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Ken Hisuag

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Ken Hisuag last won the day on September 11

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About Ken Hisuag

  • Birthday 09/04/1974

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  1. An unfortunate aspect of leitmotif study is the occasional guessing game one must participate in to determine what the theme represents. Most often it's made clear enough to understand provided you're looking for it, but some of the best usages of the technique are much more difficult to evaluate due to subtle usage, over and under usage, and disguised application. I've had several encounters with supposed patterns in a soundtrack that I can't determine the meaning of (or often the existence of a meaning), and sometimes the only way to be sure of a correct interpretation is the confirmation of the composer. Being that this can rarely be depended on, speculations will likely remain as just that. Today is the six-year anniversary of Undertale, which bears one of the most infamous video game soundtracks of all time. All music in the game was written by the game's creator Toby Fox, and he is acknowledged as a master composer. Undertale if full of obvious leitmotifs, and some of them are easy to understand. There are quite a few, however, that I'm personally unsure about. Of these, my personal favorite is the "Home motif." The earliest most obvious feature of this motif can be different depending on how you play. If, for any reason, you decide to close the game before reaching the end of the first area, then you will be met with the game's Start Menu upon opening it again. By all appearances, this is a very simple and unassuming track; as you progress through the game, you have the ability to add characters to the menu, and the music fills in as you do so. If you reach the end of the first area without closing the game, then you will hear the theme of the tutorial character's Home before listening to the menu track. This is a much more dynamic usage of the motif incorporated into a larger piece, and possibly may be considered the leitmotifs origin. Whether or not a player realizes the existence of the leitmotif may affect his perceptions concerning the theme. It continues to appear in the game, most notably in a relatively random event associated with a variety TV show that functions as the Underground's primary source of entertainment. At this point, the leitmotif is associated with several differing contexts with limited straightforward connection. In what is possibly it's most relevant feature, it makes up one-half of the game's title theme, during an event in which the emotional motivation of the currently perceived antagonist (primary obstacle?) is divulged. In conclusion, I submit that I consider this the theme of the Underground's residents. The story told to the player through Undertale is communicated by residents as their own, the theme plays multiple times associated with their media, Home is notably the first example of proper habitation, and the menu will become more detailed as you recruit residents of the Underground to it. All that being said, I'm not confident in my evaluation; part of me suspects I'm reading too much into it. I should note the likelihood that some "leitmotifs" featured in the game serve questionable thematic purpose, such as the "Ghost Fight motif," which is associated with three related characters and one unrelated character. Fox has been known to repurpose motifs for multiple reasons beyond thematic story telling, so I leave it up to you whether or not you share my interpretation.
  2. I felt like posting something obscure and possibly underrated today. In other news, I have come to terms with the fact that I like jazz.
  3. I was looking back at those previously mentioned old features, and realized I'd edited most of them to include more tracks some time ago. There's only a couple exceptions, specifically from the short-lived double features, but I may as well take care of them now. I normally prefer soundtracks that convey aspects of the accompanying story, either by setting the mood for certain events or by transference of themes via leitmotifs. However, I can also appreciate when the primary purpose of the music is to assist in worldbuilding, also done by mood and leitmotif. Hollow Knight is an example of the latter; its music focuses almost entirely on the characterization of the world you're exploring rather than the characters you interact with. All non-combat themes are ambient and slightly melancholy, as befitting a long-dead kingdom, and the entire soundtrack is composed with minimal instrumentation, presenting a simpler sound then one would expect from orchestral arrangements. Beyond that, each area theme is customized to influence perception: This is just scratching the surface, of course, and doesn't even touch on the battle themes (though you can get a taste of them from the end of Crystal Peaks).
  4. Forgive my ignorance, but could you clarify this statement a bit farther? I'm assuming it has something to do with streaming speed, but I'm definitely missing something. I found a new chiptune artist recently by the alias of "asi14." They specialize in PC-98 arrangements. I've included a Seihou remix from them, in case anyone questions the unfamiliar title.
  5. Renko Usami Dreaming in the Present is indeed a remix of Hiroshige No.36 ~ Neo Super-Express, and the "love-coloured" one is likewise what it sounds like. Both are from the Gensokyo Retro Musical project. The "newspaper" track is a little more complicated. This is a track from the PS4 OST of Adventures in Scarlet Curiosity; after making this translation request, I found a translated tracklist which named this piece "Gripping the Useless Newspaper." I don't remember it from my brief time playing, and I can't place the source motif (assuming it has one). The tone of the track is very calm and casual, which inclines me more toward your translation than this one. I also have three more requests for whoever's interested. The first two are more track titles. 4: 幻視の夜にはじめてのおつかいとか。 5: 怪速ホームタウン旧都 The third one is an alias of some sort. It might be a name, but by the length I'm assuming a pseudonym (especially with the presence of three "の" characters). 6: 森の子リスのミーコの大冒険
  6. These three track titles: 1: 宇佐見蓮子は現に夢る 2: 恋色の突き抜けるような魔法使い! 3: あてにならない新聞を握りしめて
  7. I'm late. Celeste is one of several soundtracks I featured on the thread fairly early on with far less commentary then they deserved. This game makes very strong use of leitmotif manipulation to convey its themes in the music. For example: The motif for main-character Madeline's determination/climbing efforts is established in the level one track First Steps. The tone of the piece is positive, almost cheery, with moments here and there of reservation (especially right at the end). The motif itself is in a major key, but continually fails to resolve, always favoring its dominant note over its tonic, and is arranged with a slight stutter to its progression. It's important to note that this motif is not technically Madeline's theme, nor necessarily (though partially) that of the specific obstacle of climbing the mountain. The second level is about the main character's doubts and fears, especially regarding the task at hand. The earlier motif reappears, but in an altered form. The original stutters are now full stops, favoring thirds and seconds from the tonic, and what's left has been transposed into a minor key. The tone is heavily somber, and even slightly hostile in its progression (and that's before the transition into its faster tempo form). As is the way of story, it's not till near the end of the game that the primary character conflict comes to climax, culminating in an intense battle accompanied by a third variation of the motif. This is actually both previous iterations literally colliding with each other, although the negative version remains in emphasis for the moment. Following this sequence, the conflict is resolved, allowing for the game's finale to take place. The music for this level is a true rectification of the two versions, returning to the positive tone of the original while tempering it with a new emotional range from the minor key variant. The pauses remain, but are more consistent, presented as reflective rather than fearfully hesitant. Unique to this iteration of the motif, however, is the consistent return to tonic that gives the motif its musical resolution. Even without details, the theme of the story is communicated through this leitmotif. I might make a month's theme out of revitalizing old features, but I'm not sure yet.
  8. Since it is currently not predetermined, should we decide who will host the next tournament? Side note: Why can't I delete my own posts anymore? I decided I wanted to add this note on the end of the previous post rather than devote an entire post to it, but I can no longer dispose of this one. Edit: Almost forgot to mention, Jerome estimates he should be back by the end of next May.
  9. Miscellaneous responses and clarifications time! Short answer: yes, but not entirely on purpose. As I received each batch of submissions, I compiled them into a private Youtube playlist. Once they were all in, I experimented with order and round arrangement. Ultimately, it was a half-hazard process, but there were a few goals I had in mind. Firstly, I determined to select the opening round and closing feature; the first round serves as the foundation of the tournament, and the ending will influence its retrospective appeal. Beyond that, I confess to a limited degree of "ascending arrangement," in as much as I focused on getting a higher concentration of low-energy pieces toward the front and saving some of the more progression-heavy high-energy pieces for the back. Just as a musical arrangement ideally increases in energy over its duration, I figured the tournament itself would benefit from this consideration. However, I wanted to avoid a round of all low- or high-energy pieces for the most part, so as to create a contrast that would keep each round interesting on its own (I considered the organ solos and the Faith is for the Transient People to be low-energy pieces for their lack of progression). Attempting anything beyond that in terms of "ascension" carried a degree of inherent risk, since such intentions would likely be influenced by my own preferences (and thus subjective); while actively deciding upon the order of presentation, I did not consciously apply any such strategy. That being said, I've noticed in hindsight an unintentional consistency, in as much that each individual participant's submissions were featured in the tournament in what I would consider an ascending order, with the exception of Jerome's. I was not aware of this bias at the time, and cannot be sure it isn't a coincidence, but I like how it turned out nonetheless. Did you see my most recent post in Musical Discoveries? I went looking for organ solos because of what you shared, and I very much appreciated the instigation. I don't think thematic submissions are a bad idea, but they should showcase different aspects of that theme to provide perspective. As stated earlier, the primary goal of the tournament as a concept is to discover new things in the realm of Touhou music, and more variety in submissions can help facilitate that. However, I believe that variety can be achieved within a conceived theme, depending on the situation. I try to avoid directly misleading or deceiving, intentional or otherwise. How did I not notice that?
  10. I don't expect to have capability to return for the rest of today, so I'm doing this now. There was a number of organ solos featured in the recent tournament. This is one I found (at least it is for about half the video before it randomly decides to add accompaniment).
  11. Alright, let's see if I can remember everything I wanted to get out here. First up, I really enjoyed hosting this. It's a surprisingly effective change in perspective; I don't have to think about how to articulate my own thoughts, but get to take in more fully the differing viewpoints presented by others. Behind the scenes, I took a bit more initiative in arranging submissions to maximize efficiency in presentation, and intentionally held off on deciding some of my own submissions so as to potentially assist in diversifying the variety of genre representation. Figuring out formatting and troubleshooting resulted in a satisfying sense of things coming together that I hadn't expected to experience, and very much appreciated. Secondly, on the matter of the tournament overall average. For some reason, I recalled this being a standard tally, but now looking back I find it's only been explicitly recorded once (though alluded to on other occasions). I included it because I consider it a useful statistic, as it theoretically helps define in a mathematical way how tournaments compare to each other. That being said, I don't personally believe we should be aiming for a high average, since that would presuppose aiming for submission that would appeal to other participants rather than discoveries that appeal to us personally. Ultimately these tournaments are about discovery, but they also present a unique angle of exploration beyond what we might be familiar with, and instigation to understand why we each enjoy some styles and not others. I might even go so far as to present (though not outright encourage) the possibility of submitting pieces we don't necessarily like ourselves but consider worth discussion, even though such submission might bring down a tournament's average ratings. Thirdly, three most personally memorable remixes. Not technically a spoiler, but I'll put it in a box anyway. And finally (for this post at least, there should be at least one more), my own submissions. I shall return to provide further commentary one last time.
  12. The votes are in! It's rather difficult to decide how to post the results without making it inconvenient to read. I don't know if DF is going to attempt guessing submissions as he alluded to previous tournament (or if someone else wants to try their hand at it, for that matter), but just in case I'm going to put the results in a spoiler box. I'll be back later to reveal my own submissions and give some additional commentary.
  13. Getting this out of the way first . . . There is a degree of effectiveness to utilizing a consistent musical style in a soundtrack for the purpose of worldbuilding, especially when the story's setting is significantly distant from what would be familiar to the audience. Sci-fi and fantasy settings frequently benefit from this methodology, to the point where some sounds are culturally identifiable with these genres by association. This is a concept I've been appreciating of late, especially while recently listening to the soundtrack of Dust: An Elysian Tail. I actually know very little about this game, and as such most of what I say is based purely upon my experience with the music. This first track, which I gather backdrops a hub-type area, it suitably ambient to promote a peaceful atmosphere without having the homely feel that usually characterizes these sorts of themes. One thematic aspect of this soundtrack is its expansive feel, characterizing a world that is meant to feel large and open; this theme needs to impart the idea of "passing through" to maintain that feeling. For the majority of the game, the music is far more upbeat and high in energy, presumably to accompany frequent combat. Yet even the most exciting tracks preserve that awe-like tone, maintaining the world's characterization through each new area and situation. Boss themes may occasionally be an exception to a video game's soundtrack consistency, since they necessarily put you in a situation that is out of the norm. The best soundtracks, however, will work to incorporate the established style into these tracks as well, using the audio to fortify these encounters as part of the world and the story rather than existing outside of them. By this point, hopefully the existence of this game's stylistic theme is evident and identifiable. It should be noted that choosing to have a musical consistency in your soundtrack will strengthen its worldbuilding, but will also come with its own risks should you desire to do something different at some point for any reason. If you break your own consistency, you jeopardize the characterization you given the world and risk damaging the audience's ability to identify with it. Ultimately, there is one track in Dust that I believe takes this risk, though considered carefully and likely accomplished without too much damage. Nonetheless, I struggle with this track, as the inconsistencies seem to me unnecessary. But it is also important to understand that this in no way lessens the quality of this composition. As a whole, this is a very good soundtrack. I believe it apt for comparison to Ori and the Blind Forest, which bares several similarities on a conceptual level.
  14. On this day, I will feature the soundtracks of Touhou 1 ~ Highly Responsive to Prayers. As of now, I have yet to find confirmation for my suspicions concerning this phenomenon: there are three different variations of this game's OST. First is the original, which is unique from the rest of the series as ZUN was still developing his style. Next would be the later "remastered" version that was done for Akyu's Untouched Score Vol.5, with revised instrumentation and overall a higher quality of compositions. Finally, there's the third one. Often it sounds exactly like Akyu's, but when compared directly to each other differences become notable. I've used the clearest example I could for this feature. My current working hypothesis is that this third soundtrack came from Mystic Square's music room. I am unable to verify this myself, but it would explain a few things (including the Theme of Eastern Story's relationship to Silk Road Alice).
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