Obscuresounds - Arkanoid (nostalgique remake)

Track info
Arranged by:
Original SID:
Original composed by:
Martin Galway
All-Time charts position:
I would like to send a huge thank you for all of your kind comments! I definetly agree with what has already been said, so please continue to give as much input as possible, as it all gives me some much needed ideas for future projects. If there is any continued interest with this track, then I'll continue to release some more 64/Amiga covers or remixes over the coming months.

This particular track was initially created to briefly test out the 'midiboxSID' (which is basically a DIY instrument that uses the SID chip), but as I added more and more to it I decided that it might be worth publically releasing. I remember playing Arkanoid as an infant, so after listening to it recently I decided it was time to try out the midibox!

As already pointed out by a few of you, my main line of worry centered around the limitations of the original track. Martin Galway's music is short, repepative but very catchy, which proved to be difficult to convert in to a track which would keep the listener interested from start to end. This might explain why the end track might appear unfinished to some. Originally, I wanted to include lyrics, but sadly time, and mic resources were limited, so I chose to write this as a background piece until I had the time to add proper lyrics.

The ultimate idea for this track was to ensure two things:

1. To create a track which retained the 80's feel, which I've grown to love in recent months (a sort of kitche attitude, but adding modern elements!)
2. Maintaining some aspects of the 'SID sound'.

The 'analogue feel' that some of you rightly pointed out is mainly due to the fact that I used a lot of vintage equipment from the 70's and 80's! In a moment I'll outline some of the production/instrument techniques for those that are interested! My influences range from Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, to New Order.

Suffice to say, there's a lot of experimentation, which took a lot of time and effort to get right, but I feel the results are worth it!

Ok, this is where we start to talk about the instruments! As already stated, I tried to ensure that all of the equipment was used in a way which would keep the listener interested... this involved adding new elements, or changing things as I went along. The break in the middle was crucial for breaking up the initial melody, but in some ways I wish I could improve it slightly!

Anyway, here we go...

Rhodes Chroma {00:00 - 00:10} (binary noise)
This machine was release the year I was born! Sadly this polyphonic monster is quite something to program! Oddly enough the sound you hear at the start is actually the keyboards 'loading function', which uses binary sound on cassette tapes to transfer data (like the ZX Spectrum). Each 'dip' in the sound is a seperate patch.

MidiboxSID {00:10 - END} (beats, phased pad, blips)
Ahh, great little project this one! Think of this as a controller for the SID Chip... its not too difficult to build, and gives you a versatile instrument for less than £100! Most of the bleeps and blips you hear are elements played through the midibox. I also used it for the phased pad near the start.

Octave CAT {00:10 - END} (bassline)
The bassline is all thanks to this machine. A highly underrated mono-synth which actually has as much power as the ARP 2600 in some respects. This is mainly due to the 2060 filter chip on board.

ARP Solina {00:30 - END} (strings)
You can just about hear the strings in this track, but it adds a certain charm that I like! The ARP Solina is featured in so much music today, but mainly as a backing tool.

Mellotron {00:30 - END} (choir)
No 80's music is complete without the use of a mellotron choir sound! I used this on various segments of this track, and added a little processing to make sure that it came across with the right feeling. Add a slight detune and you're already half way there! Without the choir, the track loses a certain warm feeling.

Roland SVC-350 Vocoder {00:51 & 02:13 - END} (main melody)
This is where you may be shocked... the main melody for this track is actually my voice. I'm humming in to the vocoder, but using the Ensoniq ESQ-1 as a carrier for my voice. What this means is that the vocoder captures the intonations of my voice, but all of the chords/notes are controlled by the Ensoniqs sound. It creates a very etheral sound, whch is mainly down the the vocoders chorus function.

Ensoniq ESQ-1 {00:51 & 02:13 - END} (main melody, pads)
As explained above, I mainly used this as a carrier for the vocoder. This device is a definate must for any SID fans, as the engineer who designed the SID chip for the C64 went on to work for Ensoniq and produced this little baby! The ESQ-1 basically has more wavetables, but retains the basic ones used in the C64. On top of this... it uses an analogue filter

ARP 2600 {02:13 - END} (guitar sound, bass)
The ARP 2600 is probably the most sought after vintage instrument for electronic music. It's a mean monster! I used this to create the grungy guitar sound that you hear towards the end (although I did some time stretching). I also added a simple sine-wave for the sub-bass element alongside the Octave CAT.

Korg MS-20 {various VARIOUS} (white noise)
What a lovely little machine. The filter is once again at work here... using a combination of its 2-mode filter, and the whitenoise gives this a lovely washy feel over certain parts of the track.
Nice analogue instrument feel which keeps the flow of the SID intact very nicely. Quite organic too. And subtle use of SID like sounds which blend in nicely. Might get repetitive, but you have to love the effort put in. Nice one.
There's no focus point. This needs a vocal lead performance, it's a backing track. A very good backing track.
Sweet. Sweet, sweet, sweet. Almost totally sweet.
I _really_ like this! Not flawless, but a fresh take on Arkanoid imo, and good use of the SID. Nice one!
Never been a fan of the original sid but this is enjoyable.
There have been many Arkanoid remixes and this is definately one of the good ones - top marks but seems unfinished somehow.
Very nice remix.... I like where all the sounds sit in the mix. There are many Arkanoid remixes, but this is only one of few that I consider great remixes. Good Job.
Great job in doing something new with Arkanoid but I think it has it flaws and therefor only a Yellow bastard!
Personally I don't like the added chords and harmonies. The sounds I like very much.
Oh no, not another bleedin' Arkanoid... Oh, wait, this one is excellent! And bonus marks for using the vocoder in a non-annoying way!
Excellent remix! That SID sound is making it perfect! You are added to my best remix playlist :)
Gets an orange face for having the original sid noise in there, it sounds really nice too and I like the beat. Great stuff.
Is it just me or does it slightly remind me of early John Carpenter stuff a la 'Assault on Precinct 13'? It's definitely a good one.
Its awesome, I love arkanoid for years, and this track is really the best interpretation
Good stuff - it lacks something though....
Damn, this rules! Listen up: IT RULES! Totally! ... And its flawless! :O)
Nice one. It makes me whistle *g*
The sid sounds work bloody well with the new ones, very nice.
Some very nice ideas, quite unfinished. The ending is quite bad.
Nice surprise at 0:46 (repeated later several times)! Good case study of what you can do with the Arkanoid title tune.
The arpeggios sound out of place, I would replace them with chords. The analogue feeling is great, the arrangement has a very good flow to it. One of the best Arkanoid remixes so far.
Love the sounds at 0:51. Can listen to this one over and over.
The best remix of arkanoid for sure. People say something is missing but I would blame that on the original sid and not the remix. Really really good stuff.
One of my favourite Arkanoid mixes - great drums.

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