"Primal Clayface"

Batman: Arkham City (PS3) Thumbnail
Batman: Arkham City (PS3)Composer: Ron Fish
2017-01-01
American Pixels
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* Note: this track is not available for free download due to the fact that it is part of the licensed American Pixels album. The project is available through Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Deezer, and Amazon.

I'll start off by saying that this is probably the most surprising—and possibly the most difficult to pull off—remix on the album.

That said, here's the story. Let's start with the composer, Ron Fish. I saw his name on the God of War soundtracks, and instantly took a liking to his work. His use of unusual time signatures, incorporation of ethnic instruments, and general ability to instantly establish a mood with his music was most impressive.

So, he's a new honoree, and as I do, I reached out to see if he had any particular favorite compositions that he was proud of, etc. I led with a proposal to arrange one of the Pandoran Cyclops battle themes from the first God of War soundtrack, but he quickly countered with something else. Apparently, there was a new game he was working on, which hadn't been released yet. A little game called "Batman: Arkham City." And within that game, I'd find a track that had something to do with a Clayface battle... that when found, would be his choice as a worthy composition of note.

So, time passes. The game is released. I buy the game. I play it, the whole time keeping an eye out for this Clayface character. Lo and behold... he's the LAST BOSS!!! So it took some time to get that far, heh. And as to the music... dang! Complex, dark orchestral, ever-changing time signatures, atonal, and just... difficult. See what I'm talking about by comparing to the original via the above player.

Needless to say, it took some time to wrap my head around how I was going to electronically arrange a theme that had such an unusual form. And then I thought... form. Fellow tracker Hunz experimented with some tunes in the tracker days that were deliberate plays on messing with form. His track "Volume" is an iconic example. So I pulled it up, gave it a listen, and that sparked an idea. This could be a stylistic homage to Hunz, in which I take ideas and samples from Volume and other Hunz tracks, and tie them together to make the remix. Ultimately I used sounds from the following works by the guy:

Then I brought in some Mazedude sounds, and even some oddball Sri Lankan samples from a collection I'd never used before, and... voila. Abstract, electronic, but still kickass. Despite the ever-changing meter, there's still a groove, you can still bob your head to it, and yet, I paid incredibly attention to detail to ensure that it matches the original as close as humanly possible.

In fact, I invite you to compare to the original, and listen to the remix. Listen carefully.

What's the end result? Well, it's not a catchy remix of a famous title theme, it's not necessarily something you walk away humming... but darn it if this isn't an impressive tackling of a very specific special request, in which the composer will be honored just as they desired. The hard work spelled out above is for you, composer Ron Fish. Welcome to American Pixels.

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