ReMix:Super Metroid "Submergence" 4:31

By 744

Arranging the music of 2 songs from 2 games ( view all )...

"Maridia - Rocky Underground Water Area", "Title"

Primary Game: Super Metroid (Nintendo , 1994, SNES), music by Kenji Yamamoto (I), Minako Hamano

Posted 2023-06-16, evaluated by the judges panel

Confidence. Some of the most talented can find it lacking. Some of the most untalented can find it in abundance. When it comes to the creative arts, it's great to have. But it's essential to test it out and earn it in the real world. And thus, we have this submission, a chance that 744 (Ben Brownlee) used to try some different ideas, yet one where he found himself faltering in confidence that it would pass the judges panel. The day after I voted on it, he coincidentally mentioned, "My mix might as well be withdrawn from the panel. Not super sure why I submitted it. It's kind of all over the place. I'm reasonably sure it'll get a NO but it can stay. It was one of this projects where I was in a rush to just complete something."

744's had the good fortune to have FTL composer Ben Prunty sincerely impressed with and expressing gratitude for his interpretations, so I know what he's capable of. I've said in interviews as well that two of the most needlessly modest -- to the point of self-deprecating -- artists I've ever known in this community are Israfel and Quinn Fox, who weren't down on their work as much as feeling that it just wasn't that strong -- a pair whose stylish work I, and many others, have listen to and loved.

What builds confidence? What's grows confidence? Around OC ReMix, in the context of musical growth, we believe in looking at one initial step back as the prelude to two eventual steps forward. But before we walk down that road, 744 explains the creation of his cinematically-minded vision of Samus in Super Metroid's "Maridia - Rocky Underground Water Area":

"Super Metroid has this nice atmospheric, uncertain, mysterious theme that really nails the lonesome feeling the game has. I wanted to capture that lonesome feel in kind of a more dramatic way than the SNES was capable of in 1994 (not that it did a bad job at all).

I had this project sitting around unfinished for a long time; I'd thought it had been maybe two years or so... but I checked and the file creation date was late 2014! Originally, it had been completely orchestrated, but it was kind of plodding, a bit too contemplative, and just generally slow and boring. There wasn't any expressiveness to it, having been a lazy transcription, and it just sounded flat. I swapped to more realistic-sounding orchestra libraries and added some expression, but it still sounded a bit monotonous. A suggestion from a friend was to make it into a "montage," which I didn't understand at first. He said "Like, what if there was a four-minute-long Metroid movie trailer that you needed to score? Add an action scene," which then resulted in the more upbeat guitar section, which I feel adds the variation that was needed.

The end result is that it does sound like a montage. It starts sounding lonely and dark, then gets a bit determined with a military snare and a pulsed bass synth. Then follows the action scene and a little bit of electric guitar noodling, maybe representing the boss fight against Draygon. Then there's an atmospheric section -- maybe Samus is exhibiting the trope of walking away from an explosion she's not looking at before a fade to black -- with long sustains with the Metroid title motif behind it. Here, I used a couple sounds that were used in the Metroid Prime trilogy soundtracks for atmosphere, but kept them relatively subtle (thanks SynaMax, for pointing out where to find said sounds, by the way). Afterward, the lonely oboe then comes back to lead into the ending with the piano closing things out (where the Metroid title motif briefly shows up again). I spent many hours crafting automation of both instrument parameters and the overall tempo to get the orchestrated bits to sound as expressive and as human as I could achieve, and I think it works well enough. This was also a very difficult mix production-wise; for a long time, things just sounded like mud, more mud, and "Oh, hey, I think there's a melodic line in there behind all those strings, but I can't be sure", but, after a few more hours, I got it cleaned up pretty nicely.

I swear that submitting so many water-themed mixes is not intentional; that's just how things kind of worked out. It's just that water level themes are (usually) awesome (even if the levels themselves are often more frustrating...).

Once again, thanks for taking the time to listen, and for all you do!"

It's a pleasure to have to venue to say to 744 and anyone else working on improving their craft -- especially those with some wins already under their belt -- stay the course, be proud of what you've already accomplished, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable in the Dunning–Kruger effect's valley of despair (where I'd wager I'd found Israfel and Quinn). :-) The only eventual way out is forward and upward, and that comes with test after test, experiment after experiment, and reach after reach outside of one's comfort zone. It doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to get done, as evidenced by the positive, yet critical (yet POSITIVE) feedback from judge Gario:

"Well this track certainly goes places, I'll give it that - and I generally really enjoyed where it went. I thought this would be a highly atmospheric yet relatively conservative arrangement at first, but those pad sweeps at 2:40 with that almost Metroid Prime lead in the background were both unexpected and fantastic. Production is also top notch, with a nice, rich soundscape to keep with the spirit of the source.

The only point against it would be the guitar performance at 1:41 - 2:26 - there was a lot of lag where the notes landed. Some of it sounded intentional, almost rubato, but most just sounded like they landed a fraction of a beat too late. Ideally these kinds of performances could either be tightened up or the landings could be adjusted or quantized post production, but at the end of the day it doesn't sink an otherwise fantastic arrangement.

And fantastic this arrangement is; the slow build-up of instruments, the rich soundscape, the sweeping pads, it all works and works very well. I think it has a home on the front page as is, regardless of my nit picks."

Sure, the guitars aren't perfect, but they got it done. This source tune has another amazingly emotive take with Theophany's "Avien", and I'd argue 744's final section at 3:49 in particular also hits that same solemn tone. All throughout, there's indeed a lot to love here with the instrumentation, sound design, and arrangement choices, so as I've said about others and will continue to beat the drum on, don't put OCR's process on a pedastal and self-judge your work -- that means not holding back your submissions entirely AND also not treating your actual submissions "NO" verdicts as fait accompli.

So where does earned confidence come from?? Actively seeking out as many attempts to prove yourself as possible, stretching, growing, failing... and doing it over & over again. Until there's comfort in discomfort.

Ben. Don't submerge your confidence. You've earned more than enough to justify having it. :-)

― Liontamer


Latest 3 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2024-03-28 13:51:37

This remix definitely sets a MOOD. My favorite part of the song was the first minute and a half, great stuff!

on 2023-06-17 05:01:54

I'm not familiar with the source tune so I mostly view it as a track in and of itself and I am really into it. Really good use of movement spacially and you gotta love that oboe. I am especially a fan of the journey it takes you on while still keeping you centered around a theme. Wonderful work and I'm glad I got to hear it!

on 2023-06-16 12:31:16
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (2 Songs, 2 Games)

Primary Game:
Super Metroid (Nintendo , 1994, SNES)
Music by Kenji Yamamoto (I),Minako Hamano
"Maridia - Rocky Underground Water Area"
Additional Game:
Metroid (Nintendo , 1986, NES)
Music by Hirokazu Tanaka

Tags (11)

Electric Guitar,Oboe,Piano,Strings,Synth
Time > Tempo: Variable

File Information

7,254,542 bytes


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