ReMix: Chrono Trigger "The Dark Defender"
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- Game: Chrono Trigger (Square, 1995, SNES)
- ReMixer(s): pu_freak
- Composer(s): Nobuo Uematsu, Noriko Matsueda, Yasunori Mitsuda
- Song(s): "Magus Confronted"
- Posted: 2016-05-11, evaluated by the judges
- Album: Featured on BadAss: Boss Themes: Volume III
- Terms (BETA): bells classical dark halloween piano spooky strings
"Brooding strings, howling winds, eerie piano, twisted music boxes, and an overall empty and ominous vibe should drive you further insane... This is Magus - Dexter style - and will bring out the evil killer in yourself. Let its evil run through your veins and surrender yourself to the darkness...
For BadAss 3, my aim was to create an album of mixes that make you feel evil, sinister, or twisted. To achieve that, people should either have something bombastic or epic in their mix (like "The Imperial March"), or make it creepy and twisted. I've always used one example for the latter category: the "Blood Theme" from Dexter. To that end, I wanted to make a mix of my own in "Blood Theme"-style.
The mix starts the same as Magus's castle theme, with brooding low strings and howling wind in the background. However, when playing the real Magus theme, I only use the two chords that are present in the "Blood Theme" (two chords that are twisted in itself). In the 0:29-1:20 part, I've used music bells that are very close the the background motif used in "Blood Theme." I couldn't do much else in terms of recreating the "Blood Theme"-vibe, since incorporating non-VGM is unwanted, of course, but I think it's enough to remind people of the "Blood Theme" and to give the same creepy and twisted vibe. To increase the twisted feeling, I've made a dynamic panning and volume for the music bells, and the music box later in the mix. Furthermore, some instruments (most notably the piano at the end) have a chorus effect, making them sound more distorted. Big differences in volume throughout will, hopefully, also instigate an unsettling effect and the mix featured brooding strings throughout. The uses of music bells and music boxes should also add to the creepy feeling. In terms of vibe, this mix combines the feeling of my Pokémon track on OCR and my Gilgamesh mix from BadAss 1."
While not strictly a solo piano arrangement, the piano is the dominant ingredient here, with eery, subdued accompaniment acting to embellish. First off, while he approved it, Larry put forth what I think is the most on-point criticism:
"The timing being so stilted and exposing the piano sample was personally my biggest issue. The production and piano tone could be improved, but what's here is solid enough, with the arrangement carrying things."
1'52" sounds like a timing flub, to me... the rest of the performance has some humanization to it, but I concur that this aspect of the mix isn't perfect. Overall, though, Pieter succeeded in reenvisioning this melody in a completely different & very "darkly dreaming" fashion; Emunator's decision summed up my own thoughts perfectly:
"It was really insightful reading your writeup on this track and making the A-to-B connections from elements from "Blood Theme" that you incorporated into your own mix. Conceptually, I feel like this is a very successful track at creating the foreboding, moody vibe you were going for. I really dug the subtle integration of the bells throughout the track... There's still room for improvement on the sound quality/mixing front but I think this is above the bar, thanks to a pretty solid arrangement and concept that I feel mitigates any of the sound quality issues."
Agreed on all counts; issues aside, this ReMix delivers on the concept of "Magus" as a disturbing, psychological piece of scoring that gets inside your head & stays there.