Back In Time 2 - CD Review

Chris Abbott plus various artists
Published By: High Technology Publishing
Price: £4.99

While back in time pushed the 64 music to new levels, we take a look at Bit 2 and see if Chris Abbott and fellow artists have pushed it even further. Again there are 15 tracks on this CD, which lasts for 74 mins. So how much did Chris learn from his experience with bit 1, and how well has bit2 been implemented. Well let's have a run down, and see exactly what has been done to bit2.
Back In Time 2 CD

Track 1 - Aztec Challenge (Paul Norman) - Peter Connelly

An Orchestral soundtrack with a mix of thumping basslines and quieter sub sections has made this a remarkably atmospheric tune that suited the game perfectly. Peter has realised the potential of this track and brought it forward with great imagination. Starting with jungle style drums and a pumping bassline this track soon adds pipes and strings. This already atmospheric tune has been massively improved by some clever sterio and added sound fx. What really makes this tune stand out is the shear imagination of the arranger bringing a new orchestral feel and a well managed piece in the true style of the ancients. A fantastic combination of jungle style drums and hard hitting basslines with soft pipes and strings making this an highly polished piece that sustains interest throughout.

Track Rating: 9

Track2 - Galway Is God (Martin Galway) - Jogier Liljedahl.

Two fantastic Galway Tracks have been merged into one. This cover was taken from an early XM and modified bringing a new improved score. The track starts with the Rambo loading theme and then later changes to Green Beret. The attention to detail on this track is truly remarkable, covering everything from the Morse code beginning to near perfect re-construction of instruments and the hollowness that was Galway. The two tracks have been mixed brilliantly almost to the point where you could indeed miss the join and you could be forgiven into believing it is the same track. While the Rambo section is a near copy of the original the Green Beret section has been modified slightly adding extra touches that really gives the tune that extra addictablility. Two brilliant covers in one and the results are a fine honour to Galway himself. Excellent.

Track Rating: 9

Track 3 - Warhawk (Rob Hubbard) - Chris Abbott.

What a game and what a soundtrack… With this cover Chris has re-created the warbled lead instrument exceptionally well while adding even more of a haunting and chilling sound to the lead. A little smoother than the original and almost Jarre esque in style, this cover is very spacey and holds a strange tranquillity while keeping fast paced and rocky. While it has been given the Jarre treatment it doesn't detract from the original charm… The drums on this maybe a little weak and the bassline maybe not quite powerful enough, but this isn't really that much of an issue when listening to what has been achieved in this excellent cover. All in all, a chilling and mysterious cover with some really clever touches.

Track Rating: 8

Track 4 - Roland's Rat Race (Martin Galway) - Jogier Liljedahl.

Jogier has again gone for accuracy in re-creating the perfect instruments. While this was successful with the Galway is God venture. I' not so sure that this style was really the right way to go with the cover. At times sounding a little lifeless, special note must be made to the synthetic guitar sound, which is exceptionally well dealt with. This was a Galway early piece that hadn't yet discovered some of the clever techniques that we all associate with Galway. So it seems that Jogier has kept with the true feeling of the sid. This is a good and bad thing in the respect of it keeping faithful. While it does indeed keep in touch with the original sid is really fails to impress or bring the tune into the modern age. Still these faults aside it's not a bad cover.

Track Rating: 7

Track 5 - Batman The Caped Crusader (Fred Gray) - Fred Gray/Chris Abbott

While never really has this tune been seen as a masterpiece, these two musicians have certainly made it one. With its 60's retro funk guitar and organ backing with brass style lead creates what Batman maybe should have sounded like in the first place. It's a complex piece that has been perfectly envisaged and painstakingly brought into a new dimension amazingly well and realistically balanced and executed in exactly the style the tune desired.

Track Rating: 9

Track 6 - Terra Cresta (Galway) - Jogier Liljedahl

Again Jogier has gone for near perfect instruments… But this time he has added more atmosphere with more diversity. Jogier has masterfully re-created a tune that isn't an easy piece to get right. Jogier has got it bang on and adds more atmosphere to the piece with some nice additional touches along the way. This track has been slowed down slightly but this only adds to an already highly atmospheric tune. Jogier has produced the goods yet again creating possibly the most complete and well-executed version of this outstanding cover that I have heard. Inspirational and highly professional cover that will hold a place in the minds of Galway fans everywhere.

Track Rating: 9

Track 7 - Scarabaeus (Andromeda) - Darren Izzard

Another one of games that you may never have took the musical score too passionately. Darren Izzard has really created something out of nothing and has given us a chilling atmospheric cover that brings life into a tune that was never really anything worth talking about. Amazingly Darren has skilfully arranged this piece to create a tune that merits a worthy place on the Bit 2 CD. This may not grab you the first time you play it, but after a few plays you'll soon be grabbed by its complexity and diversity. Quite incredibly managed and arranged creating something of which I wouldn't have thought possible. An unbelievable arrangement where credit surely is deserved.

Track Rating: 9

Track 8 - Rydeen (Daley Thompson's Decathlon loading tune) - (Galway - Credited to Yukihiro Takahashi) - Chris Abbott and Warren Pilkington.

If you have listened to the sid then you will have discovered how well this tune has been covered. The sid itself is very basic. It was the first piece of music to be commissioned from the now famous Martin Galway. Chris and Warren have given this a sort of Euro-pop feel and they have totally re-worked the tune creating a highly addictive tune. However the main lead can be a little screechy and hard on the ears. There are some nice touches in the background the sort of Wooden Xylophone towards the end with a deep and fast paced bassline. The background indeed is very slick and professional it's just a pity that the main lead is so harsh on the ears. All said and done a remarkably well covered piece that impresses sufficiently to warrant a high enough mark.

Track Rating: 8

Track 9 - Ghosts and Goblins (Mark Cooksey) - Mark Cooksey

The Famous Haunting melody for Ghosts and Goblins re-worked by Mark himself. So you'd expect something quite special wouldn't you. Well that is exactly true with this rendition of Ghosts and Goblins. There have been quite a few changes to the soundtrack here within the melody and more noticeable to the background, while it still remains true to the original. There are some really nice touches such as bells, pipes and thunderclaps with a stirring wind effect creating a chilling piece of music. To add to this Mark has employed some terrific drums. That bassline still remains and yes thank god it does. Along the way you'll hear a harpsichord that really creates a sense of unrest and foreboding. The tune finishes extremely well with a catalogue of drums and hard hitting notes while fading into a harpsichord, finishing with more wind and thunderclaps… A stirring and deeply intense tune that for me is as perfect as you are going to get.

Track Rating: 10

Track 10 - Ivory Tower/Helicopter Jag'd (Galway. - Credited to Doldinger/moroder) - Jogier Liljedahl

Jogier in a slight change of style creates this cover using instruments that are not as faithful to the original as in previous work found earlier on the CD. However in typical Jogier style he keeps the melody close to the original. This brings an added depth to a highly addictive tune. A prominent piano background plays throughout with a strong baseline. This time the drums have essentially been improved. A very Balanced and smooth cover with a few extra touches every now and then, creating yet another phenomenal cover from Jogier Liljedahl.

Track Rating: 9

Track 11 - Forbidden Forest - (Paul Norman) - Peter Connelly

The highlight of the CD is the magically delightful version of Forbidden Forest. Starting off with a snippet of sid.. I hadn't realised what was about to happen.. Firstly a feeling of deep disappointment. However after just a couple of second of sid the tune suddenly broke into possibly one of the best covers of anything I have ever heard. Orchestrally put together with precision, detail and more than a hint of adventure. It has both soft and harder sections that make a real impression. From Strings to strong cymbals..This really does make a true classical experience of more than anything I have yet to witness. Amazing wouldn't do just to this cover… It's sensational

Track Rating: 10

Track 12 - Wizball 2000 - (Martin Galway) - Gareth Dolloway aka Tonka.

Certainly one of the most original games ever made and possibly the best collection of Galway tunes ever. Tonka's rendition with extra Danceability adds a nightclub feeling to an exceptional cover. It's a foot-tapper all the way. Contains a 4 to the floor beat with extra soundfx from the game. Later however towards the end it all calms down a notch creating a dreamlike cinematic piece. That gives away to the impression of trudging through an Arabic desert and just spotting in the distance maybe a waterhole. This segment gives you lift and fills you with hope. An excellent combination of dance and tranquillity that for me sounds just brilliant.

Track Rating 10

Track 13 - Driller - (Matt Gray) - Darren Izzard

An epic lasting just over eight and a half mins, this track is ambient and cinematic. This is very Jarre like which also ads a slight industrial feel. While the repetitive nature of the song isn't going to appeal to some, it is a very imaginative and well arranged cover by Darren. The tune does speed up and become more intense towards the six-minute mark, which does give the tune much needed variety. A space-like version of Driller with prominent baselines and powerful drums. While this cover isn't going to excite everyone it is indeed a well-planned and successfully mastered piece.

Track Rating: 9

Thalamusik 2000 (Robb Hubbard) - Chris Abbott

Thalamusic was a re-arrangement by Rob Hubbard of the Classic Sanxion, commissioned by Zzap 64!. However the quality of the recording was a little poor, probably due to the fact that it wasn't recorded within studio conditions, and if memory serves me right it was recorded with a friend in his Garage. Chris's cover remains pretty much faithful to the cover tape. Possibly this tune is a little darker and smoother than the original. Various synth instruments have been employed on this and the darker side of this cover comes from the haunting almost chant-like background synth, which plays throughout. While this cover offers little more than the original it's still an exceptional cover. Fan's of the music won't been disappointed with the arrangement. However it left me feeling that more could have been done to liven up this cover.

Track Rating: 8

Track 15 - Comic Bakery (Martin Galway) - Thomas Danko

First half sid like accuracy with a techno background and prominent drums and baselines, second half total remix which moves from accuracy to a more techno approach. The first part is very clever in mixing sid with techno, while this second part goes on and on and on. Thus this tune finishes on a repetitive nature that fails to impress. It would be fine being played in a club, but for a true listening experience it just doesn't live up and soon becomes boring. Although this cover isn't bad it neither brings the tune forward or provides a true dance treat.

Track Rating: 7

This is a massive improvement on Bit 1 with more of the exceptional and less of the good. While Bit 1 was a terrific CD, this takes it one step further. The downside is that some of the tracks maybe a little weaker.. The upside is that most tracks are definitely stronger and more creative. As a whole the CD is quite an achievement and if you're a Galway Fan then you are in for a treat. Highly recommended wining a SILVER SEAL OF APPROVAL. Now where have I put that CD…? I must listen to it again..

CD RATING: 8.5 / 10

Remix64 Silver Seal Of Approval
Review by Neil Carr