So, I’ve known Jake Kaufman for quite a while now. Mazedude and Virt first met in IRC, back around 1998. The teenagers were learning the art of tracking, and even competing in the art form via one- and two-hour compos, or even week-long groovy compos. (The game of the compo was to craft a track using only the provided sampleset, in a limited amount of time.) And while Mazedude had been tracking a little bit longer... dang, Virt picked up the nuances FAST!
Sorry to say, that even though I came in second place a few times, I never quite beat Jake at one of those. The guy was just too good. Regardless, a friendship was formed. At the time, we both had dreams of making music for movies. I went on to SUNY Purchase to get a bachelor’s degree in composition, and Jake went off the deep end in writing a TON of music, writing complete soundtracks for imaginary games, expanding his toolset WAY beyond tracking, and just putting it all out there. And, as you know by now, he succeeded. Me, my journey was different; I moved to LA to work on movies, did it, didn’t care for it as a job, and then flowed into building websites for movies instead… and then that shifted into a career that has paid the bills ever since. Although, before heading out, Jake and I did get to meet in person at the first MAGFest. That was cool.
Another quick side note: while in LA, the first date I ever had with Julia – now my wife of almost 10 years – was at a Jake Kaufman chiptune concert.
So, on to the remix, and the tribute on American Pixels. When I first set out to add composers to the list of honorees who weren’t on the first American Album, I knew I wanted to include Jake. From the start, I was thinking a track from Shantae would be fun. Something ethnic, upbeat, and a nod to one of the games that helped put Jake on the map, so to speak. But, sorry to say… I wasn’t really digging any of the Shantae remixes I was starting (and I started a few). Then over time I realized that I was actually enjoying listening to the Mighty Switch Force soundtracks more frequently, just in the background while I worked and such. Simultaneously, tracks were coming together for the album, and it was obvious that a lot of them had a somewhere darker edge to them, which I needed to balance out. So, this was one of the last tracks I put together for the album actually; taking the main theme from Mighty Switch Force 2, slowing it down, and keeping it positive while still groovy.
By the way, if you haven’t heard the Mighty Switch Force 2 music, check it out: virt.bandcamp.com/album/mighty-switch-force-2-ost
At the same time, I wove in a lot of other Jake-related elements here. There’s a ballad he wrote for Royal "RS3" Sefton called “Light at the End,” and I used the electric piano from that to start off the piece. He wrote some goofy music for Kwakfest with a distinct flair to multiple synth solos; I mimic that here as well. There’s a compo where Jake, Chris “Beek” Hampton and I took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd; I used some sounds from our compo tracks in here too.
So while it’s a bizarre collection of diverse references, I’m very happy with the way the remix came out and I really enjoy listening to it. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well.