ReMix: Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon "The Myth of Darkmoon"
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When I think "Superbowl Sunday," I think Eye of the Beholder 2: The Legend of Darkmoon!!
Actually I don't, and it'd be really weird if I did, but today's the "Big Game" here in the States and I just felt peer-pressurred into a pseudo-connection of some kind. This is our third posted ReMix and first non-album track from Jaka Čibej, aka Archangel, and it's also the first mix to come out of his "PCReMix Initiative" - an effort to address the relative lack of old PC game ReMixes here on OCR. Let me just say that I FULLY support this project, I'd like to thank Jaka for starting it, I look forward to hearing what else results from it, and if this first mixpost is any indication, I think we can expect great things. You may not have played Eye of the Beholder 2, but its soundtrack was composed by Frank Klepacki of Command & Conquer fame, who many should be familiar with. Of this dark, sweeping orchestral arrangement, the artist writes:
"This time, I've decided to throw popularity to the four winds and make an arrangement from a game only the elite few appreciate: Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon. Allow me to make the OC ReMix Emperor's writeup-writing job a little easier by providing some key information about the game: it was a classic DOS dungeon crawler, the sequel to the (supposedly) highly popular Eye of the Beholder. The plot was pretty standard and the gameplay was somewhat tedious (as is the case with most dungeon crawlers), but I liked it anyway. Probably because it takes place in the Forgotten Realms and because I'm a huge fantasy freak. If you're into old school dungeon-crawling, you should definitely check it out.
The soundtrack was written by Frank Klepacki, whose work I've adored ever since I first heard the tunes he wrote for one of my favorite childhood games ever, The Legend of Kyrandia (of which you can expect a ReMix or two from me sooner or later). Unfortunately, his soundtrack for Eye of the Beholder II is not very extensive (the opening and ending themes, and a couple of short jingles, I think), but the game's introduction is a masterpiece. When I was little, I always imagined what that swelling, ominous music would sound like if it were orchestrated. Well, now I know, sort of. I turned it into my most soundtrackish arrangement yet. It's not played by a real orchestra, but I tried very hard to make my samples sound as realistic as possible. Hopefully at least a couple of people will overcome their consolemania and listen to this."
As do I, and thanks for calling me emperor; I usually feel more like an indentured servant ;) Ominous & swelling is right - bombast and tempo get the cold shoulder as Jaka gives the source tune a moodier, deliberate treatment. Tremolo strings underpin minor-key descending piano lines, and there's even a waterphone thrown in for EXTRA creepiness, plus muted choral components and bells. Things actually DO get pretty majestic towards the conclusion, with a wide brass/string ensemble procession, before string clusters and chimes lead us out to a final, sustained bass note. Superbly executed stuff; Vinnie concurs:
"This is fantastic. So much tension, so much control over the pace of the song. This is exactly what I look for in an orchestral arrangement. And there's these little creepy textural moments that make this a pitch-perfect cinematic arrangement; there's really nothing I would change. I think anyone who knows the original song is gonna love the hell out of this, and the rest of us will love it anyway."
Strong words, but well-earned. While this would be an excellent mix to queue up on a Halloween playlist in October, I think the ReMixer strikes a perfect balance of detail and development, making it a great atmospheric piece for ANY time of the year. Don't let familiarity - or lack thereof - cause you to miss out on a fantasticly dark & gothic arrangement that shows off what Archangel is capable of and helps prove his point about older PC games needing more love. Jaka's a man on a mission, and while other artists are thankfully contributing to his PCReMix agenda, he's made the opening arguments himself, and I think you'll find them persuasive!
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