New for this update:"Chasing Leaves", "Power and Glory", "Scaling the Peaks", and "Tiger Fangs".
Previous update:"Jolly Old Man" and "Now, Let Me Challenge You!!!".
This project continues from 2002. It will accompany the RPGMaker 2000 game by a certain Drew, aka Madmog96. :) To tell the truth, I'm a bit worried about the name, as it sounds an awful lot like a certain Star Wars fighting game...but it's not my call. ;)
If you've listened to some of my other soundtrack work, you may remember that they were mostly one-time-through tracks, since they were written as they were to be used by the game software. But for this release, I determined that once I finished a track and saved it, I'd also save a version with a loop and proper fadeout. That is why the great majority of tracks here have the "ost" in the name; they are meant to be in the same vein as an "original soundtrack".
The Sakuraba factor
When one is as big a fan of games and their music as I am, that music is bound to have an effect on me and my work. Final Fantasy's Nobuo Uematsu, Chrono Trigger/Cross's Yasunori Mitsuda, and Dragon Warrior's Koichi Sugiyama have been an influence in times past.
But for this go-around, the source of inspiration is Motoi Sakuraba (moe-TOE-ee SAH-koo-RAH-bah). I first heard of him through the music of Star Ocean 2, but the fact is he's scored a lot more games than this series. A LOT more. "Golden Sun", "Tales of Phantasia/Destiny/Eternia", "Valkyrie Profile", "Shining Force 3", "Shining the Holy Ark"...even the first "Hot Shots Golf" and all the "Mario Golf" games since! :)
And it's not just games, either. Thanks to fellow Sakuraba fans out there, I learned quite a bit. Sakuraba is a progressive keyboardist. In other words, he's in the company of virtuosos such as Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman. And trust me, folks, HE CAN PLAY UP A STORM. :D This became quite clear to me after seeing his live concert in 2003; I have both the album and DVD.
In the mid-late 1980s, he was the member of a Japanese band called Deja Vu, which sadly was around for only one album, "Baroque in the Future". After that, he released a solo album of his own called "Gikyokuonsou"...which roughly translates to "dramatic sound creation" or "strange music." ;) It was then that he brought his composing sensibilities into the game industry, and earned a new - and grateful - audience.
But enough of the history lesson...onto the music. For this project, I'll mostly be tackling Sakuraba-san's progressive style myself. Count on unusual rhythms, fiery synth solos, and a lot more "gikyokuonsou" of my own. Enjoy!
A Wistful Lullabye
This track has actually been around for ages, it seems. I wrote it out to test the speakers on my younger brother's PC at the time, but never put it anywhere. So rather than keep it secret, I decided to give it to this game. It's a simple music-box melody with string accompaniment.
Anthem of Terrasskasi
To be fair, Sakuraba isn't all about full-scale keyboard assault. With Star Ocean, he showed a more orchestral side. That's what I'm attempting here...a grand, majestic piece. Of course, this has essentially been my style all along. ;P
Dreams of Good and Evil
The concept for this piece is the dream the main character has at the very beginning of the game. Both evil and good entities speak to him, but why is unclear. The music covers both, with the balance more towards the evil side. Of course, if it wasn't that way, it wouldn't be much of an RPG, would it? ;)
The main hero and his friend train out in the country with an eccentric old man who was once a great warrior. This gentle, laid-back piece is for the tranquil setting...at least when there's not any training going on... :)
Jolly Old Man
...and here's that eccentric old man. I just KNEW I had to make his theme a funny and quirky piece...and that exactly how it came out. ;)
Now, Let Me Challenge You!!!
As I said, it's tranquil ONLY when there's no training. And here comes the training now!!! :D This takes a bit from "Jolly Old Man" but strikes out as its own upbeat, happy battle track. I REALLY like it.
For the overworld, I was looking for something in between Star Ocean 2's "Field of Expel" and Tales of Phantasia's "Second Act", and I think I succeeded. I love how the French Horn turned out, and the surprise waltz in the middle ended up working very well. (But why does it sound a bit like one of the themes from "Super Mario Land"?!? :P THAT was unintentional...)
Commerce and Comraderie
RPGs have towns, and towns must have themes. :) So I take some twangy guitar, a hoppy flute/saxophone duet, and a quirky rhythm...and presto! I love the happy sound of this track.
...and I was so pleased with that drum pattern that I immediately recycled it for one of my hymn arrangements. ;)
Towns have inns, and thus a little sleep motif. A gentle quotation of the Anthem on piano.
Flashback of History
Part of the plot involves "Bug Callers", antagonistic beings that summon the large insects of the island to use against the human population. As the history of the island is explained, this theme plays. Low strings accompany a piano melody that I've constructed with different time signatures. It is repeated with additional string harmony, and a trio of woodwinds, before wrapping up with a melody hinting at the main theme.
Down at the Pub
In past games, I've seen that pubs and tavern-type establishments tend to have a jazzy background theme behind them, and so I went in that direction as well. Less progressive than the others; if only for a brief moment, you hear from the "old me." ;)
Ever a Rival
Our heroes have these two bullies who are always picking on them...and their names escape me at the moment. <;) But anyways, here's their theme for when they show up in town. A bit of hard rock that's supposed to make them sound cool...in their own eyes, at least. :)
Oh yeah...and you'll get to fight 'em, too! So this takes the previous theme and progs it up with Hammond organ and synth. I really like this one.
Just Plain Silly
Goofy events require goofy music. And on this one, I think our jazz musicians went a little crazy... ;)
Within a Dark Cavern
Another one that was sitting around for a long time. It was originally an experiment with the C chord on the piano, which you can hear in the strings. When I dusted it off for this project, I rewrote the middle section for the synths, and added more backbone to the rhythm. But it still sounds like something is missing...
BATTLE THEME!!! :D
This was the first thing I wrote for this project. As you can see, I committed to the prog idea from the start, and was delighted to have come up with such an energetic track. And as you can hear, the first part of the trumpet melody became the "Terrasskasi motif" itself, which appears in "Anthem". But believe it or not, Dire Straits' "Why Worry" was a bit of influence on this track as well. Can you spot how? :)
A Joyful Noise
Well, THAT'S descriptive enought, ain't it? ;) Essentially just a quick brassy fanfare to celebrate another successful monster thrashing.
So for the first regular Boss Battle theme, I thought, "Just how crazy can I make this?" Well, start out with a MOST UNCONVENTIONAL timing, and eventually move into something more mainstream with an energetic trumpet line. Then, just for fun, kick into DOUBLE-TIME! And oh..trip them up with a triplet-based slowdown. And finally, don't forget that you have to END with that MOST UNCONVENTIONAL timing so it loops correctly. :) As wild as the end product is, I just love listening to this track.
Game Over... :(
It's bound to happen, and so this solemn piano piece of the Anthem rises to the task.
True story...in the spring of 2002 I visited my friends in Wales again. On the way back to London, when I was riding with one of them, his cell phone began to ring. And the ring sounded just like an SOS call! :D Well, that got some wheels spinning in my head. "Hmmm," I wondered, "how can I USE that?" This "hurry-up" track is the answer, with the horn section rising to the task.
Of all these tracks, this is one of the most Sakurabesque...and I don't care if that's a real word or not. >;) I tried to emulate his fiery-synth-solo playing here, and used some pretty warped chords as well. I actually took out my keyboard - which I can't play!!! - in order to figure out what terrifying combos to come up with! :)
I originally wrote this piece for a church project, but it now serves double-duty as the forest theme for the game. A light jazzy piece...wish that bit before the loop-back was a bit more inspired... :\
First Time in the Big City
Here's ANOTHER true story...when I first thought of this tune, it was waaaaaaaay back in elementary school. In this one reading class book was the famous poem "The Owl and the Pussycat". With this particular reader was a series of cassette tapes where a narrator (and his funny ghost sidekick) read along with the stories. I never heard the narrator fellow read this poem, but in my often vivid imagination, I imagined him SINGING the poem! :D Most of this tune is what that is...although my original concept was more of a big-band feel.
What remains, however, is a happy and upbeat song for when our characters enter one of the game's larger cities. And I love it. Will you? <;)
Power and Glory
This is supposed to be a castle theme. However, the day I wrote it, I was kinda sleepy. As a result, there's more of a hypnotic edge that's really not too powerful OR glorious. A decent tune anyway.
View of a Mountain
Yet ANOTHER abandoned scrap of tuneage, this one dates all the way back to college. In one of my music classes, I did an attempt at a round. The idea was the motif being repeated in progressively (no pun intended ;) higher octaves as if someone was looking at a tall mountain from base to top.
Scaling the Peaks
Now the climb begins! This upbeat, piano-starring track is for the actual mountain scenario itself that our heroes must climb. The bridge, with its sudden shift in rhythm, calls back to the previous pieces main motif. It took a few tries to get this piece right, but I'm very happy with the way it finally tuned out.
If you've been around the rest of my site, you probably stumbled across a piece called "Clean Penny", written for one of my sister's cats. Well, this is for the other one, a rambunctious kitten called Casey. She's quite fond of dashing about the house, and biting any hand that dares come close when she's in crazy mode. :) This piece captures her wild nature quite well, and it's here to serve as a major boss theme.