Some of you may be aware that a number of years ago, I dabbled in rearranging melodies from various electronic games, primarily those for Nintendo (entertainment) systems. In 2005, a gentleman in the community by the name of Kyle Crouse approached me about submitting a track to his album-length project, a compilation of rearranged versions of virtually every cue on the soundtracks to Namco’s Tales of Phantasia (SNES) and Tales of Symphonia (GameCube).
They are silly games, but good ones, especially once you get over how the writers and localizers apparently drew names from Norse mythology out of a hat and pinned them on characters, mountains, and magical cities at random like tails on paper donkeys. I put my name up for one of the rather incidental but catchy tracks from the Symphonia score, partly because all the good ones were taken, and whipped something up on my Clavinova one evening in July. As I recall, I skipped a Shakespeare play to do it.
Four years later, Mr Crouse has finally released his project—which I suspect is literally the work of his whole adult life—as Summoning of Spirits: An Arrangement of Music from Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Symphonia. It is fifty-three tracks in length, which I’m told amounts to over five hours of music.
Here’s the YouTube announcement video, with ten minutes of audio samples. (Try not to think about how this project was conceived before anyone knew what YouTube was.)
My contribution is “Continental Divide”—Disc 4, Track 2. I selected the title because the original track comes from a point in the game where the characters cross between two symbiotic worlds that are rapidly drifting apart. A continental divide, in geography, is the border that lies between two watersheds; if you take the Continental Divide of the Americas, for example, the water flows to the Pacific on one side, and the Atlantic on the other. Symphonia-trained ears will pick up on some of the character motifs that I tried to weave in contrapuntally.
Please excuse my sloppy clarinet technique—I was out of practice for years at the time, and I would have re-recorded it had I not lost my raw audio data along with everything else on my old computer. And do enjoy the rest of the album; I should too, eventually.
- The announcement on the OCRemix forums.
- An interview with Kyle and artist/co-producer Aleah Baker. Ms Baker is kind enough to draw attention to my cut, which, she says, “takes an already pretty track and makes it magical, corny as that sounds” (aw, thanks!).
- A few accompanying illustrations and artwork.