TSM Episode 98: Is It a Stuffed Bear?

I'm-a gonna fuck your wife!

It’s-a me, Nintony!

Download: Produced 2013.05.05

Minister of Fineness Chris ‘Sabin’ Privitere is called upon to prognosticate about the video game industry, giving panelists Lusipurr, SiliconNooB, and The Legendary Zoltan answers to questions which have plagued the industry for decades.

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This month, Lusipurr.com is pleased to present the third commission from our Music Director: Jahan ‘The Legendary Zoltan’ Honma!

It’s the first Starlight Megaphone of the month, LusiGoblins! This month’s offering is a Castlevania III remix. Lusipurr gave me a noble quest to make a water-themed orchestral track based off of three Castlevania III water levels. Listen to it and be gay!

Source Music: Castlevania III: Aquarius, Rising, and Stream
Original Composer: Hidenori Maezawa, Jun Funahashi, and Yukie Morimoto
Remix: Chandeliers Reflected on Waterfalls

I think we all know that Castlevania music lends itself to orchestra pretty well. The challenge this time around was how to make it sound like water, Castlevania music, and something I actually want to listen to all at the same time. I achieved most of the water theme with the instrumentation. Using a lot of piano and harp worked well for me. The track begins with Aquarius starting with heavy piano chords that were inspired by a portion of level 3 in Castlevania IV where you have to climb a waterfall. If I were asked to write a piece for a waterfall level, dark and heavy piano would not be near the top of my idea list. It made such an impact on me, however, that I wanted to do something just a little bit like that with this piece. Then the main melody comes in with piano accompanied by harp and bowed strings. I used the instruments to keep the texture simple and focus highly on the interplay between the melody and harmony. For me the main point of interest in this entire first third of the remix is the woodwind section at 0:46. I achieved the classic Castlevania urgency sound right there. Right after that I achieved that classic Castlevania chandelier sound with the loud string section. I am quite happy with it.

I transitioned into Rising with the harp part. It was easy since both songs involved are in D minor. Even when hearing the original 8-bit version of this song, it actually sounded to me that they had intended that descending arpeggio to be a harp. I don’t know what kind of level this music accompanies in the game but it sounded kind of like a dark swampy area and that’s what I tried to emulate until the harp section.

The piano run that transitions into Stream is an original section to help me move from D minor to A minor. I like how it came out. Now we get into some really difficult stuff because this part is the most groovy by far. I thought of totally mangling the original feel to make it sound more orchestral or more watery but I had decided that the end should be kind of upbeat and retain the groove. In the past, people have criticized my work for not having the source music recognizable enough. So I let them have their way just this once. I made some unusual decisions in this section. You’ll hear all about them in the podcast. Whether you think it’s overly spartan or not, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Chandeliers Reflected on Waterfalls.

27 comments on “TSM Episode 98: Is It a Stuffed Bear?”

  1. I listen to every podcast right away. It’s kind of hard to comment on a podcast that goes off as far on tangents as TSM does, but that’s why I enjoy listening to it. The news is also often mentioned elsewhere to comment on. Also, had the donation from a couple weeks ago gone through? Lastly, thank you Zoltan, but I would never have guessed it.

  2. Oooooo, I really like this remix, Zoltan. I’ll be listening to this one more in the future, I think. You did a great job evoking the water imagery you were going for.

    Yes…yes, I think this one gets the coveted Barack Obama!

  3. Barrack Obama?!! D: What do we need to do in order to raise our score to a Hitler?

  4. No no no no, it has nothing to do with the person in office, only the position they hold. I thought everyone knew this, jeez.

  5. @Mel: I don’t know what review scale! Either I have forgotten, or you are wrong. BOTH are highly probable. Perhaps both are the case!

    @Mel (again): I LOLed at that comment. “What kind of only fan do you take me for?” should be the blazon that heralds your arrival.

  6. @Lusi: You forgot. I can’t imagine what, in your life, could be more important. Alas, I’d go on but the the joke has worn thin as it is.

    @Lusi (again): But that joke is still ripe, it seems.

  7. Kickstarter is the perfect example of what the industry does well, fucking up a potentially decent idea.

  8. @Matt Dance: I found your donation! It was just sitting there–apparently, I didn’t notice it, amongst the usual end-of-term e-mail deluge. You will be thanked in due course.

    @Mel: Literally everything in my life, down to which pair of socks I wear on a given day, is more important than YOU. FEEL THE BURN.

    @James: Is it a stuffed bear?

  9. @Lusipurr Much like a rape victim, it is not fine now.

  10. I can say that I was getting some awkward looks when I was laughing at the part about NinTony and their mascot (while wearing headphones walking through a store). I listen to the podcast every week, but got very sick a while back and haven’t gotten back into the swing of commenting. There were a lot of laugh out loud good ideas this week.

  11. @KDK: Sometimes, things are golden. This was just such a week. NinTony is honestly an amazing idea, and I would love to play that game. Someone should PunchBegin™ that stuff.

  12. Thank you for checking, Lusipurr. I found the week’s reading fascinating, as well.

  13. Great composition, Zoltan. I look forward to more in future shows.
    Also, I may have the episode wrong, but heard Ni no Kuni mentioned in one of the three shows I downloaded here in the last week and I’m thinking this was the one. That said, am I the only one who found it rather… dull? For as lovely as the presentation is, both the story and certainly the quests have so far struck me as very routine.

  14. @Wolfe: Our review contained some similar sentiments. It is a fine, classic piece of JRPG gaming–but it does not move that genre forward in any significant way. Of course, I doubt advancement was intended. It looks always to have been a game from yesterday made with today’s technology.

  15. I will go back through the archives and seek out the review, must have passed it over while thumbing through. Thanks for the heads up there. And yes, you’ve probably hit the nail on the head, with it being a throwback. And in that regard, I should approach it again with that in mind. I’d hate to think I’ve gotten so embittered that I can’t still enjoy a classic style JRPG.

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