Posted 2022-08-11, evaluated by Rexy

Howsabout a smooth, classy, piano-bass-trumpet jazz trio arrangement of "Dog Maze" from Secret of Evermore? With a rainy-day vibe, a delicious muted Davis-esque brass aesthetic, and an impeccable sense of timing, minimalism, & negative space? If you said "hell yes" well then you're my people, and have I got a mix for you, as TSori (Logan Thomas), with collaborators Andy-Ru & Ji Young Lee, provide exactly that; Logan's got the deets:


  • Arrangement: TSori
  • Trumpet: TSori
  • Double Bass: Andy-Ru
  • Piano: Ji Young Lee
  • Mixing: our mixing collaborator requested that he not be credited

Source Breakdown:

  • 0:00-0:27 (original)
  • 0:27-1:01 (0:00-0:24)
  • 1:01-1:27 (original)
  • 1:27-2:33 (0:00-0:24)
  • 2:33-3:03 (0:24-0:51)
  • 3:03-3:21 (0:51-1:03)
  • 3:53-4:17 (original)

1:17 of original composition (43%) and 3:00 of source (57%)

"Hello again to the OCR judging crew!

This was our contribution to the ill-fated Secret of Evermore album. The plan for the album was actually to layer sound effects over the tracks. It's one of the reasons I went for an arrangement with a lot of "negative space". Adding some effects in for an alternate version could be a fun future project. As the album has been cancelled, we decided to submit it through the normal channels. We hope you enjoy it! Thanks.

This ReMix came about because... well... I just wanted to finally have an excuse to use my Harmon mute for something. I'd had the idea of a film noir-style ReMix floating around in my head for a while, and when I came across this album, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Secret of Evermore has a dark and moody soundtrack, and Trism's vision for the album seemed to lend itself very well to an atmospheric arrangement. I only played Secret of Evermore briefly several years ago, so I didn't really remember the soundtrack, but once I heard "Ivor Tower: Side Chambers", I knew I had something I could work with.

After that, the arrangement became something of a big experiment for me. Rather than try to paint an image for the listener, I focused more on creating a mood or feeling. It's a subtle difference, but one that shaped a lot of the decisions I made. I wanted this arrangement to be very fluid and beautiful, but at the same time to feel a bit uncomfortable. I wanted to build some tension into it, nothing threatening, just a bit uneasy. I started with the idea of putting this in 5/4 because I once heard Howard Shore describe the time signature as "feeling incomplete". As I worked on how to rewrite the melody, I had the idea to use 5-bar phrases for the trumpet. We are so used to hearing 4-bar phrases in everything, that a 5-bar phrase makes the piece feel a bit difficult to predict. Things aren't where you expect them to be. To kind of reign that in, and provide some contrast, I wrote all of the piano and bass melody portions in much more comfortable 4-bar phrases. Throughout the arrangement, I tried to find a balance of using silence to create a feeling of emptiness, without ever letting things sound disconnected.

Another thing that was crucial in this remix was that it feel very organic. Live performances went without saying, and both Andy and Ji Young did a fantastic job with it. Andy understood exactly what I was going for right off the bat and delivered a really nice performance. One thing I really liked about his recording was that he left in some mechanical noise from the strings, which made it feel "real". My muted trumpet recordings also picked up some valve noises to the same effect. This was great, but it also meant an electric piano wasn't really going to fit. Fortunately, my good friend Ji Young is a very accomplished concert pianist, and she had also just started a YouTube channel, so she had the capability to record her Steinway grand piano. *drools* She is an incredible performer, and even when given something as minimalist as "The Ivory Gambit", she is able to inject a tremendous amount of expression into it.

The title is a reference to both old film noir titles and the in-game association of Ivor Tower with chess.

All in all, this was a very fun experiment with great collaborators. I'm thrilled with how it turned out, and I hope everyone who listens will be too."

Whew, that's a lot to digest. Love the background though, from the reasoning behind the minimalism and meter to the production details on fret/valve artifacts - great stuff. Ji Young's Steinway really rings out with a beautiful clarity; individual notes hover in the aether & the high end has a distinct purity & presence. Pianos are kinda like wines in that there's a whole dedicated subculture that can tell you the qualitative & quantitative details of each, and sometimes it might feel like a bit much... but a Steinway is still a Steinway, and a pianist that can draw out the best of the instrument can show you why, as she does. Miles Davis used a Harmon, and there's a specific relaxed-but-punchy sound it lends that's iconic for a reason, too; it was an excellent decision to employ one for this mix. Your mind can almost fill in the film noir gaps & add some faint rain and a hard-boiled detective voiceover talking about a sassy/classy dame what gone missing, or somethingsuch. Rexy evaluated:

"Logan has always had a penchant for getting a lovely organic feel out of his work, but turning a BGM into a math project is amazingly quirky. The change to a different time signature is worth the price of admission - but I wasn't expecting the muted trumpet melodies to carry the A-section across five-bar patterns rather than the traditional four. The amount of experimentation with timing meant he had room to keep the note pitches as they are, anchoring in that familiarity by tone instead of movement.

Making all instrumentations the real deal also paid off, allowing us to hear all their nuances that a VST otherwise can't provide. They got presented cleanly, don't overlap, and the trumpet and piano particularly have their own ambient space to get the best out of their higher registers. Even at 2:33, when the double bass became the lead, its interpretation felt evident on the ears even with low-range piano chords on support.

Based on the interpretation and the sound design, it's easily one of Logan's more high-brow submissions. I know the feeling of working on a contribution to a project that didn't see the light of day, and it is indeed the saddest feeling. But when the result is strong enough to stand independently, that is what matters at the end of the day - and I feel like I need to take a master's degree after listening to this, which isn't a bad thing! :-)"

Secular amen to the result mattering most - we've posted more than a few mixes from abandoned projects where, while the cancelled album release in & of itself is a major bummer, the silver lining is some amazing arrangements that still (more than) stand on their own. So it is here; the atmosphere that these three musicians create, with this creative, reflective, & cerebral-but-still-intuitive arrangement... absolutely brilliant. Highly recommended!



Latest 2 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2022-08-29 14:50:46

This is one of the most evocative mixes I have heard in a long time. Not exactly toe-tappin', but incredibly good listening all the same.

This is some great "music to test headphones to" material, as well!

on 2022-08-11 00:07:48
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Secret of Evermore (Square , 1995, SNES)
Music by Jeremy Soule,Julian Soule
"Dog Maze"

Tags (11)

Arrangement > Minimalist
Arrangement > Trio
Origin > Collaboration
Production > Live Instruments

File Information

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