ReMix:Kingdom Hearts "The Slums of Traverse" 3:04

By PhrygianFingers, prophetik music

Arranging the music of one song...

"Traverse Town"

Primary Game: Kingdom Hearts (Square , 2002, PS2), music by Hikaru Utada, Yoko Shimomura

Posted 2022-03-01, evaluated by the judges panel

Absolutely ***gorgeous*** Kingdom Hearts piano/sax duet from newcomer PhrygianFingers (Zach Marzec) & oldcomer/judge prophetik music (Brad Burr) - the former writes:

"My friend and I recorded this some time ago. I am playing the piano (used Reason 3.0, put a few basic effects, some reverb, just kept it simple). My friend, who on OCR is prophetik music, is playing sax.

To be honest, this mix was like a "Hey, let's record 'Traverse Town' in minor." "okay." We weren't really thinking too much about all the details, we wanted to get something scratch down. I really like what we did here.

I wanted to call this "The Slums of Traverse" because it sticks in minor the entire time, but I wanted to give it more of a desolate feel."

Transition to minor sometimes just works sooo well, for certain tunes, and this is an instance where a straightforward conversion & emotive, stirring duet on two instruments is more than enough to capitalize on that potential. This has a somber, pensive, staring-out-the-window vibe that's relatively appropriate for the current state of the world, and both musicians imbue their performances with soul & grace. Brad provides additional backstory:

"zach and i recorded this track over christmas break in 2007 according to my file dates. we were goofing around with some music software one evening and he started playing the Traverse theme in a minor key. i recognized it and pulled out my sax, and we recorded it in one take. it honestly was, too - zach was noodling and played the opening few chords, and i was like, 'hey, i know this song! let's record it!' he literally came up with this stuff on the fly. he's that good. =)

due to some software limitations at the time, the keyboard MIDI data was in Reason 3 (!!!), and we exported that and dropped the WAV of my sax into FL and mastered it there. we had been meaning to come back to it for years and it just never became a thing. a little while later, i got married and moved away, and we fell out of touch.

imagine my surprise when i happened across this arrangement on a fan Tumblr account last year with tens of thousands of plays, and tons of comments about how much they enjoyed it! that brought it back into the front of my memory, and i went looking for the files in my (far too large) collection of old hard drives but couldn't find it. time passed and another forum-goer who i used to interact with a bunch 10+ years ago messaged to say hello, and ask what happened to this track. well, i went looking again, and this time i found my original files. i asked around for someone to help extract the MIDI data, and then did some crunching in the keyboard part to fix some sour notes and odd articulations. and here we are! probably not the first 13-year remix in the history of the site, but still a fun journey.

from a mechanical standpoint, it's an alto sax, but if you want specifics it's a Selmer series III alto saxophone (Paris, not USA), with a Vandoren Optimum mouthpiece and ligature, with Vandoren 3 reeds. this uses Komplete for the keyboards, some Melodyne 5 Studio to fix a few notes in the sax part, and FL 20 as the DAW. i tried to keep as much of the ensemble feel as possible in the keys, which allows for some lilt in the tempo without quantizing out what made the piano part so organic and fun. looking forward to hearing what people think."

Quite the journey, from inception to being posted today. Obviously the arrangement has been enjoyed in an earlier form by thousands, so hopefully this more polished version reaches additional ears; as Brad says, not the first mix we've seen with an epic, decade+ evolution & compelling origin story, but it's always a cool development... plus the end result here deserved & benefited from the tweaking, so nothing takes you out of the hypnotic, immersive interplay between the two instruments. Judges were unanimous, though some of the audible key presses (I thought they added intimacy/character!) were nitpicked; MindWanderer writes:

"The delicious sax work immediately caught my attention. Superb piano work, too. The interpretation is simple but effective, an excellent demonstration of how less can be more. I'm with Larry on the sounds of the sax mechanism being a detraction, especially around 1:55-2:05 and 2:23-2:40; the blip at 2:41 actually sounds like one of those rather than a recording issue. There's also some weirdness in 2:10-2:40 where the piano and sax are both improvising timing a little bit, in different ways, and it's resulting in some conflicts.

The issues are minor, though. Overall this is delightful."

I'll second that; even if this weren't a revitalized resurrection of a Reason 3.0 project comprised of two different performances from many moons ago, it would still be smooth enough for me. YMMV, but I happen to enjoy some of the audible performance artifacts, imperfections, and occasional friction between the two parts; keeps it real. Moreover, the emotion & general vibe are striking, captured with nuance & flow, and make for an engrossing, somber-but-enjoyable listen. Bravo to both artists!



Latest 7 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Ronald Poe
on 2022-03-14 16:27:40

I love Kingdom Hearts and have been a fan since I discovered the game in 2003. I feel like "Traverse Town" is very recognizable but slightly overlooked. This minor key arrangement sounds gorgeous and gives a bittersweet perspective to the town. The story behind this remix is interesting and the result was worth the wait.

His Infinite Machine
on 2022-03-06 13:23:51

"Traverse Town: Where Disney characters go to die."

on 2022-03-04 21:42:42

omggggg I also remember the original one from the WIP forums or whatnot, what a crazy throwback! the years have truly gone by... but the quality and sublimity of this arrangement remain just as fresh! glad to see it on the big stage ❤️

on 2022-03-03 01:27:08

I'm honestly speechless. What a cool story to read about something @prophetik music and I worked on many years ago. Thank you to everyone for the high praise and to @prophetik music for taking this across the finish line!

on 2022-03-02 19:47:20

Holy cow, I can't believe this one is finally on the front page. I've had it in my iTunes library since 2008, and I just thought it wasn't ever going to get posted, but sooooo glad that it is!

on 2022-03-01 19:16:43

Oh my, it's actually here! After almost exactly 14 years of listening to the original take, I can finally hear the finished version and have a real name for the song :'). Thanks @prophetik music! This is wonderful.

on 2022-02-28 10:23:26
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Kingdom Hearts (Square , 2002, PS2)
Music by Hikaru Utada,Yoko Shimomura
"Traverse Town"

Tags (10)

Arrangement > Duet
Origin > Collaboration
Production > Live Instruments

File Information

4,517,699 bytes


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