Sunday, May 15, 2011

Song of the Week 36.5: 'Swingin' With Death' by Nase (redo)

.5 SotW's have returned! So, this is a remake of Met's Song of the Week 13-which could hardly be considered much of a "review" (mainly because I was nonexistent on this blog back then). This song is Nase's debut remix: 'Swingin' With Death' from the game Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance. Without further delay, let's get to the remix.

The song starts out with a cymbal roll and an orchestral sequence. It mainly consists of strings increasing in volume and pitch, making a pretty epic sounding intro. The brass section here can be heard making numerous buildups until one of the instruments, a french horn I believe, has a very small solo at 0:10. After the french horn plays there's a minor buildup at 0:13, and then a new section begins. This next part of the song has now flipped genres-going from what appears to be a powerful, orchestral piece of music to a funky swing. Here the piano now controls the melody, jazzing up the entire track. The percussion is now displaying your basic swing beat, and the bass plays a tune of its own while backing up the piano. At 0:24 the piano drops and is replaced by the trumpet (which is apparently a brass sample). I figured it was just a sample since it doesn't really sound like a real trumpet. At 0:33 the piano comes back in with a funky trill and continues the jazzy melody that has been going on so far. There's a little more piano here, for a lower octave will come in occasionally to back it up. At 0:42 the brass will come to buildup the song even more. After the brass comes in the melody switches instruments again, and the piano is now replaced by a flute. I like the fact that there's a good variety of instrumentation used throughout the song. At 0:49 the brass will come back in to buildup the song alongside the flute, mainly to add a little more beef I think. At 0:54 a different section starts to be played. The piano has the melody again, although this time the rhythm is a little more straight than the jazz ensemble previously heard. The percussion now has the addition of a cowbell, which is pretty cool. The brass play more buildups while the melody is being played. At 1:04 the melody switches again to the brass-mainly the trumpet. At 1:12 the piano comes in to help transition the song again. At 1:14 there are really only two main instruments being played here: the percussion and the clav (which has the melody). The clav here plays a funky tune while low brass back it up occasionally. At roughly 1:24 the clav is going wild in its soli (pretty cool stuff here). At 1:32 the soli stops with the bass and the clav doing a two-part soli which transitions the song again into a new section. At 1:36 the first melody is repeated (the one from 0:13). Instead of the piano playing the melody though, the clav, one octave higher, plays it. The piano instead plays some chords backing everything up. At 1:46 the melody switches not to the piano, but to the bass. Yes, bass solo time! The bass already sounded pretty sweet when it was playing its "normal" role, but now it's playing a crazy, jazzy melody that rampages through this section. At 1:56 the bass goes back to what it was previously doing, and the melody now is played by a smooth synth. At 2:06 another section is repeated; this time it's the section from 1:04. Instead of the trumpet this time, it's more of a low brass instrument (most likely trombone) that plays the melody here. At 2:13 the trumpet joins in and now harmonizes with the trombone. The clav also joins in occasionally to play a note or two. 2:24 sounds pretty interesting; everything became muffled, gritty, and intentionally messed up (in a good way). At 2:31 the song cools down a lot by having the percussion leave and a high synth play the melody. There are a lot of synth buildups while this is going on, as well as piano playing a couple chords. After 2:41, the song echoes and then slowly dies away.

Pros: The song was fun and upbeat. It always kept that swing beat, never stopping or remotely slowing down. The bass was absolutely awesome here, I love the fact that it served as melody, harmony, as well as the bass. The variety of instruments used here was great considering how short the song was. The clav dominated section from 1:14 to 1:32 was pretty awesome as well.

Cons: It was perhaps a little too short; this has to be one of the shortest songs I've reviewed so far. Also, I thought that the brass samples could have sounded more...realistic? I know they were samples that were used very well throughout the piece, but I'm not really in favor of them.

Overall: This is a short, catchy, swing that probably make people appreciate jazz a little more. I'm neutral when it comes to jazz; I neither like it nor dislike it. This song is pretty fun to listen to though, so people should take three minutes of their time to hear it.

Rating: 8/10

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