The first Remix64 CD was a rather hit and miss affair’an eclectic collection of C64 remixes as ’80s hits, encompassing the catchy nature of that era’s songs, but also the rather less welcome cheese factor. The second Remix64 CD, dubbed Into Eternity, takes an entirely different path, borrowing slightly from the filmic standard set by the seminal Back in Time 3. However, unlike the space-age stylings of the Chris Abbott-produced effort, Into Eternity is often more akin to a film score that stylistically borders on the orchestral and medieval.

On the plus side, the album is a much more coherent entity than its predecessor. Although there are some shifts in style’notably the rock-tinged Tales of Boon by the ever-dependable Thomas Detert and the awkward ballad-pop of Great Giana Sisters’much of the CD is a fairly intense, cinematic affair, often laden with energy and atmosphere.

When it works, the effect can be remarkable. Detert’s Spellbound is both powerful and chilling, with a striking piano arrangement surrounded by urgent orchestral stabs. Markus Schneider’s atmospheric and brooding Stormlord is another track that demands attention, with a domineering and brooding arrangement.

Elsewhere, things are often more relaxed. The airy Fist 2 falls halfway between an Enigma track and the aforementioned medieval-cum-orchestral leanings. Based on a track by Neil Brennan, the addition of haunting pipes and vocals brings to the piece an entirely new feel that’s somehow poignant, moody and striking all at once. Jan Morgenstern’s Armageddon Man takes a similar path, but usefully backs everything up with a rousing beat that lifts the senses. Another standout is Detert’s Vangelis-inspired Shades, which is perhaps the most accomplished track on the album.

Other than a few weak tracks being peppered amongst the aforementioned successes, the biggest problem with Remix64: Into Eternity is that despite its grand designs, epic ideals and cinematic leanings, it lacks the unique edge of the original C64 sounds. It has plenty of atmosphere and is sometimes surprisingly beautiful, but the album ultimately lacks a real voice of its own. Ironically, this perhaps affords it a potentially larger market’fans of similar soundtracks should lap this up’and it most definitely succeeds in being very different to any other C64 remix CD.

Various Artists
Remix64: Into Eternity (2003)

Genre: Electronic
Record Label: Music by Design records

Pixelsurgeon Verdict

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