Posted 2021-10-01, evaluated by Rexy
"hey, everyone. =D this is the second of two tracks i wrote for Shinesparkers' album.
Darren contacted me in August of last year about possibly doing a track or two for his site's album celebrating 35 years of Metroid and the tenth anniversary of the original Harmony of a Hunter album (which i contributed two tracks to as well). this is the second track i picked up, after he asked me to take a look at some themes from games that weren't as popular in the series. i knew little about the game itself, but the main theme was a pretty standard a/b format with some weird ambient stuff in the a section and this big orchestral tutti for the b theme. there was also a lot of nonstandard chords used, which allowed for some interesting chord structures to be layered on top.
as i usually do, i started with the beat for the first part, and settled into a funkier feel than i expected. the melodic content here was pretty sparse, so it was more just playing with the chords, and that wound up being pretty straightforward. i recognized though that it needed some energy, and i wanted to incorporate some of the synthwave i've been listening to during the pandemic, so with the b section, i drastically changed vibes and brought in this plodding bass and fat kick, and some really rhythmically-oriented synths. i loved how ominous the bass sounded when i just sat on it on a pedal tone, and how big it felt when it finally did shift. there's still not a lot of melodic content here, though, so i shifted to a third set of instrumentation for the recap at the end. i was able to get a really interesting tone out of the Rhodes i was using with some filters and adding a bit of grit, and it made for a good way to end the track."
I hadn't even heard of this game before, and it's Metroid... judging from my initial research, I didn't miss much, and it's not surprising that it flew under my radar. As the Gospel of Cheetahmen II teaches us, though, lackluster games can still have excellent music. Brad's done a great job with this hybrid style, kinda hovering on the border of synthwave, dance, & electronic/cinematic formats. From a sound design perspective, there's a lot to like, but the EP/Rhodes he mentions was definitely the star, for me, with its lofi application and unusual modulations. Rexy evaluated:
"It takes a lot of bravery to arrange music that you are entirely unfamiliar with, and to see Brad interpret a source like he did shows that BGM has no bounds. Thankfully, the Federation Force theme isn't too complex - and he took it to his advantage, only going through the source once and reprising the B section for the ending. I can feel his funk-driven inspirations, with his choice of arps, the drum writing from 0:35 onwards, and that pretty call-and-response from 0:55. The half-time groove at 1:21 going into the B section felt unexpected and shifted more to the source's core mood, then went full Brad-wave at 1:56 with the pad countermelodies and brisker percussion pacing. And then we got the ending which meandered through some more experimental chords in the first half of that B reprise. Interpretation is more minimal this time around, but the overall adaptation and pacing did more than enough to wield its own identity.
Also, did I mention "Brad-wave"? Those textures were more evident in the second half with the driving beat and 8th note bass, but he still had fun working with effects and envelopes throughout the track's length. I sensed gates and reverb of varying strengths, a subtle vinyl effect in the A section, synth tone changes via envelopes, and effective use of layering instrumentation. He dared to venture into production techniques less traveled and went out of the other side with a solid and cleanly produced demonstration of what he picked up on during this chaotic state of the world. It'll be amazing if a turnout like this can also inspire someone to try something new - spiffing work!"
There are definitely some textures/timbres here that I haven't heard Brad utilize before, and they all integrate well & support the vision. I actually think the EP in particular could have carried the whole track, and would love to hear it reappear in future mixes. Great stuff, enjoy!
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Primary Game:
Metroid Prime: Federation Force (Nintendo, 2016, 3DS)
Music by Chad York, Darren Radtke, Mike Peacock
- Cinematic, EDM
- Dark, Energetic, Suspenseful
- Electric Piano, Electronic, Synth
- Effects > Lo-Fi
- 5,753,074 bytes
- Size: 5,753,074 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: b3c0cb808f5045cb1436347763553cd3
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