ReMix: Chrono Trigger "Cataclysm"
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- Game: Chrono Trigger (Square, 1995, SNES)
- ReMixer(s): Emunator
- Composer(s): Nobuo Uematsu, Noriko Matsueda, Yasunori Mitsuda
- Song(s): "Schala's Theme", "The Last Day of the World"
- Posted: 2016-11-08, evaluated by the judges
- Terms (BETA): ambient bells chill cinematic downtempo dulcimer epic japanese
It's election day (vote!!) and the fate of the WORLD hangs in the balance... will reason prevail, or will reality itself be sucked into an apocalyptic vortex? Who knows!! Either way, we've got our very own "Cataclysm" for you, as Emunator (Wes McDonald) offers up a tasty & transporting downbeat/chill arrangement of Chrono Trigger:
"Last October, I visited my longtime friend and one of my favorite musicians of all time, Theophany, for a weekend and we had a chance to speak at length about our creative processes and some of the tricks he uses to create such organic, one-of-a-kind soundscapes. That visit gave me a huge burst of inspiration, and, almost immediately when I returned home from the trip, I began to work on a new remix. Roughly 50 hours of work later, this is what emerged. It features plenty of my signature bells and pads and a heavy focus on atmosphere, as always, but I think you'll agree that this is far different from my usual style.
I wanted to create something dark, brooding, and extremely dramatic to really capture the larger-than-life spirit of the Chrono Trigger storyline. I took a lot of inspiration from film scores like Inception, post-rock bands like Sigur Rós and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and, of course, Theophany's own music.
One of my challenges here was to create a track with a cinematic edge that could fit in with a movie trailer, without actually using any traditional orchestral instrumentation but still maintaining a heavily organic sound. I leaned heavily on ethnic instrumentation such as a shakuhachi, dulcimer, bells, and a bowed acoustic guitar, as well as various electronic percussion/pads to achieve this.
At the time of writing this, the final 2-minute climax of this track is my favorite thing I've written to date for any song. I was particularly proud of the modulation of "Schala's Theme" into the proper key at 4:22, as well as the distorted bowed guitar section that follows after the final climax, which was inspired directly by the live performance insanity of Sigur Rós, who is far and away the most intense and magical live band I've ever seen.
I'm very proud of this remix, hope you all enjoy!"
He should be; fantasic texture weaving & atmosphere, and I like the buildup towards the end with more intense percussion and some distortion, too. Sir_NutS writes:
"Cinematic is a good word to define it, as to me it evokes feelings of something epic. I liked how the original cues were adapted in different ways throughout the track, as the original bell melody is transformed several times before we reach the end. The electronic drums work well in conjunction with the cinematic hits, just as well as the synthetic pads work with the orchestral cellos and other strings. Overall, this was not only a great marriage of two sources but of synth & orchestral elements."
"There's so much attention to detail in all parts, it's insane. Every instrument is handled with a lot of taste, and the SFX are beautifully placed and contribute incredibly well to the ambiance. The way the structure keeps flowing in multiple directions kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire duration. The subtle shifts in the harmonies are super clever. The sudden drop of energy around 2:38 was a nice, refreshing surprise. And when things pick up around 4:25... Wow! (Also, source definitely isn't a problem.)
This definitely warrants repeated listens to pick up & hone in on all the nuance & finesse involved; Wes outdid himself, and while the source is obviously a very familiar one, this arrangement accomplishes the ideal twin feats of an expressive, engrossing interpretation that ALSO feels quite new. Bravo; regardless of today's political outcome, Emunator has made Schala great (...again!), and this is one cataclysm you'll enjoy revisiting!