ReMix: Ecco: The Tides of Time "A Derelict Machine"
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Sefiros!! It's been... over nine years! Bryan Henderson's debut FF8 mix was posted in May of 2005. Simpler times, I tell ya. It's been a good, long while since we've heard from him, and for that matter it's ALSO been awhile since our last Ecco II ReMix. He writes:
"A broken, glitchy version of the title theme."
This Ecco II title arrangement is heavy on atmosphere & texture; the first minute build has some stark, stuttering textures & processed hats, leading up to a descending string motif that eventually gets layered with a melodic, legato part as well, after which key modulations round things out until a sinister drop @ 3'12". Piano emerges alongside a repeating percussive scrape stage left and things build back up to an eventual reprise @ 5'01". Very cinematic, very modern, and the glitched, insect-like percussion brings it all together, conjuring a mental image that jives with the mix title. The pairing of symphonic, film, and electronic textures reminds me of the Requiem for a Dream OST, only darker. Requiem for a Nightmare? Larry writes:
"Knowing that Sef's ventures into VGM are rare, I actually held onto this mix for quite a while awaiting the eventually release of his new original album, Dither. The good news is that Dither is finally out today! Grab it from OverClocked Records, and enjoy a very diverse electronic/industrial/rock/orchestral hybrid of 14 tracks, including some great guest appearances. I already told Bryan that "The Dead Things We Are Made Of" (featuring Kathryn Dearborn) legitimately gave me chills in a good way when I heard the chorus; it's super powerful stuff that's worth the price of admission alone and REQUIRES you to check the album out!
Before I talk about this mix though, if you haven't heard Sefiros's orchestral Final Fantasy VIII mix "Everything = Nothing", drop everything and get it. It's another longer piece with a very gradual build that conjures up a lot of emotion and imagery. It's a personal favorite of mine, and if Sefiros had chosen to stop there as far as arranging VGM, he would have still left a meaningful mark on OCR.
That said, it's awesome to hear a new VGM arrangement from Bryan, since they're few and far between. For this Ecco II mix, Sefiros went the expansive route, keeping the familiar structure of the title theme mostly intact and giving it more depth and emotion, along with some substantial original sections. It was so interesting hearing the glitching start off so prominently and then have it basically blend/meld into the soundscape over the course of the near-7 minutes. The original string writing here was a nice cinematic touch, and I'm loving how the textures were somber, ambient, mechanical, AND brought up visions of swimming in a vast, deep, dark place. ReMixes don't have to be something you could see working in the context of a game, but IMO this one could work very well in a modern Ecco game, or a film score for that matter. One to loop until the end of days..."
Sometimes glitching is employed more sparingly, as a point-of-interest effect, a break/fill treatment, etc. - for this mix, I agree with Larry that it's really more of an integral part of the soundscape, evoking the creaking clockwork of an ancient, enigmatic device. Great, transporting stuff from Sefiros that is also indicative of his overall style; if you like what you hear, consider supporting him & encouraging him to do some more VGM arrangements in between original projects!
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