And now for something completely different... get your serenity on & your mantras ready, as newcomer Gaius Christianus Canorus reports in from the Curia Julia with our first arrangement of Front Mission: Gun Hazard, going even more Zen than the original "Approach to a Shrine" source with a meditative, minimalist folk poem of sorts played entirely on bells, bowls, & cymbals:
"I don't usually like writing notes about works, but for the sake of interest in arrangement:
The original piece is characterized by an ostinato figure built on fourths, over which there are some choral sections and bells. In my opinion, the part of greatest importance to the track is the ostinato itself; the rest is more or less added on as texture. Keeping this in mind, the arrangement is more focused on the ostinato, developing it through variation, hocketing, canon, inversion, and harmonization so that no part of the arrangement sounds like the original aside from the base notes.
I used bells and bowls exclusively, if only because they're the only instruments I have of any worth; much more sonorous than plucked strings and keyboards. The choral section does appear to tie it closer to the original, though I use a cluster of struck bowls to simulate a large bell's slightly off intonation and harmonics. As for the cymbals, the intent was using patterns similar to Coptic chant, though the samples I required don't exist and I had to settle for Chinese cymbals. A triangle was also intended, but lack of well-recorded playing in the Coptic style reduced it to cymbals alone.
The resemblance to gamelan was not intended."
Any resemblance to gamelan, living or deceased, is strictly coincidental :) Okay, okay... this certainly isn't your usual VGM arrangement, but the source was already in this vein, and Gaius has essentially excised elements that weren't particularly meditative and gone full mountain temple with it, creating an open space for resonance & transcendence. It's a relatively intuitive place to take the original composition, but not one that many would pursue and execute so deliberately, and I think the key was making the rhythmic and harmonic tweaks and knowing what NOT to include. Sir_NutS sums it up very nicely:
"Woah, this is clean. Atmospheric yet very melodic stuff. It's minimalistic in its approach to instruments but not in arrangement, as the mix evolves with several layers of melodies. It all feels very natural. I specially liked that the bell resonances were left with space to breathe and expand while keeping the mix clean, and I also liked the underlying low droning tones. A lot is done with the interpretation as well, which is quite impressive considering the style this is going for, but there is indeed a lot of re-arrangement going on.
This is a very zen, original arrangement that I'm sure will not be for everyone, but IMO it has all the right ingredients to make it to the front page."
This wouldn't really work right if the purity of the sustaining tones was interrupted or clashed, or things felt rushed, cluttered, etc. Pacing and clarity absolutely make this mix what it is, paired with some thoughtful arrangement decisions. Definitely something different and, in this era of information overload and constant clamoring for clicks, likes, sales, & attention, a bona fide safe space. Exceptionally particular, but well-concieved and well-executed work from Gaius; to be honest I have absolutely no idea what future submissions might sound like... but I'm curious, and curious is good.
on 2018-04-08 20:04:46
I love this. It's subtle and deliberate without being too subversive. Really getting the best from a limited amount of sounds.
(Reminds me of parts of the "Baraka" soundtrack...)
I've never played Front Mission, and wouldn't expect to hear something like this associated with a game title like that, haha. Makes it even better.
on 2018-04-05 05:48:54
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Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Front Mission: Gun Hazard (Square, 1996, SNES)
Music by Junya Nakano, Masashi Hamauzu, Nobuo Uematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda
- "Approach to a Shrine"
- Mellow, Solemn
- Bells, Chromatic Percussion
- Arrangement > Minimalist
Regional > Chinese
Usage > Meditation
- 4,977,374 bytes
- Size: 4,977,374 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 5cd307a527a3cce7103d8766548a91a2
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