Liontamer

OCRA-0059 - Esther's Dreams

15 posts in this topic



Before djpretzel's daughter Esther was born, Dave's sister Emily emailed me wondering if I could coordinate a baby-themed album as a celebratory surprise for the baby shower. I loved the idea and the lullaby focus was an obvious choice. That said, I'm a relaxed kind of guy and took my time; being completely honest, I also didn't want to jinx anything before the little bundle arrived, but envisioning this being released after Esther's successful first year of life really resonated with me and gave the community ample time to come up with some fun and relaxed pieces. We privately shared the community's work with djp for Esther's first birthday, and now that Esther's two AND joined by bouncing baby Sarah, we're finally ready (and possessing enough free cycles -- barely, I've got my own daughter now too!) to release this joyous musical effort to the community at large.

When I told Kris about the album concept, she let me know from the start that she'd be involved in a big way, and indeed she was the driving force behind making this happen, always asking for status updates and ensuring things moved forward. In life, the squeaky wheel gets the grease (live by it!), so be sure to surround yourself with good people who won't tolerate you being in a state other than motivated and focused.

Kris's idea to segment the album based on energy levels was excellent, and I love how things turned out by going for three different discs, Playtime, Downtime, and Sleepytime. For those of you who are parents with young kids, please let us know if they work as good background or sleep-inducing music for your little ones. :-)

Thank you so much to Emily for asking me to make this happen, Kris for reminding me to make this happen, and thank you especially to the artists for their inspired work, baby photos (!), and for sharing pieces of themselves in their music. They've not only come together to do something cool for lil' Esther, her mom Anna, and proud papa Dave as OCR's founder; they've also come together to create music infused with the energy of youth, innocence, love, and family. From our VGM-loving family to yours, enjoy!

- Larry Oji (Liontamer)


I became a judge on December 13, 2013, and six days later on December 19th, djpretzel became a first-time father to beautiful Esther. During a flurry of new-judge chatting, Larry casually asked if a few of us could throw together some baby-friendly tracks for Dave, to celebrate Esther's birth. Larry was looking for about five tracks, to be completed within two weeks or so. Haha! This was just a few days before Christmas and MAGFest, so the response was lukewarm at best. Busy people, busy time of year.

At MAGFest, halc and I hatched a plan to collab on a track from Yoshi Touch & Go that totally fit the bill for the baby concept. We got the track ("Baby Blue Sky") finished by February, but ours was still the only one. Fast forward: one enormous mass-email written by Larry, much bugging of Larry by me, and one full year later, and we had 32 lovely baby-friendly tracks we presented to Dave for Esther's first birthday! The response to the call for tracks was tremendous, everyone was super-enthusiastic, and we received enough varied tracks to create three separate discs: Playtime, Downtime, and Sleepytime, with a mini-bonus disc of Sillytime. We've got music for every baby mood!

Congratulations, Dave and Anna, on Esther. She really is the most beautiful kid I've ever seen (besides my own kid, OF COURSE). We hope you enjoy these tracks, and we really hope both Esther and Sarah enjoy these tracks.

- Kristina Scheps (Chimpazilla)

cover.jpg

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I found myself able to listen to the entire thing on the train back from a day out at London today.  It's so refreshing to see so many arrangers specialised in meatier genres trying something new if they hadn't gone down the mellow route before - and for those that did handle it before, it's great to see what vision they had in the grand scheme of things.

Silly notes that ended up coming into my head throughout it:

- As an artist involved, I obviously got to hear "Baby Blue Sky" before even getting to pick a source.  And my thoughts now are the same as they are back then - it's a tough act to respond to; the fusion of Chimp and halc's writing / production respectively works so bleedin' marvelously; and it serves as a great understanding for the album's vision.
- Yep, Meteo Xavier's Secret of Mana track turned my least favorite source from the entire game into something much more tonally spaced and clean - as well as by far being the most energetic on the entire album (!!)
- Considering a fair number of OCR arrangers are parents now, I'm surprised Eino was the only one that sampled his own kid in this!  It also made me want to check out ilomilo as a game, but I don't have neither an XBox (and am keeping refusing to buy them for obvious reasons) or a Windows phone to play it on...
-  I can trust a trance-based arranger like bLiNd to make a pun on Samuel Barber's famous classical adagio.  I guess it won't be long until it'll get other EDM remixes from people around GameChops or something...
- You did good with that accordion, zyko.  You stood out all those years as a musician that focused on stylistic creativity, so I'm glad to hear a track that makes it feel like you :)
- Hearing E-Bison's re-harmonizations in the Sleepytime disc feels as if C418 ended up on the roster spiritually.  Actually... did the 'recruitment net' get that wide we could've had C418 doing something for this?
- LOL at Zoltan's sillytime bonus!  Just wait til you get halfway through and you'll see what I mean.
and who's that Rexy chick again?  Some cute animal loving n00b? lol

This album may have come out of the (baby) blue in terms of release, but it seems to be going really well.  Hopefully this time we'll get those that think OCR does 'too much techno' or 'too much rock' to be silenced if only for a little while. :D

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Apparently I count amongst those people who have written techno AND rock... in one! :lol: By the way, I also appreciate that @José the Bronx Rican used my baby picture (courtesy of my dad) in the album art! :D (I'm the sketched baby)

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Excellent work everyone!

And thank/curse you Abadoss, for making your track so good that I can't stop listening to it.

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Wow, this project turned out to be HUGE. No wonder it took so long to get out - I had no idea it was 3-4 discs long. :o

So glad to be doing OCR work again and... wait, Rexy didn't like Secret of Mana's Color of the Summer Sky???? I thought I'd sooner see Jesus walk on water in my backyard than see someone who didn't like that song!

...umm, ok I'm back on track. AND I hope this week to listen to the full release.

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Wow, my baby pictures are all over that artwork too :) And it's cool because those 3 pictures were some of the only pictures I have of me as a baby, unfortunately. I think there's 1 other in a frame at my parents' house. I guess my folks weren't too big on saving baby pics. 

The song I actually made for this album got cut for being too dark around 2014, and I got too bummed to ever finish it, but maybe someday. Glad to have donated Rabbit to the album though and it fit. 

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Wait, we could've submitted baby pictures to this?

I mean, I don't think you'd want to use mine anyway, but I didn't know that.

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18 hours ago, Meteo Xavier said:

... wait, Rexy didn't like Secret of Mana's Color of the Summer Sky???? I thought I'd sooner see Jesus walk on water in my backyard than see someone who didn't like that song!

...derp, that's an error on my part!  Apparently I thought it was "Together Always", which grated on me due to the low-toned mallet melodies.  Seriously, someone should at LEAST do something good with that song though :P

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9 hours ago, Meteo Xavier said:

Wait, we could've submitted baby pictures to this?

I mean, I don't think you'd want to use mine anyway, but I didn't know that.

I don't remember doing it or them asking, but it's been so long, and I tend to forget a lot of stuff. So it was totally surprising to see them on there. I was a really good looking baby. Even when I was crying my head off, which is 1 of the pictures. 

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Awesome album! My favourite song is Hylian Lemon's Paper Mario remix. Lovely use of chiptunes there!

I wanted to be part of this album but I never managed to find time to do a track and I actually had an idea for one... Oh well, I can make it in the future I hope!

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Now this is an interesting idea for an album. An album based on energy levels, as stated in the directors notes, with the energy levels progressing from something with energy to the arrangements to serene lullaby arrangements that will put anyone in a relaxed state of mind. It’s not often we get arrangement albums that want to create soothing moods, so I really enjoyed evaluating this album for review. And as always, here are my takes on each individual track. And sorry if each track review seems short or abrupt in places. I was moving when I first listened to this, and I didn’t want to sit on this review forever.


1-01. "When Toys Come Alive" (The Secret of Monkey Island)
Arranger: fredrikd
Composers: Andy Newell, Barney Jones, Michael Land, Patric Mundy
Source: "Guybrush and Elaine"

It almost sounds like something out of a Danny Elfman soundtrack. Parts of the track sounded a little too hot to me though. Still, pretty whimsical. 

1-02. "Mon Ami!" (.hack//Infection - Part 1)
Arranger: BONKERS
Composer: Seizo Nakata
Source: "puti_farm (Grunty Farm)"

I feel like when I hear this track, we’re building up to something extraordinary. It sounds like a great overture to something much bigger. Maybe this should have been the first track? 

1-03. "The Slumber of the Beast" (Super Mario 64)
Arranger: DaMonz
Composer: Koji Kondo
Source: "Piranha Plant's Lullaby"

I love the Piranha Plant lullaby. Then again, I love the Super Mario 64 soundtrack. This arrangement sounds like it could be used as a world map music track for a Mario game. 

1-04. "Baby Blue Sky" (Yoshi Touch & Go)
Arranger/Performer: Chimpazilla
Arranger: halc
Composers: Asuka Hayazaki, Toru Minegishi
Source: "Sky Area"

Reminds me of something you’d hear out of Hiroki Kikuta’s library. Love the bass.

1-05. "Baby Dreams of Lost Civilizations" (Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door)
Arranger: Hylian Lemon
Composers: Yoshito Hirano, Yuka Tsujiyoko
Source: "Story of the Thousand-Year Door"

Once again Hylian Lemon proves to be an expert at bringing chiptune, and “modern era” music together brilliantly. 

1-06. "Psalm of the Summer Sky" (Secret of Mana)
Arranger: Meteo Xavier
Composer: Hiroki Kikuta
Source: "Color of the Summer Sky"

At first, I felt like this was an odd choice of music style for a soothing music album. But then I have to remind myself that this is the “playtime” album. So I shouldn’t expect the mood to be completely soothing in this part of the album. Even so, wonderful arrangement.

1-07. "Luxendarc Lullaby" (Bravely Default)
Arranger: HeavenWraith
Composer: Yasuo Kamanaka
Sources: "Wicked Flight," "Serpent Devouring the Horizon," "Ballad Moving Towards Hope"

A very beautiful take on Revo music. 

1-08. "Dream Fast, Little Pilot" (Gradius, Nemesis 2 & Vulcan Venture)
Arranger: rebrained
Composers: Gradius - Miki Higashino, Nemesis 2 - Motoaki Furukawa, Masahiro Ikariko, Vulcan Venture - Yoshiyuki Hagiwara
Sources: Gradius - "Coin (Coin Sound)," "Challenger 1985 (Stage 1 BGM)," Nemesis 2 - "Frontier Disputes (Life Planet Theme)," Gradius - "Free Flyer (Stage 4 BGM)," Vulcan Venture - "Burning Heat (Stage 1 BGM)"

I feel like I’m in a ship, sailing….somewhere. An aimless journey almost. The melody is interesting. However, it’s kind of difficult for me to feel anything from this track other than “going somewhere.”

1-09. "Soothing Rain" (Animal Crossing)
Arranger: Amphibious
Composers: Kenta Nagata, Shinobu Tanaka
Source: "Rainy Day"

Very respectful to the Animal Crossing source material.

1-10. "Soporific Sonata" (Super Mario Bros. 2 & Super Mario Bros. 3)
Arranger: DarkSim
Composer: Koji Kondo
Sources: Super Mario Bros. 2 - "Ending," Super Mario Bros. 3 - "Ending"

Another fairly upbeat track more fitting for a “playtime” mood than a soothing mood. But what doesn’t make this a completely playful track is how it feels like you’re in that playful mood right before the end of the day.

1-11. "Another Sky" (Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure)
Arranger: Rexy
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Source: "Skylanders Main Theme (Instrumental)"

And here is the “wind down” portion of playtime. I love that this is an arrangement of Hans Zimmer, cause it sounds nothing like Hans Zimmer. It’s so innocent, and pure. Very lovely.

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2-01. "Iso ilo" (ilomilo)
Arranger: Eino Keskitalo
Vocalist: Birgitta Susi
Composer: Daniel Olsén
Sources: "Cozy Sofa," "Once Upon"

I love the production put into this track. The vocals are very pleasant.

2-02. "Lullaby for an Old Soul" (Final Fantasy VI)
Arranger: Abadoss
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu
Source: "Gau"

Very peaceful, and relaxing. Can definitely be used as a lullaby, or a nice stroll.

2-03. "Adagio for Synths" (Final Fantasy IV)
Arranger: bLiNd
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu
Source: "Edward's Harp"

Delivers exactly what the title says it is. And that’s not a bad thing at all.

2-04. "Respite" (Kingdom Hearts)
Arranger: Emunator
Composer: Yoko Shimomura
Source: "Dearly Beloved"

Not really feeling this one. It’s kind of difficult to pull off a soothing piano arrangement of a track that’s already a soothing piano piece. It just comes across as a kind of “bootleg” attempt at Dearly Beloved.


2-05. "Thy Everlasting Winter Wind Blows" (Pokémon X)
Arranger: timaeus222
Composer: Shota Kageyama
Sources: "Snowbelle City," "Bicycle"

Love the bells, and the synth strings. It feels like you’ve taken Snowbelle City, and made it sound like a town theme for an ancient snowy village. 

2-06. "Cherish" (Final Fantasy VI)
Arranger: Redg
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu
Source: "Relm"

I know it’s Final Fantasy VI, but this reminds me of the slower music from the Super Castlevania IV soundtrack. And I absolutely love both soundtracks, so that’s perfectly fine by me. 

2-07. "Pure Heart" (Secret of Mana)
Arranger: Fredrik Häthén
Composer: Hiroki Kikuta
Source: "Still of the Night"

Nice, and almost mysterious. You’re so drawn into this track, it’s almost disappointing that there isn’t more to this track.


2-08. "Merry Dreams" (Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga)
Arranger: Chernabogue
Composer: Yoko Shimomura
Source: "Teehee Valley"

Nice. Does a good job capturing the essence of a Mario & Luigi game.

2-09. "Baby Mario Sweepy" (Super Mario Galaxy)
Arranger: k-wix
Composer: Mahito Yokota
Source: "The Star Festival"

I love this. It sounds like both Super Mario Galaxy and Yoshi’s Island together at the same time.

2-10. "Rabbit" (To the Moon)
Arranger/Performer: Brandon Strader
Composer: Kan Gao
Sources: "To the Moon - Main Theme," "For River - Piano (Johnny's Version)," "Trailer Theme - Part 2" (lyrics only)

Now this sounds like what Dream Fast, Little Pilot should have pulled off. Music that makes you visualize a dreamlike journey filled with wonder, and whimsy.

---

3-01. "Namors Gnudlib Theme (djp Naptime Edit)" [The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time]
Arranger/Performer: Sir Jordanius
Composer: Koji Kondo
Source: "Prelude of Light"

Nice, pleasant slow jazz vibe.

3-02. "Dream" (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
Arranger/Performer: DusK
Performer: Tuberz McGee
Composer: Koji Kondo
Source: "Zelda's Theme"

Great way to incorporate lullaby-esq lyrics to the Zelda theme melody.


3-03. "Off into the Night" (Chrono Trigger)
Arranger: pu_freak
Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda
Sources: "At the Bottom of the Night," "Epilogue - To My Dear Friends"

Reminds me of music from Joe Hisaishi. Wonderful arrangement of excellent Chrono Trigger tracks.

3-04. "Another Dream Will Start from Here" (The Legend of Zelda)
Arranger/Performer: zykO
Composer: Koji Kondo
Source: "Ending"

Very quirky, and light hearted. A little too long for my tastes, though. Love the guitar work.

3-05. "Dreamtime" (Chrono Trigger)
Arranger: E-Bison
Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda
Source: "Outskirts of Time"

VERY dreamlike. Could almost fall asleep to this (in a good way).

3-06. "Dawn of a New Dream" (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask)
Arranger: Radiowar
Composer: Koji Kondo
Source: "Tatl & Tael"

Not a good idea to put this track after the previous. Yes, it’s very dreamlike, but not as dreamlike as the previous track.

3-07. "Goodnight Moon" (DuckTales)
Arranger: E-Bison
Composer: Hiroshige Tonomura
Source: "The Moon"

Most appropriate arrangement to follow the lullaby theme.

3-08. "Sleep Tight, No Bed Bugs" (Super Mario Bros. 2)
Arranger: norg
Composer: Koji Kondo
Source: "Ending"

I’m loving the piano in this track.

3-09. "Child of Legend" (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
Arranger: LindsayAnne Pepper
Composer: Koji Kondo
Source: "Zelda's Theme"

Not quite as impressive as “Dream” but still a great lullaby arrangement of the Zelda theme. Nice way to end the album.

---

4-01. "Zone of the Esthers" (Zone of the Enders)
Arranger/Performer: The Legendary Zoltan
Composer: Masumi Ito
Source: "Kiss Me Sunlights - Opening Theme"

K.K. Slider sings you to sleep? Oh wait. It’s the mice from Babe. Still love it. Makes you feel like you’re dreaming in a wonderland.

4-02. "Namors Gnudlib Theme (djp Naptime Edit - Instrumental)" (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
Arranger: Sir Jordanius
Composer: Koji Kondo
Source: "Prelude of Light"

It’s…the same track. Only instrumental. Still love it. 

---

All in all, one of the most creative OCR albums I've ever heard from this website. Excellent work the whole lot of you.

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Such a great idea for an album. My daughter Aika's birthday is VERY close to Esther's. (Great name choice, by the way.) It was January 7th, 2014. I waited freaking forever for this album to come out. Now I can play it around Aika TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY!

I'd like to point out that my remix has the greatest title in the history of everything. Your welcome, Esther. ^_~

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