In our special family theme for these recent mixposts, we've had Xaleph collab with his daughter as well as NoTuX inspired by his daughter, and now we ring in another round-number milestone! ReMix #4500 offers up OCR's very first FF14 arrangement, DarkeSword's fatherly tribute with cultural touchstones for his newborn son! :-) Proud papa Shariq articulated how Indian history was reflected in FF14: Stormblood's story, as well wanting to pass on the tradition of Bollywood musical appreciation given by his father onto his son:
"This one is perhaps one of the most personal remixes I've ever written.
In late 2022, my wife was expecting. We'd already suffered a loss at the end of 2020, so there was a lot of stuff going through my mind this time around. I started thinking a lot about what kind of dad I was going to be, and what kind of dad I wanted to be, which got me thinking about my own dad. My dad played a lot of music in the house growing up, and, on top of all of the VGM I listened to as a kid, the Bollywood music he played was burned into my brain. In the past year or so, I'd been re-listening and rediscovering Indian music; a lot of the stuff from movies I watched as a teenager by great composers like Jatin-Lalit, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, and of course, A.R. Rahman. I listen to and appreciate it differently now, because I've got 20+ years of being a musician in me. So I thought a lot about that and how I wanted to share that with my son, because music is (along with food) one of the big two ways you can really connect with your heritage.
Final Fantasy XIV's Stormblood expansion is a game that centers colonial and post-colonial trauma in its handling of Ala Mhigo and Doma, about how an empire (Garlemald) steals what they have and leaves them broken, poor, and angry. Stormblood is often thought of as the East Asian expansion; there's quite a lot Japanese and Chinese aesthetic in there. But, for me, when you look at the themes of imperialism and colonialism in the narrative, that says "India". India is a country that still deals with post-colonial trauma because an empire (Great Britain) stole what they had and left them broken, poor, and angry. "The Measure of His Reach", in the fiction of the game, is a song that is stolen by the empire but is ultimately reclaimed by the people. The motif is everywhere in the game, and its usage feels off until you understand the empire's thievery and who it really belongs to.
There's a phenomenal Bollywood movie from 2001 called Lagaan. It means "tax", and it's about a village that makes a bet with the British Empire that if they win a cricket match against a team of British officers, they don't have to pay taxes for 3 years. It's an incredible, high-budget movie that was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. The village in the movie has a real desert-and-mountains aesthetic, which reminds me a lot of the villages you find in some of Stormblood's areas. The music in this movie is by A.R. Rahman, and it's one of his finest works, and a massive influence on my own writing.
I was thinking a lot about all of this, and what "The Measure of His Reach" means and how it's used, and I wanted to try something. So, I dug around and picked out some sample libraries I have from buying Komplete a few years ago. There's some synth stuff and a bed of cymbals from a jazz kit and the Una Corda piano, but mostly everything else is from the Spotlight: India collection. I did some big drums and a big, percussive santur and contrasted it with the airy bansuri. "The Measure of His Reach" doesn't have a lot of material to work with, so shifted to "Beyond the Wall" for a bit in the middle for variety. I played around a little with the rhythm of the melody, putting upbeats on downbeats and vice-versa. I thought a lot about A.R. Rahman's music from Lagaan. I wanted to evoke the joy of a big blue sky over dusty mountains.
The title of this track is "In Mountains We Will Sleep." I hope you all enjoy it."
The path to parenthood was strenuous for Shariq and his wife, something my wife and I were honored to help with in an extremely small way at the beginning of their extended journey -- for their intended first child, may their memory be a blessing. Among OCR's staff, even when our challenges arrive in the unlikeliest of places, we're a community -- dare I say, a family -- that aims to pull together. Now, DarkeSword's musical interests, creative passions, and cultural identity have been joined together in a delicate, contemplative piece that's beautiful and resonant for all of us listeners, yet it also represents so much more for a man now at the start of his most important journey: building, nuturing, and leaving a meaningful legacy as a father. Here's to the kiddos that encourage us to be our best selves! Given what I've seen from DarkeSword's thoughtfulness and character, there's no doubt that, as a dad, we'll one day marvel at the measure of his reach. :-)
on 2023-11-06 00:26:46
This is in conversation for Shariq's best. I love how much thought he put into the arrangement about connecting Ala Mhigo to India here. The whole thing comes together fantastically well, and I like that it manages to have a little Dad-joke energy with the slightly-forced Prelude sweep in the mix. It just feels right, haha...and it fits the narrative of this piece as a gift / example to his son perfectly.
on 2023-11-02 19:28:20
As always, I love how Shariq creates such a rich soundscape with sounds that are, on their own, fairly simple. Rich and lush. The percussion work especially stands out.
But man..... I can also hear so much emotion packed into this mix. The whole thing is just gushing with the sense of the fragile-yet-infinite potential of a new born child.
on 2023-11-02 17:27:46
I really want to talk about how this track makes me feel. That's not something I usually talk about, but this seems to be the appropriate time to do so.
Optimism and hopefulness. Wonder and amazement. Eyes open to the possibility of a new world or first-time experience.
This is truly an ode to your son as I know you will give him everything possible within this world. I have no attachment to the source or Final Fantasy XIV at all, and the thought of all of this has brought joy and warmth to me today.
Stunning, emotive, and breathtaking. Bravo.
on 2023-10-24 10:20:54
Sources Arranged (3 Songs)
- Primary Game:
Final Fantasy XIV (Square Enix
Music by Masayoshi Soken,Naoshi Mizuta,Nobuko Toda,Nobuo Uematsu,Tsuyoshi Sekito,Yoshitaka Suzuki
- "Beyond the Wall"
"Prelude - Long March Home"
"The Measure of His Reach"
- Regional > Indian
Time > 4/4 Time Signature
- 9,203,717 bytes
- Size: 9,203,717 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: db88a96c46077afcc20958a2bebe8614
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