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Turrican Intro Speech (nuff said mix) - arranged by FTC

Review by Chris Abbott, 23/01/2003

Nice echoes and use of the Turrican speech, along with the growling bassline and great ambience makes this a good cover. There are suspicious similarities to Infodroid here though in places, confirming FTCs pet hates and likes It's a great MP3, and.. revelation coming... FTC sounds like Vince Clark (Erasure)! Recommended.
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Way of the Exploding Fist - arranged by FTC

Review by Chris Abbott, 23/01/2003

Hmmm. The lead here sounds a lot flatter than some of FTC's current work, and the trademark delay-large sound doesn't quite work with what is quite an intimate tune. This tune is for fields, outdoors, temples and stuff. It doesn't quite lend itself to large indoor spaces. Some surprising string pads start off nice, but clash quite badly with the tune, and the tune starts to sound painfully messy, especially when odd synth riffs come in. Worth the download, but could have been so much better.
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Bad Cat 99 - arranged by Frank Veeltmann offline

Review by Chris Abbott, 23/01/2003

Muffled and unsatisfying, this cover sounds like all that's worst in the 80s. There are some mood-suiting vocals and 80s percussion, but in general this piece leaves no stone turned in its quest for a quality 80s sound. Not good. And attempts to frighten me with samples of news broadcasts threatening Martian Attack won't work you know! .
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BMX Kidz 99 - arranged by Frank Veeltmann offline

Review by Chris Abbott, 23/01/2003

First thoughts: it's the BMX Kidz sid with souped-up percussion. Not bad as far as it goes, but the rest of the instruments doing the reproduction work just aren't up to the job. 100% faithful to the SID, but for a ground-breaking piece like BMX Kidz, a few 80s percussion samples, a slightly improved rhythm section and slightly different instruments don't cut it. I guess it's unobjectionable if you like the original, though. Earth-unshattering, but at least it doesn't ruin the original.
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Katakis medley 2000 - arranged by g2sonics

Review by Chris Abbott, 23/01/2003

Sophisticated chord pads and bell trees, along with ominous percussion give a professional sounding start. When the tune proper starts at 1:35, the yawns set in. I'm not sure whether this is because the original piece doesn't set my ass on fire (it doesn't), but the cover is lacklustre. Simple drum beat, simple bass from the SID, static chord pads, and a weird plinky lead. Colour me unstunned. Uninspiring but competant.
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The Great Giana Sisters - arranged by Geir Ola Brandal offline

Review by Chris Abbott, 23/01/2003

A cover of Great Giana sisters has much competition. Instant Remedy's version, Chris Huelsbeck's version, Tom Novy's version, and more. How does this one fare? Not well. No ambience, it doesn't capture the ethereal mysteriousness of the title tune: that echo Chris puts in the original to convey a mysterious sense of landscape that contrasted with the cheerful 2Dness of Mario. Somehow the music made Giana a much bigger feeling game than Mario, though this was an illusion. This cover adds some dry drums to the mix, and a 'news at ten' single note backing, but nothing much else.
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Boulder Dash (Trash Mix) - arranged by David Filskov

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.
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Comic Bakery (rearranged) - arranged by David Filskov

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.
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Firelord - arranged by David Filskov

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.
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One Man and His Droid - arranged by David Filskov

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.
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Chordian - arranged by Marcus Hoffrén offline

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.
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Bubble Bobble (Hillbilly Rodeo mix) - arranged by DJ Pretzel

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.
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IK+ (Nokia mix) - arranged by DJ Subslash

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.
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Giana Sisters Danceons - arranged by Hiryu offline

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.
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Lazy Jones (C-64 Remix) - arranged by DJ Tobi offline

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.
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Lazy Jones (DJ Tobi Remix) - arranged by DJ Tobi offline

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.
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Lazy Jones 2001 Deluxe - arranged by DJ Tobi offline

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? .
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Test Drive - arranged by DJ Tobi offline

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.
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The Goonies - arranged by DJ Tobi offline

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! .
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Skate or Die - arranged by DJB

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.
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Boulderdash - arranged by DjLizard offline

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.
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Bubble Bobble (sadness mix) - arranged by DjLizard offline

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.
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Chilly Willy (Dallas theme cover) - arranged by DjLizard offline

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.
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Ultima V Greyson's Tale (c128) - arranged by Eric Pochesci offline

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.
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Noisy Pillars - arranged by Fash

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.
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Lazy Jones - arranged by DJ Tobi offline

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.
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Hypa-ball - arranged by DjLizard offline

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.
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International Karate - arranged by DjLizard

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.
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Krakout (Fucough mix) - arranged by DjLizard offline

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.
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Temple of Apshai (drum and bass) - arranged by DjLizard offline

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.
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