Posted 2023-09-20, evaluated by the judges panel

Happy 20th anniversary to Dwelling of Duels! The VGM arrangement compo with a slant toward live performance, DoD has been a huge source of creativity, collaboration, and growth ever since Paragon conceptualized it in the Minibosses' forum home The Shizz way back when. Hard to wrap my head around how old we all are, with OCR's first album Relics of the Chozo releasing 8 days before DoD started, two events that majorly changed the VGM arrangement scene. To celebrate DoD's birthday today, we're got 5 DoD entries that have also been submitted our way, starting off first with Ivan Hakštok's rocked out journey through Atelier Shallie's series of "Stella" themes (with a segment of Atelier Ryza), OCR's first representation from the Atelier RPG series! Ivan was up against some stiff competition when he submitted this in last year's MAGFest DoD competition:

"This was my entry for the December 2021 Dwelling of Duels: Free Month, MAGFest edition, an orchestral/folk/rock/metal medley of "Stella 1, 2 and 3" from Atelier Shallie and "End of Hibernation" from Atelier Ryza. Just like in last year's MAGFest edition of DoD, the quality of the entries was ridiculous, but I somehow placed 2nd behind that guy, T-Dick, and some band called The Tiberian Sons, although it was much closer this time! :) But, honestly, I didn't even expect to make the top 5, there were a ton of great entries.

I've never played any of the games, but I discovered some cool Atelier series music this summer while listening to random Japanese VGM cover artists. I was shocked to see that nobody ever covered anything Atelier both on DoD and OC ReMix, so I thought I might break the ice. :)

Since there are several sources, here's a breakdown:
0:00-0:23 = intro
0:23-1:07 = "Stella 2" intro and verse
1:07-1:25 = "Stella 1" bridge
1:25-2:10 = a combination of "Stella 2" and "Stella 3" choruses
2:10-3:09 = the chords for both the acoustic and the electric solos are based on the chorus sections from all 3 parts
3:09-5:14 = "End of Hibernation", with some extra piano soloing
5:14-5:17 = "Stella 2" intro
5:17-5:41 = just some original doodling
5:41-6:34 = accordion solo over the repeated first 4 bars from "Stella 2" chorus
6:34-7:56 = chorus section repeated a few more times, with a final guitar solo, followed by an outro based on the "Stella 2" intro"

Nice idea tapping into what's been covered on the Japanese side of the scene! (If you know Japanese and follow their VGM arrangement scene, reach out to us.) We always love when arrangers go outside of their nostalgia zones to pick something cool to arrange. You don't HAVE to be unfamiliar with the in-game context of a piece of VGM to come up with interpretive arrangement ideas, but it certainly doesn't hurt. This one clocks in at nearly 8 minutes, and judge MindWanderer enjoyed the journey:

"This is a ton of fun throughout! I never expected where it was going to go next, and yet everything flows smoothly from transition to transition. Such great sounds and performances."

Everything's a rollercoaster ride (and I heard what you did there at 2:43; THAT's a scene joke that even predates DoD), with fellow judge DarkSim exhausting the praise he could give:

"What an absolute treat! I don't know how you managed to blend so many elements together to make this incredible Japanese/Irish vibe that still goes hard, but I loved it. When the chorus comes back at 6:35 (yes, 6:35... it's a long one!) it was immediately recognisable and the arrangement led to it beautifully.

Production is extremely clean (perhaps a little too clean in places), often sounding like the musicians are right there in front of you. Some amazing instrumentation - opening with marimba, Irish pipes, and there's all sorts of flutes and whistles mixed in, and is that a melodica at 1:15 (and later)? You did me dirty though with those Irish pipes. It's one of my favourite instruments/sounds, and we only got 5 seconds of them at the start, and a little bit at 2:18. Booo! More of those please!

There are great solos throughout as well, on both acoustic and electric guitars, and the clapping breakdown is a fun interlude, with more melodica action. We get a fully epic buildup from 5:42, with a very Windwaker-sounding melodica solo leading into a female choir getting the goosebumps going. I said it earlier, but the way that chorus returns at 6:35 is masterful. Just a superb build and transition, with a satisfying and recognisable climax to the song. This is how you do an arrangement!

I've run out of superlatives now, suffice to say, it's 8 minutes of craziness that brought a big smile to my face."

Irish pipes are instrumentation that goes so well with VGM, I'm actually sad we don't have more of it in the greater community. Thank goodness for Ivan giving the listeners a little tasty taste in the midst of an amazingly dynamic rock rendition. DoD's longer tracks are known to fit in loads of potentially disparate ideas into a seamlessly unified front, and Hakštok showed up and showed out with a perfect example of the DoD spirit that also sounds like it would belong on an official arrange album!



Latest 4 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2023-09-22 11:50:07

Soooo good! Sounds like some of the best battle music from Undertale/Deltrarune.

on 2023-09-21 01:19:39

About time this one was posted!

Ivan Hakštok
on 2023-09-20 16:26:38

Sup, I noticed that Atelier Ryza/End of Hibernation is missing from the tags on the remix page, if it's not a problem could you add that? :)

on 2023-09-20 09:31:54
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (4 Songs, 2 Games)

Primary Game:
Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea (Koei Tecmo , 2014, PS3)
Music by Daisuke Achiwa,Hayato Asano,Kazuki Yanagawa,Sen
"Stella -Part 1-"
"Stella -Part 2-"
"Stella -Part 3-"
Additional Game:
Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout (Koei Tecmo , 2019, PS4)
Music by Asami Mitake,Hayato Asano,Kazuki Yanagawa,Kosuke Mizukami,Shin-ichiro Nakamura,Takashi Saeki
"End of Hibernation"

Tags (18)

Folk,Progressive Rock,Rock
Acoustic Guitar,Brass,Chromatic Percussion,Electric Guitar,Orchestral,Piano,Strings,Woodwinds
Origin > Competition > Dwelling of Duels
Production > Live Instruments
Regional > Celtic
Time > Duration: Long

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