ONE more adventure to speed towards to (for now!) as we continue celebrating the release of Speeding Towards Adventures; Eino Keskitalo takes on Yuzo Koshiro's Sonic Game Gear OST in a chillax style somewhere between post-rock & synthwave, filled to the brim with lofi electric piano & other dusty textures:
"I think I must have played Sonic first on a friend's Master System. Another friend got a Mega Drive (and Sonic, of course) a little later, and if I had played the 16-bit version first, the slower, more traditional platformer pacing of the 8-bit version would feel weird to me. But it doesn't, and I can vouch for the 8-bit Sonic 1 being a great game for the platforms. Though I know it as a Master System game, it was developed for the Game Gear first (confirmed by Yuzo Koshiro in The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers: Vol. 1).
Koshiro's company, Ancient, handled the conversion, and he did the music. Some of the soundtrack consists of SN76489 renditions of the 16-bit tunes (such as "Green Hill Zone," which is also featured in this arrangement), and some are original tracks composed for this version (such as "Bridge Zone" music). The conversions are good and everything is quite chirpy and poppy, "Bridge Zone" being rather a cheerful track. It segues well from GHZ, same key and tempo and everything. I'm not sure why, but this arrangement is the fifth time I'm dabbling with "Bridge Zone." It's not really a favourite piece of VGM for me, but it's a good one, and I really like the game.
Unlike the original, this arrangement is a bit dark. It started with an experiment on the keyboard, to see if the melody of the A part would work in minor key, and I would say it does. The A part has a ABAC-type structure, but I found repeating the melody of the first two bars built up a nice tension in the minor mode. After a bunch of attempts trying to shoehorn the B part of the original in the minor mode, I went with the original progression, which does give a nice contrast to the darker verse. (These attempts did yield a usage of a bit of the B part melody as a countermelody in the verse.) I felt I needed a bit more material, so I dipped into the intro part of "Green Hill Zone," utilizing the four-note arpeggio and the melody, but having it follow a changing chord structure, so that this part, too, turns dark.
I'm pretty sure this track was at some point an attempt of doing things quickly, but that rarely succeeds for me. The chorused bassline utilizes samples of my own playing from "Miljoonamiehen muistelmat." I tried to keep the beat simple and allow myself some copy-pasting and previous drum sound usage. I think the resulting stiff groove is all right. I put in plenty of electronic drum samples and noises to provide some colour. The rest of the instrumentation is pretty much just e-piano, regular piano, Mellotron, and a cheap synth sample from an oooold FastTracker 2 tune of mine. Dealing with the last one took a good amount of work and some feedback from the project directors Black_Doom and (regular collab partner) Jorito. I also added some subtlish atmospheric samples (thunder sheets and rainstick from freesound.org) after Black_Doom's comments.
Source usage part by part:
- 0:00-0:18 - No source in the intro.
- 0:18-0:35 - A-part of the source begins, repeating the first two bars of the melody (with some variation).
- 0:35-0:52 - The melody of B-part plays as a countermelody, and at the end the A-part material resolves to use its B portion.
- 0:52-1:09 - Source B-part, used fairly straightforwardly.
- 1:10-1:25 - The A-part is followed in full "ABAC" structure.
- 1:25-1:42 - A-part goes "ABAB", with the Mellotron providing the B-part countermelody.
- 1:42-1:58 - I hope the "GHZ" intro is recognizable!
- 1:58-2:15 - "GHZ" intro is taken through some chord changes.
- 2:15-2:32 - First half of the bitcrushed synth solo is original...
- 2:32-2:48 - ...until here "BZ" A-part is either in the background or at the front (apart from 2:40-2:42).
- 2:48-3:17 - B-part of "BZ" is repeated twice.
- 3:18-3:31 - The tail end of the outro has no source.
That's about it! This was my second attempt at producing an 8-bit Sonic 1 arrangement for the 25th anniversary project, and I'm glad I was able to finish it. Thanks to the directors for steering & feedback and running the project in general."
Let me echo that thanks - Jorito & Black_Doom did a FANTASTIC job coordinating with artists and with us, they came to us with a polished trailer & completed website template, and without their attention to detail there's no way we would have made Sonic's 25th anniversary in time. Truly ace work! Stepan writes:
"I've never played 8-bit Sonic games a lot, and I'm not really familiar with some of the music, but there are, of course, some nice tunes, with "Bridge Zone" being one of them. The original song has a great sunny vibe, somewhat similiar to "Green Hill Zone." However, Eino gives it his own spin, adding a great touch of sadness, which may not be typical for Sonic music, but works here for sure! The contrast between darker and lighter parts creates a very neat atmosphere, so Eino's goal to evoke the sense of melancholy with this track is certainly achieved. After all, the song title can be translated as something like "Hedgehog's Melancholy" (I used Google Translate, so it may not be too accurate :p)."
"Eino brings us a dark and brooding take on an upbeat original, and gives it his own twist, in typical Eino style. There's great use of sound effects, distortion, and other subtle effects in the background that work really well to set the mood, and, overall, the soundscape, the textures, and the occasional sparseness all serve the purpose of instilling a sense of melancholy in you. I really dig the "Green Hill Zone" cameo; it makes for a great ambient break and blends in very well without breaking the mood. Overall, I love this arrangement for its contrasting mood and vibe, definitely an interesting take on the original."
Ditto all that; Eino has a unique style/texture for his mixes, and Sir_NutS describes this one rather well:
"What I found here was a very nice arrangement that brings Bridge Zone and Green Hill together in obvious, but transformative ways. The arrangement was at its best in points such as after 2:30 where you can hear touches of both themes, as well as some small but nice touches with the drum writing. The Lo-fi elements are added tastefully throughout the track, and can be heard in some lead instruments as well as in the Organ-sounding pads."
Directors & judges pretty much covered everything, but I was glad to see the GG/SMS OST get some love, and I think Eino's unique aesthetic jives well with the blended sources. Good stuff!
on 2017-06-27 02:00:57
Fun, interesting, and a unique take on the source. It's like something that I simultaneously nod with familiarity yet am intrigued about how different it is, all at the same time. Enjoyable work!!
on 2017-06-26 13:46:11
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Sources Arranged (2 Songs)
- Primary Game:
Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega, 1991, GG)
Music by Yuzo Koshiro
- "Bridge Zone"
"Green Hill Zone"
- Chill, Quirky
- Electric Piano, Synth
- Effects > Distortion
Effects > Lo-Fi
- 5,578,654 bytes
- Size: 5,578,654 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 71cf77f09eae7240cc4a9ce41d447c5e
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