Posted 2021-01-14, evaluated by the judges panel

Michael Hudak delivers a third glitched/chopped experimental mix, refining his version of the aesthetic & applying it to striking, dramatic effect with this arrangement of "Riding (Day)" from Breath of the Wild:

"Remix of the daytime riding music from BotW, maybe my favorite piece of Zelda music since the N64 days. The riding music in BotW is genius, I think. It's a perfect musical blend of organic and mechanical elements (which obviously compliments the game's story); you have a very human piano playing a part that sounds like a transcribed version of sample-and-hold retro computer/patch bay music. I wanted to take that idea further and create something that was obviously computer music, but made from scraped together pieces of very organic, earthy sounds. Salvage art, maybe. Field recordings for Hyrule Field? It's done in a really heady style... I don't want to call it glitch... maybe dusty scrapbook of pianos of something. It's experimental for sure, but so is the original, which always gave me a kind of sample-and-hold, old school synth vibe, just played on piano.

I took the root/5th/octave left-hand chords in the original song, played them sustained with Spitfire's Soft Piano with slight reverb, then clipped only the tail ends of the data. I lined them up on the grid (without fading into the envelopes to keep those pleasant little pops) to act as a foundation loop. I took the super-fast flutter notes, listened to them 30 times slowed down to make sure they were right, then lined them up in the same way on top of the bass chords. All of those quick runs from the first 35 seconds of the original are used in my track. The original also has a syncopation where most of the time there's only one note played at once, but of course there's a great harmonic richness to everything when there are multiple layers playing at once.

That richness was exaggerated even more when I boosted everything by 20-30 db, which pulls up the undertones. This also drags out the white noise of the sampling room of... whoever at Spitfire made these samples. This gives everything a dusty, nostalgic vibe (rather than just use vinyl noise plugins yet again), and I could also use this higher frequency information about halfway through my song to act as a kind of amp distortion/guitar feedback, or even have them act almost as cymbal washes, depending on the moment. Actual piano-y piano shows up for a solo (with a tiny bit of Zelda's theme, taken from the source), then some birds. Hyrule Field recordings? Some reference tracks I used for this were "Take Time" by The Books, and "Siisx" by Ryuichi Sakamoto + Alva Noto.

I have to say that this is one of my favorite songs I've ever made. I would've never guessed that it would evolved to what I did from the tiny loop I started with. Mastering it took literal days though. There's not a lot of stuff over 3k, and so the process of getting this thing somewhat loud without major mixing compromises (in the low mids, especially), was laborious. It's still on the quiet side, but at this point I'm just as proud of how loud I was able to actually get it - while keeping the dynamic qualities - as the arrangement itself. Anyhow, thanks, as always, for the judges for their valuable time."

When we first featured one of Michael's Sakamoto-inspired mixes (Persona 3, back in August of last year), I didn't necessarily think there would be stylistic follow-ups, considering it a one-off experiment, which we see a lot of - very glad to have been wrong, and very cool to see the approach iterated on & applied to different games/vibes! There's always another surprise around the corner, but I agree with the artist: this is the best realization yet of the aesthetic he's been exploring, and the organic/mechanical contrast of Breath of the Wild in general but also this *specific* source tune are absolutely perfect for the treatment. When the piano finally enters, floating freely over a stream of more rigid, digital particles, it's rather breathtaking. Everyone enjoys art their own way & values different things; I'm very much about moments. I'd rather read a mediocre poem with one brilliant line than a pretty good poem that I forget two seconds later because nothing really stood out. Not that the context or connective tissue on this mix are superfluous - quite the contrary - but my point is that there ARE moments, here, and that is a beautiful thing, to me. Your mileage may vary, of course, but Emunator's didn't:

"I LOVE THIS. The original source tune was intriguing to me, but always felt more or less neutral from an emotional standpoint. With your remix you managed to bring out some absolutely beautiful harmonies and create this rich chord progression that feels familiar and comfortable, and yet entirely recontextualized. When the un-processed piano comes through at 1:43, it's absolutely sublime; like a ray of sunshine hitting just the right angle during golden hour. Despite being built from essentially just a piano and various noise samples, you've managed to paint such a vivid, lush picture full of so much color and emotion.

I strongly agree that this is one of your best works, and one that I will be coming back to a lot in the future!"

And I as well. Judges were unanimous but Wes in particular clearly experienced the same poetry that I did when the piano entered; singular. Whether Mr. Hudak continues probing the extents of this auditory flavor profile or migrates elsewhere, things really clicked with this methodology & these ingredients, as applied to this source, and it's yielded a memorable, transfixing track that truly shines. Highly recommended!



Latest 5 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2024-04-05 17:33:46

This remix definitely tripped me out in a few places. That rhythmic pulsing synth was sure ticking something in the audio space! That piano was sounding SUPER crispy though! Great job on this, very unique and cool.

Mr. Hu
on 2021-01-17 13:48:40

Thanks for your great compliments, truly. I think the stark contrasts between higher and lower frequencies, a lot of details in panning, and the consistent momentum/pulse throughout are the 3 things that make this one work despite it being fairly lo-fi. Plus, the original was pretty different for being in a Zelda game, so I only had to meet it half-way in terms of doing something experimental.

on 2021-01-16 12:24:01

I know I already gushed over this in my judge comment from the writeup, but this is truly a brilliant, warm, understatedly-beautiful arrangement. It's catchy like a pop song, but also extremely heady and cerebral. I still don't understand how you were able to extract all of these feelings from such an unassuming source with such minimal instrumentation. This feels like a fully-realized version of the concepts you've teased and experimented with in your previous remixes, and I'm so glad to see it posted. Bravo!!

on 2021-01-14 16:47:30

Just beuatiful. Despite all the glitchiness going on, this piece feels really cozy and comforting. There's definitely something nostalgic about the atmosphere. It really feels like a little tale of the old days :) The item jingle at around 1-minute mark is a nice touch and the piano at 1:43 nearly broke me... In a good way, haha. Once again, exceptional work, Michael!

on 2021-01-13 00:32:32

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Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
( , , )
Music by
Additional Game:
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo , 2017, WIIU)
Music by Hajime Wakai,Manaka Kataoka,Yasuaki Iwata
"Riding (Day)"

Tags (8)

Piano,Sound FX
Effects > Glitching
Effects > Lo-Fi
Effects > Reversing

File Information

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