Jeff's online journal, ramblings, whatever.

Randomness, and Remixing

This has been a weird week. For starters, my car finally died. It’s had transmission problems for nearly a year now, and it’s been in and out of the shop, but now it will barely even move. Well, actually, now it won’t move at all, because the engine won’t even start, so now it’s sitting on the curb in front of the apartment complex and likely will be for quite some time until I figure out how and where it’ll be moved. For now, I am driving my grandmother’s car, since she isn’t using it anymore. The ultimate goal is to somehow purchase it, but I certainly don’t have the money to go shopping at the moment, let alone pay for a car.

As a result of the car situation, I’ve missed a lot of classes this week, including the one film lecture I’ve been really excited to attend: that of the function of sound and music in movies. I think I may fail this film class. I would have dropped out long ago, but I decided to drop it about three days after the drop deadline. Since then I’ve been trying to keep caught up, but my heart hasn’t been in it. And we all know the capacity I have of following up on projects when my heart isn’t in them. This type of thing is what spoiled my last semester at BYU-I, when I failed a Spanish Lit class (which, fortunately, didn’t end up on my transcript when I transferred to Provo). Of course, if I fail this class it will definitely show up on my transcript and probably cause me to lose my Pell Grant. Thus, I am screwed unless a miracle occurs.

We’ve had over 1,000 cans of food in our living room for about three weeks now. It was originally part of a service project that our ward was conducting: collect cans, the guys vs. the girls. The guys won with the girls collecting only around 500 or so. But in another sense the girls won, because they turned their cans in on time to the BYU charity that was hosting a food bank (itself a competition against the University of Utah), whereas the guys’ cans sat in our living room for weeks, blocking any attempts by us to have a place in which to entertain guests, watch TV, do homework, or the other sorts of things done in a living room. Finally I got so fed up with it that I just started hauling them out to my grandmother’s car (mine was broken!) to drop them off at Smith’s, which acts as a Utah Food Bank drop-off point. I loaded probably about a good third of them before Steve finally got some others to help, and consequently I am in a lot of pain right now, since I’m not used to heavy lifting. But we finally have a workable living room again, and that’s all that matters. Well, and the homeless now have seven more grocery carts completely filled with cans to eat this holiday season. I guess that part’s important too.

On a happier note, I found out that this album got released: Project Chaos Project Chaos, a Sonic 3/Sonic and Knuckles Remix project (click on the picture for a link). The Sonic the Hedgehog series from the Sega Genesis has some of the best old-school music I’ve ever known. For a fast-paced sidescroller, it’s got some amazingly poignant tunes. The very first level in the very first game, the Green Hill Zone, somehow makes my heart melt. I don’t know why, really. It’s not anything nostalgic, really: I didn’t really get into the Sonic series until I was almost out of high school, and I can clearly remember that it’s had the same effect on me since then. Sonic 3/Sonic and Knuckles had some of the series’ best tunes, and hearing them remixed so the melodies can transcend the hardware on which they were originally composed is a great treat. That’s the reason I love the remixing movement so much: it takes some amazing tunes that people don’t appreciate due to the horrible limitations of old hardware, and redoes them in a way to help them appear in their full potency. Admittedly, it is true that many remixers do not do the tunes justice, and that many video game tunes don’t sound very good no matter how they’re remixed, but when a good tune is paired with an excellent remixer, the results can be astounding. I can’t tell you, the reader, which ones you will like the best, as many of the ones I like are admittedly influenced by nostalgia (though Sonic does not fall into that category), but check out the website I linked to earlier and see if you can’t find some amazing pieces of work to add to your collection.

Video game music comprises some of my earliest and most influential musical experiences in my childhood. In fact, it is due to such games as Pitfall II, Pogo Man, Necromancer , Ball Blaster, and even Snafu that I wanted to be a composer in the first place. (Note: I apologize for the poor quality of those MIDIs I linked to. On the original machines they sounded much better.) In fact, Necromancer inspired me to do a remix of my own a couple of years back.

Anyway, I had more to say, but in search of those MIDI files I got distracted and started reading web sites with old video game reviews. Consequently, now that I’ve returned to writing this blog, I’ve now forgotten what I was going to say. Maybe it’ll come to me in the future, but for now I will sign off.

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