ReMix:Ecco: The Tides of Time "The World's Smallest Giant" 4:13

By Mattias Häggström Gerdt

Arranging the music of one song...

"Heart of the Giant"

Primary Game: Ecco: The Tides of Time (Sega , 1994, SCD), music by Spencer Nilsen

Posted 2009-06-02, evaluated by djpretzel

Ugh. Weather has been ass lately, work's been busy, and I've also been coding some chiptune-related database improvements to OCR, hence no mixpost action... until now. We last saw Mr. Gerdt paying homage yet again to Jade Cocoon; this time he's setting his sights on some Ecco action, arranging the same song that SGX covered way back in 2003. The prolific one writes:

"I have a lot of ideas and influences but many of them often stay at WIP-stage because they aren't as easy to work with. With that in mind I set out to do something really trippy. I've been listening a lot to Plaid, Shpongle and Xploding Plastix so I guess it was only a matter of time. Since I've always loved Spencer Nilsen's fantastic ambient/tribal work for the Ecco games, Heart of the Giant especially, I decided to remix that.

While browsing through fun sounds I stumbled across a Thor bass-preset made by Plaid. I started messing with it and came across a very odd groove, and I liked it. From there the arrangement just grew into this huge terrifying creature slowly creeping forwards while making strange guttural noises, seemingly unaware of the underlying structure. To control this giant I attacked it with tinkly bells, glitches and minimal drums. The inner Skrypnyk in me was satisfied. The giant ate them all and surprisingly enough it now seemed smaller, almost minimal. The Worlds Smallest Giant was born and it soon consumed hours upon hours of my free time. Not working a lot with it, no, mostly listening to it. Amazed. This is by far the best thing I've ever done in my humble opinion. Maybe because I think it really captured the mood of the endless depths of the ocean. Maybe because it tries to challenge the listener. I don't know. I just know it gets to me."

The best thing AnSo's ever done? Interesting... we'll see about that. While everything Mattias does is one form of gold or another, I generally dig his funkier stuff a bit more - LSL was definitely a highlight for me personally. He's been progressing with electronica and diversifying/evolving his overall approach to the genre, though, this mix being a prime example of that development. Bassline here is indeed huge and very d'n'b, coupled with a syncopated groove that plays with the bass rhythm in a hypnotizing fashion. Thick kicks, short 808ish snare, and clippy hats covers the drums, with ambient bell timbres on the lead melody. The filtering work is VERY slick and well-executed; from a pure production perspective, this definitely *is* one of the coolest bits of trickery AnSo's worked into a mix, and it makes contextual sense with the undulating, aquatic arrangement. Sega could easily do a next-gen Ecco - go big with some HD/RPGish stuff or perhaps work in some motion-control Ecco minigame action on the Wii - and use this tunage to great effect. I think Mattias actually described the mix rather well in his writeup, and since I agree with his description, there's not too much more to say. Challenging, interesting electronica that meditates on a theme with subtlety and style.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2017-01-30 17:13:45

Enjoying this as I study. Nicely done!

on 2010-07-21 17:31:45

Very nice, I'm grooooovin' 8-)

Less Ashamed Of Self
on 2010-02-14 04:34:51

I don't know why but I am NOT getting tired of this mix. I've been able to keep it on loop pretty consistently lately. I've got some great ideas for a potential music video too. :-D

on 2009-12-22 01:56:50

The brilliance of this one honestly eluded me on my first few listens. Then, I decided to give it a second listen because of what you said in your submission email, and boy am I glad I did! This is really one of your best sleeper-hits, AnSo, and I can see why I didn't find it engrossing right off the bat. The joy of this mix is in the subtleties, like the percussion, for example.

This really is a work of brilliance, I'm ashamed to say I didn't notice it sooner but me and Halc have both ranted and raved about how great this is via IM.

You're my hero! ^_^

on 2009-08-01 03:06:19

oh god this is fantastic, every second of it

really great job

edit: been on repeat. seriously, this is becoming a favorite really quickly

Winter's Wings
on 2009-07-19 01:49:30

AnSo, you weren't kidding when you said this was your best work... It really is. In fact, this song more or less embodies everything I want out of my own personal musical style.

In terms of instrumentation, I love how the bells and pads contrast the more digital sounds of the bass and random other sounds. My favorite remixes tend to be ones that are able to blend the more complex, "real" sounds with the decidedly simpler blips, beeps, and other random digitized elements. The World's Smallest Giant does that and more.

I also particularly liked how, even though the melodies and themes in this mix are rather simplistic, they're woven together in the most complex ways possible. I've been listening to this mix at least once a day since its posting, and I'm still amazed at the little new things I pick up every time I play it.

And, thematically, you've done a fantastic job. This is a complete re-interpretation of the source...and yet, I can throw it into a playlist of songs from the game and it fits magnificently. It is, at once, beautiful and creepy - just like many of the themes Nilsen created for Ecco. On top of that, as Palpable said...2:44 is truly heavenly.

The only thing I could even possibly fathom changing, from a personal standpoint, is the percussion. I really feel that, although it still lended a positive touch to the song, it could have been more fleshed out and emphasized than it was. I also feel the use of "real" percussion (such as some of the samples from zircon's Groove Bias sample set), would have been an improvement, as opposed to the drum machine that was used. Regardless, I really want to emphasize that this criticism is an EXTREMELY minor one - even the percussion was done with extreme care and talent.

Overall, a truly impressive mix...and one I will be recommending to new listeners from now 'til the end of time.

Just A Listener
on 2009-07-09 20:24:19

The only thing I have to say about this song is that there is a download button on the top of the page. Click it and download this song NOWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!

Beautifully done :-P

Martin Penwald
on 2009-06-24 15:54:30

I was pretty excited when I read Shpongle in the write-up, but the remix proved to be quite different from what I expected. After I overcame my intial disappointment, I started to appreciate the remix for what it is: a nice and smooth arrangement with a very fat low-end. I was hooked, and I've listened to the song quite a few times since then.

Nice work.

on 2009-06-19 06:13:03

Slow, brooding, watery electro. There's a nice contrast of textures here, slicing leads on gelatinous synths. Very cool. One thing I really love about AnSo's pieces is how pristine they are, despite the heavy usage of synths and beats. It really gives you some great depth perception when the sound is as clean as it is here.

As always, nice mood, nice atmosphere, nice... what's it called.. that new-fangled term that all the youngens are using today... soundscape! That's it, nice soundscape.

on 2009-06-14 13:01:09

I told Mattias this before when he gave me a sneak preview of this track, but this is my favorite piece of his. Something about the gentle, playful groove hits all my music pleasure centers. There are shades of Trentemøller, early Depeche Mode, Metroid Prime - all music I love. And the section at 2:44 is heavenly, there are no other words for it. Outstanding song.

Black Mage
on 2009-06-11 22:49:31

Holy crap! Listening to this with headphones on...makes my head feel like it's about to the best way possible, of course.

on 2009-06-10 00:04:52

After 20 seconds, has great potential throughout entire song. A+ must listen to all. I love it. :nicework:

on 2009-06-09 03:20:06

LOL intro bass reminds me of that Kanye West song "Faster stronger" or whatever its called

Love those bells and the filtered drums

on 2009-06-08 09:51:08

The weird attack on the bass really throws me off in a distracting way at the beginning, but once the song proper starts, it's a well balanced and atmospheric adventure. :3

It's really laid back and has some great undulating textures. Progression is subtle, but overall the intent to create yet another soundscape has been achieved. Great textures, they really make this work.

on 2009-06-07 15:57:21

The scarceness of posts at this point is ridiculous...

Hah, maybe they got numb and speachless like me.

Therefore, all I can say is that I like it very very much.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Ecco: The Tides of Time (Sega , 1994, SCD)
Music by Spencer Nilsen
"Heart of the Giant"

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