The 'Shroom:Issue 137/Palette Swap
Happy August, everybody! Soon it'll be September and then it might as well just be Christmas already. Geez.
Drowning in Octopath, send help plz.
Anyways, we have our music sections for you this month, and our monthly artwork section. There's lots of good stuff ahead for you, so I won't hold you up!
Additionally, next month we'll have a guest director- Superchao (talk)
Section of the Month
What's on the Box?
Hello readers, and welcome back to What's on the Box.
When I started this section way back when, obviously I had missed the release of Super Mario 3D Land, however I am now here to remedy this, and give you my detailed thoughts on the game's boxart.
The boxart is incredibly crowded, but considering some of the boxarts we've looked at in the past, that's not really a bad thing. The boxart features Mario, a Tail Goomba, a Super Leaf, a Fire Flower, a tightrope, a ? Block, Brick Blocks, Empty Blocks, a Warp Pipe, various kinds of platforms that are seen in the game and even a Fake Block. They even find time to cast the shadow of Tanooki Mario on the background, and add a tail to the game's logo.
In short, even those this boxart is crammed, I love it. It certainly beats the boring old boxarts we've seen time and again in this section. And with all the different platforms and tightropes and Warp Pipes, the boxart shows off this game perfectly and how there were so many different elements in this 3DS game. The only thing I would change is to make the background something instead of this generic white screen. The same shadow effect could have been gotten if Mario was jumping in front of some coloured blocks.
For the Super Mario franchise, the past year has undoubtedly been defined by the release of Super Mario Odyssey. The major hit brought a breath of fresh air to the franchise, even if it arguably had some missteps, and had everyone spending hours searching for Power Moons. If any one thing could be selected to represent the game, it would almost certainly be that jazz piece nobody had expected, “Jump Up, Super Star!” Seeing as how this jazz song is inextricably linked with the major milestone for Super Mario and how this community has just finished celebrating yet another milestone of its own with its annual Awards Ceremony, I thought that it would be fitting to use this issue to take a look at an artist who skillfully meshes together videogames and jazz.
Carlos Eiene, better known as insaneintherainmusic, makes jazz versions of music from videogames of all kind. His videos are high-quality, his music is great, and he keeps a regular schedule. He regularly puts out new videos, with a new piece of music every other Saturday at 9:30 am PST. Seeing as how he’s been doing this for over five years now, I won’t even begin scratching the surface of his musical catalogue with this article. That said, I’ll pick out a few stand-outs and leave you all to listen to his work as you will. I’ll start with a few vocal songs and then delve into a few instrumental covers which really demonstrate Eiene’s talent for taking the familiar and making it fresh, for drawing out a new sound from a classic piece.
One of Eiene’s best pieces is a jazz cover of a Super Mario (technically from WarioWare, I suppose) song which Super Smash Bros. had plenty of folks singing long before “Jump Up, Superstar” and “Break Free (Lead the Way)” came along. Yes, Eiene has produced an outstanding version of the little witch’s theme song. “Ashley’s Song” is immediately recognizable but notably new under Eiene’s direction. He produced this song in collaboration with Adrisaurus, a fellow videogame song cover creator who focuses on vocal covers and provides the vocals for this piece and ThunderScott, who also produces videogame song covers and lends his voice to the piece. Unlike with many of Eiene’s pieces, there isn’t much in the way or rearrangement going on here; he keeps most of the original song intact. This familiarity contrasts with the new, jazzier sound of the piece, which provides a sense of excitement and adds some new liveliness to the already playful and lighthearted song. I also just have to point out what a wonderful job Adrisaurus does with some of her lines. Both she and ThunderScott do a very nice job here, but she gets the bulk of the strangest lines in the song. Yet, she takes such, for lack of a better term, silly lyrics and sings them in a completely straight, professional manner. There’s no deadpan or exaggeration here, and I personally think it works in the song’s favor. Again though, they both add something great to the song, and their synchronous “Ash~ley!” won’t leave your head anytime soon.
Eiene’s not shy about adding lyrics to pieces which don’t initially have them, either. His “Lavender Town cover demonstrates this quite well. In collaboration with TeraCMusic, he’s created a cover of the (in)famous creepy tune from Kanto. He’s modified SuriOokami's lyrics for the piece. The vocals are lovely and just what one would expect for the haunting Lavender Town theme, and Eiene’s talent truly shines in the instrumental. Once again, the piece is lighter on rearrangement than some of Eiene’s other work, but he once again breathes a new spirit into this piece. I can’t say I’ve ever thought that the Lavender Town theme would benefit from the addition of a violin, but Eiene and TeraC prominently feature of violin in this cover to great effect. This song is a great example of the flexibility of jazz, and the fact that Eiene has made a chilling jazz cover is a testament to his innovative skill.
While he certainly has a number of great vocal pieces, most of Eiene’s work makes limited or no use of the human voice. Does that diminish his music at all? Absolutely not. As a huge Majora’s Mask fan, I’d be remiss not to point to Eiene’s stunning cover of the “Song of Healing”. Once again new sounds take familiar shapes, but this piece also demonstrates Eiene’s skill in rearranging and otherwise adding to the piece he works off of. There are great moments where the somber “Song of Healing” shines through beautifully, with the instrumentation carefully crafted by Eiene, and there are other lovely moments where an attentive listener might catch, for example, a hint of the main theme of The Legend of Zelda or a musical nod to other portions of the game. There’s always quite a bit going on in Eiene’s pieces, and when he’s not seamlessly weaving together musical pieces or finding an inventive instrumentation for a familiar tune, he’s extrapolating from whatever song he’s covering and adding his own unique touches to the pieces. He clearly respects the original composers and builds off of their work, making creative additions to the songs and finding ways to dig deeper into a piece to expand upon it. Some of Eiene’s extra touches stand out in his cover of “Midna’s Lament”.
One of my personal favorite videos from Eiene is his cover the National Park theme from Gold, Silver, and Crystal. The original version is a lovely relaxing melody that conjures up images of a nonchalant walk through a park at sunset. Eiene’s jazz cover keeps the best aspects of the song and its relaxing nature while livening it up. The result is a paradoxical piece that makes you want to sit on a bench somewhere and take a nice rest while also feeling like something to stand up and dance to. The piece takes on an entirely new tone without losing its beauty or the character it originally possessed. A little after two minutes in, listeners can also clearly hear how Eiene adds his own touches to the song while never pushing the bounds so far that the original song is lost or diminished. It’s truly a wonderful piece of Eiene’s, and it’s a great piece to listen to for those who want to begin understanding Eiene’s approach to his covers. If that’s not enough, have a live cover, as well.
As I mentioned, I could keep selecting piece after piece to feature here, but I think I’ve said all I need to say about Eiene’s creative talent. With that, I recommend you go find some of his music to listen to. Nintendo fans have plenty of options to select from, as do fans of properties besides those owned by Nintendo. From medleys to well, most everything else, Mr. Eiene has something for you. Go check this jazzy fellow out!
HI, everyone! I'm your willing writer, Tucayo, here with your required dose of Take Cover!