ReMix: EarthBound 'Practicing Retrocognition'

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EarthBound

Our first EarthBound ReMix of 2012 sneaks in at the eleventh hour but nevertheless ensures that the year (thankfully) won't go without an arrangement from Keiichi Suzuki & co.'s quirky, unforgettable soundtrack. sci debuted with his NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams ReMix back in March of this year, and I'm glad he's followed that up since his ambient style, in this case inspired by Boards of Canada in particular, seems well-equipped to handle the playful surreality of EB; he writes...at length:

"After a lengthy rediscovering of Boards of Canada, I became fascinated by the idea of making music that felt familiar for reasons you couldn't quite place. Somehow or another this accumulated to a remix of Ness's home's theme in BoC style. I was aiming for a "dropped on the ground, stepped on, kicked into a puddle, then dried out in the sun" sort of sound, which lead to a pretty consistent "this is weird" from everyone I showed this to. Hopefully this doesn't come across as a lack of consideration in the production department. <_<

I feel I should explain the ending a bit: what I forgot about "Home Sweet Home" was that half of the song was a sleepy cover of Pollyanna - a song I /did not/ want to remix, because what can I do to it, really? Then I got an idea from Sixtyten - make it a little vignette at the end of the song! and so: monosynth + phaser + detune + mic next to speaker recording = beautiful

About the title: Retrocognition. It's like precognition, but into the past. I made an album full of trippy surreal stuff, and I think "Practicing Retrocognition" works quite nicely as an album title. It feels right. This remix was an untitled end track until I realized: Practicing Retrocognition fits what I was trying to do with this entire remix! And so it became the title track of my album. Whoops. It's a cool album though, you should check it out http://soundsfromsci.bandcamp.com/album/practicing-retrocognition ;)

  • Coffee Break
    • 0:26 to 1:16 coffee melody
  • Ness's House - divided into three sections:
    • 0:00 to 0:11 main reason I remixed this song
    • 0:11 to 0:43 pollyana cover
    • 0:43 to 0:58 close chords
  • how I use those in my song:
    • 0:00 to 0:48 main reason
    • 0:48 to 1:36 coffee
    • 1:36 to 1:47 ...
    • 1:47 to 2:10 close chords
    • 2:10 to 2:37 main reason
    • 2:37 to 3:00 pollyana cover"

I'm rather glad Chris provided such detail, since ambient tunes can be harder to analyze, plus EB's music is often on the eccentric, hard-to-pin-down side at times. Actually, though, there's more melodic structure here than you might think - the 'Coffee' theme ('You've Come Far, Ness') provides an identifiable motif & even throws down more of a beat during its stay. That helps give the arrangement more form & function, and at exactly three minutes, makes you wish it lingered a bit longer. Short, sweet, dreamlike work from sci, whose style fits EarthBound like a glove!

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 9 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Crulex
on 2013-09-03 12:13:36
It does work for the quirky and uniqueness of the Earthbound soundtrack. Almost surprised me with the false ending (where it dropped off and came back for another few seconds). Nostalgic is the key word here, that's the feeling I get from this. Solid ReMix, Sci.
Launch Octopus vulgaris
on 2013-01-14 14:21:04
I love the Mother 2 soundtrack (unrivaled in my book, even by Mother 3), and this remix seems to capture the feel and uniqueness of said soundtrack. I'd like to add that - upon giving it a second listen - it also sounded vaguely Opoona-ish to me near the beginning (Opoona also boasts an exceptional soundtrack, so I've got nothing but compliments to impart lol).
Cody Wedel
on 2013-01-07 04:34:08
One of the most rewarding experiences in gaming, hell, in my life in general even, was playing through the beautiful EarthBound for the first time. It was unlike anything I'd ever experienced and I firmly believe the game definitively represents "nostalgia" in its most purest form. It certainly made me appreciate life more than I did previously. Moreover, nothing in life thus far has topped how genuinely happy I was when I first played through the game (I firmly believe that 4+ years later and having experienced quite a lot since then).
That said, I may never download another EB mix again. I certainly don't want to try remixing anything from the game anymore.... because you, sir, PERFECTLY captured the homely, nostalgic vibe of EarthBound. You also completely expanded upon it in ways I didn't even know possible. djpretzel's Twoson Hits the Road was always my favorite EarthBound mix but this one I think took the spot.
I *love* that Pollyanna cover at the end, it's so beautiful. I downloaded this mix and I'm gonna listen to it hundreds of times because I can (and want to).
I almost feel like I let myself down since I didn't play through EarthBound at all in 2012 (usually I do at least twice a year)... but this mix makes me want to plug up my SNES right now and play through the game. Twice.
I just can't get over how perfect this mix is.
teronism
on 2013-01-02 15:35:15
It's definitely got that "tip of your tongue, can't quite place it" feel but for me it never reached nostalgia, rather a feeling of "This isn't quite right" or like something isn't finished/is missing... I did like the ending though and the bass throughout sounds spot on.
WesternZypher
on 2012-12-22 13:57:39
Has a nostalgic feel to it, like it could've been an original track from the game's OST.
metaphist
on 2012-12-15 01:26:38
Emunator, I'd say the same about this and his earlier debut remix. Sci, you bring a unique touch to the table that I really appreciate. Reminiscent of ella guro and mutagene methinks, as in very recognizable styles. Great stuff, man.
Emunator
on 2012-12-14 20:18:44
Sci, I really love your music and I'm so pleasantly surprised to hear this on the front page. As someone who has never played any of the games you've remixed so far, your music still feels incredibly nostalgic and heartwarming nonetheless, as if it's been part of my life for ages. I can't say that about very many artists, but that kind of instant connection has drawn me to listen to this one over and over again.
Incredibly fresh, unique, and comforting. A rare example of where the artist's motives resonate almost perfectly with me as a listener.
sci
on 2012-12-14 16:30:59
I make these breakdowns of song usage mostly for the judges, so it's kind of odd to see that in the writeup. o_0
but hey ok
for anyone listening: I tried to carefully craft the song to sound nostalgic (as mentioned in the writeup!), and ideally you'll still get that vibe even if you haven't played earthbound.
I'd love to know if it worked for you, so do share!
djpretzel
on 2012-12-13 15:37:57
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.