Posted 2020-12-02, evaluated by djpretzel
MkVaff!! Not JUST MkVaff, but old-school MkVaff, lending a brilliant solo piano instrumental + lo-fi hip-hop accompaniment take on Skyward Sword to BadAss: Paragons & Renegades:
"I came up with the idea for this song while I was in the middle of a completely different arrangement of another song for this project. I originally worked on a cover of Dark Pit from Kid Icarus: Uprising, but I didn't feel that the song captured the theme of this project well enough."
During a workout, I randomly remembered "Fi's Theme" from Skyward Sword, and started humming it, even though I hadn't heard it for years. After going on YouTube and confirming that it was just as gorgeous as I remembered (if not more so), I decided to change my source material to that track instead.
Though my primary instrument is piano, I've never practiced enough to become any kind of virtuoso on the instrument. If I had to choose a musical muse for that instrument though, I'd have to say that I've always had a profound respect for Tori Amos throughout the years. She has a wonderful way of using her classical training in interesting contemporary trappings, and often uses the piano beautifully to weave in and out of her vocals.
This arrangement is heavily inspired by some of her earlier work, and it was wonderful to feel like I was channeling even a bit of her brilliance and sound into this already gorgeous source material.
It was nice to be part of another OCR project and, in the end, I felt this track fit in well with the paragon theme and was a much better fit for the overall concept. Luckily, weeks later, I also ended up completing the Dark Pit track anyway, which seemed too cool of a track to leave incomplete in its own right. I guess I still have a thing for those Nintendo themes!"
This is some of Mike's best piano work, and could easily stand alone as a solo piano piece, but he's deftly woven in some lo-fi hip/trip-hop beats, and the way he layers/switches them really makes everything sing; there's minimal additional melodic accompaniment (some faint strings), but it's not missed. Album director David L. Puga writes:
"A beautiful ballad of a track to bring the more heroic side of this album to a close. MkVaff weaves a soothing, minimalist, groovy piano beat. Lo-fi beats that you can hero to? You damn right! You damn right."
Indeed. Co-director Pavos adds:
"As the first disc progressed, it got more and more aggressive (it's still BadAss of course) without losing the heroic, atmospheric, and, most of the time, bombastic touch that you can expect from a Paragon disc. What better way to close it off than to go back to the beginning of the album and the roots of a true hero and paragon: the light within. This track… wow. There is so much emotion in the piano (especially in the beginning and the end), and, when the groove kicks in, you are overwhelmed by the blanket of warmth and purity that MkVaff is known for. This track reminds me a lot of his Link to the Past track on OCR ("The Darkness and the Light"), not just because they're both Zelda, but because of the feel and the dynamics of the piece. Which is good, since it's one of my favorite OC mixes of all time. I'm glad we have a Zelda track on the album, but I'm even more glad that it's not the Zelda (overworld) theme - just like we don't have the Mario theme. It's different, it's unique, but it's great. An awesome way to finish off the Paragons disc if you ask me (and they did, so there)!"
I'm glad that the "Paragons & Renegades" concept widened the aesthetic umbrella enough to fit something like this; definitely hit me as one of the surprises on the album, and also strikes me as one of Mike's best mixes - it's pared down a bit, but there's this Zen quality of everything being "just so" & landing at the perfect moment. Working with mostly just beats & piano, it's more like a successful duet between those two instruments/categories, and it flows beautifully. It's worth taking a moment just to mention the piano sound itself, which has a close intimacy to it but also pronounced space & stereo depth - it's a big part of what makes everything click & works insanely well with Mike's arrangement. Always awesome to see more music from MkVaff, and his contribution to BadAss: Paragons & Renegades is absolutely a highlight!
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo, 2011, WII)
Music by Hajime Wakai, Koji Kondo, Mahito Yokota, Shiho Fujii, Takeshi Hama
- "Fi's Theme"
- Hip Hop
- Chill, Energetic
- Piano, Strings
- Effects > Lo-Fi
- 6,061,487 bytes
- Size: 6,061,487 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 9467ae8ccd3debf5ebf62129839a2e5b
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