I think Sir_NutS can open things up for us, actually:
"Yeah it's yet another awesome RoeTaKa (Alex Roe) Dark Souls Remix. This one is different from his usual style though, with a less straight-up symphonic approach. The focus on the piano melodies and the supporting drums give it a much more relaxed feel than his other submissions. This song however retains the high production quality that we're accustomed to from Alex now."
Ditto all that; it's Alex, it's Dark Souls, and so there are some safe baseline assumptions you can make about emotive, expressive, & polished music, but this leans more on an acoustic kit groove and piano - while still highlighting some haunting, immersive strings. The artist writes:
"The Souls games have become a pivotal series in my life. It's a strange feeling to know you owe a lot to a video game franchise. Demon's Souls will always be what made me feel accepted into the Souls community and have an insanely supportive fanbase on my YouTube channel. But Dark Souls helped me through tougher times. It's a game that set me straight when I needed it. It makes me really happy to know that my Souls remixes mean something to the people that play these games.
This time I have remixed "Firelink Shrine." I was inspired mostly by ENB's new Dark Souls playthrough and if you somehow don't know who ENB is, then check out his channel. As he was exploring Firelink Shrine, I got the urge for remixing again. It's the last safe hub area of the Souls games that I haven't touched, mostly because I wasn't sure I could do anything with it that was worth doing. It's mostly just chords with some little bits here and there. I've had some hard times with music lately and here I felt like I was returning to a younger Alex whose style I have neglected for a long time. I really enjoy chilled out music that has some emotion to it and I feel like it's a really natural thing for me to come back to.
I did a lot of original material over the source, but I tried to keep the original intact with the strings and other elements. The drums might be a bit repetitive for OC ReMix, but I think they work. At the end of the song, I used the hub theme from Demon's Souls when the drums drop out. I managed to service my Demon's Souls fanboy by putting the Nexus right in there at the end. I hope you'll hear the original clearly enough in the background. It's mostly just to say that I like that song more, haha, but I think it made an enjoyable ending. I really enjoyed making this and I hope you enjoy it too!
I can imagine some of you will not enjoy the beats over the other stuff I've done, so I've provided a download just for the orchestral elements too."
He called out his OWN drums as repetitive, pre-empting those pesky judges ;) Here what I'll say about that - due to their more static AND quantized/precise nature, I think glitching them out a bit & injecting some tasteful downtempo/trip-hop elements might have been nice. Without any such treatments, they feel like a straight acoustic rhythm track that just doesn't mix it up quite as much as I'd like, and judges did indeed critique this. No one felt it was prohibitive, though... the darkly developing atmosphere, constructed by layers of strings over piano, is the star, with drums pushing things along and lending some structure/momentum. Alex has a way of bringing out texture in his string parts from moment to moment that creates a striking evolution; really good stuff. I'd like to see Alex experiment even more, and consider - at least for tracks like this, on drums - incorporating some modern production techniques into his game. Judges did discuss the liberal arranging approach, but I think DaMonz had the final word:
"There are melodies in both original tracks, and the ReMix references them directly repeatedly throughout the arrangement. To me, this is undeniably a YES on source usage. And everything about this track sounds great to me. The drums are repetitive, yeah, but this is lush, full of rich emotions, absolutely beautiful. I want to see this on the front page."
And so you shall! (More) great Souls stuff from Roe that continues a long vein of transporting, transformative works!
Sources Arranged (2 Songs, 2 Games)
- Primary Game:
Dark Souls (Namco Bandai Games, 2011, PS3)
Music by Motoi Sakuraba
- "Firelink Shrine"
- Additional Game:
Demon's Souls (SCEI, 2009, PS3)
Music by Shunsuke Kida
- "Maiden in Black"
- Cinematic, Classical, Rock
- Dark, Mellow
- Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Strings
- Time > 4/4 Time Signature
- 8,873,961 bytes
- Size: 8,873,961 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: e800e9802b6bcbb142b9a3a5c9392fe4
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