ReMix: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 'Healing Majora'
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Newcomer C7, aka Adam Prack, sends us some atmospheric, cinematic, modern orchestral Majora's Mask mixage:
"I've always felt that Majora is a truly magnificent enemy. Though he does not appear in the game, his influence is enough to make for one of the largest threats in a Zelda game. There's such a level of savageness in the way Majora controls things in the game that I wanted to portray that musically. Majora's Theme, which serves as much of the background music in the game's locales is both foreboding and merciless. This is in stark contrast to the soothing, though off-setting, Song of Healing. It serves as the counter to the deep conflicts in the game. This juxtaposition was my starting point for the remix.
I wanted to use instrumentation, orchestration styles, dynamics, and anything else I could to create this juxtaposition in a musical manner. This ranges from piano and choir representing Healing at times to crass, harsh, and dissonant brass and strings playing Majora. I also take that same brass and smooth things out for Healing. This was no source for a simple on-off switch; it needed depth and complexity. The percussion played a large role in either creating atmosphere throughout or driving rhythms. I wanted the piece to sound as organic as possible, despite being primarily computerized, so I stuck to only non-synth style instruments throughout. Liberal use of extended techniques helped round things out with a little bit of electric guitar accompaniment. I wanted to save the completion of the Song of Healing for a more climactic point in the piece and added my own trumpet playing to the mix to try to sell the emotion of the piece. "
I thought that trumpet sounded real... Man, I don't know what to say; not only is this a memorable, stylized, and really unique debut, it's quite clear that Adam thought through every aspect of the mix, from concept to execution. I'll warn you ahead of time, he's taken these two themes and intertwined & manipulated them in ways that can make your head spin, and the end result is certainly on the liberal side of arrangement, but what a rollercoaster ride of texture & tone it is. To completely understand and appreciate the mechanics of what's going on here requires both ample time and probably some academic prowess, but you can also just sense & feel the cumulative effect, which achieves a dramatic musical chiaroscuro between the two contrasting motifs. Deia writes:
"The complexity of this arrangement is ridiculous. In a good way. Thank goodness for that breakdown, though, because I would have missed about half of what's going on here. The amount of time you spent on this is very obvious, and I love this treatment overall."
"Very nice work. Breakdown helps, but once I refamiliarized myself with the source tunes, had no trouble following. Fantastic sequencing on your part, great part-writing, very cinematic. The dynamics in this piece are very broad and well utilized. Just great."
Vinnie was the sole dissenting opinion, as he felt the piece was ultimately too liberal, which I can certainly see - it's damn hard to follow the inversions, harmonizations, etc. I'll confess that I too have trouble at points, but then at other points I "get it," and the treatment is complex & appreciative enough to earn my faith in both the mix and the judges' majority decision that it fell within the boundaries of acceptable source recognition. These are some meandering, peculiar source tunes to begin with, relative to predecessor Ocarina and most other Zelda games, so it's not entirely surprising. Amazing, at times overwhelming work from C7, who challenges the panel & listeners alike with a mesmerizing, interwoven blend of Majora's music.
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