Posted 2016-06-29, evaluated by djpretzel
Our second selection from Esther's Dreams and also the second selection from the first disc, "Playtime," is a pleasant, inspirational 6/8 pop/chip ballad arrangement of the main Skylanders theme from Rexy (Beverley Wooff):
"As dynamic a marketing standpoint the game is, the theme managed to capture the whole "ethereal magical world in the sky" atmosphere perfectly, with the 6/8 time signature also catering well to something more laid back for the album. I've been a big fan of Spyro the Dragon since the series first appeared in 1998, and since then I had been there for all the highs and lows the series had gone through. So it's natural that when the IP landed in Activision's hands and came up with the Skylanders franchise, I decided to give it a chance - and what I saw was a unique experience that can allow the youth of the time to connect and view the adventures around Skylands as a whole new universe separate from ours. It also got my youngest cousin interested in Spyro as a character as well - we'd have many a co-op session when he came round to my house and we'd play some of the stages together, and since then he's going back on Spyro's elder catalog and getting into that as well!
So it's natural that when approaching the album for Esther that I'd go for Skylanders, as it's a franchise that is really popular with the younger gaming generation of today. While much of the game score tends to really draw the fine line between dynamic and melodic, it's Hans Zimmer's main theme that managed to capture the simplicity that I wanted to approach for making my contribution possible.
This arrangement seemed to take plenty of twists when writing it though - the focus on simple chord progressions was easily maintained, with a nice gentle Rhodes doing a lot of the riff work; however, as additional background elements came in, it seemed to transform it from the intended soothing direction to something that can take one's mind into the world of Skylands without even turning the console on. If people listen to this and have their imagination go absolutely nuts throughout it, then that would make me extremely happy.
The kind of games that Esther may grow up playing could still be anyone's guess, but what I do know is that this and the other 30 tracks would serve well as a lovely introduction to gaming and the VGM community. Dave and Anna have been wonderful parents throughout, so well done on being positive role models for her - and maybe we could see her write something and get on the front page in about 10-20 years! :)
:) This is our first Skylanders mix AND the first posted arrangement of music composed by film legend Hans Zimmer, so I think Rexy's choice of source material was cool for a number of reasons, but it's also nice that she really thought about what "kids these days" are playing, esp. younger kids, and let that guide her approach. It's a beautiful, swaying ballad that's easy to enjoy, but I also dig how it progresses and DOES have an arc to it, which often doesn't happen with work in this genre. I may not have been exposed to this source if it weren't for Rexy, and her mix does an excellent job extracting the sweetness & delicacy of the core melody. Album co-director Larry Oji writes:
"I feel like a proud quasi-papa when thinking about Rexy's progress in our decade-plus of being acquainted. Beverley's perseverance in reaction to lots of constructive (and nonconstructive) criticism from the VGM arrangement community has been amazing, and I'm happy to have witnessed much of that ride, hearing her music grow (and continue to grow) by leaps and bounds. In that sense, she's the hardest worker in this scene. With this Skylanders arrangement, she's transformed an already wonderful, skybound piece by Hans Zimmer into what I envision as more of a relaxed, familiar jaunt above the clouds. As the textures gradually change throughout, everything about Beverley's writing and mood comes off chill and confident."
Well said; one of Bev's best ReMixes, highly recommended!
on 2016-06-29 14:04:09
I feel it takes a great deal of 'restraint' to write a slow ballad like this and focus on the chord progression, textures, and the particular melodic notes you have, and not go on some crazy solo or add a big bass. Cool clock sound that you introduced around the 1-minute mark; it actually fit in, and despite being subtle, I could hear it that whole time. The production is relatively clean as well. Really nice job on this!
on 2016-06-29 00:27:50
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Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (Activision, 2011, WIN)
Music by Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe
- "Skylanders Main Theme (Instrumental)"
- Ballad, Pop
- Happy, Mellow
- Chiptune, Electric Piano, Electronic, Synth
- Time > 6/8 Time Signature
- 9,606,104 bytes
- Size: 9,606,104 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 716bbcce154f7f68c853ed618189778d
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