ReMix:Star Ocean: The Second Story "Rena Lanford of Arlia Village" 4:19

By Dale North

Arranging the music of one song...

"Theme of RENA"

Primary Game: Star Ocean: The Second Story (Sony , 1998, PS1), music by Motoi Sakuraba

Posted 2002-08-11, evaluated by djpretzel

In his first contribution since December of last year, Dale North makes a magnificent return to OCR with a stellar, lush orchestral arrangement, our first from Star Ocean 2. Both Dale and Mustin have been uber-busy coordinating the Squaredance project and other related initiatives - expect great things from both of them, and to hear more about those in the future. But in the meantime, if you've a love of Hisaishi or Kanno-style lush orchestral arrangement with a special touch for emotive and dynamic string swells and intimate, articulate solos, you can't afford to miss this deliberate + dramatic piece from Mr. North. Beginning very basically with deep pizzicato bass and delicate chromatic percussion, a fantastic and believable solo clarinet enters with a solitary and lonely refrain, until lovely ensemble strings and oh-so-perfect french horn (key to almost any epic/dramatic symphonic work, though overused by John Williams from time to time) enter and a sequence of swells that remind one of the Mononoke or Escaflowne soundtracks commence. There's then some delicate and spacious solo piano work, seguing back into swells and then back to solo piano for the ending. One of the points Dale, myself and others like to emphasize with regards to these types of arrangements is that, even with the best sound libraries available, the key is still the arrangement, and how those libraries are used. Having Garritan or Miroslav strings alone is far from guaranteeing a result like this ReMix. However, the converse of that is that even the best arranger will be challenged to produce too dramatic a result from sounds that are entirely lackluster and lack basic velocity-switching, etc. When you team someone that knows what they're doing with great sounds, you're playing with fire, and this mix falls under that category. Highly recommended, without hesitation.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2010-05-03 15:46:12

Very nice take on a memorable theme. It seems pretty similar to the original, but a little more emotional and sweeping. It doesn't really deviate too much, and it actually sounds like it could be the OSV from a more recent platform release, which is pretty cool.

on 2009-12-02 08:19:00

I downloaded this song a long time ago, loved it, then it just kind of got lost in the vastness of my music collection. Eek. I'm not sure how I let that happen, as A) Dale North is awesome and B) Theme of Rena is my favorite song from Mr. Sakuraba. Well, at least the version it plays in the forest in Arlia... still!

The samples.. the production.. all of it just works very well together. It's a pretty straight forward arrangement of Rena's theme, but it deviates enough that it's not ho hum. It's very beautiful, in fact. I love the soft, quiet beginning that builds up to the point about a minute and a half in. I love the end that fades out with the piano. I love that overall it reeks of emotion. I love it all. But admittedly, I'm biased - it's Rena's theme!

This is a must have for Motoi and/or North fans, and even if you're unfamiliar with either? Give it a listen!

on 2009-06-27 02:28:41

As far as mixes that captivate and actually cause you to feel the emotion and the imagery of the piece, this has to be one of the most effective on the entire site. Motoi's original composition has a lot to do with it, of course. It's an emotionally manipulative melody, to be sure. But Dale's arrangment and production really nets the goods and brings it straight to you.

The quiet, more fragile troughs throughout the song are nice; the clarinet and the strings are excellent choices to build to the big, sweeping moments. I like that this is never bombastic or never too much going on behind the sounds, which can ruin orchestral pieces that are meant to have a quaint feeling to them. The feeling to this remains powerful but contained; we get that the sadness is personal and interior.

Incredibly orchestral work, it really does sound like it could be part of a professional modern soundtrack. Great to reflect to.

on 2008-08-10 05:35:24

I just recently rediscovered this song after hearing it a long time ago. All I can say is that the beauty is in the simplicity. And its Wonderful!

The Kuschely
on 2006-03-27 14:24:12

my god.. i simply agree with you all.

The story of the game is just so emotional.. it made me feel happy and sad and surprised and much more.. SO OFTEN.. and it contains soooo cute characters.

actually im pissed off because square-enix doesnt mention star ocean 2 on their homepage or i just couldnt found it...

well... maybe back to this song?

@theowne: youre right. how can something like this happen? almost 2 years long no further comment on this MASTERPIECE!

you really have to play this game to the end and then listen to this song again. if you can connect this song with the storyline, it seems just more emotional.. AND -HELL(maybe heaven in this case)- SO DAMN BEAUTIFUL!


but, of course, this song is still a masterpiece if u didnt play the game...

(hope i didnt tooo many mistakes... because english isnt my "mother-language" and im not the best at speaking english..)

on 2006-03-15 14:10:15

I was utterly amazed when I heard this peace. I am a huge lover of Star Ocean, mainly the Second Story. It gives me great joy to hear Rena's theme in all it's wonderful glory. This is done so beautifully, I litteraly got intense chills listening to it, as many other listeners did. The piano in the middle was especially captivating. This song took me into the skies and brought me down again when it ended. Excellent work, Dale...

on 2006-03-13 23:35:37

This is far from forgotten. I loved the original song very dearly. I'm dead serious too, as the original can be found on close to 5 of my 7 CD library of burned CD's. I wasn't really optomistic when I downloaded this new one because I didn't see how it could've been improved upon. Man was I wrong. The lightly introduced clarinet hits the mood perfectly. The orchestral swells... my god the swells... they bring tears to my eyes. I want to cry from happiness and amazement at the amount of feeling that can be felt in this song. I just... i can't go on. This song is beautiful beyond compare. 11/10.

on 2006-03-13 14:19:01

Why is this so forgotten? The last comment is from 04? Come on people! This is amazing!

on 2004-12-12 16:43:59

This one awesome orchestral piece. Words definately cannot describe how lovely this remix is. I listened to this song over and over again, and it's still beautiful. I love this! :D

Well Mr. North, can I have ur autograph?

on 2004-11-29 13:40:53

Let me reiterate how amazingly awesome Dale is. I met him recently and he is probably one of the nicest people I have met in a long time. Coincidentally, we discussed this mix for a short time and I expressed my love for it. It truly is one of the best remixes out there today, and it really does convey the emotions of the game.

What less can one expect from Dale North?

on 2004-11-29 13:33:20

I'll have to do that, and perhaps toss him the ideas for song remakes.

on 2004-11-29 10:34:10

Yeah, I know Dale in real life. Stayed at his house several times even. And you could just ask him yourself on the music he has planned. I know he's working on a lot of personal projects, but just come on over to the OUS site sometime and ask him on the message board.

on 2004-11-29 10:22:45

Flik, if you know Dale in real life then you're lucky, I sincerely think he should package his remakes onto a CD or something, perhaps do some remaking of more Star Ocean the 2nd Story songs, if he's not done "Shower of Blossoms" (Cross and Lacour town theme) yet, he should do so. I can imagine what it'd sound like, what with the fantastic job that he did with Rena Lanford of Arlia Village. I mean shoot, he made an already amazing song sound even more amazing. I'd like to see what else he could do with the electric guitar too, as there are a ton of Star Ocean Till the End of Time songs that scream "remake" all over them. **laughs** Anyway, lemme know if he's got any more remakes planned. Best of wishes.

on 2004-11-29 09:12:57

Dale IS amazing. Just watching him play totally changes the mood. And you'll meet him someday for sure. He's a great guy, and fun to be around.

And this mix amazed me a long time ago, and still does any time I listen to it.

on 2004-11-27 18:48:55

I would like to meet this Dale North and thank this man in person for composing such a remix of an already emotional song. This was always one of my favorite songs on Star Ocean the 2nd Story, along with Shower of Blossoms, and the Final Boss Battle theme and many more as well. This man is an honest to God talent, and should be recognized worldwide. Powerful song, and even more emotionally moving than the original. I say this deserves an encore!

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Star Ocean: The Second Story (Sony , 1998, PS1)
Music by Motoi Sakuraba
"Theme of RENA"

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