Posted 2020-04-03, evaluated by Rexy

Get washed away in calming-but-mysterious waters as Emunator (Wes McDonald) turns in a mesmerizing, evocative world/ambient take on the "Water Temple," "Serenade of Water," and "Potion Shop" themes from Ocarina of Time:

"This submission is something of a "sister song" to my "Forest Temple" remix, "Forest Wraiths," which I submitted last year. Both were originally conceived in 2015 as tech demos for the new Omnisphere 2 software I had just added to my arsenal, both shift through several different sources, moods, and energy levels, and like its predecessor, this track took a ridiculously long time to reach its finished form!

The "Water Temple" theme has always fascinated me - the mixture of simple ambient chord progressions and sound design with some absolutely off-the-rails melody lines felt truly remarkable for its time. My goal here was to modernize the sound design and build a dynamic arrangement that played off of that contrast present in the original source. I also sought to step up my sound design skills throughout the track and seamlessly integrate aquatic sound effects throughout the track as percussive or ambient elements. A lot of care was put into the mixing of this track to give it a very wide, stereoscopic feel that you can easily lose yourself in!

The first 2 and a half minutes of this track were, more or less, completed within one session (minus all of the aquatic sound design sections), and the guzheng lead part for the "Potion Shop" section came together in one night as well a little later on. However, past those initial demos, I was unable to piece together the track in any cohesive way, and I found myself languishing in arrangement purgatory for over 4 years.

What finally helped me push past it was a trip over one long weekend in September 2019 to visit OCR veterans Phonetic Hero and ectogemia. I learned so much about musical workflow, productivity, and general self-care from them, and when I returned home I holed up 2 days in the studio and worked non-stop to bring this song to completion and fill in the missing pieces. I never once doubted my creative direction or ability to execute the ideas in my head during these sessions. It is by far the most focused and energized I've ever felt in my life, and I owe it to these guys for inspiring me to complete this and giving me some tools to help conquer my creative anxiety on future projects, too!"

Well damn... I need to visit those guys, too ;) This mix has gorgeous sound design and floats gracefully from motif to motif, ending with a resolved major chord after waxing minor & Eastern throughout. The variety of scraped, hammered, plucked, and blown textures is transfixing, especially since each is positioned discretely in the stereo field, creating the depth & definition that Wes alludes to above. Rexy evaluated:

"It's one thing to hear Wes tackle another Ocarina of Time dungeon theme, and it's another to go for one that has minimal pitched percussion and melodies diverging as far away from the beat as possible. His goal to modernize it is evident - locking the flute melodies to the tempo, the use of added percussive sounds to add texture, and some great use of dynamic shaping at 1:40 and 3:42 to mold the framework. I also really like how he played around with the riffs in the "Potion Shop" section rather than go for it straight, as well as adapting "Serenade of Water" to 4/4.

Even the production values are fantastic - a clean mixdown, careful attention to effects, and a charming palette that paints a picture of this submerged underwater ruin - experimentation with Omnisphere well paid off. He saw a challenge with both writing and producing this - and while it did take a while to finish, the complete product is an excellent example of how to handle a more formidable source—highly recommended!"

It's been mentioned twice, but it's worth a third nod to Omnisphere - there are tons of great plugins/software instruments out there, but Omni is fairly unique in its ability to inspire & craft otherworldly, engrossing textures. You can get lost in it, just as you can get lost in this mix; Wes wields it well, and it's practically built for tracks like this. Mysterious, meditative, and gloriously submerged & immersive in its aesthetic, this is superb work. Thanks to Nathan & Pete for giving Wes some sage wisdom and inner mojo, and props to him for running with it & reviving this older project, finishing it with style and confidence. Highly recommended!



Latest 3 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2020-09-15 20:58:51

Atmospheric and strikingly melodic at the same time. I love how the source tunes are blended together seamlessly. Gorgeous.

on 2020-04-11 09:12:05

Who knew the water temple had a theme?! Incredible job by Emunator here to not only evoke instant memories of the game using his sound design, but actually also remind me of the music in the water temple! The addition of the potion shop theme was inspired, and took me completely by surprise as I listened to it before reading the writeup. Loved the journey it took me on here, from the eerie Eastern-sounding wind and string instruments, through those epic vocals (almost like something out of Smack My Bitch Up) to that instantly recognisable synth at 3:50 that sounds exactly like the noise when you defeat the boss in the temple and step into the blue light. Wonderfully done! Finishing with the Serenade of Water just capped off this piece perfectly.

on 2020-03-31 22:59:36

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Sources Arranged (3 Songs)

Primary Game:
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo , 1998, N64)
Music by Koji Kondo
"Potion Shop"
"Serenade of Water"
"Water Temple"

Tags (13)

Bells,Hand Drums,Singing,Sound FX,Woodwinds
Regional > Chinese
Regional > Middle Eastern
Usage > Meditation

File Information

8,993,038 bytes


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