pixelchips “Behind the Scenes”: Valley of Repose (Holiday Song #2)

Hi again! Hope you’re all doing well.

This is part two for my holiday video game music series. Today’s arrangement is the Valley of Repose, from Pikmin 2. Have a listen to my remix over here.

Why did I choose to make a weird orchestral and hip-hop beat blend? I was mainly inspired by the beat from the Nintendo Land version, and I wanted to take that idea and run with it. I liked how that version had an almost mechanical, clockwork like sound – the steady beat is like the ticking of a clock, and all of the melodies and counter-melodies interlock to make a really energetic whole. It’s a nice contrast to the original song’s slow, relaxing tempo; and is much more well-suited for a more frantic party game like Nintendo Land.

For my remix, I really wanted to keep that steady, pulsing energy; a feeling that really meshes with the tactical, strategic nature of the Pikmin games. The bell-like lead is actually a layer of many instruments: a celesta, glockenspiel, music box, a couple synths, and a soft staccato on a flute. I made the bass a lot deeper and “thicker” than the original by adding a double bass ensemble and a subtle tuba. For the accompanying glissando and harmony, I used a filtered piano rather than a harp for a more “mechanical” sound, if you know what I mean.

The beat was difficult for me, as it’s something I’ve never really tried before. I started with a steady snare/clap on every beat for a clock ticking effect, and an 808 sort of kick every two beats to maintain that pulsing rhythm. I thought the reverse cymbal crash added a pretty cool effect. And of course, the jingling sleigh-bells echo throughout the entire piece.

The whole song goes through three cycles: the regular version, the version that plays when pikmin are at work, and the version that plays when fighting an enemy. The “at work” version simply adds some more layers to the song, such as a tremolo harmony on the violins and a very soft atmospheric synth. The “fighting” version sees an orchestral percussion ensemble (timpani, snare drum) join the regular beat for that epic battling sound. I also put some jittery, echoey chiptune bleeps in the background to create the frantic feeling of being attacked.

I hope I achieved the effects I wanted to. It’s an experiment for me; the genre is out of my comfort zone so I was a little nervous about uploading. Hopefully the song is interesting or enjoyable to some!

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