ReMix:Ultima Online: Renaissance "History of the Bell City" 4:40

By Argitoth

Arranging the music of one song...


Primary Game: Ultima Online: Renaissance (Electronic Arts , 2000, WIN), music by Hal Milton, Joe Basquez, Kirk Winterrowd

Posted 2009-05-05, evaluated by the judges panel

K, then, train keeps on rollin' - thanks again to all of you who made April what it was: a very special 30 days for the future of OC ReMix. I'm vowing to continue incremental improvements to the site and have added some fancy, newfangled "web 2.0" icons to the homepage so you can easily get to our facebook, twitter, feeds,, youtube, and whatever else we add, plus I bumped up the contrast a bit on our core font. Little things, but cool nonetheless. Newcomer Argitoth, aka Elan Hickler, has been around awhile, but only now provides us with our first ReMix from the Ultima Online expansion pack, Ultima Online: Renaissance. He writes:

"I've always loved Ultima Online music. There are emotions, themes, and expressions that the original composer could only hint at with the midi files. My goal with any remix is to take those hints and express them as strongly as possible."

Judges had some definite reservations on Mr. Hickler's mix, mostly on the production side, which is almost inevitable when doing orchestral work with lots of exposed bits, but things could have been mixed a bit more to mask some of that. Nevertheless, the arrangement shines through - it's not a dramatic reenvisioning, but rather a developed, refined approach that takes the original ideas and furthers the mood, which Larry I think accurately described as genteel. AnSo writes:

"Reminds me a bit of Soule's score for Oblivion in the beginning. Very pretty beginning, the harp + glockenspiel combo is one I often employ myself because of how pretty it sounds. Instruments sounds good in general but they seem to be lacking presence, maybe the reverb or some strange EQ treatment. It's too bad because of the sparse instrumentation.. timpani's sound muddy too like Big Giant Jimmy pointed out. Arrangement seems a bit conservative to me but not enough for it to be a dealbreaker. For the most parts the instrumentation is good for example, it's the production holding it back not the arrangement. Nice sense of dynamics, too."

Parts of the melodic flute motif at 0'48" really, really remind me of 'Dire, Dire Docks' - lovely harp work, here, and a delicate, gossamer compositional structure that feels like a finely woven tapestry of motifs and patterns. I think my favorite thing Argitoth has going on here is the combination of both dynamic and tempo variation - AnSo's dead-on with the dynamics comment, but I think the attention to fluctuation and granular control of tempo is even more effective, and rarer. The piece is definitely mixed low, so turn it up, but this is definitely one that grew on me w/ repeated listens and has something to offer. For me, it almost doubles as a REALLY liberal SM64 mix because of the afforementioned similarity, but your mileage may vary. Solid debut from Elan who, following on Lee's Sins of a Solar Empire mix, keeps the PC ReMix love flowing strong.



Latest 14 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2009-06-25 14:40:27

I haven't logged into UO in literally years, your remix made me want to go back.

on 2009-06-09 00:01:44

I agree the fast(er) part sounded really gorgeous I wanted more !!!

Great use of the string swells wow just beautiful, nice intrumentation with the melody around :50. And the orchestration just works so well for the melody you chose.

Song grew on me with more than one listen. Soooo pretty :))))

Martin Penwald
on 2009-05-23 12:29:40

This remix needed some time to grow on me, but now I really enjoy it. I do wish there would be more of the lively stuff found from ~1:10 onwards, though.

on 2009-05-13 15:42:16

Thank you for all your comments! This was done with Kontakt-only samples. I agree with all complaints on this remix. Since then I've acquired Vienna Symphonic Library strings and Wallander Instruments Brass, not to mention experience. I've not planned on doing another remix, but I keep coming back to Ultima Online music.

I do want to achieve Jeremy Soule's level of sound quality. That requires throwing in some live instruments. I love Oblivion IV: Elder Scrolls music and I hope my next remix (if ever I do one) comes much closer to that level of quality.

on 2009-05-12 02:40:51

I have not heard the original source but its a very beautiful song. please do more.

on 2009-05-07 22:29:27

Great mix argi!

Nobbynob Littlun
on 2009-05-06 03:48:11

Mr. Hickler's gotcher high fantasy soundtrack RIGHT HERE BOY.

on 2009-05-06 00:22:13

Very nice piece, really relaxing, and while parts of it did sound very SM64-y (I'm sure you're ready to throttle the next person who says that), it didn't detract from the piece at all.

Black Mage
on 2009-05-05 10:43:23

Beautiful, piece; a good chill-out remix with mellow, floating harp and glok. It is a bit quiet, though, but not a problem that couldn't be fixed by a quick volumetric boost from iTunes.

Funny, when I listened through it the first time, I was a bit distracted reading something on Lifehacker and only took vague notice of what I thought was a transition into a guitar solo. It wasn't until after Scott Anderson started singing "Restless tonight, 'cause I wasted the light..." that I realized that Argitoth's remix had ended and iTunes had shuffled to Finger Eleven without me noticing the end of the remix. Melodically speaking, the two songs work pretty well together.

on 2009-05-05 10:40:01

The brass is the only real weakness hear, and it's only some articulations in the more exposed areas.

Overall though, this really shines as a thoughtful and creative mix. The builds are awesome, and the tempo shifts are very natural sounding. Accelerando + crecendo leading to a ritardando is such a great combination, and it was pulled off repeatedly without flaw.

Awesome work all around, I think that the goal of bringing the in-game midis to life was easily met here, this is really emotive and has several facets.

Awesome work. :-)

on 2009-05-05 08:30:29

Listening to it right now, so far it's really gorgeous and enjoyable to listen to and that harp just sounds great.

Geoffrey Taucer
on 2009-05-05 07:55:04

What did you use for the harp? It sounds great!

on 2009-05-05 01:33:43

Beautiful stuff, Elan; glad to see you finally posted! Keep 'em coming!

Don't pass this one up!

on 2009-05-05 01:13:24

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
( , , )
Music by
Additional Game:
Ultima Online (Electronic Arts , 1997, WIN)
Music by Hal Milton,Joe Basquez,Kirk Winterrowd

Tags (5)


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