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Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

It starts with SID... so far so good, it's always a treat. Then the tune is played by erratically filtered and distorted synths, and a pretty apocalyptic breakbeat. Though intriguing, the character of Boulderdash was always conveyed for me by echo and space, mirroring the cavernous spaces in the game. My initial exposure to this music was on the Atari, where it's even more echoey, so this cover just doesn't quite fit into my mental map. It's accurate notewise, but the tune just didn't need this treatment. Towards the end if gets so distorted it's nasty: that's no way to reward people for their endurance is it? Clever but pointless. Brave experiment, but a bit of a travesty.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 1
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 3

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Unsubtle and unsatisfying version of this seminal Galway tune: the burbles lack the immediacy of the SID, and somehow the wide-open space and lightness of Galway's original is gone. The occasional pleasant harmonies (for instance, on Galway's solo) don't make up for the loss of Galway-ness that's happened here. Was this all done on C64s? It might well have been, in which case: brave move, but why bother? The recording's quite punchy though, and it IS relatively accurate. OK version of Galway's classic.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 2
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 4

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Synth Firelord? Time has not been a friend to this version. The drums don't work, and it's become clear that this is an orchestral piece. As such, though you can hear the effort in terms of structure, all I hear is how it should have been. Which is unfair of me really, because there's not a lot else wrong with this. Worthwhile download.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 2
Nostalgic Impression: 2
Overall: 4

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

From the very first bars, it's obvious what David is trying here: Magnetic Fields, played live. Considering the essential Fields-ness of this tune, it's an appropriate choice, and it's carried off with panache, though I wish some of the tune was restored (sometimes just the harmony plays). Crowd noises and SFX sustain the atmosphere, though this isn't a full length version. A very clever ending, too. Convincing! Well done, but I prefer my remixes sounding studio rather than live, but that's personal taste. Remixes like this are quite rare.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 2
Overall: 5

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Hmm, echoey SID. Actually, thanks for the tune he's chosen, this works quite well, but that's nothing to do with arrangement skill. This is one of those remixes that sounds like the SID, but which has quite subtle additions (and the not-so-subtle one of a drum track). Therefore, if you like the original, you'll like this. If not, you won't. Quite pleasant.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 2
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 4

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Possibly the most inspired C64/arcade remix SID ever. It's a complete piss-take on Bubble Bobble, but it works because (a) the instruments are played really well, and it's well arranged, (b) the vocals and acting are inspired, and (c) the sheep are funny. ROFL! Inspired and unmissable.
Technical Impression: 6
Artistic Impression: 6
Nostalgic Impression: 1
Overall: 6

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Yes!! Those mobile phone tones are SO great I want them played REALLY loud through my Hifi! Yes!! hahahahahahahaha!! Take an ethnic breakbeat, an out of time Nokia IK+ ringtone and an unrelated speech sample, repeat for a few minutes and you have this. Oh yes, and the background chord stab has no relation to IK+ either. I cannot stand covers like this, but unfortunately when c64 music leaves the scene, this kind of cover happens to it all the time (for instance, Output64). So, bearing in mind I've dispatched Ninjas to the person who arranged this to smash up their equipment, here are my marks: So terrible I'm screaming.
Technical Impression: 2
Artistic Impression: 3
Nostalgic Impression: 2
Overall: 1

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Giana Sisters underground SID with a crappy breakbeat. That's it! I thought covers like this had died a death. I was wrong... One mark subtracted for an obviously bugged section.
Technical Impression: 1
Artistic Impression: 1
Nostalgic Impression: 1
Overall: 1

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

It's easiest to say what's wrong with this half-baked dance mix: the parts representing the C64 are far too dry and don't fit with the rest of the mix: the drums might as well not be there. It's not toe-tapping, it just doesn't work. Also, the breakbeat itself is completely out of character with the inexorable nature of the tunes and the rendition of the infamous subtune 21 is laughable. Pales in comparison with other Lazy Jones covers.
Technical Impression: 3
Artistic Impression: 1
Nostalgic Impression: 4
Overall: 2

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Another Lazy Jones remix by DJ Tobi starts off a lot more promisingly than the C-64 remix variant, but there's a puzzling riff, and when the famous subtune 21 sets in, it's obvious that he's tried to work the same sonic effect as Zombie Nation, but failed miserably. This chorus/detuning doesn't work, and the drums are weak and pointless. The kick drum is nowhere near as powerful as it should be (compressesion, try it!), and the whole remix will go nowhere near a dance floor, and with good reason. A poor man's Zombie Nation (I can't believe it, I'm praising Zombie Nation!). OK, but it's way down the list of worthy Lazy Jones covers.
Technical Impression: 3
Artistic Impression: 1
Nostalgic Impression: 4
Overall: 3

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Um, are you detecting a pattern here? I wonder if there's a clinical term for Lazy Jones obsession. This dance mix is more clubby, and yet still not toe-tapping. Maybe it's the bitrate, maybe it's the complete lack of atmosphere (sounds like the whole thing is being played in your living room, and some of the breakbeats are unforgiveably weak). I give up... what IS Deluxe about this?.
Technical Impression: 3
Artistic Impression: 2
Nostalgic Impression: 2
Overall: 3

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

It started with a SID, who would have thought it would come to this? :-) Sid + Drums, that's it. Why? It's not as if this is a good tune. OK, the riff might have made an OK riff around something else, but no one is going to be shaking their little booties to this, even with that breakbeat: getting people dancing is not just a question of drums on top of SID, you know. Pointless cover of a pointless original.
Technical Impression: 3
Artistic Impression: 1
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 1

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

It started with a SID, who would have thought it would come to this? :-) Sid + Drums, that's it. Why? It's not as if this is a good tune. OK, the riff might have made an OK riff around something else, but no one is going to be shaking their little booties to this, even with that breakbeat: getting people dancing is not just a question of drums on top of SID, you know. Pointless cover of a pointless original. Well, if DJ Tobi is going to do the same thing, I'm going to use the same review!.
Technical Impression: 3
Artistic Impression: 1
Nostalgic Impression: 6
Overall: 1

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

A brave attempt to rework the SID: suitably grungy guitar, spirited organ and appropriate drums. The production quality is a bit lo-fi: I guess if you close your eyes you could imagine yourself in the cafe with the players. An XM conversion which sounds like it: a good rework, but the problem with covers of Skate or Die is that it's obvious how it should sound: like a live band on a big stage. And this cover doesn't sound like that. Reasonably satisfying cover, but the piece deserves so much more.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 2
Nostalgic Impression: 3
Overall: 4

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Boulderdash deserves a better fate than this non-square wave Rockford-bashing it gets here. The sound keeps cutting out too, which is most disconcerting. It should go off and stay off. A mutilation of a great abstract tune.
Technical Impression: 1
Artistic Impression: 1
Nostalgic Impression: 1
Overall: 1

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Sad Bubble Bobble? In the same league as happy Knucklebusters, I think. Quite a clever reworking of the notes from the main theme, and quite an engaging bit of synth noodling (Twin Peaks echo sounds, drum and bass thing, quite eerie FX and production). It isn't Bubble Bobble though. It's not Bubble Bobble, but it is worth a listen.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 2
Overall: 4

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

A Seinfeld bass kicks off this (apparently funky) remix of... Dallas! There isn't much feel for the actual melody of the piece here, though some of the synths and the general sound carpet is quite attractive. It won't chill your Willy, it sounds silly, but it is worth a lily. I mean, listen.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 4
Nostalgic Impression: 1
Overall: 4

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

This is played on a Vangelis instrument, but it sounds cloudy and messy. The choir seems to be uncontrolled and has occasional discords with the tune. Underwhelming. Thankfully short.
Technical Impression: 3
Artistic Impression: 3
Nostalgic Impression: 2
Overall: 2

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Uninteresting version of the SID replicated almost entirely without additions or subtlety, and without the life and bounce of the source material. Life has been sucked out. Not offensive, just boring.
Technical Impression: 1
Artistic Impression: 1
Nostalgic Impression: 1
Overall: 2

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Back to subtune 21, and Zombie Nation territory we go for another DJ Tobi clinical obsession tune. The start riff is very irritating: it certainly winds you up with stress, being a sequence of adjacent semitone notes. The C64 part of this has actually been FXd up quite a bit better in this remix than the other remixes from DJ Tobi, and there's some clever interplay between the various phrases. Or it may be just a delay. Once you get past the Zombie Nation Part, the cover gets weak and dry again. This tune is never going to be played in a club while it lacks this atmosphere. Compare and contrast with Instant Remedy's Lazy Jones. And what's the speech sample saying? It sounds so superfluous... and irritating. Zombie Nation's speech samples fitted into the piece a lot better. Better than the deluxe, but not enough for a mark increase.
Technical Impression: 3
Artistic Impression: 1
Nostalgic Impression: 2
Overall: 3

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

After years of being ignored, Ocean Loader V4 gets a few covers at last. A smooth, expressionless but relatively well played lead conveys the melody accurately, and the choice of instruments is reminiscent of OMD. Some nice arp burbling adds some much needed variety. A bit of modulation on the lead and/or pitch bend would have worked wonders though. It's the musical equivalent of reading from a telephone directory. It's accurate, sure, but there's not a lot of individual expression there. Having said that, this is a cover that's had work and time put into it, and it conveys the tune accurately: there's some nice string work, the occasional sid sample (the boing at the beginning, which the arranger realised wasn't reproducible on any other synth). It's very pleasant, and sounds nice. Not earth-shattering, but if you like the tune you might as well download it, though the deadness of the lead may kill it for you, since the natural emotion in the SID lead's modulation is gone. Good, but unexciting.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 4
Nostalgic Impression: 4
Overall: 4

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

You can't remix a bouncy 12/8 song in 4/4 without having a damn good reason. This cover doesn't have one, though it does convey the wideness of the piece better than the Low Kick remix, possibly because the SID appears to be better recorded. There's some nice synth noodling when the SID triangle wave plays, but when the backing stops, the rhythm changes completely back to the 12/8, and the ear gets confused. Drivel, but maybe your toe might tap if the wind is blowing the right way. Hey, look at those marks. Looks like this tune is more than the sum of its parts. Pretty good apart from the major flaw. Some good ideas.
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 4
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 4

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Very Vince Clark filtered synth noodling start to this. No obvious IK influences at all, but it sounds nicely dancy. I'd be happy with this if I was creating a dance track. However, the percentage of IK is... about 0% from listening to it. Which makes this a wolf in sheep's clothing. Or a sheep in wolf's clothing, or something. But it's nothing to do with C64 music, and there's no melody to speak of.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 4
Nostalgic Impression: 1
Overall: 4

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Fucough? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! My sides have just come apart with the hilarity. Krakout is a crazy tune, but this is Krakout on E. If you ever saw anyone dancing to this, you'd wonder about their sanity: the bits of the tune are incredibly twee, and the whole thing is like a bad nightmare. Annoying. The word `petty` also springs to mind, puzzlingly.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 4
Nostalgic Impression: 1
Overall: 2

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Some things in life aren't meant to be together... yes, I know I've said that before, but it's true! Ask my parents! These two things are almost irreconcilable, though in this case the FX on the SID are nice, with some filter burbling almost managing to pull off the impossible. Strangely engaging at times, despite my reservations. Worth a listen: surprisingly he almost pulls it off.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 4

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Hypaball has always been a wiiiide tune to me. The sid sound has a lot of detuning between different voices, and an expansion of the sound during the breaks. This cover tries to capture that expansion with filter sweeps and the SID, but somehow the raw SID has more power. The breakbeat on this one is a 'Doctoring the Tardis' beat, with the same 12/8 shuffle as the original SID. At 1:28 there's a nice break which sounds even vaguely Michael Jacksonesque. Oddly enough, the drums disappear too gradually to be replace by a conga filled break through the triangle wave quiet bit of the original. Well, you can't fault DJ Lizard for variety on this piece. This is a professional sounding cover, and interesting to listen to. Mentally it's very strange that the SID is more powerful to me: kind of overwhelming in a way. This cover fails to capture this, but takes the tune into a left-field arrangement that's interesting, though I'm not sure it would bear repeat listening. There's a more satisying cover for fans of this piece out there in the future, but until then, download this!).
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 4

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Drums and SID on two different paths for the start of the piece, but the piece gets going and surprisingly is actually spacious and even a bit exciting. SID Temple of Apshai, but some added bass, and a mixture of breakbeats and straightforward 80s rhythm. Surprisingly good considering the style and the source material.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 5
Overall: 4

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Oooh, this is a Vangelis feel. Nice echoey piano playing the SID part, and a scintillating synth riff. Pads join in to give a lush feel, and.... At 1:23 a drill kicks in, to lead to a Robert Miles-style backbeat, bass and feel. It's quite harsh in sound, but it's got a lot of presence. There's an outside chance this would work in a club. From 2:09 the tune is joined by some rhythmic beeps which don't work because they clash with the tune. From this point the remix seems to undergo entropy and collapse, until a sudden recovery at 2:40, where is finds its feet again. DJLizard leaps into the hall of fame.
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 3
Overall: 5

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Note to other remixers: if you're going to do SID with piano, this is how to do it: lots of echo, some feel on the piano, and a spaciousness. Some real playing wouldn't go amiss either. DJ has here cleverly managed to turn the tune itself into a riff, and this tune has a definite Enigma feel to it, which is most pleasant to listen to. Some beautiful string accompaniments, a good purposeful bass, great breakbeat to keep the thing humming along. It's understated but beautiful. Amazingly mature cover.
Technical Impression: 5
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 3
Overall: 5

Review by Chris Abbott (23/01/2003)

Ugly intro, with a dry gated synth doesn't make my ass boogie, and the lead that carries the melody is far too high in the mix, and stands out like a sore thumb. After the melody has gone, there's a lot going on which is supposed to be trancey. I'm not sure you'd get a serene trance with this, however: it's hectic and confusing. Maybe after becoming external to a few narcotics and some sleep deprivation you would be able to trance to this: but then, I'm sure it's the same with a lot of 'trance' tracks. Professional sounding, except for odd moments which hurt the ear. Too confusing to be satisfying, but if trance is your thing, this is it, baby.
Technical Impression: 4
Artistic Impression: 5
Nostalgic Impression: 3
Overall: 4

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