Author Topic: Editorial 2  (Read 428 times)

ZeaLitY

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Editorial 2
« on: December 26, 2004, 12:20:59 am »
The topic of this is

Talk about two of your favorite remixes. Highlights - why you feel they accurately reflect on the Chrono series, and what they mean to you.

Separate paragraphs please, so we can have like 1a 2a 3a 4a 1b structure in the editorial for variety. This is your chance to promote remixes you adore but may be unpopular, or get your favorite song some exposure. I'm still thinking about my second...

While this isn't really required for awhile, I'm just doing it for a head start.

Lord J Esq

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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2004, 07:17:45 am »
After looking through my exhaustive music library, it turns out that to date I only have nine pieces of Chrono series remixes in my permanent collection, two of which are midis. It is the original scores that I love, not the fan music, and any attempt at a remix has to tickle my fancy in exactly the right way, or I simply will not acknowledge it. Add to that the rather immense pool of substandard remix fare, and the fact that there are a few good remixes out there that I’ve simply yet to hear, and, therefore, I have only the nine pieces out of hundreds of Chrono series remixes. At least this makes it is easier for me to choose two favorites.

In the interest of science, I loaded up all ten remixes and listened to them in turn, winnowing down the field in just two rounds. Before talking about the two I chose, I want to give an honorable mention to “Team Gato,” by Dale North and Mustin, and “Chrono Trigger Tribute Mix,” by D. Ingram.

“CT Blues,” by Schizophrenic Techno-Penguin #827 (1999, Videogame Music Archive)

The best remixes bring new perspective to the same old songs. “CT Blues” is a medley that invokes the melodies of roughly a dozen pieces in soft jazz style, which the artist interprets as blues. What really stands out about this remix is the wide range of moods that it reaches all within a single motif, which demonstrates the artist’s grasp of some passionate but genuinely involved techniques.

As I see it, the remix as a whole is meant to take the listener on a visit to the events of the game and consider them in a new light, with new emotional associations that invite listeners to reflect upon the story with a new perspective. The trick to this, as best as I can explain it, is that the source material is often significantly restructured and sometimes completely changed in emotional mood. The listener is unlikely to benefit from this without a good familiarity with the events and music of Chrono Trigger, as the new perspective does not have much substance of its own, instead relying upon the framework already established by the game. Really, what it means is that listening to this remix is like remembering all the fondest memories of this exceptional game.

The restructuring is so radical in some instances that you might have trouble identifying the original piece. That can backfire easily, but not in this case. Instead it can be a pleasure to get lost in the music for a few moments, knowing that, whatever it is, it’s Chrono Trigger, and that the next melody is just around the corner, besides. This causes the itch of hearing something familiar but not quite being able pin it down. Meanwhile, many of the melodies are immediately recognizable, which prevents these moments of intentional vagueness from causing helplessness in the listener.

Fans of Maestro Yasunori Mitsuda know that his work is very compatible with itself, which makes it feasible for some songs to be overlapped. This is noticeable early in, at 0’45”, when highly loyal remixes of “Remains of Factory” and “Manoria Cathedral” are played beneath an excerpt of “Battle with Magus,” which itself is simply an introduction to a liberal rendition of “Wind Scene.” The author favors this technique and incorporates it into most of the length of the remix.

However, in a delicious contrast, the most pivotal moment in the entire remix comes immediately after the aforementioned flurry of melodies, which give way at 1’42” to a piano solo of “Corridors of Time.” This interlude prevents the listener from succumbing to melodic overkill and invites a sense of easiness and poignancy in the remix’s overall tone, which establishes a layered fullness that would otherwise consign this piece of work to a much shallower realm.

While the remix as a whole is a bit sloppy in its execution—suggesting a capable but inexperienced artist—the first half of “CT Blues” is much more listenable than the second half, because starting at roughly 4’05” the artist makes the cringe-inducing mistake of sustain-pedal overkill. Indeed, there are more sustain pedals than release pedals in this song, which is never a good thing. Many of this song’s structural shortcomings are more egregious technically, but this one is the most conspicuous and harmful. It interjects far too much energy into the second half of the remix and brings things to the point of harmonic overload. Be tolerant and try to overlook this flaw, because some fine melodic interpretations will otherwise go missed.

Other elements that add to this description of “sloppy” execution include some rough edges in the compatibility between simultaneous melodies, a rather uninspired bass and percussion accompaniment that aim for “blues” but hit “lazy,” and the use of seventeen instruments, which could probably be tightened to promote continuity.

Given that “CT Blues is a medley,” I would be remiss not to put in a word about transitions. A good transition preserves the mood and the dignity of a medley. This remix features a good number of transitions, some of which are more artificial than suits the mood. A few are outright jarring. Most, however, accomplish the important feat of going unnoticed, while a few of the best actively participate in advancing the overall theme.

My personal liking for this remix is manifold. Firstly, the aforementioned “Corridors of Time” remix is simply the best I’ve heard for what is perhaps the most remixed song in the video game universe. Secondly, the “Robo’s Theme” rendition at 3’14” is a particularly uplifting and optimistic counterpoint to an otherwise bittersweet remix—especially for a “blues” medley, which just goes to show how comfortable the artist is with the genre. Thirdly, I have a real soft spot for Chrono remixes that end with the ticking clock sound effect and an allusion to the classic “Presentiment,” which comes in at 6’29.” This is an excellent dénouement, but is unfortunately marred by one last rogue sustain pedal.

Beyond these specific points of interest in the remixing, I also appreciate the loyalty with which the melodies are preserved, which is essential given how radically some of the source material is restructured to fit the jazz style. I think the most rewarding aspect of “CT Blues” in the long run has been my trying to go back and identify just what exactly is being remixed, straining my ears to single out one melody out of several at a time. To this day I still haven’t got them all figured out.

The progressiveness of this remix is also a good accomplishment. Listen to one part and then skip ninety seconds ahead, and you wouldn’t be able to tell that it’s the same song. Same genre, yes. Same mood, yes. Same style, yes. Same artist…maybe. But same song, nope. It is both continuous and progressive, and I like that.

“CT Blues” is definitely worth a listen. Its ultimate accomplishment is its reminiscence of a truly outstanding game. It wouldn’t be much of a song without Chrono Trigger there to provide the imagery.

“Song of the Mountain,” by Urza (2003, Overclocked Remix)

I have to get up in three hours, so I’m going to leave this one for another time. I’ll be back to edit this eventually.

~ Josh

ZeaLitY

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Editorial 2
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2004, 12:27:20 am »
Interesting find; I dug up CT Blues and it is indeed crazy cool. I may post it on the OCR Request board to see if someone can do a MIDI rip and give it more true-to-reality instrumentation.

Captain LiteraL - Passage to Zeal (Jimi Hendrix Mix)

Before the advent of the Chrono Compendium's music section, this remix of [[Corridors of Time]] was an extremely rare find, probably only being heard by a handful of people who were extremely lucky to have been in #ocremix, the IRC channel of Overclocked ReMix, at the right time. Captain LiteraL's visitations to the channel were short-lived, but at his mention of a new Zeal remix, I jumped at the chance to listen and requested he send me the file. It was a work in progress then, and before he left the channel for good, he sent me the finished version, dubbed the Jimi Hendrix mix because the revolutionary guitarist inspired some of the synthwork in the song. Beyond this distribution, this remix has never appeared on OCReMix, its WIP forum, or VGMix, and sat in my collection until it was uploaded to the public.

Passage to Zeal deviates from the standard order of Zeal remixes right away; while most launch into the background instantly, Passage to Zeal uplifts the listener with airy auras that reach the clouds, and then taunts with a beat and the main melodic progression of the actual song. Pausing briefly, it then launches into the main course. This introduction exemplifies the title of the song, inspiring the imagery of being taken via Skyway or any type of flight to Zeal, and sailing the wild blue with those magical continents. Once the actual remix does begin, the background synth once again imparts the feeling of gliding high, and the other instrumentation in the song does not disappoint. Easy and soft on the ears, it is regardless clear and decisive in its ascent. The phasing in the middle of the song brings to the forefront this sense, and then reiterates the introductory melody, sealing this as a true interpretation, and not merely a rearrangement. Gradually, the song builds up from here, returning to further coverage of the main theme. And at last, it fades away in another bevy of flightful sounds.

Passage to Zeal is not a cryptic title; this remix takes place in the sapphire skies of Zeal, but is not planted on the continent, for it's always moving and riding the crests of fresh air. Captain LiteraL also has been found; he runs a livejournal at http://www.livejournal.com/users/captltrl/ .

zykO - The Queen With the Silver Eyes (Dream Extension)

Lyrics:

now that I have seen you
naked as trust and freezing cold
i'll keep our secret silently
and close your eyes when i'm told
live the summer endlessly
and forsake the coming fall
for fear a vision can tell it all


So begins what I feel is the darkest and haunting arrangement of a Chrono series song. zykO composed this a couple years ago; I happened to be in the right place at the right time again (#ocremix) when he asked if anyone wanted to hear. I was instantly blown away; here was a full composition that perfectly evoked the chasmic emotional and spiritual wounds of Magus, the discord of Zeal and the royal family, and the despondency of the mage's life. It was all spread before me in 8:04 (it is called the Dream Extension because the original, undistributed mix ended with the guitar arrangement). The person speaking is seemingly Magus.

The piece begins with the despair of cold winds blowing and grating upon a bleak landscape, reminiscing of the harsh, unrelenting ice storm of 12,000 B.C. The underlying notes for '''Zeal Palace''' fade in softly and sorrowfully, accompanied by the dimmed sparkles of bells as Magus begins his desolate soliloquy. The tune proceeds in its normal arrangement, and a light guitar emerges from the barren winds, accenting the mounting depression. And at last -- Magus's last words are repeated, and it arrives! The full hopelessness, the sheer insanity, and the utter melancholy of Magus's morose history and the tumultuous fall of Zeal explode in screaming guitar and a driving beat. Herein lies a mirror reflection of the entire events of these characters' lives; as zykO shreds the strings of his blazing guitar, a tableau of destruction, dejection and blackness erupt in dashing form. At 4:50, when the assault relents, the quiet melody cools as the winds breeze in the background; the guitar begins a steady discourse of increasing pain and shattered hope. One imagines the unfathomable darkness of Magus's life, as he survived the Mystics with only the dream of his sister keeping him alive. The tension and hurt cannot be restrained; at 6:40, it is slowly unleashed in a primal scream. The music breaks down, and Magus repeats his somber words. At last, repeating the melody of Zeal one last time, the Dream Extension fades into the darkness. There is nothing more; this is the ForeverZero, the Dark Eternal.

The Queen with the Silver Eyes is, undoubtedly, the Chrono series, coming as close to canon music as one can get through remixing. This is an account of Magus's life; of the dysfunction of the royal family; of this dark chapter in the series, and it is peerless in execution.

Symmetry

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Editorial 2
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2005, 01:00:55 am »
This will take me awhile to decide, but I do plan on contributing to this editorial.

Also - if you write about a song that's a little more difficult to find, do you think you could post a link to where a download of it might be found? I've heard zyko's The Queen With the Silver Eyes (Dream Extension), but the other tracks mentioned are new to me. Thanks.

Edit - Nevermind, Symmetry is a retard and momentarily forgot about using the Compendium's music library to hunt them down. Found 'em.

ZeaLitY

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Editorial 2
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2005, 01:47:41 am »
Yeah, I also plan posting links to them beneath everyone's choices for easy reference. I'm glad Lord J Esq brought CT Blues to everyone's attention.

Symmetry

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Editorial 2
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2005, 04:52:44 pm »
Just getting a few titles down on paper so I can begin the narrowing process.

- Sines by Beej: Zeality, you nailed precisely what I was looking for the other night when I asked for you a noctural remix. I've set this mix on repeat and let it play while doing some fanfiction writing and I think its one of the best pieces I've ever heard. While I remember the track from the game, I forget what the title of it is - I believe At the Bottom of Night. Regardless what the name actually is, I remember the original playing during the scene where Frog recounts the loss of Cyrus upon recieving the Masamune & heading toward the Magic Cave - one of my favourite set of scenes in the game. Sines is a very ambient remix, and does a fantastic job of conveying the sorrow & despair of the original piece.

- When All Hope Has Faded by Unknown & zircon

- A Foray Into the Eastern Horizons by mv - Even though its a FFVII & CT remix, the bulk of it is CT-related.

Radical_Dreamer

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Editorial 2
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2005, 05:55:00 pm »
The Knights Come Marching Home...Again - Aislean.

It's actually a Chrono Trigger/FF9 mix, but it integrates the two well. Certainly conveys the emotional impact of Frog's character, particularly him overcoming his trials.

Another Inspiration - Scott Peeples

Chrono Cross mix of "Dream of a Shore Bordering Another World." It's absolutely beautiful, and very relaxing. It's an interesting take on the song, but manages to convey the same emotion.

ZeaLitY

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Editorial 2
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2005, 01:09:34 pm »
Alright, for all the new Compendium members who can access the Event forums -- can you try and contribute to this in time for next week's update?

YbrikMetaknight

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Editorial 2
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2005, 04:49:47 am »
One of my favorite Chrono series mixes is Unipulator's Zeal Love, available at OverClocked ReMix. To me, this one just feels like it encompasses the mystery of the island of Zeal and inspires nostalgic feelings every time I listen to it. Of the two and a half dozen or so mixes of Chrono Corridor I've listened to, it's my favorite.

Another personal favorite is JAXX's All In One Day. It's an acoustic guitar mix of The Day the World Ended. While it doesn't exactly reflect the feeling of absolute desperation the original had, it takes the theme and runs with it. It ends up being one of the best-sounding mixes the series has seen.

I could also name the OneUp Mushrooms' version of Secret of the Forest as a personal favorite, but I've only heard it once, live, at the second annual OneUp Studios BBQ back in August, and don't have a recording of it. But it's good stuff, my friends, and will hopefully be on an OUM album in the near future.