Posted 2021-05-05, evaluated by Liontamer
Giant Alien Spiders. Nope, nope, and... nope. Except: yep, since this FTL mix from 744 (Ben Brownlee) puts a nice ambient/EDM/chip spin on Ben Prunty's original:
"I've been playing a ton of FTL on PC lately. It's going on 9 years old as of the time of this writing, and still holds up — but it wouldn't be anywhere near as great without Ben Prunty's awesome soundtrack. The Advanced Edition update to the game added some more music, but the one that always got stuck in my head was "Lost Ship," a track dominated by soft-attack sine waves and a heavy delay. It starts out suspenseful, then transitions into a simple descending progression with a syncopated melody. Overall, the track is deceptively simplistic at a glance, but still well-constructed and catchy, meshing perfectly with FTL's relentlessly plain art style and stressful gameplay. There's an in-game event that you should NEVER take that involves arriving at a colony being attacked by giant alien spiders, which are no joke. Almost inevitably, if you choose to help them, you lose one of your crew members. Never fight the giant alien spiders.
I was working on some totally unrelated project, based around a four-on-the-floor loop, intended as an exercise in production/mixing skill. I was trying out more complicated routing and side-chaining, things I never had messed with much before. I thought that maybe this could be something to toss on Bandcamp as a portfolio piece later down the line, or something. After a few hours, I found that bits of "Lost Ship" had snuck into the project. So it eventually became this remix! It did serve as a pretty good learning experience, regardless.
I tried to build on a foundation of basic waveforms, keeping true to the format of FTL's overarching theme of "plainness." I used saw waves with a light chorus, for (most) of the melodic lines and pads. This was fine, but I wanted to iterate more than that. I'd added some pumping compression, initially as an experiment, to accentuate the original four-on-the-floor intention of the project. Then I needed some atmosphere befitting the game setting; thunder from the stormy nebulas, metallic impacts from taking damage, or ambience from hull breaches. The main melodic lines got some harmony and variation to fill things out.
FTL's other tracks also generally incorporated an extremely simple leitmotif that was missing from "Lost Ship," so I brought that back too. I'm not sure if it'd merit a second track citation, but the simple motif that's originally from - just the "Rockmen" theme (at 2:57) - was the only occurrence of that motif, until the Advanced Edition soundtrack used it a couple more times in "Lanius" (at 1:22) and with variation in "Hacking Malfunction" (at 1:44).
I felt that if it's a motif that recurs that often, especially with how commonly it loops in the game, it should get some more representation. Kinda felt like maybe like it's a semi-hidden "Theme of FTL," important enough that I could use it in the C section of the remix without it sounding out-of-place. It's layered behind the saw wave noodling I put on top, but it's the bell synth in the background, at 2:47-ish.
Anyway, I think this turned out all right. Thanks for listening! Appreciate you guys."
And us you! I don't even need to be *told* not to fight the giant alien spiders, regardless of context. Some great spiraling chip-style leads, retro drums, light sidechaining (more exposed at 1'45"), and good attention to panning are highlights, along with some creative modulated bitcrush, which is always delicious. Liontamer evaluated:
"I really dug Ben Brownlee's approach on this theme. Even though Ben Prunty's source is a battle theme, the original song has that feeling of isolation in space that 744 initially retains (with a higher energy level), before getting more aggressive and I'd even argue militaristic as things spun up at 1:19. I liked the character of the synth stabs along with the arrangement's tempo, which gave me a Command & Conquer-in-space kind of vibe alongside the "giant alien spider" imagery. Subtle stuff, but I liked the crystalline countermelody undereath the synth lead from 2:47-3:03, so don't miss out on the nice touches here that gave you more textural depth. Great stuff from both Bens in terms of the original inspiration and the resulting arrangement! :-)"
The bitcrush descent at 2'32" is slick, and additional kudos to the synth basses on display, which are warm & thick. There are staples of more modern audio production blended with older-school sounds (acid basses, bell pads), and what brings the two together is the creative application of FX & an arrangement that takes time to develop & evolve. Love that low-octave synth bass squelch ending, too :) Great stuff from 744, and our third featured mix of FTL!
Sources Arranged (2 Songs)
- Primary Game:
FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games
Music by Ben Prunty
- "Lost Ship (Battle)"
- Effects > Lo-Fi
- 7,927,589 bytes
- Size: 7,927,589 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 8f2904a90278ad0a7bbd0bbffa0e6826
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