Posted 2019-12-19, evaluated by Liontamer
I am honored to have contributed a track to Paths Less Travelled: Terranigma, and I took the assignment very personally. My liner notes read as follows:
"Terranigma's highlight is a unique, epic narrative of good and evil told through the lens of the evolution & expansion of life. It's pretty cool like that. I took the plucky, twangy, hoedown vibe of the "Freedom" (or "Freedom, USA") town theme and transported it into... the FUTURE! In this case, the future is like... bitcrushed... melting... Vangelis. If you crossed Blade Runner with "Red River Valley" at a geological tempo, it'd be a start. I liked the idea of taking traditional country western intervals & motifs into outer space, basically. This arrangement begins in the desert, looking out across a vast horizon, and is generally sort of an ode to American landscapes. Or perhaps it's an ode to unity, and what we could be capable of as a nation if we could overcome our division & work for the betterment of all? And eventually build spaceships and lead our species into the stars? Sure. Just to be clear, the audible noise envelope on the lo-fi timpani, the bit-crushed perc bits, the saturation, & the in-your-face delay are all part of the show; colors are supposed to smear across the sky, thunder & lightning are supposed to crash, etc. It's one part Romanticism, one part Impressionism, and the rest is just oscillators & DSP. I used Pigments, Rapid, Diva, Repro-1, and Avenger. I wanted this mix to achieve a very specific sound/mood, and through a ton of experimentation, I'm happy with the end result & proud to be contributing it to the album!"
...but I have a *bit* more to say, that wasn't really the right tone for liner notes. So now's the time, right? The short version is that I took this mix as an opportunity to think about the USA. I've been sad lately; not depressed, that's different, but kinda... resigned... to the state of my nation. While I initially was going to do something more traditional with this arrangement, I thought about the title - "Freedom" - and I thought about being an American, what that's meant in the past, what it means now, what I hope it will mean in the future. Growing up, I suppose I bought into the notion that what made America great - what could justify at least some extent of "American Exceptionalism" - was the idea of a country not tied to any single religion, culture, ethnicity, or even ideology, but instead governed by principles of equality, integrity, compassion, and discovery. I thought THAT was the vision, and even if it's a highly aspirational mountain to climb, it's the *right* mountain. Even if it's been an outright lie for large groups, throughout our history & currently, it's still the *right* lie, worth overcoming great obstacles to make true for all.
Today is my daughter Esther's sixth birthday, and while I'm proud of her & priviliged to live and raise our children in this country, I am more and more concerned for its trajectory, and disappointed that she won't grow up with the same sense of unity and civility (however illusory, however superficial) that I did. None of this disappointment or sadness made it into this mix; instead, I chose to focus on two aspects of America that I find most uplifting & inspirational: our geography/geology (i.e. "America the landscape") and also that aspirational vision that I grew up with, of a nation that could lead the world & our species into the future with a credible, all-inclusive narrative (i.e. "America the dream"). The anthemic, larger-than-life style of Vangelis, with some modern touches, seemed like the right vehicle for those two elements. As citizens of the United States, we have a vast & beautiful space, and we have an... obligation, really... to keep improving & evolving the dreams of those who fled persecution to found a sanctuary. So this mix is celebrating the former, and envisioning the day when that latter dream might be realized...
Deeeep, eh? But listen, I just hope you dig the mix, really :) Album co-director Jorito writes:
"The city of Freedom is an important location in the game, and it's located in North America. So for both of these reasons, I thought it was suitable that this was the track that struck djpretzel's fancy. Originally, he wanted to do something similar to OCR01427, "Twoson Hits the Road," and his first WIP showed just that. When I reached out to him later for a WIP update, he told me he had pivoted towards an entirely different direction that he liked better and also felt would be more interesting. And, oh boy, was that true! It's not often that you hear such a synth-laden Vangelis-inspired VGM arrangement, and that makes it a very unique piece to begin with. He also completely nailed the style and genre, so I definitely recommend you to sit back, soak in all the synth goodness, and enjoy this one-of-a-kind arrangement in all its glory."
Many, many thanks - for the kind words, but also for the patience to not only deal with my schedule, but also my pivot to a radically different approach. Co-director Trism adds:
"You got Blade Runner in my Terranigma! But, oh my, is it tasty. Never would I have expected anyone to go in this direction with this source, but djp is djp for a reason, and this track oozes Vangelis-inspired vibes while keeping the original melody intact, which is no small feat!"
The source tune actually has three different melodic motifs, and I tried to ensure each was captured, albeit at a much slower pace. This is actually 125 BPM, but melodically it's half-tempo, so I think it has kind of a soaring, wide feeling as a result. I'd recommend listening loudly, on headphones, with your eyes closed, but that's just me. If at least a few folks get the same thing out of it that I put in, I'm very happy :)
Paths Less Travelled: Terranigma is diverse not only in its music, but its artists as well, and I enjoyed contemplating my home country & contributing my interpretation with a talented group of musicians from around the world. Stay tuned for more featured selections, and check out the whole album at terranigma.ocremix.org!
on 2019-12-21 01:28:10
Wow, I was really touched by the song and your text on the state of the USA. A lot of people around the world are also saddened by what your country has become.. I hope you get to heal and go forward once again, as a nation.
on 2019-12-18 15:00:01
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Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Terranigma (Enix, 1995, SNES)
Music by Masanori Hikichi, Miyoko Takaoka
- Cinematic, New Age
- Electronic, Synth
- 7,430,064 bytes
- Size: 7,430,064 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 4dbf50c3287846d3133b3afd85995e83
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