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22.03.03 - Night Ride Across the Caucus

This time we have an amazing number of submissions from Justus Johnston. Plenty of music for all of you to listen. No vocal polyphony submissions yet, but I've heard a lot of rumblings of people working on such pieces, so as soon as you get them finished, send them by here! We're down to just under two months left before the challenge is over, so let's get some entries.

Lots of music from some games we don't normally get, for example, the Ys series or the Lufia series. Oh well, all the better to expose some of you guys to some stuff you might not have played or heard before.

Keep the submissions coming in and I'll try to get the ye olde update out a little bit quicker for next time. Oh, and before I forget, last week quote winner was Nathan Skky, who correctly identified Celia Cruz as being the musician and singer behind La vida es una carnaval. This week's title advantage goes to the Canadian readers.

Matthew "guifa" Stuckwisch

Music Submissions -

This week's audio picks
To Zanarkand Once Again (Final Fantasy X)
Zell 88

It's To Zanarkand but I've written Cello, French Horn and Flute parts. I've changed some instruments too.

Canal (Ys 2)
Stephen Hoskins

Hey. I'm a huge fan of Ys books I and II. I love the music in the game so much that I've been obsessed with trying to write it out. Maybe you'll enjoy it. Maybe you won't. Let me know what you think!

Original Sinner (Final Fantasy X)
Matthew Davidson, aka Nukkus

This is how I believe Original Sin should have been originally. I've woven strands of a few familliar tunes into the mix, try and pick them out. I really suck at writing these descriptions, so I'll leave it at that.

Ending 2 (Castlevania: Circle of the Moon)
Justus Johnston

I don't know why exactly, but this song struck me for some reason.  But yeah, this is a pretty straightforward remake, meaning that I tried my very best to make it sound as much like the original as possible, so nothing too special here.

Battle Theme (Golden Sun)
Justus Johnston

I like Motoi Sakuraba's music pretty well.  Mostly though, it just doesn't get enough credit...though really nothing that isn't Square or Final Fantasy does anyway.  Anyway, yeah, just another remake, and trying to swell the oh-so-thin ranks of Sakuraba and Gameboy Advance MIDIs on the 'net

Venus Lighthouse (Golden Sun)
Justus Johnston

Man, I LOVE this song.  I really don't understand why there isn't a decent MIDI of it out there yet.  Oh, one more thing I should mention: for most of my non-remixes (remakes), I DO usually add an ending.

Battle 3 (Grandia)
Justus Johnston

Now Sakuraba's alright, but the general cold shoulder given to Noriyuki Iwadare of Lunar/Grandia/Langrisser non-fame is an absolute crime.  This is the 2nd disc's battle theme, and one of the best battle themes ever made.  I always felt that the battle theme was the most important track in an RPG, since it's the one you hear the most often.

Battle Theme (Lunar 2: Eternal Blue)
Justus Johnston

Another great (overlooked) classic.  most people who have played this game, played the Playstation version, in which they axed the CD music (converting it to relatively horrid sounding MIDI) to make room for the FMVs.  This MIDI most closely represents what is heard in the original Sega CD version of the song (with the addition of the ending added in the soundtrack CD)

A Tribute to Ys (Ys 1 & 2)
Justus Johnston

This is a medley consisting of some of my favorite tunes from one of the best (and most often ported/remade) games of all time, Ys 1&2 by Nihon Falcom!  If anyone asked who my favorite game composer was, it would, hands down, be Ryo Yunemitsu and the JDK Band.  I tried to choose tunes that are not remade very often (in any of the 39 or so Ys Remix albums out there), and to remix them in a way you wouldn't expect.

A Teary Eyed Swordsman (Ys 3: Wanderers from Ys)
Justus Johnston

The song itself, in game, never caught my attention that much.  It's what you hear inside certain buildings in towns, but when I heard the version from Ys 4 Perfect Collection, I fell in love with the tune, so this MIDI is basically a remake (not a remix) of the version of the song off of Ys 4 Perfect Collection.

The Dawn of Ys - Retro Mix (Ys 4: The Dawn of Y's)
Justus Johnston

This was really made to be an MP3.  It's got analog sounds, sound effects (like wind and thunder, etc.), so as a MIDI, it may not sound entirely right. At any rate, just be patient through the first 10 seconds or so, which should come out as silence in the MIDI (in the recording, there's a thunder storm sound byte).  This one IS an actual remix of sorts.  I really liked the music in Ys 4, but it always felt kind of mellow compared to the earlier Ys games, so in this remix, I have tried to reconstruct the robust (and largely percussion heavy) feel of the earlier Ys games while at the same time lengthening it into a multipart song (my version is 4:50 compared to the original which is 1:23 or so), complete with a gratuitous guitar solo in the middle, just like most of the songs in Ys 1&2.

Theme of Adol '93 (Ys 4: The Dawn of Y's)
Justus Johnston

Another remake, once again from the Perfect Collection version (disk 3, track 1 specifically).  This particular Ys song has no MIDI version I've ever found, either good or bad, so this is of course my way of trying to fill that gape.  After all, if even Final Fantasy's mediocre songs (of which there are more than many people would admit) manage to get MIDI arrangements, than each of the dozens of Ys tracks that never get even a simple remake like this are crimes against humanity.  At any rate, this particular Theme of Adol sounds much like previous Themes of Adol from the first three games, and in-game it is heard inside the Mountain Shrine.

Memories of the Last War OP Remix (Lufia and the Fortress of Doom)
Justus Johnston

This is the first of several OP or "Operation Priphea" remixes I did for Lufia.  Original I was going to make an entire OP album (kind of like Project Majestic Mix, only for a less oft-remixed-for-and-over-undeservedly-popular-game-series), but I ultimately didn't have either the time or patience to finish the project, except for five tracks, one of which is way too awful to share.  My idea with OP was to model it after the Perfect Collection albums Falcom does - meaning that the core feel of the songs are not changed, but almost in a way rewritten in the same style.  This was the second of those tracks (the first was the awful one).  In the game, this tune is heard during the introduction sequence when you first start a new game, and text on-screen is explaining the history of the war with the sinistrals 100 years ago.  This song always had an orchestral feel to it that I didn't wish to lose, but I combined that feeling with rich analog sounds to hopefully create a rich ambience that the actual SNES was never quite capable of.

Holy Victim OP Remix (Lufia and the Fortress of Doom)
Justus Johnston

This was the fifth and final OP remix I did.  You hear this during sad moments in the game, and first when Selan is dying after the battle with the Sinistrals.  This remix was largely a celebration of a new slow string ensemble patch that I took great pains in developing, which I think turned out quite well if I do say so myself.  I feel I could have done better with the middle section though.

The Last Dual OP Remix (Lufia and the Fortress of Doom)
Justus Johnston

You can't mention Lufia music in my opinion without conjuring up this song to memory.  This is one of my favorite video game music peices ever made.  When I first discovered the game, I had rented it from a Blockbuster, and up to that point I had been fairly certain the game would be horrible (since I was 14 and I had never heard of it before, and I thought of myself then as having had such a huge video game repertoire).  When I got to the introduction segment with the history, I began to think that I may enjoy this game.  When that sequence ended though, this song (the BGM for the Fortress of Doom) started up, and I was immediately and terminally hooked to the game series thereafter.  Despite the SNES version's out-of-tune string sample, the song really moved me in a way I wasn't expecting; I found it haunting, courageous, and warm all at the same time.  I have tried my best in this remix to capture the same feeling the original always provoked in me, with the addition of a Falcom-like gratuitous guitar solo in the middle.

The Last Dual - Happy Hardcore Mix (Lufia and the Fortress of Doom)
Justus Johnston

What can I say?  I loved this song so much, I made two remixes of it.  It is a techno remix, and I freely admit that I have a lot to learn about techno.  For the happy hardcore style at least though, it was always my understanding that it was the bassline and drumline that make happy hardcore what it is more than anything, so that's basically what it is.  It's The Last Dual with a happy hardcore bass and beat, though despite that and an abundance of sweet morphing analog sounds, I still threw in that string ensemble sample that I can never seem to resist throwing in, and thus like everything I write, there's a classical symphonic element as well.  Seeing as it wouldn't do to truly have the same song twice in the album, I was going to make this one a bonus track.

Most Wanted
  • Tabs
  • Vocal Polyphony
  • Seiken Densetsu 3
  • Castlevania
  • Lyrics
  • Lufia
  • Golden Sun 2
  • Lunar: SSS


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