Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Midweek Music Box: Forest Temple Music (Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

Have you ever wanted to experience that eerie tingling sensation at the back of your neck?  Do you ever have the need to feel uneasy and vaguely uncertain as to what might happen?  Do you need inspiration that tickles that part of the mind and the heart, in a way that make you feel like reality has gone slightly wrong?  Well, I do when I'm writing.  And when I need to evoke that sense of unease I don't just turn down the lights or work late into the night when all has gone quiet--though those things help.  When want to have an uneasy mood, I look no further than the Forest Temple Music from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

A large part of what makes the Forest Temple's music great and so perfect for the temple at the heart of the Lost Woods comes from its ability to tap into a subtle but deeply seated sense of unease within a person.  As a human you are unable to connect in the proper way with the forest.  The lush, green surroundings, the vines crawling over ancient stone pillars, the creatures skittering through the undergrowth--the music helps this Nintendo 64 game feel deeper and richer in a way that many modern fantasy games should envy.  When playing Ocarina of Time it truly made me bristle and feel unnerved on a core level that still gets me to this day when I listen to it.

"Forest Temple Music"

The ghostly woodwinds grow and fade, creeping close enough to hear, but never close enough to feel as if they are truly beside you.  The odd chanting noise sounds almost animal-like, but seem like something a human would make...or something trying to sound human.  The music puts me ill at ease and always has.  Probably because the woodwind sounds reach an almost happy tone, but then the chants and the synthesizer padding with ethereal overtones give off a melancholy feel.  Because the music does this unique blend, it leaves me feeling like if I only knew a bit more about the chanting, if I only knew a bit more about why the blending of moods I would feel better.

It's creepy, it's haunting, it makes me feel vaguely unwelcome but filled with a desire to learn every secret that forests of the real world have.  But it also fills me with caution.  That unease still lingers, still makes me feel like an outsider to nature.  I know it might sound a bit overly poetic to wax on about this particular soundtrack.  After all, many of the tunes from Ocarina of Time are worth talking about and likely will show up in future Midweek Music Box articles.  This one though, this one with all it's beauty and mystery still leaves me feeling creeped out, but in a good way.

Sudden piano hits and scraping violins from "scary games" always feel cheap to me.  They rely on quick jolt in your emotion that doesn't linger.  But music like this, music that lingers with you hours afterwards and makes you feel uneasy just thinking about it--that makes it not just great video game music, but great music period.

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