ReMix:Myst "Unraveling the Mystery" 5:18

By DarkMessenger

Arranging the music of 3 songs from 3 games ( view all )...

"Darkness", "Descent", "Myst Island"

Primary Game: Myst (Broderbund , 1993, MAC), music by Robyn Miller

Posted 2008-01-05, evaluated by the judges panel

Niels van der Leest, alias DarkMessenger, is also new to OCR in '08, although he's been around the game mixing scene for awhile prior. He sends us this Myst mega-mix that intertwines themes from Myst I, IV, and V. If you've been to any of the Video Games Live shows, you'll remember the cool segment they do on music from Myst, all the more appropriate since VGL co-founder Jack Wall contributed to the series' soundtracks himself. Niels writes:

"I never played the games but through studying the music I learned to enjoy it very much."

I never played the games either, but I can remember when the first title was all the rage... it seemed to attract a lot of older gamers (40s-50s), perhaps because it was less about reflexes and more about subtle puzzle-solving and new age storytelling, or perhaps because CD-ROMs seemed fairly new at the time and anything that had CG seemed shiny. Who knows, but the music was consistently high quality throughout, and Mr. van der Leest does it noble tribute here. This was our current longest-wait-time submission on the panel, so from a lets-get-this-queue-a-rollin' perspective, it's good that it's seeing the light of day. Our current judges panel has been making inroads towards getting us back on top of things, and I think we'll be more solid in '08, generally, on the submission workflow front. Optimism? Perhaps... but I feel like we've got New Years mojo working in our favor, and hopefully we can keep that aura into Summer and beyond. Speaking of focusing, Malcos writes:

"The arrangement here is very well done, using the Myst 1 theme as the intro and the others as the main section; this approach means that the transitions work well. While not melody intensive, a lot of original elements have been added here and gives the same film-like atmosphere as the sources. Even though it is a 'medley' in that it uses several sources, it works as a piece in itself rather than a mishmash of songs, and does it extremely well."

Most of the panel beef concerned production issues, focusing on samples and levels primarily, but the consensus was that smart arranging and making the best of the elements employed overcame these concerns. Quoth Oji:

"Cool premise to go for a series-wide mix. The sophistication of the arrangement carries this a ways. I'd love to see some of the production (string realism) and balance (string and bassline audibility) issues worked on a bit, as well as a slightly higher bitrate, but I'm rooting for substance. Smart, sophisticated arranging, Niels."

Agreed - good stuff, solid integration of sources across the series, and just an overall strong piece from DarkMessenger.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2010-11-24 12:11:10

Cinematic definitely describe this. Feels like a good theme for a cyberpunk thriller.

on 2010-10-29 17:15:23

I played this game for a little while, but got frustrated with the click-to-advance movement system, so I never beat it. Listening to this song makes me want to go back and play through the games. :D

Very well done. :)

on 2009-12-15 01:12:00

Amazing is what i can say.

on 2009-12-14 02:26:23

Nice cinematic feel to the opening of this one. DarkMessenger does an especially effective job of building up the anticipation from the intro. I would've liked to hear more complexity out of the strings/orchestra as the main melody is taken on high strings with block chords beneath. More dynamics would've really helped bring more enjoyment out of the track as well.

Cool transition to a more conventional beat around 2:20 - again, more variation and complexity of the strings would go a long way here. Drums and bass sound nice in general, but pretty much stay on autopilot for quite a long time. You've got the feel down here with the brooding orchestra and underlying percussive elements, just try to get things varied up and with more dynamics to paint a more effective picture. Despite that, though, the song is good stuff.

on 2009-11-30 23:01:39

I played Myst, and tried to play Riven, but I'm pretty awful at puzzle games, and don't have the best attention span for those sorts of things. Needless to say, I used the guide more often than I should have.

Regardless, there is a lot of arrangement going on here, and I can agree with everyone that how the track(s) were approached was nicely done, but the sounds and production aren't quite there. Harmony pretty much summed up anything I might have said and more, so I won't be repeating all of that.

Putting that aside, though, there is some good part writing here, and it's overall an enjoyable track.

on 2008-12-30 18:15:24

I really like this. I can't give much more constructive criticism than has been seen here, but I do actually like it a lot. The ideas presented are well enough executed, and I honestly did not expect the mix to keep evolving as it did. The arrangement here is just awesome. I really like it, and hope to hear more from you in the future dude!

on 2008-03-11 03:27:48

You know for a game that wasn't supposed to have music in it, I'm glad Rand and Robin Miller changed their mind and decided to put some in. If they hadn't, I wouldn't have gotten to hear this amazing track.

Martin Penwald
on 2008-01-29 16:14:18

I, too, am one of the people who think that the ending is somewhat strange; the piano solo part drags on a little too long IMO.

I really like the marimbas, but I wish the left-right panning you use when they come in the second time (at ~3:39) would be a little more imaginative, i.e. varying things up a bit instead of using the same left-right change

on 2008-01-14 23:10:57

There are only a handful of games that give my love of Secret of Mana a run for its money, and at the top of that list is the Myst Series. I was the guy back in ‘98 walking around with a Myst shirt on, reading all of the novels, and dreaming of one day having enough money to make it to the Mysterium conference. In honor of this mix finally being released on OCR, you may have noticed I’ve even thrown together a quick Riven sig!

Anyway, this is some difficult material and even though I was hoping for the best, I was doubtful that it would turn out to be a good track. I’m happy with the outcome. I think that the mix of instruments sounds a little raw, in that they don’t feel like a cohesive unit at times. For example, the drums, the strings and the piano around the 3:30 feel like they were all recorded in different rooms. The other minor grip I have is with the marimba. I think the sample is fine, good even, but again I think the mixing hurts it. It’s got some stray frequencies that make some of the notes sound off key to me.

I think I enjoyed the first section the most. It absolutely captures the feel of Myst, and I’d like to think that the repetition and sparse nature of the sounds through 2:10 is an intentional tribute to the feel of the game, rather than any failed attempt to pull off some radical feat of remixitude. Overall the arrangement is very enjoyable, as I’m a big fan of layering themes whenever possible, even if only subtly.

Short and sweet transition out of the first theme could use a little more love, but in spite of that and my previous comments, I love the main drums during the second half. The processing makes them sound like they’re right out of some stage production of this or that. Sequencing is top notch, especially 3:37, which is almost too perfect, but still believable IMO.

That is one odd ending, but I won’t complain. I’ll just say that this is a great first OCReMix, and with all of the stuff you said you’ve learned since this one, hopefully you’ll come back with tons more. FYI, I’m also a big fan of Tomb Raider if you’re looking to get some more cool points from me ;)

on 2008-01-08 17:48:02

Thanks guys for the friendly words :mrgreen:.

I learned a great deal more since I posted this one....nearly a year ago :wink:, which is no problem though. I understand that times where very busy.

I just got my new system (mac at last) with some I'm pumped to do more. Hopefully you'll like it better then.

Gr., Niels

on 2008-01-08 11:32:51

I think the high strings need a bit more air to give them some character, but there is some great stuff going on in this mix.

early on, the marimba is a bit too dry, but in the second half when it's a bit busier, it makes more sense for it to be as such stylistically.

The percussive hits at the beginning are hot, and the transitions are pretty smooth throughout the different sections. The only part that really didn't do anything for me was the overly long solo piano part near the end. Nice mix, I enjoyed it. :-)

on 2008-01-07 01:10:12
(As a side note, the composers list should include Jack Wall for Myst IV and Tim Larkin for Myst V.)

Yeah, that's currently one of the database limitations: when someone does a mix across several games with different composers, we can only assign one game, which is why you only see Robyn Miller credited.

Definitely agreed with Mazedude and shadowolf on some of the various criticisms here. The second half of the arrangement definitely felt stronger than the first in terms of the execution, but I loved the overall package, as I mentioned in my judging decision.

I think it goes to show what leeway is there on the arrangement side when things are really clicking well on that level, even if the sounds aren't so hot. In other words, the opposite of Compyfox's "Hollywood sounds" theory. :lol:

Shadow Wolf
on 2008-01-06 12:04:56

Overall, the arrangement of the mix is very well done, you seamlessly took 3 fairly different themes (especially Descent) and worked them together seamlessly.

Really, my only issue here is the string sample. It’s noticeably electronic, has no sound character, and just sounds bad. That’s really unfortunate, since the arrangement was excellent, and that would’ve been the icing on the cake.

The piano sounds great, actually, nice reverb and good tone, and I really like that you put the marimba in there during the Descent sequence, it added a nice character to the sound,and it was also one of Robyn’s favorite instruments for the first 2 games of the series, especially Riven. So I guess marimba just = Myst to me.

Summary: excellent arrangement of the themes and a great first mix, but also continue to work on your production. Good job!

on 2008-01-05 16:40:13

Hmm... some decent ideas here, but I feel it could've been much better. The marimbas in the beginning seemed a bit week, barely audible amongst the strings, and I felt the first couple minutes could've used some more imagination and variety. Of course, it's hard to do so with the source material being what it is, but still...

I'm happy to see someone else tackle Myst. While I was hoping for more from this mix, it was still cool.

on 2008-01-05 10:08:55

:shock: this is very powerful! it certainly builds up a mood of expectation in the intro ..

transition at 2:10 comes in perfectly, such a sudden change could cause problems but DM takes it all the way ! the piano and strings really work nice together .. .... is that i xylophone?! NICE

EDIT : probably a marimba then .. don't ask me ;)

thumbs up on this track .. though .. if i have to make one complaint, the reverb on those hihats could use some attention.

but overall very good!

Sources Arranged (3 Songs, 3 Games)

Primary Game:
Myst (Broderbund , 1993, MAC)
Music by Robyn Miller
"Myst Island"
Additional Game:
Myst IV: Revelation (Ubisoft , 2004, WIN)
Music by Jack Wall
Additional Game:
Myst V: End of Ages (Ubisoft , 2005, WIN)
Music by Tim Larkin

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