Music Review: “The OneUps Volume 2” (and a Bit of “Volume 1”)

For various reasons, I was only able to see videogame cover band, The OneUps (N.B.: this link goes to MySpace) play one song at PAX 2008. It was their final song for the evening, a theme from Duck Tales. However, having seen them last year and having followed their career for some time, I wasn’t utterly bummed out out that I missed them. I did purchase their latest, and long-awaited, release, “The OneUps Volume 2”.

Full disclosure: I’m not an expert at music. I don’t play any instruments, and I don’t consider myself a music critic. I’m just a fan who enjoys videogame music.

If you are familiar with The OneUps, “Volume 2” will have the same familiar sounds: piano, saxophone, acoustic guitars, violin, and drums of course. Unlike Metroid Metal and the Minibosses, The OneUps’ sound is not heavy on the electric guitars. Instead, their sound has jazzy elements and I suppose some of their renditions could be considered almost lounge-y. It’s good music to relax to, and you could probably even play some of the more down tempo songs at a dinner party and without detriment to the ambiance.

“Volume 2” comprises two full CDs of videogame music goodness. I enjoyed this album, and both volumes currently reside in my car. The discs take up half of my car’s CD magazine, which tells you something about how much I like videogame music and The OneUps. Some of the tracks are also quite soothing, which is nice for unwinding whilst driving home from work.

One of my favourite tracks is “Green Hill Zone” from Sonic the Hedgehog. I have always loved this theme, and I have heard many, many remixes of it, so its inclusion in “Volume 2” was welcome. It’s a fantastic cover.

I was surprised to hear the “Brinstar” (the area of the game that has a lot of vegetation) theme from Super Metroid on this CD. I have found find that remixers prefer the Brinstar theme from Metroid rather than Super Metroid, so it’s more common to hear that instead (though people can correct me if I’m wrong, as I haven’t checked OverClocked Remix for quite some time). The OneUps’ remix was pretty unique because it features the violin prominently. The song having a faster beat, most remixes I have heard are either electronica-flavoured or of the metal variety, so this fresh take on Brinstar was cool to hear.

Another song I liked was “Mii Channel”, which they performed live at PAX 2007. The music that you hear on the Wii Mii Channel is fairly typical of The OneUps sound, so the inclusion of “Mii Channel” was a natural fit for the band. They did a good job of this cover as well.

For those who like SquareEnix RPGs, this double CD set won’t disappoint. There are songs from Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and Final Fantasy VI (the oft-covered, Terra theme). Other videogames covered include: Street Fighter II, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (the best and only Zelda game I have completed), StarFox, and Castlevania II and III amongst others.

I’m glad I bought this CD at PAX rather than wait to order it through the post. This is off-topic, but When I bought the at the booth, one of the band members, Mustin (also the producer), saw my ArenaNet shirt and commented that one of the other band members had been in one of our Guild Wars tournaments that weekend. Awesome.

If you check out “Volume 2” you should definitely do the same with “Volume 1”. Stand out favourites of mine from “Volume 1” include “Katamaritaino” from Katmari Damacy, “Aquatic Ambiance” from Donkey Kong Country (my fave song on the CD — I must have listened to this song hundreds of times), and “Green Greens” from that classic GameBoy game, Kirby’s Dream Land.

  2 comments for “Music Review: “The OneUps Volume 2” (and a Bit of “Volume 1”)

  1. 2 September 2008 at 19:56

    Thanks for linking to OCR, Brinstar, it’s much appreciated. Indeed, The OneUps are one of the best things going on in the game music remixing community! Nice to read these comments on Volume 2.

    I own Volume 1 (Thanks, Mustin!), so I hope to add Volume 2 when my wallet fattens up in a few months. I posted your review over at the OneUp Studios boards, so perhaps you’ll hear from someone there.

    All the best to you!

    Larry “Liontamer” Oji
    Assistant Soundtrack Director, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
    Head Submissions Evaluator, OverClocked ReMix
    Creator, VG Frequency
    Staff, VGMdb
    http://www.ocremix.org
    http://www.vgfrequency.com
    http://www.vgmdb.net

  2. 5 September 2008 at 23:32

    Hi Larry, thanks for visiting and commenting!

    I have been a fan of The OneUps for years, and I try to make my friends listen to their music when I can.

    I’ve also been a big fan of remixed game music for a long while. I’m not a music maker, but I do love the stuff you all produce!

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