Posts Tagged ‘Vurez’

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Mega Man 6 – “Wind Swoop” (arr. Vurez)

August 26, 2010

Here’s another Mega Man piece for you guys by Vurez from his arrange album Intercontinental Contenders (2006). Each of the robot master themes from Mega Man 6 has its own unique ethnic flavor to reflect the country where it came from. Wind Man hails from China where he works in agriculture, but instead of having an Asian theme (which was reserved for Yamato Man), Vurez granted him a much more interesting symphony of lazy gusts of warm wind.

Intercontinental Contenders – “Wind Swoop” (Vurez)

While Wind Man can fire bursts of wind up to 200mph, “Wind Swoop” is a much calmer interpretation, more like a summer’s day in the park, flying a kite – or maybe to be more precise if there was a theme park based on wind. Vurez describes the piece as ‘light rock’ and he uses a wide range of instruments from two kinds of flute, strings, his trademark acoustic guitar, and that sexy saxophone to create a very warm, gusty sound that flows effortlessly from section to section. Vurez combines these instruments together for a glorious aural smörgåsbord, such as the end of the loop at 1:05 where the warm, hearty sound of the sax sax is married with high notes of the flute. This is an incredible song, probably Vurez’s masterpiece in the album, which is not surprising as it was his final entry in the set.

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Ninja Gaiden – “Ryu’s Determination” (Kenji Yamagishi, B.B., Hakase)

May 11, 2010

Ninja Gaiden (1989) for the NES had a pretty cool soundtrack, full of drama and excitement. I’d like to give special focus on “Ryu’s Determination” from the Stage 4-2. Ryu has just climbed out of the Amazon jungle to enter the mines in an evil temple at the top of a tall mountain, so now it’s time to slice some demons.

Ninja Gaiden – “Ryu’s Determination” (Kenji Yamagishi, B.B., Hakase)

The original version had great texture, with a very active, forward-moving melody. It’s definitely one of the more memorable tracks in the game, and can really get the player into a flow state with the action. A skilled player can really master the intense battles of these late-game stages. This version is from the 1989 Ninja Ryukenden -G.S.M. Tecmo 1 album (which also contains the soundtrack to the arcade version). Most of the tracks on the album are “Grade Up” versions with an extra voice added to the Famicom’s normal 3-channel audio, though “Ryu’s Determination” doesn’t seem to have been. These were arranged by Kenji Yamagishi (aka “More Yamasan”). Oh yeah, the NES version had some of the coolest box art ever:

Ninja Gaiden Medley (EpicNES)

One of the best rock arranges out there is from a pretty sweet medley containing (in order) “Danger”, “Ryu’s Determination”, “Reflection”, and “The Ninja Dragon”. The song is a magnificent combination of piano and rock guitars, with transitions between tracks that are unmatched in the smoothness of their transitions. The piece was arranged by EpicNES, a Swedish metal band that does rock medleys of game music. They are currently working on five new medleys at the moment, which means they will probably be coming out with an album pretty soon. Definitely worth a listen.

Most of the tracks on OCR are rave or dance mixes, but Vurez impressed once again with the masterful “Basilisk Run“. I remember first hearing this on VGMix 2.0 and being completely enthralled by the track’s bassy acoustic guitar coupled with the exotic click and low thump of the koto and percussion. I particularly love the guitar solo at 2:20. Vurez’s trumpets also find their way back in. There’s some crazy ninja funk going on at 3:00, which is a bit of a departure from the rest of the track, but it’s still good. The judges at OCR had some fun comments on this track as well, particularly praising its excellent transitions.

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Mega Man 6 – Intercontinental Contenders – “Silver Setting Sun” (Vurez)

February 27, 2010

What’s this? Two tracks by Vurez in two days? No, scratch that – two WESTERN tracks in two days!? Yes, Vurez composed not one, but two western-themed tracks (actually three if you remember “New Mexican Thunderbird“). Vurez seems at his best when he’s using the acoustic guitar – “Silver Setting Sun” simply oozes the American Southwest and the glory of the spaghetti western soundtrack. It is the most western-ish of Vurez’s pieces, and the fine use of western soundtrack staples – acoustic guitar, flute, trumpet, drums, and choral – all converge to create a tour de force of cowboy glory based off the original theme of “Tomahawk Man”, the cowboy-themed robot master from Mega Man 6 (1993).

Mega Man 6 – Intercontinental Contenders – “Silver Setting Sun” (Vurez)

The main loop of “Silver Setting Sun” is 1:19 in length, and there are several imaginative variations on the theme used throughout the track along with plenty of original material. The foundation of the song is a fantastic, deep drum with a steady beat that, again, gives the driving sense of cowboys on horseback. The flute and choral chanting provide a sense of exoticism, while Vurez’s trumpet adds nobility, heroism, and the rugged American male (idealized of course), particularly in the solo beginning at 2:05. Later on in the piece at 3:24, there is a choral solo, which is actually a recording of Vurez singing into the mic. He has a wonderful voice which integrates excellently into the rest of the piece. Finally, at 4:10, there are choral ‘bum bum bum’s (a kind which was later used in “Ride to Demonhead”) which fade the song out into the sunset. (Incidentally, the theme is kind of ironic because Tomahawk Man is modeled after an Indian warrior.)

Mega Man 6 was blessed with being released towards the end of the NES’s lifespan, which means that by this time Capcom’s composers, such as the game’s composer, Yuko Takehara (Mega Man 10, Mega Man X) Read the rest of this entry ?

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Clash at Demonhead – “Ride to Demonhead” (arr. Vurez)

February 26, 2010
Vurez’s rendition of “Ride to Demonhead” from the NES oldie Clash at Demonhead (1990) is a dark, awesome cowboy piece. Vurez packs so much atmosphere and emotion into his pieces that it’s always great to hear new works from him.

Clash at Demonhead – “Ride to Demonhead” (arr. Vurez)
The overall tone of “Ride to Demonhead” is sorrowful, morose, and gruelingly serious. There’s fantastic whistling, Vurez’s trademark acoustic guitars, and a chorus of ‘bum bum bum’s to get you on the trail. You can almost hear the wind howling and picture dagger-like wind blowing gray dust up the treacherous haunted path as a posse rides hot on the tail of the outlaw (or more likely as Billy “Big Bang” Blitz, the intrepid hero of the game, slogs his way to the crest – actually, I was a little surprised at how much detail was put into the plot of what is essentially just an average adventure game).
The song takes a detour at about 1:35 with some original and inspired material before returning to the main theme again at around 3:00. There’s some nice dark material here as well as a wonderful spaghetti western trumpet solo at 1:50 followed by a combination whistling and acoustic guitar playing a variation on the theme at 2:09 and some nice baritone choral support at 2:25. The church bells emphasize the gothic nature of the track. When the main theme kicks back in, it is highly stylized, with more acoustic guitars spinning like tumbleweeds. Throughout the entire piece is a nice, driving beat that characterizes much cowboy music – the sense of riding onward on a mission. Definitely made of cool.
Clash at Demonhead is a pretty bizarre game by Vic Tokai. Sadly, there doesn’t appear to be any credits anywhere, so I don’t know who the original composer was. The original version of the song is fairly catchy, which is probably why Vurez decided to mix it. However, I don’t think it’s got the kind of atmosphere he put into this piece. Talk about love. Anyway, you can check the original music in context here, starting about 3:00.
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Blood on the Asphalt – “New Mexican Thunderbird” (Vurez)

January 23, 2010

Vurez has done some pretty great remixes of vgm, especially his Mega Man 6 remix series. However, one of my favorites of his is “New Mexican Thunderbird” from Blood on the Asphalt (2006) which remixed music from Super Street Fighter II and was later used in Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD. (Yes, Capcom’s titles for this series go beyond the point of absurdity.)

Blood on the Asphalt – “New Mexican Thunderbird” (Vurez)

Vurez is good at picking instruments that match the ethnic and local quality of a theme. “New Mexican Thunderbird” is the theme of Thunder Hawk, a member of the fictional Thunderfoot clan from the Southwest. Vurez is able to capture the feel of a dusty marketplace in the Southwest where local fighters gather to spar and train and where one’s reputation is based on ability gained through hard work. Thunder Hawk emerges as a local hero who can be counted on and praised and the over-the-top music gives a sense of that kind of fortitude and masculine hero-worship and a sense of nostalgia for a lost warrior past. The wonderfully cheesy trumpet and chanting warriors gives a sense of color and breath of life to Yoko Shimomura’s original tune that is simply lost for me with most of the other characters’ themes. Not that the others didn’t try, as Shael Riley, the album’s lead arranger, states:

The arrangements contained herein have been designed to be evocative of dark, pseudo-romanticized urban imagery: abandoned playgrounds and crowded street markets; back-alley block parties and hole-in-the-wall bar dives, scenes that are, I hope, befitting of a tribute to one of the most iconic games in arcade history.

For me, Vurez is the clear winner. You can expect nothing less from the guy who singlehandedly remixed all the robot master themes from Mega Man 6.

Note that for the Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD soundtrack, there is a deathmatch version of each song that plays when the character is low on HP and becomes tougher. While most of the other artists simply created shorter and simpler versions of their tracks, Vurez gave his quite a bit more variation, making it a unique piece in the soundtrack.