Donkey Kong Country 2: Serious Monkey Business

Christopher King brings you his first OC ReMix album review, with the amazingly well produced Donkey Kong Country 2 Serious Monkey Business 3 disc set


I’m a lit­tle lost for words at the mo­ment, you’ll have to for­give me (And the in­her­ent irony in that as well.) This re­view is not only a doozy in size, it’s also mas­sive in con­tent as well. I’m not over ex­ag­ger­at­ing as some jour­nal­ists might, it’s re­al­ly big. One could al­most say it’s as big as a horde of well stashed ba­nanas. Donkey Kong 2: Serious Monkey Business is a bunch of tracks that did not go bad on the vine.

Oh, and word to the wise, please try to con­tain your laugh­ter at the ba­nana puns, be­cause there is go­ing to be a lot of them. I’ve got a key­board and I’m not afraid to use it, I’m down­right pun­ny with the thing!

DKC2: Serious Monkey Business is a three disc set, with over 35 songs writ­ten by a mass of over 40 writ­ers! Holy hell! I haven’t even touched the con­tent yet and al­ready this is start­ing to sound promis­ing, and the pièce de ré­sis­tance — the cher­ry on top of this ba­nana split — is that the al­bum fea­tures David Wise, Eveline Novakovic, Robin Beanland, and Grant Kirkhope, all ei­ther for­mer and cur­rent com­posers for Rare, who made the en­tire Donkey Kong Country series!

I asked David Wise what he thought about OC ReMix, and he had this to say:

I al­ways en­joy lis­ten­ing to and work­ing with the OC ReMix teams. It brings a new and dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive to the music.”

Now that you’ve heard me bab­ble and sing my prais­es, let’s re­al­ly peel open this won­drous cav­al­cade of did­dies and see what we’ve got­ten our­selves into, hmm?


Disc 1 re­al­ly opens with a nice, bom­bas­tic Orchestral/Electronic num­ber (Sturm und Kong (K. Rool Returns by DJPretzel) that’s re­al­ly set­ting the tone for what you’re go­ing to get here; Well mixed, mas­ter­ly craft­ed and cre­ative tracks that re­al­ly stay faith­ful to their ori­gins, like Rare Respite (Jib Jig) which is a ut­ter joy to lis­ten to, or Token Up (Token Tango) which brings your nos­tal­gia back in hot, fever­ish flash­es that you’re go­ing to en­joy, and let me just say that the gui­tar work here is spot on.

Are you look­ing to take things slow, mel­low out to some­thing re­al­ly spec­tac­u­lar? Beneath the Canopy (Forest Interlude) has you cov­ered with twin gui­tars backed by a nice touch of re­verb and a lit­tle de­lay, and a slow, melod­ic back­ground that just sits right on top of it. It re­al­ly re­minds me of a Dream Theater bal­lad with a touch of Gary Jules’ Mad World to tie things up in the end with a sub­tle and beau­ti­ful pi­ano bit.

I’m ab­solute­ly sur­prised by the first disc! No lack­lus­ter ef­forts on the part of the writ­ers and com­posers, the ex­cep­tion be­ing that some of these songs just aren’t my bag, which in no way re­flects bad­ly on their qual­i­ty, some peo­ple just like dif­fer­ent things. Nothing’s in­her­ent­ly bad in the music.

Unless we’re talk­ing about U2. then yes, I’ll be hap­py to make the exception.

And with that, we move on to the Disc 2. I must say, so far, I’m find­ing this mono­lith of mon­key busi­ness to be quite a‑peeling. Oh, I still have more bad puns, you’re not out of my crosshairs yet.

DISC 2 & 3

The sec­ond and third disc… This is where things start to re­al­ly, re­al­ly get good. Roller Disco (Disco Train) kicks this thing off and, I have to tell you, I thought it was re­al­ly well done. Not my thing, but it’s re­al­ly rep­re­sen­ta­tive of some­thing you’d hear in a packed rave, and that’s a thing I’ve come to ap­pre­ci­ate as a stu­dio en­gi­neer of sorts be­cause it’s ter­ri­bly hard to do right. Even if I don’t like it, I can sure as hell ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­fort and thought put into it. There’s quite a bit of songs in this col­lec­tion that rel­ish in their rave roots, like Club Klubba (Klubba’s Reveille), or Dance of the Zinger (Flight of the Zinger) for starters. Give these cats a shout, they de­serve some well due praise.

Speaking of fan­tas­tic en­gi­neer­ing and in­di­vid­u­als who are de­serv­ing of praise, if you like the heav­i­est of the heavy, the met­alest of met­al — and I cer­tain­ly do — you need This Chase Is Haunted (Haunted Chase), by none oth­er than Prince of Darkness him­self, Tony Dickinson. I have, in my pe­riph­ery, seen him pop up very rarely, but when he does, watch out. He is a force to be reck­oned with. Don’t be­lieve me? Stop read­ing, type in Prancing Dad on Google, and pre­pare your­self for some Devin Townsend-esque ridicu­lous­ness. If that’s not your thing, then check out Pickin’ Out the Fleas (Swanky’s Swing). This song, I swear, sounds like it was writ­ten by Nuno Bettencourt him­self, it’s very rem­i­nis­cent of the ma­te­r­i­al on the Extreme al­bum “Pornograffitti.” That pret­ty much sums up what it sounds like; Pornographic art for the ears.

Let’s tone things down for a sec­ond and re­lax. The cof­fee is get­ting to me, and it’s late, which is re­al­ly the prop­er set­ting for some love­ly re­lax­ation mu­sic. What? I don’t al­ways like life in the fast lane, there is only so many shows to at­tend, only so many par­ties to be had.

Swamp Gases (Bayou Boogie) is a real trip, and it’s some­thing you might find me lis­ten­ing to on a long dri­ve, it’s deep puls­ing beats and theremin-like leads are trance in­duc­ing, much like Dead Raggening (Bad Bird Rag). It has that over­all qual­i­ty of sub­tly that’s re­quired to do this kind of mu­sic, and I’d say it was the prize win­ning at­tribute that led to the orig­i­nal­ly sound­track be­ing so fan­tas­tic, earn­ing it the cult fol­low­ing it has. This kind of stuff nev­er gets bor­ing, which is a bonus in my book. Speaking of bonus’, Bonus Bop (Token Tango, Bonus Lose, Bonus Win)  is a real treat, and by treat, I mean a whole swing band ef­fort­less­ly tear­ing things up! The University of the Arts “Z” Big Band de­serves a lot of praise here, I mean, I wish I re­al­ly had more to say oth­er than bra­vo, be­cause it re­al­ly does not do it justice.

This, my friends, is where we part ways. There was so much I want­ed to say com­ing into this, but the­o­ry doesn’t al­ways pan out when it comes to putting it in ac­tion, a sad re­al­i­ty, but hap­pi­ly not all is lost. There were a lot hits in this col­lec­tion, with a fair share of miss’, but the only rea­son they miss is be­cause they just aren’t my cup of tea, in re­al­i­ty, the en­tire col­lec­tion is in­cred­i­bly well writ­ten and well pro­duced. There’s some­thing here for any­body with a love for mu­sic and Donkey Kong Country, and that’s the crown­ing achieve­ment in my book.

You can down­load the whole she-bang over at OC ReMix for free! This shit is ba­nanas. B‑A-N-A-N-A‑S.

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I yell at stu­pid peo­ple on the YouTube. Enjoy my pain, be­cause some­body has to.

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