Awesome Video Game Music: Stickerbrush Symphony

Alright then, let's start this show with a show stopper. Stickerbrush Symphony (or Bramble Blast, if you prefer) from Donkey Kong Country 2 is without a doubt one of my absolute favorites. First thing's first- if you haven't heard it before, have a listen.
    

 
I think the setting of the level itself is the primary key to appreciating Stickerbrush Symphony. The entirety of Bramble Blast takes place in a dense forest of deadly, thorny vines that is far removed from civilization of any kind. It has more of an isolated feel as a result, and the beginning of the song does a great job at capturing this feel. It consists of few simple rifts that seem to stand all on their own, which is a stark contrast to the rest of the game's highly populated levels and busy songs. Also, your main foe in Bramble Blast is nature itself. Rather than battling K. Rool's minions, you're fighting for survival within one of nature's most oppressive environments. The giant vines that seem to bear down on you throughout the level take on an almost majestic quality, and the song's ambient background chords do a great job at emphasizing nature's wonder. In addition, the song's central rifts are composed of short, punctuated notes (staccato if you will), which seem to characterize the sharp, pointed thorns that you're constantly trying so hard to avoid impaling yourself on.

I also like the way that Stickerbrush Symphony always seems to be moving. Its constant beat propels it forward at all times, slowly adding layers of complexity on top of an initially simple tune. This mirrors the way you experience the level, where the simple task of avoiding thorns quickly evolves into one of the most devilishly complicated levels in the entire game. In fact, like most levels Bramble Blast turns out to be a pretty action-packed affair, and the song has a compelling undercurrent that suggests as much. What I really love about Stickerbrush Symphony is how it manages to combine all of these aspects as it moves along. It ends up being a pretty busy, complicated song that seems fitting for an action game, yet never loses its melancholy vibe that set the tone to begin with. It's peaceful and frantic all at the same time, which is amazing. Or if you're looking to bring out the action side a little more, there's always the Super Smash Bros. Brawl remix.
  

In some ways, I like this version even better than the original. It contains all the same basic parts, but really ramps up the action component (and in general has better instrumentation and higher sound quality). This is a song that's going places, and the ride it takes to get there is a blast. It's a super fun, energetic song that feels just as appropriate in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as the original felt in Donkey Kong Country 2. That's a testament to Stickerbrush Symphony's staying power and versatility, and goes a long way towards summing up why this song remains one of my favorites to this day.
 
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Posted by MajorMitch

Alright then, let's start this show with a show stopper. Stickerbrush Symphony (or Bramble Blast, if you prefer) from Donkey Kong Country 2 is without a doubt one of my absolute favorites. First thing's first- if you haven't heard it before, have a listen.
    

 
I think the setting of the level itself is the primary key to appreciating Stickerbrush Symphony. The entirety of Bramble Blast takes place in a dense forest of deadly, thorny vines that is far removed from civilization of any kind. It has more of an isolated feel as a result, and the beginning of the song does a great job at capturing this feel. It consists of few simple rifts that seem to stand all on their own, which is a stark contrast to the rest of the game's highly populated levels and busy songs. Also, your main foe in Bramble Blast is nature itself. Rather than battling K. Rool's minions, you're fighting for survival within one of nature's most oppressive environments. The giant vines that seem to bear down on you throughout the level take on an almost majestic quality, and the song's ambient background chords do a great job at emphasizing nature's wonder. In addition, the song's central rifts are composed of short, punctuated notes (staccato if you will), which seem to characterize the sharp, pointed thorns that you're constantly trying so hard to avoid impaling yourself on.

I also like the way that Stickerbrush Symphony always seems to be moving. Its constant beat propels it forward at all times, slowly adding layers of complexity on top of an initially simple tune. This mirrors the way you experience the level, where the simple task of avoiding thorns quickly evolves into one of the most devilishly complicated levels in the entire game. In fact, like most levels Bramble Blast turns out to be a pretty action-packed affair, and the song has a compelling undercurrent that suggests as much. What I really love about Stickerbrush Symphony is how it manages to combine all of these aspects as it moves along. It ends up being a pretty busy, complicated song that seems fitting for an action game, yet never loses its melancholy vibe that set the tone to begin with. It's peaceful and frantic all at the same time, which is amazing. Or if you're looking to bring out the action side a little more, there's always the Super Smash Bros. Brawl remix.
  

In some ways, I like this version even better than the original. It contains all the same basic parts, but really ramps up the action component (and in general has better instrumentation and higher sound quality). This is a song that's going places, and the ride it takes to get there is a blast. It's a super fun, energetic song that feels just as appropriate in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as the original felt in Donkey Kong Country 2. That's a testament to Stickerbrush Symphony's staying power and versatility, and goes a long way towards summing up why this song remains one of my favorites to this day.
 
For additional information on this blog, or to view other entries, click here.
Edited by X19

I'm from the Playstation generation so I missed out on the Snes era.  I'm listening to all the music of the game at the moment to see how it compares to the original track in particular. I completely agree with you about the original it's a timeless gem and shows simplicity can create a very powerful piece of music.
 
The remix is a weird one for me. The form is ABABA. Let me start by saying I like the A section, it uses the usual electronic music cliche at the beginning by adding instruments over time to build suspense. The balance and pan of this sounds great, I love when the drum pattern switches left and right on the pan. By the time the guitar melody comes in (0:24) there's enough rhythmic variety that you get this floaty feeling which carries the melody beautifully and is one of my favourite things to hear at the moment. At this point you get the call and response build up between the guitar and what sounds like synth strings which is pretty standard and always works well. This basically consists of 8 bars of guitar melody followed by 8 bars of strings and then the inevitable call and response between the two (0:49) for a further 8 bars.
 
The (1.24) second half of the B section is where the track goes very japanese pop and sounds like nearly every anime intro on the planet. For some reason this part felt to me like it could of drawn more ideas from the original instead of going the path it did.
 
Cba to write sentences for the B section lol
 
First 8 bars 

  • Call and response is once again used like before but between staccato and legato strings
  • (2 bars) Starts with a break down with stacato strings (from A section) accompanied by vibs
  • (2 bars) Pulse brought back in with lagato strings to give a good contrast to the first two bars    
  • (2 bars) Delayed stacato line to create anticipation 
  • (2 bars) legato strings again finishes phrase high
Second 8 exactly the same as first 8 except the legato strings plays a phrase which goes low and merges into that bloody chord progression the japanese use constantly.  
 
(1.24) This is where i zoned out thinking about Japanese pop music... 
 
  
  
 
 
...till the A section came back in (and after a cold shower) at 1.49. 
 
The A section is exactly as I described the first time which is also true for the B section at 2.49. The ending is basically the A section again but fades out after a couple of bars.   
 
Overall I really liked the A section as it stayed true to the original and built on it. However when it came to the second half of the B section I didn't like it because it didn't relate to the original and just felt like it was taken out a japanese pop tune. 
 
Btw I think I just proved that I will never be able to write reviews like you lol
Posted by MajorMitch
@X19:  You got a little more technical than I tend to, but it's definitely interesting stuff! Haha, not sure I follow the connection to Japanese pop!
Posted by X19
@MajorMitch: Like I said I was a little drunk. As soon as I heard that over used chord progression at 1.23 all I could think of was Japanese pop music. Also I think those girls are Korean XD. Yeh I'm not very good at talking about music without  ripping it apart and analysing it. Saying that if you have another blog in the works and can't figure out what's going on in the music send me a PM :)