ReMix: Wild Arms "There in My Dreams"

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Wild Arms: ARMed and DANGerousWild Arms

Back to bidness, we got my man Abadoss up in here wit DA and Nutritious again on assist, for a lovely & relatively rare orchestral vocal ballad off of ARMed & DANGerous:

"It felt like a good time to get the Band back together. Like with "My Child," I asked Deia and Justin to lend their particular talents to making this into something special.

Deia once again took the crazy things I wrote for her and made them come to life. I always appreciate how flexible and versatile a singer she is, especially with some of the weird directions I end up giving her to achieve particular sounds. For example, at one point I told her to imagine the starting and stopping of back-to-back 'ahs' as ripples on still water. Who says that?! She pulled it off, though, and I thank her for her fantastic performance.

Justin once more turned lead into gold with his production skills... It's not just that he has better samples than I do. It also has to do with how he approaches the characteristics of those samples and the mixing and getting everything to just sound right. The fact that he could do all of this in the midst of his busy work and family life is only more testament to his skills.

This time, I thought I'd up the ante by adding my own vocals to the mix. This is the first time I have recorded my singing voice and released it to an unsuspecting public, so there were a lot of challenges I had to overcome. I've been a vocalist for many years, singing in choirs, theatre, and solo through high school and college. I have gotten very comfortable with performing on stage and can easily fill a large auditorium with my voice. However, studio recording is way different than stage performance. Aside from sheer volume and projection differences, studio recording is a lot less forgiving of intonation errors, requires a different type of articulation that minimizes additional sounds, and highlights and accents different timbres in the voice. It was like re-learning how to sing in many ways. It didn't help that I am horribly critical of my own voice and simply cannot listen to it without picking out every little flaw. I will spare your enjoyment by not pointing them out in a detailed list or otherwise. Just know that, yes, I hear them.

As for the writing of this piece, I really wanted to turn the tables a little on the original sources. I thought of it as a melancholy love song. I wanted the idea of this fairly hopeless love of a girl that only exists in his dreams to give him strength to push onward through anything. I was also quite amused by the irony of having a love song over the top of what would have been a state funeral scene. I approached the construction of this piece a little differently than I normally do. The first part I wrote was the agogic swell - or chorus, if you will - with the "You are there in my dreams..." lyrics. Once I knew that's where I wanted to end up, I started building the progression to that point, little by little... tl;dr - Deia's cool. Justin's cool. I'm picky, but had fun. Overall good times."

Whew... that WAS pretty L, but hopefully you took the time to R, since it's cool hearing the back story on Kenneth's first vocal mix, the arrangement approach, and the relative contributions Deia & Justin again brought to one of Abadoss's mixes. It's a distinct & very serious vocal style, and it's quite exposed in a symphonic setting like this, all the moreso since percussion is relatively sparse. The overall piece is somber & processional, but not without hope, and the almost call-and-answer relationship between his vocal part with lyrics and Deia's wordless vocalizing is haunting at times, evoking some of the same emotions as their previous Xenogears collab. Larry writes:

"Nice work again from these 3. In a good way, the main source tune, "Dreams of a Lonely Past," is a buzzkill with of a down-on-your-luck kind of vibe on top of it. This arrangement maintain the reserved energy of that theme while expanding on it with hopeful vocals & lyrics, the "Funeral Procession" theme (first heard at :27 by Deia before the main source) and original writing ideas seamlessly woven in, and solid orchestration that's demure until the track subtly but noticeably crescendos at 4:20 for the finish.

The story behind this piece is really cool, with the male thinking and singing about an imaginary love rather than aspiring to reconnect with a true love, which was the imagery I would have assumed was the story. Without drastically altering the character of either source, Kenneth, Deia, Justin really managed to take two themes meant for sad occasions, keep the energy level similarly restrained, yet turn them into something infinitely more optimistic. Some effective emotional ju-jitsu if you're familiar with the originals, and a tender yet solid standalone piece even if you're not familiar with Wild Arms."

Well said; I was glad to see these three reunite & offer up a spiritual sequel to their Humans + Gears arrangement for Jade's Wild Arms project, vocals add a nice emotional centerpiece to Kenneth's elaborate & calculated arrangements, and he took a big step putting himself out there with his own vocal performance which, acknowledged imperfections aside, added a personal & human face to the narrative.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 5 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Trism
on 2015-12-31 05:26:51

Right from the start the instrumentation in this is amazing. The female 'aaaah' sounds a little stilted at times, though nothing too major. The vocal work overall is excellent and fits the music perfectly, however at times it does seem to dip a little and gets drowned out the slightest bit. As I said before though the instrumentation is amazing; everything fits together perfectly and nothing overrides anything else. Overall a fantastic remix.

nitrozsz
on 2015-12-13 23:56:22

This almost doesn’t even sound like a “video game remix.” It sounds like something I would actually hear in a movie, video game, or even on Broadway. I do agree with RiverSound that there could have been a little more reverb and delay. Lovely and haunting arrangement.

RiverSound
on 2013-11-24 13:15:19

Already commented on this in my album review, but it really does have a relaxing atmosphere and orchestration to go with the sad melody. Vocals could have benefited from a little more reverbdelay. Especially the female aah's sound a tad dry but it's no biggie; It's a nice song worth checking out.

Crulex
on 2013-11-14 13:17:10

Somber and sad, but it does have a hopeful and meaningful message in the lyrics. Really sounds gorgeous for that very reason, along with the instrument choices. You guys' vocals sounded pretty good as well, bringing that emotion out of the ReMix. All in all, sounds great to me.

djpretzel
on 2013-11-12 16:26:47

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.