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Donkey Kong Country 2 - Serious Monkey Business :: Review by Chris

Donkey Kong Country 2 Diddy Kong's Quest - Serious Monkey Business Album Title: Donkey Kong Country 2 Diddy Kong's Quest - Serious Monkey Business
Record Label: OverClocked Remix
Catalog No.: OCRA-0017
Release Date: March 15, 2010
Download: Download at OverClocked Remix


Over five years after their largely unsuccessful production Donkey Kong Country - Kong in Concert, the fan-arranged community OverClocked ReMix united to commemorate Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest with Serious Monkey Business. As ambitious as ever, the community brought together over 30 artists to produce remixes of practically every track on the soundtrack. They even managed to recruit a range of major names from outside the community, including Jake "virt" Kaufman, Joshua Morse, and the original game's composer himself, David Wise. Thankfully, this time the OverClocked ReMix community were able to pull it off.


OverClocked ReMix's owner djpretzel took the honour of opening the album with an interpretation of the brooding title theme. Entitled "Sturm and Kong", it's just as dramatic and moody as the original, curiously blending epic orchestral elements with edgy electronic beats. The resultant soundscapes constitute aural bliss and the remix just keeps growing better during its comprehensive development. Even with this first track, Serious Monkey Business is already entirely more emotional and fulfilling than its predecessor, Kong in Concert. In subsequent tracks, it's also clear that that OverClocked ReMix are now much more competent at jazz remixes than they were on that album. "Monkey Merengue" stands out as especially well-styled and manages to be simultaneously elaborate without being pretentious. Who would have thought such a remix would emerge from just the bonus theme?

I was excited by the prospect of listening to the contributions of a few arrangers on this album. First of all, it was fascinating to see Western game composer Jake "virt" Kaufman contribute a track after being so distant from the OC ReMix scene in recent times. His offering, "Dance of the Zinger", is an anthemic trance piece featuring uplifting synth parts and dazzling piano leads; while about as derivative as it comes, at least Kaufman was able to offer sufficiently appealing soundscapes and groovy rhythms. Famed for his work on Sonata of the Damned, Joshua Morse also returns to OverClocked ReMix with interpretations of "Primal Rave" and the classic "Stickerbrush Symphony". Whereas the latter is characteristic of the artist's jazz style, the former curiously blends it with some evocative jungle rhythms and sounds. It's a wonderful way to encapsulate two musical elements of the series into a single remix.

While a largely successful album, there are a number of tracks that will be unappealing to a large proportion of First up is Geoffrey Taucer's attempt at a Linkin' Park-style remix of "Kannon's Klaim" in "Trapped in the Minds". José the Bronx Rican's usually inspired rap lyrics are wasted on this performance and seem opposed with Hale's feeble 'rock' vocals in the chorus. I also had little time for Another Soundscape's "Swamp Gases", which lacks the colour and personality characteristic of OverClocked's better electronic remixes. The soundtrack's climax in "Monkeys Disarm Their Kremlings" will also be a dubious inclusion for many with its death metal instrumentals and growling vocals, though a few out there will find it entertaining and amusing. The album is concluded with a guest contribution from the soundtrack's original composer Dave Wise. It blends the synth and nostalgic feel of the original ending theme with elating trumpet performances from Robin Beanland and rocking guitar solos from Grant Kirkhope.


Overall, Donkey Kong Country 2 Diddy Kong's Quest - Serious Monkey Business is a much more inspired album production than Donkey Kong Country - Kong in Concert before it. It reflects how far the OverClocked ReMix community has come in the last five years; once principally comprised of derivative arrangers with dodgy equipment, now it's clear that there are truly artistic and well-equipped members of the community. Like most OverClocked ReMix albums, there is so much here that there is bound to be something for someone; however, its diversity and extravagance can be a downside for those looking for a cohesive experience and some remixes won't gel with some people. Nevertheless, those who enjoyed the Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest soundtrack should find it worthwhile revisiting it through this collection of interesting and, of course, free remixes.

Overall Score: 8/10