Bob-omb Battlefield

July 3, 2008 10:19 AM

An arrangement of a Super Mario 64 song that I made with my friend Matt. Instrumental, two acoustic guitars.

Performed, believe it or not, for a jazz jury back in college. Ridiculous coda included.

This is my first music post with my new recording setup (what's yours?), so comments on the audio quality are especially appreciated. Balance was the biggest issue, since one of us is fingerpicking and the other isn't.

posted by danb (20 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

omg love

The balance is actually pretty good. Lead is nice and clear throughout, and the timbre on the two guitars is different enough that they don't seem to muddle together at all (which is one of the biggest challenges I have when I record multiple acoustic guitar tracks together in the same piece).

My only complaint is that a little bit of left-right stereo separation between the two parts would have made it pop even more. Was this both of you playing to one mic in the same room, or is it two mics with a mono (or close-to-mono? I can't quite convince myself) mix? The room itself sounds lively, which I like and which may be part of what's making it hard for me to call it out as straight mono.

I've had the main theme to Super Mario Brothers 2 stuck in my head for about six months now. I might have to sit down and try to knock out a recording now. In fact, I smell a theme challenge.
posted by cortex at 10:55 AM on July 3, 2008

NICE! And funky, too!

[Flashing back to when my son was around 5, and we'd just finished all of the Spyro games and were borrowing a friend's N64. I had also been thinking of that N64 because the James Bond theme in my mind is inextricably linked now with the GoldenEye 007 theme music, and it's blocking me from thinking clearly about the James Bond theme for this month's challenge.]

posted by not_on_display at 11:10 AM on July 3, 2008

Wow. That is a great rendition. Very clean, but it also has that spur-of-the-moment-hey-look-at-what-we-came-up-with effect. I also thought the percussion that comes in briefly was sweet.
posted by Corduroy at 11:34 AM on July 3, 2008

Hey, glad you guys enjoyed it!

Yeah, both of us played into one mic (the only one I have). I, the fingerpicker, sat a bit closer to try to offset the volume difference.

The liveliness of the room is largely thanks to Logic's reverb presets -- this one was "small studio." I have another recording from the same session for which I used "large studio"; maybe I'll put that up later.

As for the theme challenge idea: as a guy who does harmonic analysis of game music in his spare time (self-promo: see Cruise Elroy link in profile), I would be so down for that oh god yes.
posted by danb at 1:21 PM on July 3, 2008

This makes me so f'ing cheerful. I feel like Mario music will be the music that we listen to when we are in our old folks homes tended to by carebots. Sometimes my band will break into the "grassland" map theme from Mario 3. Its just a good jam.
posted by dobie at 2:56 PM on July 3, 2008

Put a big smile on my face.
posted by tomcooke at 3:08 PM on July 3, 2008

Nice pickin' there
posted by ageispolis at 3:45 PM on July 3, 2008

posted by maniactown at 4:59 PM on July 3, 2008

Really great. Why the hell don't you post more?
Screw busy. Post more. No excuses.
posted by chococat at 7:00 PM on July 3, 2008

I really, really enjoy this a lot, danb. Like, a whole freaking bunch.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:03 PM on July 3, 2008

This is great. I wonder if I would like it as much if I was not also a guitarist who has played a lot of Super Mario 64, but it's impossible to tell. Such as it is I just sat here with a huge grin on my face for the entire duration of the tune.

As for the recording itself, if you got this kind of quality from one mic pointed at two guitars (including strumming, picking and percussion), you're doing ok in my book.

One question - I know some of the Super Mario 64 music predates the game by several decades - eg some of it is Joplin - is this tune another example of that, and if so, what is it?
posted by motty at 3:23 AM on July 5, 2008

motty: I think you might be mixing Super Mario 64 up with something else. As far as I know, the soundtrack is all from in-house Nintendo composer Koji Kondo. True, some of the pieces are older -- e.g., the main Mario overworld theme -- but they're just taken from older Mario games. In any case, I've seen this piece directly attributed to Kondo, so it's definitely a new one.

Incidentally, I'm not aware of any video games that use Joplin tunes, but I'd love to know if there are any because that would be awesome.

A couple of other notes:

- It didn't come out very clearly here because of the voicing, but those chords at 3:17 are supposed to sound like "The Wind Cries Mary." It was more obvious live, I think; we got a few giggles.

- One of my solos during the tradeoff (at 3:59) is a quote from the first race theme in Mario Kart 64, and another (at 4:16) is a a slightly clumsy quote from Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon."

- Matt's percussion solo at 4:07 is actually just him banging on the guitar. I'm really impressed by how the tone came out there; almost everyone I've played this for has mistaken it for an actual percussion instrument.
posted by danb at 8:25 AM on July 5, 2008

While I'm at it, here's an old MeFi post with some more people playing Mario music.
posted by danb at 8:39 AM on July 5, 2008

danb: This old MeFi post also links to one guy's amazing renditions of Super Mario World music.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:59 AM on July 5, 2008

danb: Could well be that I'm wrong as I've not played Mario 64 in a long long time. But I have done (vague) impressions of some of the music by playing eg the third and especially the fourth section of The Entertainer on my Yamaha electric piano set to the (super cheesy) string sound. If Koji Kondo wasn't at least in part using pianoless arrangements of Joplin tunes I think he was at least in places channelling him a bit.
posted by motty at 1:02 PM on July 5, 2008

That's interesting, motty. I had never noticed a ragtime influence in Kondo's work before, but I'll definitely keep an ear out for it now. If you can peg the "Entertainer" comparison to a particular Kondo piece, I'd love to hear it; studying music in video games is a particular hobby of mine, so this sort of thing is right up my alley.
posted by danb at 7:57 PM on July 6, 2008

Wow this is awesome! I totally remember this level in the game! The levels are spot on and i'm eager to hear more from you my friend!
posted by saxamo at 10:37 AM on July 7, 2008

Goddamn, I love this.
posted by ORthey at 9:05 PM on July 7, 2008

Such unbelievable levels of win.
posted by RokkitNite at 5:09 PM on July 8, 2008

oh yeah, that's excellent (the super mario theme kept me away for a while, but your recent post redirected me here). Thanks !
posted by nicolin at 2:52 AM on August 5, 2008

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