A few months ago, I covered my five favorite Chrono Trigger tracks on OCRemix, and then I followed it up with my favorite Earthbound OCRemix tracks. Today, I step away from the SNES RPG genre to focus on the music for a game that’s more recent: Deus Ex, a futuristic first-person shooter with running themes of dystopia, human augmentation, and large-scale conspiracy.
Back in March of this year, OCRemix released their 39th album titled Sonic Augmentation which focuses on the Deus Ex franchise. They’ve taken the original tracks, which were all right in my opinion, and transformed them into music that could rival the best electronic artists of today. The entire album is fantastic, and I had a hard time choosing the five best, but here they are. If you want to listen to the whole album, you can download it for free.
“The Search For Ambrosia” [NYC Streets]
I’ve mentioned before that I have a huge amount of respect for Zircon, the electronic artist who started by making OCRemixes and eventually took off with his own career. Well, songs like this are why I respect him so much. Just compare it to the original track, and you’ll see how well it captures the spirit while adding enough layers on top to elevate it into the realms of beauty.
What I like best is that this remix takes the setting of the original, which is meant to be the streets of New York City, and spins it with a story. You really get the sense of an urban environment, and you can feel a chase in progress, as if something – or someone – needs to be found. This song takes you on a nearly tangible journey, and that’s why I love it so much.
“Tears In Rain” [Lower Seattle & Heron’s Loft]
I’ve never been to Seattle before in my life, but with “Tears In Rain,” Level 99 (the name of the artist) really depicts what that city must be like. I’ve never been there, I’ve never seen pictures of it, but this remix paints it all for me. Of course, the core of that depiction comes from the original track, but this remix is a whole different level. It starts off with a simple softness that transforms into the grunge of city life around the 1:38 mark. Tears in rain, indeed.
According to the artist, this remix was inspired by the movie Blade Runner, and I can definitely see that as a possibility. He intended to capture the dreary sense of hopelessness that pervades the Deus Ex story, and I think he did a fantastic job of it. It’s one of the more ambient tracks, for sure, but I love it just the same.
“Ma Chérie Nicolette” [DuClare Chateau]
This one’s original track is another example of Deus Ex’s wonderful mix of melody and ambience. It’s mostly electronic in terms of composition, but there’s a subtle injection of jazz that really brings it up a notch. The two artists that collaborated on this song didn’t have much to say about it, but I will praise them for breathing a life into the song that the original didn’t fully have.
“Siren Synapse” [Hong Kong Streets]
A lot of the tracks in the Deus Ex series are meant to capture a certain feel, whether it’s an emotion, a character, a location, or whatever else. Within the first twenty seconds of “Siren Synapse,” you know that this track has been inspired by Asia. You’d be right, too, as this song is based on the original track, “Hong Kong Streets.”
Even though you can tell that this remix has elements of the original, I like how “Siren Synapse” takes the song in a whole new direction. The original felt rustic and aged, as if coming out of a foreign world – which it was. This remix, on the other hand, feels more in line with the rest of the Deus Ex remix album: darker, more modern, and infused with an electronic touch. Well done.
“Human Soldier” [UNATCO]
The original track that this song is based on is one of my favorite Deus Ex songs ever. It has that futuristic grunge feel that fits perfectly into the story of the games, and it’s an ambient track that works well when you just want to sit back and relax. “Human Soldier” takes that underlying ambience and gives it a slight house/trance makeover – not so much that you’ll be dancing to it, but enough to feel it in your bones.
Honestly, I have to say that I like the original version better than this remix, but the quality of the remix is impressive, and I would be remiss to leave it off this list. I can respect a great song when I hear it and “Human Soldier” definitely fits the bill there.
All of the Deus Ex games had great soundtracks that helped to build the world and set the tone, but this remix album is something else. The production quality is remarkable, the thematic resonance is tangible, and it’s just plain fun to listen to every song on it. It may be too electronic for some of you, which is okay since not all of us have the same preferences, but if you like electronic music as much as the next guy, these songs from Sonic Augmentation will hit you hard.
If there’s a Deus Ex remix that you think deserves a mention, let us know in the comments. And if you have a game suggestion for the next OCRemix compilation, please feel free to share!
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