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Geeky Stoner

Nostalgia vs Interpretation

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This question has been bugging me for a little while since i discovered the vgremix/vgmusic scene about three years ago.

For what reason do you listen to videogame remixes for, for nostalgia or interpretation?

For me, ever since i discovered ocr in november 2008 it sort of blew my mind on how someone could take the super mario bros. theme and turn it into a jazz song or have a Megaman X3 song and turn it into an expansive electronic masterpiece etc etc.

I never really appreciated videogame music until i found this place, I was never able to listen to the original sources without the context of remixes.

So maybe i have a different perspective on all this.

For me when i listen to a remix I'm able to take the nostalgia factor out of it and listen to the song in it's own right.

I love it when a remix is able to shake off the nostalgia effect and become art and expression in itself.

But I've been hanging around in some videogame music rooms on turntable.fm and they let you play videogame remixes and everything but the majority is osts and such, not that there isn't anything wrong with that, i enjoy original videogame music just as much as the next person here, but it makes me wonder when i play an oc remix in one of those rooms that if people are enjoying the song itself or the nostalgia effect it brings.

So i pose this question when you listen to an ocremix what do you love more?

The interpretation and expression or the nostalgia effect?

(I'm sure lots of ocr regulars are going to answer interpretation but i want you to really think about this as i said for me i may have a different perspective on this whole thing since it's still relatively fresh and new to me)

I posed this question to the people i was hanging out with on turntable and didn't get much of an answer, I'm not sure if they ever thought about it in this sort of context before.

I think this post by ella guro can sum up how i feel about videogame remixes http://ocremix.org/forums/showpost.php?p=623368&postcount=29

and ella if you read this i'd love to get your take on this question.

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I listen to remixes for the interpretation mostly. Being new here as well, I came already in search of people's interpretations so i may not have the most helpful opinion for your question. I always did appreciate video game music and it would get stuck in my head while playing, but if I had a nostalgic moment i think I would much rather search for the OST than listen to remixes. When I feel nostalgia, i don't like variation, i look for the exact same as I remember it. Fortunately, i don't have those moments too often and can still very much enjoy the work found here.

To answer your question straight-forward, I like interpretation more.

I hope something I wrote here will help answer your question :). And as i said, i am also new to video game remixes.

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I like to hear when anciently recorded but insanely great melodies are "modernized" and enhanced.

Just increases the awesomeness for me.

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I like some OSTs just as much as I like some ReMixes, both from games I played and games I haven't. I don't think there's any other factor than "am I enjoying this?" when I listen to music.

VG music is still music, and I'm pretty sure the nostalgia is not at all what makes me love it. ;)

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I only listen to remixes of songs I have heard. So I guess it is a nostalgia factor in the decision of why listening to it for me. I don't listen to remixes to feel nostalgia since original does so much more for me. I like hearing what people come up with :)

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Both. Most remixes I download are from games I've played or heard the sound track to. But I also have remixes of tracks I've never heard of or played, simply because I enjoyed the remix. The best example of the latter would be the albums OCR puts out. I've never heard of Armored Core before joining OCR, but I love Anosou's The Answer album.

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Nostalgia plays a huge roll in the non musical side of VGM but it only lasts so long. How many times can you listen to Ice Cap zone before it ceases to be nostalgic? Hearing remixes helps to keep that nostalgia new and fresh, if that makes any sense.

Part of why I love ocremix is that you can share your love of playing games and music without the games getting in the way of the music. So this is one of the few places that celebrates the sound team of a development studio at least as equally as the rest of the programmers and designers.

And how many times have you heard this?

"That's pretty neat what is that you're playing?"

"oh it's from (a game)"

"oh, well it's crap then."

VGM is perpetually in need of an esteem boost and Ocremix helps to fix that.

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It's both, but interpretation would (and should) win for most people. And that's not because nostalgia's unimportant. Almost none of us would be here without it. But if you're willing to try ReMixes from games you don't know AND compare them to the originals, then you're there respecting and acknowledging interpretation. Though it helps, nostalgia's not needed to appreciate interpretation.

And sometimes it's neither. (HEY, free MP3s!)

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Well, going from my perspective I feel that one can't exist without another.

I started out listening to remixes of scores that I'm already familiar with, or remixes for games that I already played; then when I became aware of more games and checked out their scores the scope for familiar scores would expand.

In the event of a game you've already played (or if not played but have witnessed the BGM's presence via someone else playing it e.g. a Let's Play on Youtube), I have a tendancy to listen more for interpretation. An artist has a vision in mind, and they are sure to create that vision to match what that piece of BGM meant for them. Which in turn, would also draw in nostalgia for that purpose. Because they've understood the song even outside of a musical context, they are driven by the feelings inside to create something worthwhile for fellow fans of the game.

But if they're remixing something for a game which BGM placement for them is shrouded in mystery, it's all up for interpretation and just making it sound as polished as possible, though sometimes at the expense of cutting the feel of the original. Then if people enjoy it it might encourage a spread of players for said game and witness the original in action.

So yes, for the most part it seems to be interpretation, but in a lot of cases both that and nostalgia can exist at the same time. If we didn't have the passion for videogames of the past and present, then why the bloody hell are we here? :wink:

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It's both

This did cross my mind' date=' and i realize that the answer to this question from people isn't so black and white, alot of factors go into the enjoyment of any particular song, genre, production, performance etc.

Although back to my point on the nostalgia factor in vg remixes. i hear this comment alot about ocremixes and it kind of irks me sometimes.

"this doesn't sound like the original"

Well it's an interpretation maybe it's not supposed to sound like the original, a rearrangement or remix can turn a song into a completely different one.

I hear this alot about remixes and rearrangements as well.

"this isn't as good as the original"

This is so completely invalid a statement it makes me really shake my head sometimes.

A remix isn't supposed to improve on the original, it's a different take on that particular song, you can say "i don't enjoy this as much as the original" but comparing apples and oranges is just dense.

If we didn't have the passion for videogames of the past and present, then why the bloody hell are we here? :wink:

A good point, as I said I don't believe I really appreciated videogame music before i came here maybe i saw it as more of a novelty outside of the context of the game,sure i thought some songs were catchy but I don't think i really validated it as art until i came here.

And how many times have you heard this?

"That's pretty neat what is that you're playing?"

"oh it's from (a game)"

"oh' date=' well it's crap then."

VGM is perpetually in need of an esteem boost and Ocremix helps to fix that.[/quote']

quoted for truth

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Although back to my point on the nostalgia factor in vg remixes. i hear this comment alot about ocremixes and it kind of irks me sometimes.

"this doesn't sound like the original"

Well it's an interpretation maybe it's not supposed to sound like the original, a rearrangement or remix can turn a song into a completely different one.

I hear this alot about remixes and rearrangements as well.

"this isn't as good as the original"

This is so completely invalid a statement it makes me really shake my head sometimes.

A remix isn't supposed to improve on the original, it's a different take on that particular song, you can say "i don't enjoy this as much as the original" but comparing apples and oranges is just dense.

i think both comments you gave as example are potentially ok comments, even though they might be poorly worded.

i usually want my mix to sound like the original. not COMPLETELY like the original, but it's nice to have a similar kind of timbre going or really nail down a part of the composition you like a lot. sometimes you wanna pay max homage and just sound like whatever you're paying tribute to, even if it's just for a couple bars.

There are also mixes i just 'don't enjoy as much as the original'.

Maybe it's overused, but i know it applies for all of us.

sometimes i just like something about a tune so much that not properly honoring it in a mix can only seem like a bad decision. that doesn't mean the arranger failed, it means i think he failed to capture something essential.

it's subjective, but not subjective to the point of meaninglessness. apples and oranges rule applies when there's no sensible measurement available to compare...like, what's better, 2-step or polka.

in the case of arrangements...you can compare arrangements!! They can sound wildly different, but you still can compare them to the OST. there's nothing wrong about deeming a tribute worthy or not. hey, maybe you just don't get it and some people are gonna yell at you to go back to DoD or FF trance mixes. maybe you can respect and grow to love what the mixer did on some later listen.

i still think it's a valid thing to say. ofc it helps to elaborate just a little and not be a retard.

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Fair point Nase, I didn't mean to come off as angry about that, i was hardly ranting imho.

i think a good example of people hating on the interpretation on a remix would be Spinlock.

it's a pretty polarizing remix if i remember alot of people didn't like this because it didn't sound like the original (it seems some of the comments from the original thread are gone).

Like i said it's fine for people to not like something but i hate seeing people bash something that someone put alot of work into.

aluminum put alot of work into his arrangement and once you compare the remix and the source you can see where the interpretation is

but some people instantly hate it because it doesn't sound like the original.

maybe i'm coming off as angry again ,and hate is a strong word and most of the comments in the reviews section are respectful.

I know some of you have seen youtube comments like this though "what the hell is this crap this sounds nothing like the original!?"

I guess the point i'm making is that sometimes a remix can be more than just a fun nod to the original (not that i mean to discredit remixes like that or cheapen them)

but with some remixes you can look past it having to sound similar to the original and enjoy the arrangement and the song in it's own right,

it becomes art in it's own right (maybe i'm not articualting that correctly but i hope you understand what i mean)

I think good examples of this are Permutation,Revolutions,(don't lose yourself),Cry of the Chasmal Critter Chain and Trippin' On Rainbows just to name a few.

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Very little nostalgia for me. I have listened to most the songs on OCR at least once, and downloaded a lot of them, and when anything new goes up I listen to it.

Quite a few of the songs I enjoyed and kept from this sight are from video games I have never played before, so I don't know what the original source sounds like in most cases.

I'm not sure if there is nostalgia even in songs I'm familiar with, because I feel like I judge an arrangement harder in those cases. Or maybe that is some weird form of nostalgia I don't know.

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I can't claim nostalgia on remixes from games I've never played, so...

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downloaded first remixes for the nostalgia factor, ended up appreciating interpretation from some skilled remixers, ended up discovering cool remix from VG OST i don't even know.

I still randomly listen to the whole OCR playlist in my HD and found some cool jewels.

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To be honest originally i did it based on nostalgia alone.

Then after hearing project chaos i started checking out ones from my favourite remixers on that album then heard a few chrono trigger remixes which inspired me to actually sit down and play through it.(it later turned out its one of my most fav rpg games ever)

But even now i check out remixes from games ive heard of or have played so i might know the original source.

But i should check out the ones i havent heard or played so i might actually go and try the original game itself.

Theres many classics i have yet to touch upon yet.

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Most ppl start with nostalgia. If they're musically inclined they might find the interpretation thing cool (I do), or they could just develop a taste for specific artists or styles and wanna hear random video game tracks with some specific sound.

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I think nostalgia is what brought me here back in the day - you know, discovering all the awesome remixes to my favorite games - but then it just evolved into appreciating good music from a medium that I love. I just love good video game music in general...the ones that encapsulate emotion and feeling and what's going on the time. For awhile it really was just nostalgia.

Then at one point I just started listening to all the new remixes that came out, and listened to the old OC Remix radio and realized "wtf have I been missing?". Eventually I just realized that I liked listening to effin' game music in general, and OC Remix was a segue for me to learn about songs I was previously unaware about. Believe it or not (and many people will probably rip my head off for this), but I haven't played Chrono Trigger or Xenogears, but because of OC Remix their soundtracks are probably my favorite two of all the video games out there.

I think it starts out as nostalgia, but if you stick with it, you just end up liking everything about it.

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I like the fact that the music is from games: in my opinion, game music is almost always good, or at least a good base for interpretation, as we've seen here at OC. I definitely like interpretation, though, more than the nostalgia (considering I've never seen most of these games much less played them).

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I just discovered this thread from some random browsing, so I thought I might add some thoughts (since the OP asked me for them)

It is interesting to think about the place things like game remixes will occupy in the future. What purpose do remixes serve? Are they always artistically subjugated to original music because of nostalgia factor heavily weighing in? Why would you do a really weird, crazy interpretation of a well-known theme instead of doing weird, crazy music of your own? Now that it's possible to be heard and in some cases make a living doing original music for games, why spend a lot of time and energy rearranging other people's music? Will a place like OCR just become a launching point for people wanting to do original music?

Though it is much easier to get exposure for original music now than it was when OCR was in its infancy, I don't think there's any danger in remixes or rearrangements becoming less relevant, or whatever. Though there is often a higher degree of risk/excitement in original music, arranging can also be exciting and interesting. I think a lot of it is about recontextualizing past experiences, or seeing well-known tunes from a new angle. Of course some of it is just that there are some really fuckin' great melodies that are in danger of going unnoticed because of a thing's obscurity, or being ignored just for being in a game even when they are more compositionally interesting than a lot of other things. Game music especially has occupied a pretty unique space in the world, because the technology of older games necessitated doing a kind of music that hadn't exactly existed before that point. And that's rad. The more people see how truly unique and important game music has been, the better.

Coming back to the thread topic, it's a little hard for me to separate nostalgia from interpretation, because I feel like they both come into play most of the time. Nostalgia does have the tendency to make people just wanna revisit their experiences verbatim instead of doing anything new with them. So it can be a barrier to creativity and/or open-mindedness. But it also often the source of inspiration, the reason why you were moved enough to do an arrangement in the first place.

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nostalgia is so appealing because it makes you remember the truly original experiences you've had, or call em source experiences or something.

yknow, strong sensations, no preconceptions about them.

it's one of the awesome perks of being a kid. sadly, it comes with being fuckin stupid ;)

anyway, these experiences play a rather big part in defining who you are, so why wouldn't you want to revisit them.

like ella said, what you do with them is important. you can just fully regress to age 5 and enjoy being stupid and happy (and that's fine in moderation. i hope it is...)

or you decide to do something more interesting.

some day, we might develop some tech that allows us to browse through our minds like libraries.

that's like the ultimate technological utopia for me, even surpassing the holodeck. it's also way scarier than the holodeck. it's like an OEM version of the holodeck, only featuring experiences recorded by yourself.

anywayyy..until we have that, you can look at old shit and get all fuzzy about it. if you balance that out with a healthy diet of new shit and maintain a general state of awareness, it might all transmogrify into totally awesome new shit.

thats how creativity works, you always build on the old. it's like a compost heap that's never cleaned out.

to make my point, i don't think nostalgia itself is a problem at all, it's more like a device, a gateway that can and should be used creatively.

that said, if you use it to constantly engulf yourself in childish sappiness, you have a drug problem.

no big deal because everyone has that problem, to a varying degree.

it's more than likely that people who express a strong dislike against nostalgic indulgence have seriously overdone it in the past.

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Hmmmm bits of both I think. On one hand I find it fascinating to listen to e.g. zelda/FF/chrono mixes, as those are fond memories of my youth, so a fair bit of nostalgia there.

On the flip side, the intepretation of mixes - sometimes stands heads and shoulders over the original. Case in point there is this Red XIII mix (gah can't find it on my mp3 player) - that I thought that was brilliant. The artist passed away, sadly.

I tend to have difficulty listening to new mixes - but after listening to the the lucid dreaming album, I think I've developed a fondness for Nights. :) Would love to try the game now if I had a chance.

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Thanks for all the comments and discussion everyone especially Ella for responding to my question directly.

You've all provided some interesting perspective on this subject for me.

While I still feel that I can listen to a rearrangement and take out the context of where it came from (eye of the beholder and all that jazz), I do agree that the artists intent was to accentuate the original nostalgia that comes from the context.

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I'd be lying if I said that nostalgia wasn't a small part of it (I do enjoy some good ol' Mario, Zelda, and Mega Man 3 from my childhood.)

But for the most part, my enjoyment comes from hearing the interpretations. Most of my favorite remixes are from games I didn't play until recent adulthood (Chrono Trigger, Street Fighter II) or games I've never even played. When it comes to chiptunes, I absolutely adore the sound of the C64's SID chip, but I didn't even know what a C64 looked like until about a year ago.

I'm probably one of the rare few who actually enjoys video game music more than the games themselves. It amazes me that there's this whole world of utterly brilliant composers who go unappreciated because of the medium for which they compose. Something about the simple, yet powerful melodies that get me. With a few exceptions, movie soundtracks don't seem to do that nearly as well (or often) as video game soundtracks.

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