Our first ever featured ReMix of Dragon Warrior VII (and our first mix from the series in almost three years!) comes courtesy of Bluelighter (Guillaume Saumande), who put together a talented cadre of musicians to perform his intimate acoustic folk/chamber arrangement of two different themes:
"Here is an acoustic remix from Dragon Quest 7. K. Sugiyama put in the game series a lot of immortal themes. But the most memorable for me are certainly these two themes, so intense and sad!
These two themes have yet their orchestra version. So I've tried something different for the arrangement. I wanted minimalist music, in the building and in the instrumentation. It was the best way, IMO, to feel the purity of the original melody and to enjoy the acoustic recordings. After introduction by guitar solo, some classical influences can be heard with the trio of strings. They are combined with a more modern rhythm by guitar, bass, and hand drum. The mix concludes by a simple theme, based on harmony of "With Sadness in Heart," repeated several times with a fade-out.
I really thank artists who have collaborated with me! Recordings contribute to give to this arrangement its particular atmosphere. Enjoy. :)
"Days of Sadness":
- 0'00: Melodic Line 1
- 0'24: ML2
- 0'42: ML3
- 1'01: ML4
- 1'20: ML5
"With Sadness in Heart":
- 0'00: ML6 (unused)
- 0'46: ML7
- 1'19: transition TR1
- 1'25: repeat
- 0'00: intro: ML1 and ML2 in guitar solo
- 0'33: ML1 in 4/4 by strings. Rhythm by guitar, bass, and percussions.
- 1'00: ML7 in 3/4
- 1'29: TR1
- 1'32: ML1 in 4/4 (variation)
- 1'46: ML3 in 4/4 (with guitar and viola pizz)
- 2'03: TR1
- 2'06: ML4
- 2'20: ML5 by guitar and bass. Rhythm with strings and percussions.
- 2'35: outro: simple melodic line based on harmony of ML7. Two times with strings, and three times by guitar solo with a fade-out.
Excellent stuff; less flamboyant/effusive than Guillaume's other arrangements, leaner & more reliant on live acoustic performances, and, well... not a march ;) Like a cross between folk music & chamber music, more or less, with immediacy & soul. The intro acoustic guitar performance alone is beautiful and sets a tone, hand percussion establishes a groove, and then Chris (TIMES THREE!) offers lovely, layered strings parts, complemented by unobtrusive, organic bass. This feels relatively close to how a melody like this might have been arranged/performed in the (roughly approximated) time period of the games themselves, so there's a rustic authenticity that really resonates. Judges dinged the fadeout ending a bit, and I agree, but they were also unanimous in their overall approval; Sir_NutS writes:
"Ah, I was looking for a word to describe this but Deia beat me to it: Intimate. Gotta say, after having reviewed quite a few tracks from Bluelighter by now, this is a very nice change of pace. If there are production issues on this one, none jump out at me as something major. The mix isn't very bright, but it is clean and warm, and that's quite alright for this style.
The performances are great here, I loved Amaterasu's performance in particular, which was very dynamic and cozy-feeling while also exuding just a bit of sadness and nostalgia. The arrangement complements the performances in its execution, and is very rich in flavor while also holding back things from being too complex in order to keep it all light."
The ending fade does sort of pull the listener out of the illusion & strikes me as a less debatable instance of where something else would have been preferable; a single, slowly-strummed resolving chord, for example. It's a tiny ding, though, in an otherwise humble, expressive, and very unique piece, showing new depth; I love all of the artist's upbeat marches, especially "A Kingdom Under the Sea" (classic!), and this mix is also great, but in a dramatically different way. I will always be a fan of Sugiyama's melodies and contributions to VGM, regardless of controversy; my take on that particular point is that associating artistic greatness or enjoyment of an artist's works with that artist's conformity to your moral/worldview expectations is limiting and ultimately naive. But I digress; Guillaume's put together a low-key superb arrangement of a series it's good to welcome back, and collaborated with musicians who have imbued that arrangement with life & presence; excellent stuff!
Sources Arranged (2 Songs)
- Primary Game:
Dragon Warrior VII (Enix, 2000, PS1)
Music by Koichi Sugiyama
- "Days of Sadness"
"With Sadness in Heart"
- Chamber, Folk
- Mellow, Sad
- Acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, Cello, Viola, Violin
- Origin > Collaboration
Production > Live Instruments
- 5,542,200 bytes
- Size: 5,542,200 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: fd233c0c66811b00e2a17817aaf15ca0
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