By DrumUltimA

Arranging the music of one song...

"Rhythm of Earth, Wind, and Sky"

Primary Game: Chrono Trigger (Square , 1995, SNES), music by Nobuo Uematsu, Noriko Matsueda, Yasunori Mitsuda

Posted 2009-05-16, evaluated by the judges panel

We wanted to give that Civ4 mix a few days to marinate, but let's get back on track, shall we? This here CT mix from DrumUltima happens to be our very first percussion-only ReMix. Yes, you read that right. Percusssion, percussion, and more percussion, and nary a melodic riff in sight. Oh you can look, but look not to hope, for melody has forsaken these lands. When Doug first asked if a percussion-only ReMix would be accepted, we all kinda scratched our collective head. When I think arrangement, I'll confess that the first thing (among many) that I think of is melody/harmony. How could a source that essentially lacked both possibly pass our submission standards? After stewing it around for a bit in my ever-slowing noggin, I realized that drums = music. Composers can, have, and will continue to compose percussion-only pieces, and that which can be composed can usually be arranged... to some extent. The real key would be divining what & where "interpretation" could be construed from purely rhythmic modification/addition/subtraction. I didn't envy the judges their job, I told Doug that it'd probably make getting the mix passed more difficult due to higher scrutiny, but we all basically agreed that - like communism - it could *theoretically* work.

... But did it? Obviously, since you're reading this, but the panel did have fun dissecting the submission. Luckily Doug provided ample evidence of what he started from and where he went, which was greatly appreciated. He writes:

"So this is an all percussion remix. It was a project for my computer music class in which we could only work with audio. It was supposed to be a Music Con Crete project, but as you can see I didn't really do that ;) All drums and stuff are played live, albeit a few samples I took from the percussion studio. I'm curious to see how this will turn out! Much thanks to bustatunez for remastering this, Geoffrey Taucer for his undying love and support, Peabody for letting me abuse the Computer Music department, as well as the fine folk of #ocrwip for "helping" me come up for a name."

Larry took the time to break this one down, which I imagine a lot of folks will be curious about, so let's see about it:

"This needed 121 seconds worth of the source to pass. The source has 4 distinct sections, so the breakdown I had ended up like this:

  • :00-:07 of source - :03-:19, 3:39.75-3:51
  • :07-:23 of source - none
  • :23-:39 of source - :35-:51, 1:07-1:21, 2:44-3:07
  • :39-:47 of source - :51-1:06, 1:27.75-1:41, 3:07-3:22.5

That tallies up to 124 seconds, so even if I'm missing something outright, this is more than fine to me. If anyone needs me to go into more detail as to how the rhythms Doug used mirrored the original, let me know, but it's there. I remember listening to an early WIP of this, but I can't say I had confidence in a concept like this passing. Not from a performance standpoint by Doug, but because, with this source, it is extremely easy to go off the rails.

Lots of great expansive spices, full of grace notes while not losing site of the original rhythms. A couple of the cymbal swells felt a bit out of place with the timing, but it wasn't a big deal. For something like this with no real melodic focus, you definitely had to retain a lot of the structure of the original but expand and personalize the arrangement, which you did in spades. Doug, you're a legend for pulling this off."

Here are some select other quotes:

  • Vinnie: "Doug, you magnificent bastard. It definitely takes balls to remix this source, and I pretty much think you pulled it off as best as one could."
  • AnSo: "Doug. You are now an international VGM-arrangement hero and will continue to be just that until the end of time. And JESUS CHRIST, you deserve it. :)"

If you don't want to play and would prefer to bang on the drum all day, this is YOUR ReMix. Those looking for a melodic CT fix may be disappointed, but Doug certainly rose to the considerable challenge of arranging an all-percussion mix that would actually pass the panel, I dig it quite a bit, and hopefully you will too. They sure don't call him DrumUltima for nothin'.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2014-02-16 11:49:17

And this is why DrumUltima is DrumUltima. Because no one is more Ultima with Drums than DrumUltima. Come on, he's the Ultima. :razz: But seriously, amazing percussion work in this ReMix and this sets up that kind of African Savannah/ Prehistoric wasteland kind of vibe to me perfectly. I'd be thrilled to hear this kind of quality in any game or movie any day. Damn, this is good stuff.

As for the title (brilliant by the way), this is a good chance to exercise a little thing we call "not taking every little thing so seriously". Life is better with humor and laughter than with anger.

on 2014-02-16 09:54:14

Ok, to get the title gunk out of my system - I'm a Christian, and this title doesn't offend me in the slightest. Reading over this thread just gave me a headache. Which re-listening to the song then fixed. While I, as a writer, try not to include anything offensive in my works, and as such try not to bring up religion, I can understand the usage here. Probably because, being an Australian, I've heard the use of his name as a release of frustration many times. Yes, I am responding to a many-year-old thread here, but I just needed to let that go.

As for the song, I have no words. It's unique on my PC, which is filled with everything from Elvis and the Beatles to modern rap to a few traditional classical pieces, a large proportion of this site's content and albums, and yes, Christian music as well. A purely percussion track doesn't sound like it would work, but in high school, the music performances would typically end up with a drum ensemble playing in this style. As a separate note, I was brought up with the Power of One soundtrack and the Soweto Gospel Choir as favorites of my family (despite my roots being European), I guess I'm accustomed to the African vibe of this track. All in all, while I couldn't give a breakdown of it (I'm not a percussionist, my area of skill is more in guitars and my voice), there's just something about this track that fits into the epoch, and will never need to be told to get back in because of dinosaurs. Unless those dinosaurs are people with outdated views.

on 2011-03-29 16:58:00

oh comon, dont be antiantichristain thats just discriminatory

on 2011-03-29 10:06:34

what the hell is with this title

i am highly offended

ocr is anti christian


on 2011-03-28 23:03:41

rhythm of earth, wind, and sky is a song, and a song by nature can be remixed, which is what we have here, right?..

on 2010-08-12 18:59:22

A drumming only remix? Go figure it came from Doug :)! Right out of the gate, the sounds are great. Whether they are sampled, live, or both, they sound wonderful. The arrangement is really where this bad boy is at. The attention to detail in this is immaculate. Being a drummer myself, these kinds of piece enthrall me. Doug uses single hand drums as a solo lead instrument with great success. Very reminiscent of a Cuban drum circle. I love it. He brings in great dynamic shifts here and there to give this plenty of variety. The syncopation is awesome, and Doug makes good use of it during the "solo" sections or he'll have multiple drums do it to accent an area of the track. Bottom line, masterfully done by Doug.

Skyline Drop
on 2010-07-08 11:22:02

This was actually one of my favorite tunes out of Chrono Trigger. On the one hand, I'm pretty glad to see it arranged, but on the other hand, after this, I really doubt anyone could pull off a better take :

on 2009-12-19 21:14:43

Way to stun us all, Doug! Every one of your remixes feels monumental in one way or another, but in terms of the legacy left on the site I think this might be his most important one yet.

The rhythms are great especially in light of how it's been expanded from the source tune. I don't have any technical feedback to bestow here but regardless, it's a brilliant endeavor and one that I'm really glad to have hit the front page!


on 2009-12-07 17:04:02

Pretty good stuff- great rhythms and a very unique take on the source. I didn't think it could be done, but here it is. Nice work. :-)

on 2009-07-20 23:12:06

Pretty good song. Love what you did with the already limited source.

Plus, this has got to have one of the best titles on a remix ever (not trying to start favorites, I am not! :) )

on 2009-07-20 21:38:48


on 2009-07-14 10:16:22

This track is just amazing. Doug, you rock. What's really great is that throughout the mix you can still feel the original source. I know I would be very easily tempted to go off onto something not related, but Doug keeps the track firmly within the source and gives it some awesome treatment.

Wonderful job.

Also, I couldn't wait for this to be posted because of how hilarious the title is.

on 2009-06-29 12:33:48

Haha I have to say this is a really interesting remix. I love it. I love the title and I love the music. DrumUltimA really captured the essence of the original tune. Thank you judges for allowing DrumUltimA to stretch the limits of OCR's library.

Martin Penwald
on 2009-06-09 06:13:18

I don't know the source, so I cannot comment on the arrangement, but as a stand-alone song, this piece is brilliant. Even without a melody, this song has more energy to it than many of the more elaborate remixes posted here.

About the title: I, too, was a little annoyed when I saw it on the front-page; not because it has Jesus Christ in its name (to be honest, I never thought that someone could get as worked up about it as some of the people who posted in here did), but because I am tired of the meme and don't really need 4chan jokes in my remix titles.

Anyway, great job, DU.

on 2009-06-09 01:21:10

Very talented mix . .

Can someone explain to me the . . um title ??

Edit: Oh I get it !! Funny :)))

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Chrono Trigger (Square , 1995, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu,Noriko Matsueda,Yasunori Mitsuda
"Rhythm of Earth, Wind, and Sky"

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