Mega Man -The Robot Museum-
Mega Man -The Robot Museum-
March 25, 2011
Download at OverClocked ReMix
After Dr. Wily is defeated, do you ever wonder what Mega Man does with the weapons he pries off of the defeated robots? Much like how Link’s house must have an entire room devoted to boomerangs and hookshots, I imagine Mega Man has to do something with the trophies he’s collected between games. Since Elec Man’s Thunder Beam probably wouldn’t command a decent price on Ebay, it seems fitting that Mega Man would stick it — and seven other weapons — into The Robot Museum.
Joshua Morse, a veteran remixer known for his work with Bad Dudes Music and OverClocked ReMix, took the above concept and made Mega Man: The Robot Museum a remix album of themes from the first eight Mega Man games with a bonus ninth track from Mega Man and Bass. With each game being represented by only one track, many fans will be left out in the cold (Air Man over Metal Man? Really?) but will the quality of the overall album placate them? And will it have any appeal to people who have never gotten equipped with Bubble Lead?
The most impressive aspect of Mega Man: The Robot Museum is the coherent sound that ties the tracks of the album together. While there are exceptions to this unified feel, the album comes off as a pleasant, jazzy experience from the very first track “Thunder Beam”. Morse’s use of piano, brushed set percussion, and a meandering bassline is masterful throughout the track although I never realized how much the original 8-bit chiptune melody sounded like Journey’s “Faithfully” until this remix.
“Air Shooter” is a slightly more lively piece than “Thunder Beam” and adds a bit of a funk to the album (something heard again in “Power Stone”). The synthesized staccato strings play nicely against the keyboard melody that enters 45 seconds into the piece, before the electric guitar work takes over. When all three elements come together, the “Air Shooter” really — so help me — takes off.
“Spark Shock” is good deal slower than the original soundtrack version heard in Mega Man 3, but the, broader, more deliberate introduction allows for the main melody to be properly established. The electronica effects that play against the theme, while appropriate, are slightly distracting and lose their novelty rather quickly. The same effects oversaturation almost happens on “Dust Crusher”, but thankfully the distortion and bending are kept in check by the Caribbean feel of the piece. Although I was never a huge fan of Mega Man 4 (Ring Man? Really?), Dust Man’s “Dust Crusher” is the standalone best track from the album.
Yet as for my personal favorite track, that would be “Yamato Spear” which is quite an excellent piece. The jazz feel of “Thunder Beam” still resonates in “Yamato Spear” although it struggles to come through against the electronica effects and thumping bassline. The addition of the koto track provides a great thematic counterpoint to the rest of the musical layers on the track making “Yamato Spear” as complex as it is upbeat.
“Slash Claw” was a hard sell for me despite Slash Man’s theme being one of the more original compositions from the history of the Mega Man franchise. The disappointment in “Slash Claw” was due to the jarring triangle rhythm that permeates, and overpowers, the majority of the track. The jazz flute tempers it nicely, but the sampling on the triangle track is such that it gives musical voice to the stabbing sensations that migraine sufferers must endure when they see bright light.
“Data Base Accessed”, the closing track of the album, is the slowest and most ambient offering by Morse on the album, and is a welcome relief after the frenetic energy of “Astro Crush”. Although sleepy throughout its 3:30 run time, “Data Base Accessed” shows the range of Morse’s compositional ability and subtlety. I generally found that it lost me about a minute in, but a more patient listener will find plenty to enjoy as the individual musical elements (including a clarinet!) are given their time to play laconically throughout “Data Base Accessed”.
Mega Man: The Robot Museum is a terrific album for fans of the Mega Man franchise and newcomers alike. The original themes are integrated faithfully with the thematic jazz concept of the album, and the overall result is 40 minutes of wonderful remixing that doesn’t really sound like video game music.
Whether this is to the album’s detriment or not depends principally on what you were expecting to hear. If you downloaded the album hoping for chiptune remixes, Mega Man: The Robot Museum will surely disappoint, but if you are looking for an expertly composed and thoroughly modern interpretation of some of the most memorable themes of the venerable franchise, you’ll find the album well worth the download.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Matt Diener. Last modified on August 1, 2012.