Inspire: The Power of Sound, Ep. 2

This is more or less a shout out to one of my all-time favorite sources of music, and by extension, sources of inspiration.

People who know me decently well know that I favor music from theatrical or gaming origins; I find ambiance and “scene setting” sound to be most preferable in my day-to-day life since I spend a lot of time sitting around thinking about things, people and creatures that don’t exist.

Video game music (or VGM as some folks say) covers as wide a spectrum as all other genres; and, much like musicians or artists found around the world, the masters are imitated, with tribute paid to them. Enter the community of Overclocked ReMix, an organization … dedicated to preserving and paying tribute to video game music through arranging and re-interpreting the songs with new technology and software, as well as by various traditional means. The primary focus of OC ReMix is its website which offers thousands of free fan-made video game music arrangements, information on game music and composers, resources for aspiring artists, and a community forum for video game music fans. [Lifted from Wikipedia.]

Couldn’t have said it better myself. If you’re a fan of game music, there’s a chance you already know about this. If not, you owe it to yourself to check them out.

I have been a listener of OC Remixes for oh I don’t know TEN YEARS, but hardly participated in the community, knowing simply the name OCReMix as a sort of fondly, if distantly known, “author” of a small collection of familiar tunes I played over and over. I would visit the website once every blue moon or so, checking up on some games remix lists and then go on my merry way. Recently, however, it came to my attention how vast the community has grown, how immense and rabid the fanbase really is. It was kind of like discovering a convention where tons of people I’d love to have known, but never knew existed, converged.

In my meanderings, I discovered a kickstarter held by OC ReMix, which had launched and completed totally without my knowing. It is a sincere regret of mine to arrive late to that particular party, as the project involved remixing the soundtracks of one of my all time favorite games, Final Fantasy 6. Yes yes, nostalgia is a factor – it was a Super Nintendo game that I played as a young teen, after all – but I’ve come to realize that while the game itself is pretty good, it was the music that always had me returning. Oh Mr. Uematsu, you rogue.

The album is known as Balance and Ruin, and can be found at the OC Remix website as a torrent or for individual track downloadage. The kickstarter was a resounding success, and having gotten the album I realized how out of touch I’ve been. Indeed, OC ReMix has arranged an entire host of albums, some of which you may find familiar. I’ve been spending the last few weeks catching up.

You can bet that I’ll be there when the next kickstarter comes around. Especially. Especially. If we’re talking Secret of Mana.

May your music bring you inspiration, dear readers. What I have for you today are three tracks that honest-to-Zeus moved me, alright. They may not affect you as deeply as they did me (different associations with the sound, no doubt), but I feel like sharing. It is my hope that if these are completely new to you, that perhaps a door has been opened.

3) The first is from a SNES title, Super Metroid. This’d be a remix of Brinstar, Red Soil Swampy Area, entitled “Lonely Petals.” Mood: Somber piano solo.

2) Next is another SNES game, the aforementioned Secret of Mana. This remix is based off of the track Pure Lands, entitled “Pure Lands in Total Darkness.” Mood: Mystical and dreamy. I owe the artist behind this one for unquantifiable inspiration.

1) And lastly, for today, is from the Balance and Ruin album, from Final Fantasy 6 for the Super Nintendo, Setzer’s Theme. The track is entitled “Full Speed Ahead,” one of my favorites picked out of four discs worth of tracks. Mood: Upbeat and electronic.

A little insight into what goes on in and between the ears of Jesse.

Happy writing, dear readers!

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