Operation Ragnarok Remix
Operation Ragnarok Remix
January 26, 2011
Buy at Sweep Record
Late in 2010, as part of the Game Music Discovery series, SuperSweep released the original soundtrack to Operation Ragnarok, known as Zed Blade in the United States. On the original score release, there were some bonus remixes by Ayako Saso and Manabu Namiki. Continuing with that idea, Shinji Hosoe and Ayako Saso revamped the entire soundtrack under their Sampling Masters aliases in order to bring a more modern and varied approach to the soundtrack. Do they succeed in providing an entertaining experience?
Ayako Saso provides the majority of the deeper arrangements on the album. “Can’t Wait 30sec -Hi speed mix-” takes the original’s slower tempo and increases in quite a bit. In addition, it incorporates some of Saso’s trademark electronic beats and voice samples. As the remix progresses, an ethereal section is introduced with some very playful electronic tones in the melody line and some soulful vocal samples. On the original soundtrack, Saso remixed a version of “Shootaholic” entitled “Shootaholic -Яave mix-.” For this album, she edits the remix a bit. In addition to making it somewhat shorter, the intro is changed to reflect a much more intense nature. Throughout the remix, some of the beats are much heavier and there are a plethora of new electronic effects added. The rest of the remix is quite similar to what is heard on the soundtrack.
One of my favorite Saso remixes is “Termination 4 U -barrage mix-.” A remix of the boss theme, it opens up with some intense industrial synth before moving into a fantastic rave mix that incorporates the main melody quite effectively and adds some subtle, but sinister, undertones. However, the sinister undertones are brought into the forefront when it comes to the introduction of some sinister synth melody that features some industrial undertones. There are also some soulful vocal samples as well as some regular voice mix samples incorporated into the remix as well. Overall, it’s very well done and brings a lot of energy to the remix.
“Bionic Life -Chemistry Experiment mix-” is another great rave mix. While the majority of the remix is quite intense, I do like the slower, more intense synth sections when the beat is dropped and some electronic tones are added into the background. Throw in a bunch of crazy vocal samples and some jazzy piano sections, and another very entertaining remix is the result. Saso’s last remix, “O.P.R. -Bounce mix-,” is, as the name suggests, quite a bubbly effort. What I particularly enjoy about this one is how she alters the main melody to sound as if it’s a bit off-key. While not everyone will like this effect, it really helps it stand out in my mind against the bubbly beats and synth accompaniment.
While a lot of Saso’s remixes are of the rave variety, Shinji Hosoe’s take on the remixes is a much more diverse affair. “Konstruktion -Eclipse mix-, is an upbeat take on the original that definitely reminds me of his work on the Sampling Masters Presents Julianna’s Tsunashima album. There are a lot of vocal samples and some great retro-sounding rave parts. What’s interesting about this remix is that the main melody is, for the most part, relegated to the accompaniment which makes for a very intriguing listen. One of my favorite remixes on the album, “Universe Blue -Ripples mix-,” is an extremely smooth and seductive listen. Groovy beats, some soulful vocals, lounge jazz keyboard, and really futuristic sounding synth melodies all come together to for an very relaxing remix and it definitely sets itself apart from some of the more tempo heavy remixes.
My favorite remix on the album is definitely “Asteroid Circus -Shake shake mix-“. Hosoe does something truly remarkable here. The introduction features some electric guitar riffs and some deep, heavy synths, while introducing the main melody of the original. As the melody progresses, he adds some grungy vocal samples before introducing an enticing rave beat. However, the truly standout section of the remix features some amazing interplay between a variety of elements. The slow tempo, electric guitar riffs, heavy bass beat, ethereal synth, and bubbly synth melody all make for an extremely hypnotizing experience. Of course, once this section is finished, we are brought back to a fast paced tempo with a rave influence and the original melody as heard in the introduction.
The final boss theme’s mix, “Valkyrie -unruly horse mix-,” features Hosoe doing what he loves to do: hardcore techno. He incorporates another interesting technique in this theme where the original opening vocals on the original that say “I’m in so deep, I’m losing sleep” are, for the majority of the remix, played subtly in the background, yet constantly barrage your senses. Aside from that, there is some fantastic hardcore techno, some wonderful electronic distortion, and just an intense atmosphere all around. It truly brings a sort of terror to the original. Lastly, to close the album, “Dusk -Mischief mix-, is a short resynth of the original that almost gives it a western vibe.
After giving this quite a few extensive listens, I think that Shinji Hosoe and Ayako Saso do justice to Namiki’s esteemed originals. While his music was inspired by the rave music of the early 90’s, I enjoy how Ayako Saso brought modern influences to the material while also keeping some of the more retro rave features as well. Another thing that is really nice about this album is how Hosoe’s remixes are all quite varied, from early 90’s rave music to hardcore electronica. If you enjoyed the original soundtrack and enjoy Ayako Saso and Shinji Hosoe’s electronic sampling, you will most likely enjoy this work as well.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.