Posted 2022-05-09, evaluated by the judges panel

Absoutely fresh & distinct glitch/experimental take on "Ballad of the Wind Fish" from newcomer 227 (Je Christian), where ALL the sounds used originate with the Game Boy, and the results are impressive:

"Basically, I took the bleep-bloop audio and messed with it until it was drums, bass, and other stuff. Then I used that to remix the song I borrowed the bleeps from -- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening's "Ballad of the Wind Fish."

While I originally put this together for my YouTube channel (the video includes some video that goes over the process), I don't remix things often and OC ReMix popped into my mind. Figured I'd give it a go.

Used to be a lurker back in... 2003? 2004? Something like that. Signed up in 2007, apparently, before disappearing for a decade. I relate to that "making it an exercise" bit in the FAQ a lot these days; after a decade or so spent largely away from music, I've been making another go of it lately on YouTube and my go-to method of practice is making songs using just one random thing.

First, I made a song using only the audio recorded from a hand puppet. Then a Taco Bell cup. Then movie dialog. This is my fourth random-limitation song, made only with the audio of Marin singing "Ballad of the Wind Fish" on a Game Boy Color, captured through the headphone... port? Jack? Anyway, so I grabbed the audio from the headphone hole, layered it (and used PaulXStretch's granular craziness) to turn it into a bunch of other instruments, and then made a soundfont out of it for super-flexible and CPU-light drums. Everything else went into the free Vital synth's sampler to tweak and distort in various ways. So all the audio is from the Game Boy.

The original audio was captured out of the headphone jack of a Game Boy Color (the oldest Game Boy I still have) using the cartridge of Link's Awakening that I've had since I was tiny. I also have the DX version that's designed for the Game Boy Color, but I wanted the original sound. I wasn't 100% confident that there weren't minor audio differences between the two.

Just time-stretching the original audio would result in something pretty uniform and boring-sounding, so I used the PaulXStretch VST to cast an evil spell upon the audio files. It uses granular synthesis, from what I understand, which is basically a program cutting up and rearranging audio in super-small portions to make a variety of different sounds. It's got the smoothest granules I've ever heard, and I was able to bend the audio to get a bunch of pads, a bass, and even a bell sound from that high-pitched original audio.

* Download the soundfont here
* These are the .wav files

I'm still in need of a filter VST. I found a couple vaguely filter-ish things, including one I used to make the extra sounds in the background around :54 and during that entire sequence. I forgot that I did that and was like, "Wait, where did those sounds come from?" when I was putting the video together. I'm on autopilot 95% of the time. Probably because I'm a helicopter in my imagination.

It was really fun to make this out of basically nothing. I'm not, like, super talented or anything remotely close to it, so if I can morph a bunch of audio files into something workable, then anyone can. Screwing up is more interesting, anyway. If you make the exact song you set out to create, then it'll probably end up too polished and ordinary. Season your tracks with something earthy by driving them into the ground at terminal velocity. Do it for creativity's sake.

I was holding the Game Boy Color weird because my right thumb was bleeding. It looked gruesome, so I cut out the bits that showed it and used my index finger for the rest of the video.

I've been trying to pace these videos so that they get straight to the point. You're busy, I'm busy, everyone's busy. Videos that take forever to get going are the worst. Let me know if I'm cutting too much out. Or not enough. Like, I skipped over how the shakers are just the drum samples with the low-end EQed out and then run through SoundHack's free +pitchdelay VST. The same one I used in this video.

Lastly, I pretty much winged it on the melody. Some of the timing was obviously changed to suit the flow. Not sure about the accuracy of the notes. I figure it's a solid C effort. Definitely not a failing grade, but probably not getting me admitted to an Ivy League school. I couldn't shake the instinct to transition into Terra's theme from Final Fantasy 6. Eventually I gave in.

Have a good one, person-reading-this."

People, really, and we did! I vageuly recall zircon singing the praises of PaulXStretch as a sound designer's secret weapon, many moons ago, but even with that endorsement I'm still impressed that everything in this mix originated with GB audio; very cool. Reminds me of the time Mattias Holmgren used a Heineken bottle to achieve similarly diverse textures. When I saw "227" I actually thought of the sitcom that I used to watch when nothing else was on, back in the eighties, but there's not much of an aesthetic connection ;) Judges were unanimous, and while some felt the mix a bit short, everyone was digging the creativity behind the sound design - DarkSim writes:

"I love the "4 Producers, 1 Sample" series on Andrew Huang's YT channel, where they do stuff like this with a single sample and make all sorts of crazy stuff out of it. It's a creative and challenging approach to making a track, although by limiting yourself in such a way, it's hard to say if the track turned out like you imagined it would or not. Maybe that's half the fun of it!

I dig some of the synths here, but not others, and that's of course a byproduct of the way they've been created. I think if I didn't know that you'd sampled them all directly from Marin's song on the Game Boy then I'd be less whelmed than I am. The lead at 0:28 isn't particularly pleasant, although the bass is nice and smooth, and the bell and pads work well. Making synths from the same sample naturally gives the same timbral quality to them, so there's a cohesiveness about them, but the original sample has a certain grit to it which lends itself to harsher sounds like those at 0:28 and 1:23.

I caught the Terra's theme reference in the middle there, a cool cameo in a Zelda remix!"

I listened to this mix **before** I read the description/origin story, and I appreciated the unexpected & glitched-out sounds, and how the arrangement is crafted around their use; the source tune is such a pleasant, serene melody, perhaps a little bittersweet, that it's interesting just to hear it ground into grains & resynthesized into something on the darker side. Je clearly has an enthusiasm for the experimental/exploratory side of production, but I'm glad that was married with an arrangement that put all that raw sonic material to good use. I also appreciated the detailed writeup explaining all of that process & behind-the-scenes; if nothing else, I am persuaded to go grab & install PaulXStretch again. Check it out for an unexpected & dystopian take on a familiar Zelda classic, and congrats to 227 for an unorthodox & compelling debut!



Latest 5 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2024-03-30 19:50:46

I'm a big fan of the vocal-like vox that came in partway through. This had a nice simple groove and I dug it!

Mr. Hu
on 2022-05-14 16:41:10

Restating my appreciation for the sound palette in this one. Wouldn't have guessed they're sourced from a hardware chip.

on 2022-05-14 11:35:34

I'm still envisioning that the next Zelda game is going to involve the Wind Fish somehow.
Warping through blocks, dripping like liquid, it all looked very interesting.

I played the song atop the E3 2021 teaser for Breath of the Wild 2, and it was quite fun to try.

If you let the song play about 10-11 seconds before starting said trailer, they seem to line up thematically... unintentional synchronization is nifty stuff.

on 2022-05-09 19:04:59

What a cool song. The sound design behind this is obviously very detailed, and even better that the effects on the samples are mixed to be punchy and catchy. Really liking everything about this

on 2022-05-09 12:12:49
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (2 Songs, 2 Games)

Primary Game:
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Nintendo , 1993, GB)
Music by Kozue Ishikawa,Minako Hamano
"Ballad of the Wind Fish (Instruments Ver.)"
Additional Game:
Final Fantasy VI (Square , 1994, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu

Tags (11)

Experimental,Glitch Hop
Effects > Distortion
Effects > Glitching
Effects > Lo-Fi
Time > Duration: Short

File Information

5,035,438 bytes


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