ReMix:Alundra "Dreamwalker" 5:15

By Shnabubula

Arranging the music of one song...


Primary Game: Alundra (Working Designs , 1998, PS1), music by Kohei Tanaka

Posted 2005-10-27, evaluated by the judges panel

The single coolest thing about Shnabubula is that the guy just goes apeshit about relatively esoteric Japanese composers many of us have never heard of. He radiates; they fill him with a white light... Case in point, his submission email for this Alundra ReMix declared, in monstrous, capitalized, green typeface:


I mean... somewhere, beyond the sea, Kohei Tanaka is saying to himself, "DAMN, bro, I don't even dig Kohei Tanaka THAT much... and I'm Kohei Tanaka!!11!" ...truly, he is. I'm writing it right here on the intarweb, so it must be true. RAD TANAKA LICKS. Right then, on our way: this is actually far more accessible than a lot of Sam's work, as it employs more traditional wind ensemble or "orchestral" instrumentation, unlike other mixes where he'll introduce all manner of synthetic textures and apply DSP to acoustic emulations to mutate them into otherly creatures of the night. Here we're coloring inside the lines a bit more, timbre-wise, and the arrangement follows suit and presents a consistent matched wardrobe of form and function. If you perhaps feel like some of Sam's other stuff has been a little too avant-garde (that's pretentiousese for "weird"), you should check this out regardless, assuming you're into orchestral, as it's not quite as challenging. Lest I promote the idea that Mr. Ascher-Weiss has lost his mojo for mind-mangling machinations and making the children scratch their heads in wonder, have no fear: this still isn't your typical John Williams, soaring-through-the-sky-as-our-hearts-fill-with-whimsy symphonic fare... not that there's anything WRONG with that. This is a wind-driven, more muted affair, with plenty of harmonic interaction. Interestingly enough, Weed didn't consider this accessible at all, citing instrument placement as being unorthodox:

"i had a conversation with shnab about shining force music and we were picking apart what we liked about certain compositions and i hear so much of what we were talking about in this; the way he visualizes the soundfield is very clear to me in this piece. its got that same controlled business... far from chaos... musical ingenuity. i don't think this is accessible at all; at least not from a compositional perspective since this is highly experimental... your instrument placing is just simply unusual.

the instrumentation. brilliant, sir. i hear the string phrasing and i hear how they play within the soundfield and i am convinced of what i'm hearing instantly. the percussion is nuts - variety is an understatement. the woodwinds are soothing... most of this sounds very organic altogether... it isn't the most believable sounding mix ever but i have a hard time focusing on shortcomings when the arrangement as a whole is so awesome."

I'll agree that placement isn't traditional, by any means, but when talking about accessibility, everything is relative - I still think this is more accessible than your average Shnab mix, if not your average ReMix in general. Brandon had something along those lines, and more, to say:

"Wow, what a wonderful change of pace. Once I got over the disappointment of not hearing a classic Shna Rare Mineral Addict-esque take on the theme I was completely drawn to the delicate woodwinds and strings that fill this mix. The clarinet/oboe work through 0:41 is a great intro before the strings and brass build to a more central role from 0:42-2:25. As tends to be the case with sampled and sequenced strings, some of the solo violin sounds a bit shaky to me (2:00, 4:50 come to mind) but this is a minor issue that is masked well here. Selectively placed lows and a vibrant snare keep the atmosphere light throughout, even during the build starting near the 4-min mark. Man I love the panning on that snare. Rolls are here, accents are there, ghost notes all around; great stuff.

I can be a sucker for a decent sounding piece but the arrangement, which doesn’t lull for a second, takes the cake on this one. Sam takes the simple solo guitar melodies of the source and builds an intricate orchestral tapestry that at once feels like a natural extension of the theme and is a creative expression of Sam’s talents."

If you've been waiting for an Alundra mix, your ship has come in... if you're a fan of Sam's work in general, this is another gem added to a formidable warchest of compositional treasure, and last but not least, if you happen to be Kohei Tanaka: sir... know that you are loved.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2020-12-14 00:11:53

Underrated game.

on 2012-08-12 18:23:10

mm fantastic arrangement. I love woodwind and string instruments, and this is absolutely amazing to listen to. There's a great sense of calmness yet also busy activity. :) The piece moves to and fro as if flitting from one horizon or group of people to another.

on 2011-12-27 05:25:34

Hell yeah I've learned to appreciate this track even more. OA had good insight about the piece being free-spirited, roaming about with all the change-ups - and especially the tempo changes. It really flows. Listening to it is a bit like following a river along its path, with the scenery changing, mostly lush and green, but majestic in the end. Pretty impressionistic in that way.


Melbu Frahma
on 2011-12-13 12:36:47

Such a complex and interesting arrangement, that constantly changes; loved it instantly. In particular, I found the woodwind and string writing to be extremely good. My only complaint with it at all was the ending - wasn't feeling what Shnab did there - but overall, great stuff.

on 2008-09-25 16:29:12

I'm a fan of this. Definatley what I will consider one of Shna's better mixes, although in their own right they're all good. I'm finding that the transitions might be a little too sudden sometimes for my taste, but that helps make it unique, and a bit more his style, perhaps.

Nice work.

on 2008-06-10 16:30:34

the transitions on this one are strange due to the constantly shifting melodic focus, but overall it's a very pleasant listen throughout. I'd say aimless, but the connotations of that word are generally negative, and I mean it in a positive sense here. Maybe "free-spirited"?

There isn't any real tension until near the very end, so the journey here is very casual and fun. Comparing this to the source is pretty eye-opening, as this really goes in a completely different direction, and though it does wander, the tone of it sortof encourages it to do so. Sunny fun from start to finish.

Phoenix Wynde
on 2007-12-28 23:41:14

This piece is absolutely amazing. It's smooth at first, creating an atmosphere in which to get lost. Then it picks up a little, offering a light, thought provoking experience, almost as if on a roller coaster without the sudden shakes.

The only thing I wish this song had was a faded out ending. It ends a bit abruptly.

Overall, this is a great ride and one that shouldn't be passed up.

on 2007-12-11 02:13:56

Not quite on par with Infinite Natalia as far as Shnabubula's orchestral works go, but good stuff nonetheless. Some of the instruments sound noticeably non-real at places, but the quality of the arrangement indeed trumps over such concerns, ultimately. The sound is maybe a bit muddy to my ears. Anyhow, very enjoyable. Slightly easier listening than Shnab's busier tracks, maybe. Not my favourite shnab-attack, but still very recommendable. It might grow on me even more in time.


on 2006-03-18 13:19:41

Very nice orch work, G. I felt all floaty and back in the mid-90s.

Martin Penwald
on 2005-11-06 08:21:41

Wonderful orchestral stuff. If I didn't know that this was a ReMix, I would think that it is taken from a RPG soundtrack; it reminds me a bit of the first two Suikoden.

That being said, I like the violin poppin' in shortly at appr. 2:00 and the end with the very low sound.

on 2005-10-31 20:06:32

Not accessible for the easy listener. Complex. Busy. Experimental, and hard to listen too.

It's brilliant actually.

on 2005-10-30 21:51:05

I'm with Dark_T_Zeratul on this one. Alundra is an awesome game, and had some very good music scored to it. I don't think I'm hearing it properly right now (my friend is playing ssbm on the tv next to me) so I'll listen in and post my thoughts. What I can hear it sounds like you're watching the adventure this time instead of going through it.

EDIT: A more appropriate review this time after listening it in for a better time.

The piece starts off nicely, and then at :42 the timpani seems to give the piece a more definate "backbone" to the music. Nice job with the winds and strings coming together (intertwining)during and after this part. Again with the timpani's at 1:39 but the increased tempo does help move the piece along, into 2:26 where the snares do a nice job mixing up the piece to hook the listener back in.

Although for me, the piece seems to play certain parts the same way as your going along (can't put a better word for this). It feels a bit repetetive at the end, dragging it down a bit.

Good job on this piece, it's very well done.

on 2005-10-29 02:07:18

Damn, I had just thought this week about how much it bothered me that there was no alundra remixes on the site. The songs, especially the intro, were very badass.

I'd say it's debut is a bit late, but glad it's here nontheless.

Nice job.

on 2005-10-28 18:50:40

It always takes me a full month before I enjoy a shnabubula mix. Probably because they have actual complexity and meaning and so on, instead of just being... sonic shiny rocks.

Sonic shiny rocks have their place, but in the long run, shna's music rocks.

avant-garde (that's pretentiousese for "weird")


on 2005-10-28 15:05:16

This mix is pretty unique. The melody is strange, but surely enchanting, and grabs your attention throughout the whole mix. The orchestration is awesome, as well. When the drums come around everything just...clicks...and makes this extremelly listenable mix.

Very different and unique, yet beautiful. Two e-props for Shnabubula!

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Alundra (Working Designs , 1998, PS1)
Music by Kohei Tanaka

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