ReMix: Secret of Mana "Things We Didn't Know"
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- Game: Secret of Mana (Square, 1993, SNES)
- ReMixer(s): Vampire Hunter Dan
- Composer(s): Hiroki Kikuta
- Song(s): "Danger", "Fear of the Heavens", "Into the Thick of It", "What the Forest Taught Me"
- Posted: 2010-09-29, evaluated by djpretzel
- Terms (BETA): brass choir classical duration-long epic orchestral strings woodwinds
Mr. Barnaba writes:
"Hello. I'm writing to submit an arrangement/remix of mine called "Things We Didn't Know." This is an orchestral arrangement of pieces from the SNES game Secret of Mana: "Danger," "The Boy Aims for Wild Fields," "Angels' Fear," and bits of various other themes."
Very informative! So I have to take a second and reiterate that meeting Hiroki Kikuta at Otakon this year was awesome and a highlight of my ten years running the site. We actually got the chance to sit down and talk with him and Hiro, with Hiro translating, and it was clear that both of them are passionate about VGM and have respect for fans and ReMixers as well. At one point, Kikuta was talking about OCR and actually air-guitared the main riff from 'Dragon Song', and it was... rather magical. Mr. Brandon Bush flied in on his flammy and joined us not ten minutes later, so it was cool to see the two of them meet - one of those crystallizing meta-moments I couldn't even imagine fifteen years ago, when game composers were magical wizards who lived in the sky, wrote great music, but did not walk among us, etc.
I was thinking recently that, for being a pretty big name in VGM, Kikuta hasn't actually composed that many huge game soundtracks. But listening to him speak during his Otakon panel, and really analyzing what he accomplished with Seiken Densetsu's 2 & 3, it's even clearer to me that those soundtracks alone justify the praise he receives, and more. They are masterworks, I feel, that have stood the test of time, cover a huge dynamic range, and stand as singular examples of craftsmanship & artistry.
Someone should really, you know... do a Seiken Densetsu 3 project... ahem...
But on to VHD's mix... at around 6'40" in length, the ReMixer takes his time to develop this orchestral and choral opus and weave themes in with intelligence & craft. The dynamics in the intro alone establish a polished feel, with excerpts of familiar melodies taken and re-purposed as motifs, and delicate care paid to transitions and cues. Dan's moved away from using much reverb, which only works because his samples are pretty solid, and (more importantly) he wields them with control and finesse. There was a moment at 4'02" when I was afraid the transition would seem tenuous, but then an isolated church bell rings out, followed by an oboe solo, and the segue is natural. The ending comes on string and might punctuate over-enthusiastically, but it's certainly the end to a fulfilling journey that pays tribute to many of your favorite Mana themes in one coherent package that is all synergy and zero medleyitis. Excellent, epic, and beautifully orchestrated work from Vampire Hunter Dan.
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