Posted 2023-05-19, evaluated by the judges panel

A warm welcome back to German ReMixer Woody/mC, who's treating us once more to a lovely solo pipe organ Zelda arrangement, this time visiting the dream land of Koholint from Link's Awakening! Woody was pleased with the feedback, approval & reaction to his first featured mixpost, which has led to this follow-up submission, a fresh opportunity to improvise with another classic franchise theme in "Ballad of the Wind Fish":

"Seeing my submission from last summer pop up in the database was such a overwhelming surprise!

Every single judge's analysis and comments meant a lot to me and were a great source of insight for me about how you encounter a completely unknown and -- compared to other submissions -- unconventional piece. This encouraged me to submit another impro from the Zelda series, which I consider to be one of my most "flawless" works of the recent past and "the dreamy cousin" of my last (OoT-related) submission. It's one of my VGM favs so far. To be honest, this has been on my to-do list literally for ages, but, whew, finally I sat down and got a decent recording almost "by accident"! :-]

This impro somehow developed by itself when I sat down at the organ bench for a nightly impro session. IIRC, I had finished a casual playthrough of the TLoZ:LA Switch remake a few days ago and was in a mood to relive a ten-year-old-me experience, where I had to cry heavily during the credits when Koholint Island and all of its inhabitants that I got used to during gameplay just dissolved into a bunch of clear pixels.

That's why my VOD illustration uses the Switch intro and outro cutscenes: If listeners can get emotional and/or nostalgic, I'm pretty sure they can feel the same despair; and with my "improvised ending version", things aren't as happy and heroic as the original end credits OST lets you get away with in contrast.

Like my previous debut submission (OCR04349), "Koholint Serenade" is a completely improvised work, played on-spot without any sheets. Every aspect reproduced from the original tune was picked up solely by ear and arranged on-the-fly, which -- again -- makes it a unique creation that I cannot revise, replay, rearrange, or otherwise "polish" in any way that keeps the overall mood setting intact.

From a dynamics point of view, the piece is pretty quiet and serene (compared to the OoT one) and does not follow my "ramp up" pattern that I stress quite often; instead, there's a clear eight-secs highlight at 1:31 spiking out to grab the listeners' attention for the upcoming drama that requires them to listen closely. Usage of a third in relation to the base note is one of my favorite patterns that I adapted from Bach music in particular, although I'm not playing very much (if not at all) of Bach music on any pipe organ I encounter. However, this third-on-base pattern is so striking and tense to me that I used it somewhat instinctively here, I guess... Lots of 7th and 9th chords here and there in the soft "strings" stops section are meant to build up the "serene counterpart" in the quieter sections of the piece, while a constant "heartbeat" in the pedals (= bass stops) provides a sometimes-changing pulse as a contrast to the long-drawn, breathing notes. Remember, a Wind Fish is just a giant flying organ bellow with lots of air in it... ;-)

Interleaved lower- and higher-pitched flutes in the later sections of the piece make this sound almost like a conversation between the Wind Fish and the birds flying over the ocean to me.

For the full emotional experience, I highly recommend to watch the VOD in order to let the combo of music and supporting visuals do their work and provide you with an "alternate end credits theme" for the game that initially drew me into the Zelda universe about 30 years ago. Have fun!"

Whether it's jazz or really any musical approach employing copious improv, one of the big risks relative to our arrangement standards is that an artist can get too indulgent and lose focus on directly invoking & arranging the VGM source material for most of the track. Thankfully, this was juuuuust on the right side of the seesaw. To be upfront with how some folks will react to this, though supportive in his vote, judge MindWanderer felt like this was monotonous; I, on the other hand, had to timestamp the moments of arrangement with pretty active listening, so my reaction's different, but I can empathize with where he's coming from. Though I could be misinterpreting Woody's perspective, it was very interesting seeing his comments about attempting to relive a "ten-year-old-me experience", as the slow and deliberate tempo here doesn't give me child-like imagery. However, this piece does strike me as mellow and contemplative, as well as an instance where you could easily zone out and sit in the ambiance of so many held notes. prophetik music had a ton of insight & appreciation for Woody's performance with his play-by-play reactions:

"beautiful registration on the initial melodic intro. i love the clarity of that tone selection. similarly, beautiful job passing the little fanfares between hands around the 1:00 mark to about 1:30. 1:31 gives us the biggest hit of organ, but the immediate contrast provided by the following sections was more meaningful in that light.

counterpoint around the melodic material at 1:56 was also nice. the continual approach to play the initial melodic riff with nothing else there is so fitting given the context of the game. the continued use of pedals to offset and make unsure the chords above them is a neat concept as well.

whatever registration you're using at 3:05 is neat specifically because of the additional amount of air tone you're getting. i can't tell if it's intentional or not but it's a very organic choice. the pedal arpeggios at 3:43 are neat since they give the impression of something larger than yourself moving in the background, and allow a much more introspective and patient representation of the melody than you'd be able to get otherwise. i'm at almost 5 minutes and i don't feel it's dragged much at all.

if i'm not mistaken, the chord structure used at this section of the arrangement reflects what you did at the beginning, yes? i wouldn't have minded some more interpretation here since it's similar registration for the left hand. i also didn't care for the lead that intro'd at 5:29 - i like the concept, but it's just too strong compared to the rest of the parts - maybe something more on the string spectrum? the following use of it at 6:35ish was much more enjoyable.

around 7 minutes and i'm starting to notice the duration of the work. the last few minutes have felt more homogenous than i think you intended. right on cue, though, there's some variance especially in the pedal bass and chord structures and tempi (did your foot slip at 7:15 or is that just room resonance?), which is overdue but welcome. the settling down towards the final chord is great, just so patient and fulfilling. the voicing on said chord (this might be my headphones) is a little fifth-dominant and i don't hear the fundamental as much as i'd hoped, but it's still a solid resolution.

overall i think this is a great addition to the community. i think this isn't as intentional, integrated, or in-depth as your last arrangement was, but i still am enjoying it a lot."

Fellow judge DarkSim kept it brief, admitted it took some listens to warm up to, yet the tone, tempo, and feeling of the experience all clicked nicely for him:

"Another fascinating improvisation, Woody! Took me a couple of listens to get into it, but it really is a serene, and very well performed piece. I love the approach as well, to have the source in mind, but to use it as a base to improvise off for 8 minutes, and produce something entirely original and organic.

I especially enjoyed the 'heartbeat' style 2-note arpeggiated chords that appear from 4:31. The steady pace of them helps the piece flow, and the rhythmic changes and slowdown from 6:36 are an inspired way to wind down the piece gently and wistfully."

Whether you're into more action instead like MindWanderer, detailed analysis like prophetik, or the broad strokes like DarkSim, we all agreed on the judges panel this is well worth you taking it for a spin. This isn't a track that'll boast a 1.000 listens-to-appreciation batting average, and that's OK. Go forward with that in mind, give this special improvised organ performance a fair chance with repeated listens, and see if you wind up like Woody/mC at "Serenity now!" :-)



Latest 3 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2023-05-23 10:33:28

Another good Remix by Woody/mc. I really enjoy your work.

on 2023-05-20 10:29:58

This is definitely not my cup of tea but thanks for the effort nonetheless!

on 2023-05-17 09:13:19
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

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.)"

Tags (8)

Arrangement > Solo
Time > Duration: Long
Time > Tempo: Slow
Usage > Meditation

File Information

13,039,928 bytes


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