier album, which is noted alongside its name in this review.

01. Sidologie Intro - Marcel Donné (Revolutions)

We start off with an excellent introduction, similar in style to Marcel's links from BACK IN TIME 3. It sets the tone for the album very well.

02. Rambo Loading Theme - Martin Galway (Equinoxe)

The dreamy opening chords lead into a pleasing reproduction of this classic. Shorn of the familiar Morse code and military drums, it becomes as epic as Galway's own Jarre covers. It also stands out from other covers of the same track.

03. Lightforce - Rob Hubbard (Revolutions)

The original track could almost have been by Jarre, and here it is taken to a logical conclusion. It is one of the most covered pieces by remixers, but the instrumentation here works so well. After the spooky beginning that familiar falling riff cuts in, the levels of sound build to the industrial middle section of the tune, and from a magnificent peak it fades gently into the sorrowful ending. The only thing missing is the giant slide projectors...

04. Bombo - Ben Daglish (Oxygene)

To me, this seems to be the weakest track on the album, although I still like it in some ways. The Egyptian track is squeezed into an Oxygene arrangement, and at times it sounds very forced. However, the sounds are authentic, the rhythm and bass lines are spot on, and it conjures up images of Ben behind a giant circular keyboard that lights up as he plays it. The choir sounds at the end signal the long fadeout to...


05. Cobra - Sylvester Levay/Ben Daglish (Bladerunner)

For such a poor tie-in to the movie, the title tune always stood out for me. Here it marks the start of the Vangelis interlude, and in fine style. It is as moody and atmospheric as Ben's original, conjuring up images of high-tech cities and flying cars. It ends with a giant metallic gong sound, leading into...

06. Yie-Ar Kung Fu II - Martin Galway (Chariots of Fire)

This sounds amazing, from the pulsing bass-line to the Oriental lead. After the clever opening section, the deceptively simple melody plays over the violins, before the texture deepens with an echo of the lead. The percussion joins in nicely for the bridge... and then it is all over suddenly, like a sprint for the line.

07. Knucklebusters - Rob Hubbard (Zoolook)

With a dramatic crescendo, the metallic backing track kicks in and we are into an epic Hubbard tune with guitar feedback and spooky half-whispering voices. A thundering bass changes the tempo and the drums build it further. It is also another example of how a great tune in an average game gains a life of it's own. It does lose its way for a while during the middle section, but the second half is even more dramatic with its sirens and increasing pace, before the ear-splitting industrial breakdown of the ending to this 18-minute track.

08. Wizball High Score - Martin Galway (Band in the Rain)

To lift the mood after the aggression of Knucklebusters, Marcel shows us his sense of humour and pays homage to one of Jarre's most unusual tracks. In a simulated rainstorm, here comes this unforgettable Galway tune as played on a little reed organ. It's quirky and I love it. It is also far too short.

09. Miami Vice - Martin Galway (Equinoxe/Oxygene)

Reyn Ouwehand's version from Galway Remixed took this Jan Hammer theme into the realms of Moby. Now Marcel has added to the 80's flavour. The twinkling synths and deep, dramatic bass notes flow steadily throughout, and the last section with its bold notes could almost be played on the laser harp, before a very sudden ending cuts the tune short.

10. Nemesis the Warlock - Rob Hubbard (Rendezvous)

Another Hubbard epic, starting off relatively gently with a soft snare beat. The choir returns to fill out the sound, although it does lack a little variety in comparison to the other tracks. It is also a little gentler on the ears than the Knucklebusters arrangement. Another nice fade leads us into...

11. Rambo High Score - Martin Galway (Oxygene)

The final track, and perhaps (for me anyway) another slightly forced arrangement. The original melody is almost swamped by the rumba beat, the crashing waves and bubbling chords. While it does work well at bringing the album to a close, I couldn't help feeling it would have been nice to look to another composer.

OVERALL

As a Jarre fan and a C64 remix fan, to me this is a very good album. It is not perfect, as I have pointed out by mentioning some of the flaws in this review. However it does re-invent some familiar tracks, and captures the flavour of many of Jarre's great works. Congratulations to Marcel, and to Chris for publishing it.

So, should you buy it even if you don't like Jarre? Should you buy it just to support C64audio? I'm sure you can make your own mind up, so listen to the clips online first. And every sale helps keep open an invaluable resource to the remix scene, making future productions and events possible.


Rating... 8/10


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