Liontamer

OCRA-0061 - Super Mario RPG: Window to the Stars

6 posts in this topic

Seven years after having joined the OC ReMix community, I was becoming increasingly distraught that there had not yet been an attempt at a remix album for what is, in my opinion, the greatest game of all time. I eventually decided to take matters into my own hands and create what would eventually become Window to the Stars. While not the easiest undertaking by any stretch of the imagination, I feel that this tribute to the brilliance of Yoko Shimomura, Koji Kondo, and Nobuo Uematsu does the soundtrack justice. With nearly every track rearranged across 3 discs, the album as a whole portrays a sort of reimagining of the journey taken in the game itself.

Of course, this project would not be what it is today without a great deal of help. Big thanks to both the artists and fans who have been waiting patiently throughout this sometimes-not-too-clear development. IT'S FINALLY HERE! A second thanks to the artists who worked on the album not only for their incredible talent and timeliness, but also for dealing with Emery and my pestering over the last 4 years. You da real MVPs. Thanks to Yoko Shimomura for her incredible ability to create emotive works, even through beeps and boops. Also to Koji Kondo and Nobuo Uematsu for creating the initial atmosphere in the Mario series and Final Fantasy series, respectively, that would serve as the foundation for many pieces in Super Mario RPG. And finally, a VERY special thanks to Emery for all of his work on this album. There was a time I thought I'd have to drop the project and that caused much distress in my life, but Emery stepped in to help pick up the slack and saved me and the album. It's safe to say this album would not be complete today and it most definitely wouldn't be of the caliber it is without his help. I've said it to you many times in private conversations but, again, thank you so much for everything you've done.

Ultimately, all this work would be for nothing without you, the people listening to this music. I hope this album brings you as much joy as it does for me.

Enjoy, friends!

 

- Dustin Lagaly (Theory of N)

 

Okay, so let me make sure we're all on the same page here: Super Mario RPG is one of the greatest masterpieces of classic video games. Anyone who hasn't played it should get that fixed ASAP. And the rest of you already know why that game is so good.

With that out of the way, I would like to say that my history with this project wasn't the most straightforward path. I started with simply claiming and remixing the final battle music of the game. At that point, the project was still far from completion, so I contacted Dustin and asked if I could help in any way. So, with his consent, I started sending out messages to the other remixers to try and get the ball rolling some more. And then, one thing led to another, and here I am! I'm really grateful to Dustin for letting me help with directing the project, for the highs and lows anyone should expect from a project of that scale, for the teamwork, and for making the project happen in the first place. I'm also very grateful to all of the musicians and to the visual artists for providing all the great content this project has to offer, and for enduring my (most probably obnoxious) constant badgering. And, of course, where would this project be without the original composers Yoko Shimomura, Koji Kondo, and Nobuo Uematsu, towards all of whom I hold the highest admiration. Their music has shaped a huge part of my childhood, and has provided the world with a gorgeous demonstration of human expression.

As for this here project, we have decided to highlight both the complexity of the original soundtrack by covering most of its extent, and the variety of musical styles and moods that is achievable by the remixing community. The three discs (Exploration, Confrontation, and Celebration) give a quite self-explanatory progression to the album that, I believe, should provide you with a satisfyingly wide array of emotions to re-enact the original game's mood on a nicely crafted musical scene. Getting this project done was one big adventure for us, and I hope listening to it all will be a big adventure for you all as well. Happy listening!

 

- Emery Monzerol (DaMonz)

cover.jpg

Black_Doom likes this

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Hey guys - nice job putting together another album. I've got quite a few comments. As always, the mixing & production value is generally really good across the board. Congrats. 

Overall I think some tracks simply deviate too far from their original. I think this is especially true in the first disc, a little less so later on. I think you should always know what the original track is when you're listening to a remix. However it's unreasonable to expect anyone to listen to any part of any given song and expect them to know specifically what the original track is when listening to an OCremix track. OCremix is known for taking ideas and extrapolating a bit, and that's cool. If you want the original, listen to the original. There's a separate reason why people listen to this site's stuff. Yet, there's this sort of "respect" I'd call it to the original that I think all good OCremix tracks have, and sadly I think that's lacking in a lot of these tracks. 

For example, 1-04, I didn't know what I was listening to the whole time. That's 0 percent exaggeration. Felt similarly about 1-08. 

Just to reiterate I think there's nothing wrong with being a bit abstract. 1-09 takes the theme out there with a slow intro but is still absolutely recognizable. 

The track order's a bit questionable. Do you guys feel the need to swap things out of logical order for some reason? Barrel Volcano as track 1-03 is a strange choice. It's a late game track that is unanimously remembered as being one of the last legs of your journey. Why is there another entire disc after the final boss track? ? ? Similarly, this happened on FFIX's album with Melodies of Life too, plopped in the middle of the set. I don't understand the motivation. It's not interesting, it doesn't help the flow (complete opposite, in my opinion), and it tempts me to rearrange tracks personally. 

Just some other observations:

2-06, a perfect fit for this album. This is clearly recognizable, takes some classic OCremix variations. Djpretzel representing OCremix really well, nice work. Also awesome track title (Zant & Valentina together forever)

2-09's cool. The subtle hammers in the background of the original are a missing touch that would have been nice. 

3-01 had cool instrumentation and arrangement but I think it had some volume / mix balancing issues? The leads are very muddy and in the background for the first half, then you get this massive lead volume boost at ~1:22.

3-02 Totally admit I was a bit skeptical at first with the build up, but it came through. Nice job.

1-06 Whoever is involved with the professional production of these albums, I think you should take a hard look at this kind of track. Seriously, I'm sick of hearing that lame attempt of a "audio mark" with the dumbass sheep sound or whatever it is. It takes a lot of gall and ego to supplant that into an official OCremix album. Not to mention I thought this was hands down the worst track on the album (if you're going to be egotistical and stain your track with a signature, make sure the track is actually good). Completely ruined one of this game's finest, most recognizable themes. I deleted the track from the album. 

'Fight Against an Armed Boss' is one of my top 10 favorite tracks of all time. It's one of the foundational themes of this game that separates this OST from other OSTs. I'm in shock and can't believe it didn't make the final track list. How could you possibly let this slide? 

Overall I think there's some cohesiveness that just didn't come together as a whole. SM64's, FFVI's and FFIX's albums were big projects and I think they came together as individual albums in their entirety. They felt individually like journeys in their typical OCremix, abstract sort of way. This album seems like a somewhat random collection of Mario RPG interpretations. Which IMO is really sad because if there was ever a game that deserved an album representative of a journey, it's this one.

Keep at it. I hope for improvements going forward on official releases. 

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I never played Super Mario RPG (ooh, I can hear the replies being typed right now). I never had a SNES as a kid, and the few people that I knew that owned one didn't have this game. I only know a little of the music from OCR and a few videos on YouTube, videos titled "Top Ten Best SNES Music!" or "Top Ten Mario Game Soundtracks!"... that sort of thing.

So I don't have any emotional attachment to the game. It's just another game I never had the opportunity to play, like any of the thousands of other ones I've never touched.

But that cover art. That wonderful, beautiful cover art.

If there was ever an image to represent all those fond memories of playing a favorite game after dark, at night, in front of the television or underneath the blankets in bed, this would be it.

There is a glowing window, a portal to a tiny world. There is no living room floor, no bedroom, no house. Just you, and that little universe. All else fades into the background.

Your artists picked one hell of an image to convey the mystery and magic of a video game. I haven't even listened to the music yet, but I already like this album.

Sir_NutS and djpretzel like this

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I like how the cover art has Geno using Geno Whirl against Exor! That's awesome.

Super Mario RPG is one of those rare games that I have a particularly strong connection with even though I wouldn't necessarily call it one of my favorite games. It tends to randomly show up in my life sporadically -- and sometimes it comes at just the right time. For me, in its own unique way, I would say SMRPG is a Pick Me Up. It's one beautiful game that's for sure; its soundtrack is sheer creativity. I need to bust out my SNES and play it again sometime soon.

 

As for this album, it's interesting. I've found that the whole thing is enjoyable as a whole. I felt there aren't as many standout tracks as other albums, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I've only heard the album once all the way through so maybe I'm missing some tracks, but here are my favorites:

 

Oyster Me Timbers - Hylian Lemon, Phonetic Hero
This was the first track that I checked who remixed it; my reaction was "wow, what an interesting interpretation of the source theme, who did this?"

Just One Wish - Doc Nano
This is simply beautiful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for remixing this.

Variations in Melancholy Minor - zykO
When I first saw the tracklist I noticed zykO's track was 7 minutes long and I knew I was in for a surprise. This track is just, wow! To me the story it tells is just wonderful; it's as if the instruments all have their own distinctive personalities and are in hiding initially, only to come out and embrace one another in harmony as the track progresses. There's something about zykO, and his beautiful music, that speaks deeply to me. Variations is really story-like in the way it's composed and that appeals to me strongly.

Riptide Rush - Argle
Within hours (half a day?) of Theory of N creating the initial SMRPG album thread in March 2013, I'd said something along the lines of "whoever claims Let's Go Down the Wine River will be blessed with my eternal love." I ended up really really loving the track. It's epic! Thanks, Argle! Great use of water sfx towards the beginning.

Honky Town - Wiesty feat. XPRTNovice
I can't quite put it into words but the amount of life this track exerts is astonishing! Great job!! There was one bit that initially made me "??????? that's so familiar, where is it from?" and right now, right away, it dawned on me it's from Chrono Trigger, one of the few tracks I have heard from the game (which is odd as I own the SNES cartridge; haven't bothered playing it yet but it's on my to-do-list!)

 

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The track order's a bit questionable. Do you guys feel the need to swap things out of logical order for some reason? Barrel Volcano as track 1-03 is a strange choice. It's a late game track that is unanimously remembered as being one of the last legs of your journey. Why is there another entire disc after the final boss track? ? ? Similarly, this happened on FFIX's album with Melodies of Life too, plopped in the middle of the set. I don't understand the motivation. It's not interesting, it doesn't help the flow (complete opposite, in my opinion), and it tempts me to rearrange tracks personally. 

Huh, I kinda want to make my own version of the tracklist for this very reason. While to me the current tracklist is not a deal breaker in the slightest (I enjoyed the album a lot), I can't help but feel that an album's tracklist is one of the main driving forces behind its success, as much as the content itself, if that makes sense? I kind of want to arrange the tracks as I personally see fit just to see how it'd go but I probably won't... or if I do I won't permanently arrange them that way. I'm ok with the way things are now.

During the production of the Donkey Kong Country 3 project, Emunator and I crafted the tracklist very carefully over a long sequence of time. We listened to the finished tracks + work-in-progresses, in order, a LOT (also replacing the at-the-time unclaimed tracks with the originals) to ensure the cohesiveness of the album. It was our goal to be mindful of how tracks blended together stylistically as well as thematically regarding their appearance in-game; to us we felt it was very important for the listeners especially. In this album's case I'm not sure why Barrel Volcano is track #3, or why it goes Smithy fight --> SMRPG intro --> Midas River, but I'm sure the directors had their reasons.

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At first, I was taken back by the artist's interpretations, especially when I heard "You Dirty, You Nasty, But You Mine". At this point, I had to understand that these are true Remix's. They are interpretations of more than a musical score, they also represent the settings and emotions linked directly to the overall narrative of SMRPG. On this point I have to say, well done.

As usual, I ended up late to the party and have recently become aware of MSU1's and the ability to apply Cd quality music to Snes Roms. In my curiosity, I wanted to see how OCRemix's "Super Mega Ultra Pipe House" would fit over the intro to Super Mario Rpg. I don't currently have the knowledge to hack a rom to induce the MSU1, but IMO, I can press play on two applications, pretty damn fast. Sure enough, if you sync the jump in the game intro, with the jump sound in the song intro, it not only captures the essence of the game, it can actually be perceived to "introduce" members of the cast.  Now that I've seen and heard the two together, and can't get it out of my head, it assures me that you all took great care in capturing the uniqueness of SMRPG and the wide variety of ideas thrown into the game.

SMRPG was destined to have a unique tone being that it was a Square Rpg conceptualized in Nintendo's nest egg, The Mushroom Kingdom. The biggest name in Rpg's, at the time, with the most cherished character in gaming history, Mario. This was the first, and the last time that Square would produce a Mario Rpg. It was also the 2nd to last game produced by Square before their big break up with Nintendo. Surely, Square and Sony had already been in talks to make Final Fantasy VII exclusively on the Playstation. The music, as well as the themes, were the product of two gaming giants trying to get their personal themes to fit into one cartridge, sometimes remarkably, sometimes to their detriment. Now, as we look back at some of these more unique games, that came from unique circumstances, a unique interpretation of the 100+ songs and sounds from the original rom is fitting.

Pipe Funk (Hello from Inside the Earthen Pipe) was almost a direct interpretation, the core of the original SMRPG track offset the first beat of the melody that most of us recognize as the OG Mario "Underworld" score. This inflection on the up-beat gave the Smrpg track a funky, almost Micheal Jackson feel. OCRemix took that idea and turned their track into a Halloween themed 80's dance party, and the DJ just started spinning Thriller.

Still the Road is Full of Klezmorim.... Skyrim Remix please? :)

The remix for "The Dungeon is Full of Monsters" is one of the most out of place tracks, but quickly became a track I wanted to hear more of. Then I wanted to hear a little bit more, then just wanted to hear a little bit more. 5 times in a row? at some point I lost count. Rockos and Danton Freitas did well at replicating a style of music that reminds me of Genghis Tron with a more deliberate style choice. There is probably a better comparison, but I haven't listened to anything like that in a while(aka i'm old), and honestly, the arrangement is weirdly refreshing. Perhaps the juxtaposition of SMRpg sound effects with Electronic Blip Bloops(ie Flip Florps, WubWubs) and Guitar Djent-rification created a compelling soundscape of our hero in danger, battling shadows and emerging victorious.

Thank you for creating this ear candy. Considering that OCRemix is consistently producing quality engineered albums on the regular, while also maintaining an environment for creators to collaborate, I have to commend you all on your dedication and I hope you all continue to work together to produce this wonderful music.

Cheers.

djpretzel and DaMonz like this

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On 2/1/2017 at 5:10 PM, pmac said:

For example, 1-04, I didn't know what I was listening to the whole time.

The track order's a bit questionable. Do you guys feel the need to swap things out of logical order for some reason? Barrel Volcano as track 1-03 is a strange choice. It's a late game track that is unanimously remembered as being one of the last legs of your journey.

I agree with you about the track order, but not about track 1-04 - that was instantly recognizable and not very abstract at all.

The next time you guys remix one of the best songs (Beware the Forest's Mushrooms) from one of the best games from my childhood, could you see to it that some idiot doesn't take a dump all over it by inserting unrelated sound bytes, especially ones that contain offensive language? No one, I repeat, NO ONE, wants to hear "you've gotta be bulls****ing me" repeated 3 times in a row in a song that should be full of nostalgia.

 

On 4/8/2017 at 8:24 AM, Day2Data said:

Still the Road is Full of Klezmorim.... Skyrim Remix please? :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Klezmorim

What in the world does this have to do with Skyrim? ._.

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