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Music Monday: Retro hour August 27, 2018

Posted by thejinx in music.
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Lo and behold! I haven’t forgotten about my “weekly” feature. I’m just terrible at sticking to it.

This week, I wanted to share some arrangements with a retro, vintage, even old-fashioned flair. I’m always amazed at the imagination of arrangers, and these songs in particular impressed me.

HyperDuck SoundWorks – Punk Hairdo Kid (download)

We’ll start back in the ’80s with this synth-pop arrangement of “Chrono Trigger” from the SNES classic Chrono Trigger. This one delighted me on first listen, both for the kitschy-ness and the quality of the arrangement, and I can totally picture this music to the opening of a cheesy 1980s cartoon about Chrono Trigger.


Cyril the Wolf – Dancing in the Jungle (download)

Going further back now with this arrangement of “Brinstar Green Soil” from Super Metroid that makes me envision a ’70s cop show in which Samus Aran hunts down aliens while driving a muscle car and wearing an orange and yellow pantsuit with padded shoulders. In fact, listening to this song spawned an entire novel idea just a couple months ago, which took over my mind and made it awfully hard to focus on anything else for a few weeks, at least.

HyperDuck SoundWorks – Yearnings na Gaoithe (download)

HyperDuck SoundWorks delivers again with this gorgeous ’60s ambient rock style arrangement of “Longing of the Wind” from Chrono Trigger. The mellow beat, lo-fi instruments, and added record scratches are expertly woven into an authentic-sounding tribute to early synth rock and smoothly transforms this classic tune into something almost timeless.

Brandon Strader – Terra in Jazz (download)

Now it’s time to go way back, as Brandon Strader arranges “Terra” from Final Fantasy VI in a Prohibition-era jazz style that feels so real, you can almost smell the cigarette smoke in a dingy little speakeasy. Once again, the arrangement is so smooth, it feels like the original song was made for this style.

Scrab Cakes – Silent Film Partita (download)

And I’ll close out this week with another completely unexpected yet brilliant arrangement, a piano solo of “Wood Carving Partita” from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night in the particular style of ragtime used in classic silent films. What else can I say? Like the other tracks, it’s an ingenious transformation of a singular original song, and it was a well-deserved win for the March 2017 Dwelling of Duels.


Themes May 23, 2013

Posted by thejinx in enduring chaos, writing.
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A good book leaves an impact on you after reading it. Perhaps it sheds light on a social issue that you don’t often consider, perhaps it makes you re-evaluate your actions or beliefs, or perhaps it’s as simple as making you feel richer for having read it, to feel more complete or want to get more out of life.

Do authors intend to leave such a mark on readers when they write? Probably.

As for me, I never go into a book with that in mind. Not that I’m claiming anything as regards to the quality or effect of my works; that’s up to readers, as is the interpretation itself. The ‘theme’ of a novel is not something I necessarily define beforehand and stick to throughout the book. I might have a message I wish to share that presents itself fairly clearly – as was the case with Aurius – but it’s more a result of the writing rather than the other way around. My focus when I’m writing is on the story. Naturally, this involves character growth, which ultimately defines the theme of the work, but it’s not something I have in mind when I begin writing.

Consequently, the message of the story can surprise me sometimes.

Enduring Chaos has proven particularly interesting in this case. I’ve learned a lot over the years of developing the story and ending up with my final draft. In particular, fleshing out the characters has resulted in some eye-opening truths for me.

With Aurius, the message/theme was fairly simplistic, as were the characters – a pretty safe move for a debut novel. I tried to explore the concepts in more detailed ways, but it’s still a pretty simple concept. As for Halcyon, I didn’t spend too much time developing the characters at all. The story itself was the focus there.

In that regard, Enduring Chaos is a much more sophisticated work than those two. The characters are complex with varied motivations, and the way the story unfolded as a result of those personalities resulted in some things I didn’t expect.

When you like your characters, it’s very easy to want to let them win. Sure, they have to face and overcome obstacles along their path, but when they’re dealing with something outside the plotline through which they grow, I want to let them have the upper hand. With this story, that manifest a few times in letting a character have the last word.

Had I not developed these characters so thoroughly, I might never have questioned the scenes in which a certain character has the last word in an argument/discussion. But when I came to one of those scenes fairly early in the story while editing, I realized the other character in the conversation wouldn’t agree with the first character’s method of ending it, and the dialogue took a different turn from there.

That one change ended up impacting the story, and those characters’ relationship, throughout the rest of the novel and even lays down the foundation of the theme of the entire trilogy. And it’s something that still affects me personally and has me thinking frequently about my interactions with others. Just because that’s the way the characters reacted to each other.

Other aspects of the story that have grown organically simply based on how the characters interact have left an imprint on my consciousness. One event that I added in during my edits that was meant as development for a secondary character, upon rereading and fleshing out reactions, has left a much greater impression on a POV character, in a way that affects said character throughout the rest of the trilogy. It even entirely changes the meaning of one of the character’s closing lines in the book, one that was already full of meaning. And the actions in that plot point – and its repercussions – are frequently on my mind since I developed that.

Writing this story, and this draft in particular, has been a very profound journey. I can’t say whether this book will have an impact on readers, but it certainly has left one on me.

What books have left an impact on you? Do you carefully plan out the theme of your work before you begin writing? Does it change as you go along? Does your writing ever surprise you in a fundamental way?

Guitar tab – Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII March 16, 2009

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Been a little while since I’ve even played with the guitar recently, but I picked it up last night and this came out, the Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII.

By the way, if any of you reading out there have any recommendations for at-home programs to learn guitar – computer software, books, etc. – please let me know.

As always, this tab is free to share, but a link back would be appreciated, and be sure to take a look at my other tabs.  Enjoy!






Guitar tab – Main Theme of Final Fantasy IV October 25, 2008

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And I nearly forgot – I transcribed another guitar tab last night, this time one that I couldn’t already find online.  This is the Main Theme of Final Fantasy IV, also known as the overworld music.  Again, if you’re not familiar with the song, take a listen to the original.

This tab is free to share, though a link back would be appreciated.  If you want to alter or use this somehow, let me know, as I’d love to see what others do with this.  Enjoy.

A-------------------------------------------------------   x2



Guitar tab – Celes’s theme October 14, 2008

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Well, I signed up for one Game Tabs to share a guitar tab I transcribed, but I happened to come into this hobby while the site’s submission process is down, so I’ll share it with all of you instead.  This is the first song I noodled my way through on guitar, Celes’s theme from Final Fantasy VI, and as I wasn’t satisfied with the tabs I found when I started looking for them, I decided to transcribe my version.  While I wasn’t particularly fond of the performance of her theme song in the game, I loved the tune, and I think it makes a lovely guitar solo.  I wasn’t particularly, well, particular with my timing, so for those unfamiliar with the song, feel free to grow acquainted with a MIDI or the original song.

Enjoy!  And please let me know what you think.