ReMix: Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon "CONNECTED!"
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- Game: Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon (Nintendo, 2015, 3DS)
- ReMixer(s): timaeus222
- Composer(s): Keisuke Itou, Noriko Murakami, Yasuhiro Kawagoe
- Song(s): "Dialga's Fight to the Finish!", "Revelation Mountain", "Tree of Life (Roots)"
- Posted: 2017-02-06, evaluated by the judges
- Terms (BETA): ambient bells chromatic-percussion cinematic dark flute strings suspenseful synth
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming... with an atmospheric, transporting arrangement of Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon from timaeus222 (Truong-Son Nguyen), featuring some really cool sound design & world percussion components against an ambient/cinematic backdrop:
"Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon!! Oh man, it's such a great game... Makes me wish I had a 3DS. :P Next best thing? Watching Marriland narrate through his mostly-blind LP for all the characters, giving each of them their own distinct personalities. When watching the LP, as soon as Marriland reached Revelation Mountain (which is the site for a mind-blowing plot twist! No one spoil it!), I said right then and there, "OMG, YES, best track in the game [besides that of the final boss battle]." Having seen the plot unfold, I found it to have just the right melodic contour and chord progressions to elicit an emotional connection with the plot itself, and it even reiterates the same primary motif in different contexts like you might hear in a great ReMix. After listening to "Revelation Mountain" for a few days, I found myself humming countermelodies to it. That tends to be a good sign, so I just went with my gut and started something.
What you hear is pretty much exactly how I imagined it, from beginning to finish. In general, I wanted something ambient/atmospheric, generally low-key and relaxing, that later unfolds into an impactful section, and somehow tapers off for an outtro. It was kind of a challenge to incorporate a slow yet engaging pacing while not using too many intense drum samples, but it was still fun! For some atonal percussion, I recorded myself jangling coins, and I lightly glitched some tablas and rimshots (I did end up using some cinematic drums though!). I made many of the bell sounds, while a few others are from Crypto Cipher (Tabla Tarangs) and Impact Soundworks (Resonance).
For the arrangement, you could say I went with the flow. I was a bit inspired by some of the Shou Drum demos from Impact Soundworks in terms of the meditative tones, but mainly I just wrote what came to mind - often something I hummed or simply imagined while not using FL Studio. I actually put in some of those countermelodies I hummed (the "secondary lead" bells at 1:56-1:59, 2:25-2:34, and 3:23-3:37). While writing this, I was also listening to the rest of the soundtrack, and I came across "Tree of Life (Roots)," and geez, some seriously emotional passages in that as well! Some of the chords reminded me of the theme for the final fight in Mystery Dungeon 2, and I ended up humming that theme atop "Tree of Life (Roots)," so I was inspired to incorporate both of those as well. Overall, unlike much of my other music, I'm actually most proud of the *compositional* nuance that went into this, and I hope you enjoy this too!
The ReMix title is based on the many alliances you make in the game, and the "CONNECTED!" message that pops up in the middle of the screen."
Definitely some nifty instrumentation & processing decisions happening here, and while the judges were mixed on the sonic integration of the jangling coins, there was consensus around the very engrossing atmosphere and interpretive arrangement. DragonAvenger writes:
"I found the arrangement to be very evocative, great use of instrumentation to bring out the emotion throughout. The coin sampling didn't bother me like it did for Mike, but I can see his point. The flow of the arrangement is very strong, and I enjoyed the overall ambiance. There's quite a few good tracks in all of the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon soundtracks, and I always enjoy hearing some new mixes come through."
There's a risk for arrangements in this style remaining static for too long & not developing, but timaeus did a good job of ensuring a dynamic arc/structure. Nutritious (who recently added ANOTHER member to his ever-growing family - congrats!) adds:
"Nice atmosphere you've established here. Production sounds super solid. Good work on the arrangement side as well with incorporating the themes. Agreed on the coins sounding like...coins. It works still, but just sayin :) Nice use of bass and percussion to bring up the energy level around the 2:30 mark. The dynamics were spot on in this mix."
Truong-Son had a PHENOMENAL year in 2016, with some amazing & varied ReMixes ALL of which maintained a high level of both quality & creativity. Sometimes when he's working in EDM genres, all of t222's excellent sound design & instrumentation flies by so quickly it's more difficult to discern & fully appreciate. In a more deliberate & cinematic context, it takes center stage, and this ReMix does a superb job of letting that side of his production game shine through. Excellent use of chromatic & mixed percussion and a rich, detailed soundscape make this one of his best, regardless of genre; great stuff!