Posted 2020-02-26, evaluated by Rexy
From Paths Less Travelled: Terranigma comes this stirring symphonic rock take on "The Way Home," arranged & conceptualized by Manji (Christopher Mole), with assistance from Jorito on production & three additional performers:
- Manji - arrangement, live recording, lead guitar, lyrics
- Jorito - production, orchestration, samples, all mixing, guitars
- JoyDreamer - vocals
- Catie Williams - flute
- Richard Spencer - viola
"As soon as I volunteered to remix this track for the Paths Less Travelled: Terranigma album, I knew that I'd need assistance with it -- as the finale to the album (and the game), it needed a sweeping orchestral treatment to capture the feeling of a completed journey, which is something I don't have a great deal of experience with. After the arrangement was sorted (originally, I had drums throughout and a number of other less orchestral instrument choices), I called on two friends who are extremely talented musicians from my local (Sheffield, UK) music scene -- prodigiously talented flautist Catie Williams (who I've been in bands with for over ten years now) and violist Richard Spencer (who's equally talented, and predominantly plays bass for Sheffield heavy noisemakers Ba'al). It was fantastic to collaborate with them both on this, as well as with JoyDreamer, who provided some incredible vocal parts and was happy to keep recording more oohs and aahs as we developed the arrangement. I can't overstate how instrumental Jorrith was in making this sound phenomenal -- my initial mix was quite flat, sparse, and lacking in dynamics. When he sent back his version, having fully reorchestrated the track and added in a ton of additional sounds to flesh it out and give it that full orchestra feel, I was utterly blown away by how much more lively and epic it was -- he deserves full credit for how great this remix sounds!
Thematically, I wanted this track to match the wistful, poignant, but uplifting ending that the game has -- after Ark's peaceful death, Elle from Crysta speaks to him, telling him of her regrets about the Elder's manipulation and villainy. Much of the script in Terranigma suffers slightly from a not-stellar English translation, but there's a line in this speech from Elle that really touched my heart -- "If we are bound by fate, we will meet again in time, somewhere." It's a beautiful sentiment that hit very close to home for me, and I thought matching those words to the Crysta theme would be a lovely callback. As Ark dreams his last dream, of becoming a bird and seeing the world grow older, I wanted this remix to provide a fitting soundtrack for his final journey."
Rather than symphonic rock throughout, this is really more of an orchestral arrangement that morphs into rock towards the end, as something of a stylistic crescendo; earlier bits have lovely solo woodwind & viola parts and are more exploratory, but the momentum eventually builds & culminates in the genre shift, basically. Co-director Trism writes:
"This is a wonderful bookend to the album, especially as a counterpoint to Ganaé's album-opener, "L&D." The game's ending is semi-ambiguous and the opening part of this track reflects the potentially happy ending that the game alludes to. When the song kicks into high-gear, it really captures the triumphant feel of an adventure completed; the battle is over and it's time to celebrate! Using lines directly from the game was an inspired choice and the words themselves are the perfect way to end the album as a whole. "We will meet again," indeed."
Album director & collaborator extraordinaire (on this mix & many others!) Jorito (Jorrith Schaap) adds:
"When Chris shared the first sketches of his arrangement, I saw the potential of what he was doing and was on board with it immediately. When he pointed out that he always envisioned the track to be a collaborative effort because orchestral wasn't his strong point, I offered to help out and throw some of my orchestral sample libraries at it. Little did I know that the arrangement inspired me so much that I essentially did a whole re-orchestration and ultimately also all of the mixing. I split up the string parts across the various instruments of the string family, added more movement and harmonies to them, introduced a full woodwinds section, harmonized the brass section, added percussion accents, a few layers here and there, did some creative playing with the vocals, and recorded some simple rhythm guitars to fill out the climax of the track. Even though it sounds like a lot of work, it all went so effortlessly due to Chris's rough diamond of an arrangement. The final result even surprised me when I compared it with the WIP that we started with!
To me, the track highlights the reflective nature, the sense of conclusion, and the end of a journey that make ending themes great, and it is a fitting and powerful illustration of the feelings I experienced when I finished Terranigma recently. Thanks to Chris for having me and letting me be part of this wonderful journey!"
Last but not least, Rexy evaluated this piece & does a great job highlighting its strenghts:
"Arranging a fantastic ending theme is always going to be challenging, but Manji and Jorito's teamwork here has resulted in something cohesive that also adds to the source material's scope. When listening to it casually, it's easy to appreciate the attention to detail in the production values. We have the lush live instrumentation, the sweet attention to articulation on the virtual instruments, and the way the track progresses in feel. It begins with a light-hearted woodwind focus, darkening with the emphasis on brass and strings, then going into sudden rock opera/musical theater territory after 3 minutes. It's an explosion of ideas, and it all flows together as one big intended grand finale.
Then when you have more knowledge of the source's progression, it's also easy to appreciate much more. There's the thickening of the backing instrumentation, changes to entire chord sequences when the original barely had strings and a harp (0:55), and the use of the original's harp arpeggio patterns during sections with original writing. Despite a couple of section cuts, the source's melodies still have an evident presence throughout, further cementing the strength behind the interpretation values in addition to its production. Beautiful work from everyone involved!"
...all of which leaves me with very little else to say/mention, other than offering a wholehearted congratulations to all five artists and, since is both the ending theme & the last track on the album, an additional congrats to the entire team beind Paths Less Travelled: Terranigma - a sweeping, grand, & diverse tribute to a deserving game/soundtrack!
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Terranigma (Enix, 1995, SNES)
Music by Masanori Hikichi, Miyoko Takaoka
- "The Way Home"
- Rock, Symphonic
- Energetic, Epic
- Electric Guitar, Flute, Orchestral, Singing, Sound FX, Strings, Trumpet, Viola, Vocals: Female, Woodwinds
- Lyrics > Lyrics: Original
Origin > Collaboration
Production > Live Instruments
- 8,161,164 bytes
If we are bound by fate
We will meet again
Somewhere in time
Somewhere in time
- Size: 8,161,164 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 349ccc2aeb1b0be9c81af03541476884
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