ReMix: Neverwinter Nights 'Kara-Turian Nights'

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Neverwinter Nights

Kara-Turian niiiights, like Kara-Turian daaaaaays... more often than not, are hotter than hot, in a lot of good waaaays... Salam and good evening to you, worthy friend. Or morning, as the case may be at time of writing. I'm proud to present our first Neverwinter Nights ReMix, from Kenneth Soong, alias Ceracryst, whose only previous mix was posted all the way back in 2002. It's been a long road, getting from there to here, but it's great to see Kenneth is still mixing, and has definitely honed his skills in the interim. He writes:

"I first had the idea for this remix around a year ago, when I was itching to remix something but hadn't really written any music for a while. I love ethnic and Chinese instruments, especially seeing high-budget kung-fu movies like Hero and Crouching Tiger, so I wanted to do something with a Chinese twist.

The first attempt was a Deus Ex which didn't turn out so well. I turned to Neverwinter Nights, a dear game to me with a simple but expressive theme song. I love D&D (NWN is what got me into it), so I imagined what an awesome kung-fu movie set in the mystical East of D&D-lore might be like. Essentially this mix is Neverwinter Nights Goes Asian. =D I'm totally stoked to be able to submit something again to OCR. Congratulations on the SFHD soundtrack, guys!"

Thanks!

Mr. Jeremy Soule, of Evermore, Elder Scrolls, and Guild Wars fame, writes amazing game music, plain and simple. It's fantastic to see more of his oeuvre represented here on OCR, and NWN fans have probably been waiting for a ReMix to finally pop up. I love the concept here... I've seen Hero and Tiger half a dozen times each, as well as pretty much everything Zhang Yimou has directed, though his older stuff was more artistic/dramatic and less epic/fighting. Recently watched (and loved) both parts of Red Cliff (John Woo goes period!), and at a party just two weeks ago was extolling the virtues of The Emperor and the Assassin - an amazing, amazing film from Chen Kaige.

So while I'm not as familiar with NWN, barely finding the time to play any games whatsoever, much less RPGs, I do get & appreciate the concept the artist is shooting for, and can furthermore assess that he did a sweet job of capturing the feeling. The arrangement not only covers the main NWN theme, but also touches on motifs from 'Neverwinter City' from the sequel as well as 'Aribeth's Battle'. You've got a more delicate intro with plenty of plucking, epic horns enter around 0'33", nice break at 0'43" to ease up and let a flute solo glide up until an accelerando w/ cymbal roll that paves the way for the equivalent of a beat drop at 1'38" with drums rounded out and everything firing full steam. 2'03" takes us into a nice deviation with a darker theme and some barbaric anvils (RAD ANVIL LICKS?!) before segueing back into major key anthematic work at 2'47". Really fluid transitions between tones and dynamics - I can absolutely imagine this used as an introduction or montage with camera sweeps over vast plains, mountain tops, and other equally astounding scenery. It really works, Kenneth's learned a lot since his first mix, and this is a fantastic, well-executed vision of a hypothetical "Neverwinter Nights meets Jade Empire" scenario. A triumphant return from Kenneth, who we hope to hear from on a more frequent basis in the future.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Argle
on 2013-01-28 17:24:22
As someone who sunk a billion hours into this game, I just want to thank you for creating a great tribute to it.
WesternZypher
on 2011-01-04 13:14:12
Great work, totally would work as epic battle music fr any NWN boss-battle! :smile:
Emunator
on 2009-12-03 18:57:46
The ethnic flair was a perfect choice here, I like how you blended classical orchestra with something distinctly eastern... the source tune you chose is really great, reminds me of something from A Link to the Past in terms of its epic nature. The plucked... instrument-thingy that continues through much of the mix, as well as the hand drums, is a nice subtle touch that keeps the arrangement feeling ethnic throughout, even during the more cinematic parts.
This would feel right at home in a movie or RPG battle. Good interpretation! :-)
Polo
on 2009-12-03 18:41:51
Somber strings, elvish flutes, windy gongs, delectable drums... many instruments sound so smooth I want to caress them. Along with all the little flourishes throughout, they're like separate Christmas presents/decorations combining into a larger one. The mood brims with seasonal poignancy (heartwarming, hopeful, etc.) with different intensities assigned to it, and even though some of the shifts sound abrupt, they don't feel that way. In fact, my favorite moment is 2:48, when after Battle Aribeth puts up a foreboding front, suddenly the melody dips into a refreshing tone that says "worry not, all's right with the world."
Very very pleasant.
Marmiduke
on 2009-10-27 09:32:15
Martin Penwald;559038 wrote: But I wonder, does anyone else get a 24 vibe from the part starting at ~2:05? The melody the brass is playing reminds me of the BGM of the series.

Glad it wasn't just me, heh.
This is pretty stellar stuff. Strong orchestral showings are my long-time weakness, especially when they are particularly this well executed. I'm liking the samples, despite a few people having issues. Percussion and strings come through well enough for me, and by that I mean, they reach my standard. There's always work to be done if we really want to improve, but I'm happy with how this sounds. Anything extra is unnecessary but welcome.
This brings out what I love about Jeremy Soule. He crafts these extremely solid yet totally simple melodies that are so direct and long-lasting despite not being elaborate or intricate. This mix stays true to Soule's melody, just giving it the body and arrangement that a well conducted orchestra can allow. And that I like very much.
It has bombastic qualities and delicate qualities to it, and not a whole lot of flaws. Left me wanting more.
Martin Penwald
on 2009-06-18 15:56:32
OA;552996 wrote: great plucked strings

Agree. Overall a really good remix that manages to marry traditional orchestra and asian influence pretty much perfectly.
But I wonder, does anyone else get a 24 vibe from the part starting at ~2:05? The melody the brass is playing reminds me of the BGM of the series.
mattoco
on 2009-06-17 22:47:23
djpretzel;550510 wrote: I can absolutely imagine this used as an introduction or montage with camera sweeps over vast plains, mountain tops, and other equally astounding scenery.

As soon as I listened to this, I saw in it the potential to do something along those lines. Granted, NWN's Aurora engine is not renown for its astounding scenery, but it does fit the piece. The innate adventure and vibrant nature that this remix conveys immediately suggested to me that it could be used in an introductory work. To that end I created something that is modeled after the [u]chapters of NWN[/u].
Of course, [u]my creation[/u] uses in game footage rather than art, but the goal of introduction remains the same.
Great remix from a great game!
Mtlbro
on 2009-06-09 02:40:42
Amazing marriage of Asian percussion with orchestra, soundtrack worthy :))

Amd is that a yangqin at :16? I'm sorry I'm not too familiar with wuts plucked and wut's struck wen it comes to those instruments . .
Ceracryst
on 2009-06-09 00:28:00
Everyone, thank you so much for your comments! They mean a lot to me!
I just looked on the OCR front page and... uh, yeah. I'm in a really ecstatic mood right now. =3 I would really love to learn more about... EQ and balancing stuff, to really make the instruments stand out. If anyone has any resources or can point me in a direction, it'd be great. -_-;
Thank you guys again. =) Please enjoy!
OA
on 2009-06-01 11:46:44
Incredible textures; I absolutely love this one. I have absolutely no idea what the source track sounds like, but taken as a single piece of music, this is great. Drums everywhere, some great plucked strings, and orchestra that all clicks really well. Things did sound best when it was going full bore, but even the softer segments were enjoyable.
Super recommended, I hope more people hear this one.
Palpable
on 2009-05-27 18:21:34
There are some sections that are thin, but when the song is on full steam, like at 1:40, where the majesty of the orchestra is married to the asian instruments perfectly, this sounds like nothing I've heard on this site, and little I've heard outside the site. Great remix.
Arian
on 2009-05-27 09:17:05
Totally digging this! I like the asian mood!
Liontamer
on 2009-05-26 10:50:42
derako;550650 wrote: I liked the drums and percussion. The brass and strings were a little thin, and not much reverb which it needed. Some attacks weren't accented enough IMO but other than that I'd say nice job.

-Derek-

Agree with Derek pretty much all the way. I flagged it for DP, but I definitely noticed the realism issues; something to work on for the future, but in this case, the arrangement managed to rise above that. Glad to see Kenny back in the game and no longer an OCR 1-hit wonder.
Robotaki
on 2009-05-26 10:10:36
Shaolin Soccer! Haha the beginning of this piece with the bass drum reminded me of it so much harmonically and instrumentally. This is epic!
Sir_Downunder
on 2009-05-25 23:31:24
I'll admit that I'm a bit of a sucker for orchestral remix, and this just really got to me. Love how it was Asian-inspired, as it adds a whole different dynamic to the piece.
Great work Ceracryst!