ReMix:Chicory: A Colorful Tale "Skipping Stones Down Sips River" 4:38

By Emunator

Arranging the music of one song...

"Sips River"

Primary Game: Chicory: A Colorful Tale (Finji , 2021, WIN), music by Lena Raine

Posted 2024-03-01, evaluated by the judges panel

We've come to the end of our Leap Day celebration of the music of Lena Raine! Since we had three arrangements of her music in the hopper, and this year was a leap year, what better way for us to celebrate her birthday than to post tracks on all three days that Leap Day babies can celebrate their birthdays? :-) Thus, we had ThePlasmas' Celeste piece on Feb. 28th, Navi's Chicory track on Feb. 29th, and now Emunator's part two of a Chicory 1-2 punch today for Mar. 1st! In his writeup for Navi's Chicory ReMix, Emunator eloquently empathized with one potential pitfall of music-making, i.e. the inability to sustainably create. Here for his 20th OC ReMix, Emu also spoke on other harmful forces holding musicians back -- the failure to find inspiration and the need to top one's past works:

"It's been a while since my last solo submission (which, coincidentally, was also a Lena Raine arrangement)! Since I was struggling to come up with any arrangement ideas on my own, I sought some external motivation by signing up for the Pixel Mixers' Indie Games vol. 3 compilation project. I've always admired the level of friendliness and collaboration within the Pixel Mixers community, so I'm deeply grateful for the opportunity to contribute to one of their albums!

Creatively speaking, 2021 and 2022 were years marked by a deep-rooted writer's block and lack of inspiration, so it's no surprise that the themes of Chicory: A Colorful Tale were so resonant with me. The game touches on concepts such as imposter syndrome, perfectionism, and the inextricable link between mental health and creativity, and it speaks to these ideas with such a deep level of emotional intelligence and empathy. It's truly an amazing narrative that I think any artist can relate to in some way.

During my period of writer's block, the time I did spend on music was characterized more by sound design and playing piano, so when I was ready to tackle this arrangement, I leaned into those two areas most heavily. The original "Sips River" source is absolute perfection, so, aside from transposing it to a different key, I left Lena's composition pretty much intact, instead focusing on building up atmosphere with layered keys and bells and a soft percussion groove (which, believe it or not, was loosely inspired by the default Cisco hold music that I unfortunately heard way too much of during my years working in customer service! :'-D).

All in all, there's not really much to say about this from a technical standpoint. It's certainly not my most polished or ambitious remix, but the process of creating it reminded me that it's not reasonable to expect everything you create as an artist to exceed your previous attempts. That mentality will inevitably reach a breaking point where it's no longer sustainable and you end up paralyzed by your own unrealistic expectations. This year, I hope to cultivate a healthier relationship with creativity, focusing less on reaching an arbitrary level of perfection and more on enjoying the creative process and simply making anything at all."

It's been a bright light having Emunator back in the fold, not only as a submissions judge, but as a musical contributor. The drought was indeed real, yet after lifting off once again in 2023, this is his fifth featured OC ReMix in the last five months, one Emu's fellow judges were unanimously struck by, including MindWanderer:

"I really need to play this game! At first, I was worried that a chill, piano-driven acoustic remix of a chill, piano-driven acoustic track wasn't going to be transformative enough. I needn't have been; the electronic approach makes this a very different take. Where the original evokes wonder, the remix evokes joy. It's tough to rearrange something so much and still have it remain a faithful homage; not better, just different. It works in a way I wasn't expecting. A real pleasure to listen to."

This one was also a pleasure for DarkSim, who observed skill in Emu's measured structure and found comfort for the listeners in the reassuring sound palette:

"The creaky sounds from the piano seat make it feel alive and warm, like I'm sitting right there as the pianist is playing. Filtered percussion allows the delicate bells and reverse hits space to breathe and echo, and then when things open up at 2:32 it's a delight. The ebb and flow of the track, and its pacing, is done very well. Nothing is rushed, and the listener can relax and enjoy their trip down Sips River in safe hands.

There's a really interesting chord at 1:16 that's an inspired addition, as is the bridge to 1:40. It's almost uneasy, and as such is a departure from the source, adding more emotional dynamics to the piece that make the highs feel even higher. Wonderful stuff!

No but seriously you should stop ripping off Sigur Rós."

As DarkSim touched on, nice lil' inclusion of sound effects, such as wooden floor planks being leaned on, for some extra organic touches during the intro and quieter sections. The lead at :50 had a hopeful quality to it that sets the tone the whole way through. The source tune's basically the foundation throughout, with creative building blocks of writing and ornamentation surrounding it, with excellent sound design and dynamics from start to finish. It's a gem of a treatment! Funny enough, while Emunator's an unashamedly big Sigur Rós fan, the Sigur Rós/"Samskeyti" similarity seems more a byproduct of the style of Raine's composition, so while I dunno if that was one of her inspirations, I can hear the potential connection. Many, many thanks to Lena Raine herself by the way, for generously taking time out to share her thoughts on all three of our celebratory ReMixes, including praise for Emu's elegant instrumentation:

"Beautifully arranged & played. Really great blend of sounds that elevates the original track. The bass punch of the percussion when it ramps up around 1:45 is especially impactful. Lovely!!"

To have the original composer herself use the word "elevates" is such a special, singular endorsement of the interpretive approach here, so if you're somehow needing that last nudge to try this track, look no further. Raine taking the time out to affirm what these musicians are doing, they're all gonna be so pumped to read her kind words! It means a lot to share something special with her, arrangements that only exist because she initially created something special for us, the players and the VGM fans! We're honored to present this timely three-day event to celebrate of one of VGM's newest shining stars! Fingers crossed for the talented Emunator to join those ranks sometime in the next decade, energized, productive, and validated! :-)



Latest 2 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2024-03-23 23:09:26

If I had to describe this song... I would say that it has a very good "sway" to it. It kind of entrapts you in its' whimsy. (In a good way). Also that ending piano is soooooo good.

on 2024-03-01 20:16:13
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Chicory: A Colorful Tale (Finji , 2021, WIN)
Music by Lena Raine
"Sips River"

Tags (9)

Ambient,New Age
Time > 4/4 Time Signature
Usage > Meditation

File Information

7,759,786 bytes


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