timaeus222 (Truong-Son Nguyen) hit us with an epic Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood collaboration with Jeff Ball back in May, and now he returns with MOAR CREED, wandering into the uncharted waters of Black Flag with a chill, moody traditional/cinematic hybrid that spans two empires & brings together instruments from all over the world:
"Every now and then, when I write ReMixes, since it's not often that I've already played the games whose soundtracks I reinterpret, I adapt it to a specific genre. By not slapping on a genre and working within its confines, I aimed to put the focus not necessarily on the enjoyability of the ReMix itself, but on trying to make an emotional connection with the game. For this AC4 mix, I wanted to base my inspirations off of the feel of "The British Empire"; between the metallic ethnic tones, the santoor-like piano, and the judicious use of live solo strings, I thought "The British Empire" was interestingly meditative and mountainous overall.
About 2:30 in, I also felt the desire to incorporate another theme for dynamic variation, and I chose "The Spanish Empire." When I hummed "British Empire" atop "Spanish Empire," I got an alternate connotative perspective on "mountainous" (more Spaghetti Western-esque, but also of course, Spanish), which helped me to introduce new harmonies to the main motif of "British Empire." I also really liked it as an accompanying melody in general.
Overall, I wanted to try to elevate the meditative and mountainous vibe (hah, get it?) of the original by adding a Middle Eastern flair (dulcimer, saz, didgeridoo, Turkish oud); some distant thunderous gran cassa, bass drum, and timpani; a lot of involved percussive work (courtesy of Rhapsody: Orchestral Percussion); and a synthesized open-hole flute (haha, it's not a sample!). I found the original to be fairly neutral in direction, so I also wanted to kinda bring together all the aspects I loved about the original and give it what I think is a clearer direction."
Excellent stuff; plenty of strummed, plucked, blown, and hit textures & timbres, along with more traditional strings and orchestral elements. There's even a didgeridoo AND an oud as well, which could combine to form a "didgeridoud," which is even MORE fun to say, but probably offensive to someone, somewhere. Who knows, right? What I do know is this: t222's cinematic & orchestral chops have evolved to rival his EDM prowess, and he reaches deep in his sample library and tastefully incorporates flavors from all over the planet. It's not gratuitous or non-sequitur, everything feels natural, but it's kinda cool that you're listening to (sampled) indigenous musical history spanning thousands of miles & years, in under four minutes. It definitely fits with the franchise's globe-trotting theme & varied locales, too. And it all sounds splendiferous, ranging from brooding suspense to wide, open grandeur. Judges were unsurprisingly unanimous; MindWanderer writes:
"An unusually conservative take for Timaeus, but it works. The increased emphasis on melody combined with the changes in instrumentation and accompaniment more than make up for the similarity in style. The use of The Spanish Empire is quite subtle, but it's there. Solid production, as always."
At the end of the day, all Sir_NutS *really* needs is a didgeridoo, but he enjoyed everything else, too:
oh the rest of the song? it's pretty good, albeit sticking to the original concepts quite a bit. The more exotic instrumentation does add a bit of identity to it, though the original wasn't short on the exotic instruments department either. Production is solid as expected, and the fusion of both songs works, helped in no small part from the sources being similar thematically."
Pretty much; it's true that the arrangement doesn't deviate wildly and that the source *also* featured diverse instrumentation, but timaeus has amplified & elevated that and integrated a second theme in the process, resulting in something new. And that's very much the idea! Great stuff, love to see more modern games & series represented, and t222's work on AC fits the bill and does these excellent soundtracks justice. Enjoy!
Sources Arranged (2 Songs)
- Primary Game:
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft, 2013, PS3)
Music by Alexis Smith, Brian Tyler, Christian Henson, Joe Henson, Olivier Derivière, Omar Fadel, Sarah Schachner
- "The British Empire"
"The Spanish Empire"
- Cinematic, Folk
- Chill, Epic
- Acoustic, Didgeridoo, Hand Drums, Strings, Woodwinds
- Regional > Middle Eastern
- 6,517,952 bytes
- Size: 6,517,952 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 28d7f7492d2444784a6c01369667f58b
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