Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Midweek Music Box: Twilight Princes "Twilit Battle"

Does music need to be pleasant in order for it to capture our imagination? Certainly not. In fact, I'd say the music for this particular Midweek Music Box is fairly far from pleasant. It won't make my iPod, I won't listen to it while I work, and I won't listen to it to unwind.  Not because it isn't well done, but because it sends chills up my spine every time I hear it. It unsettled me to the core the first time I heard it, and it still leaves me uneasy when I hear it to this day.

Twilight Princess, as I've mentioned in prior posts, is not a game I have beaten yet. I was wildly enthusiastic when Nintendo announced an HD remake of the classic. Not only did it represent a chance to finally beat a Legend of Zelda game I had managed to not actually beat, but it was on a system I find myself playing on a regular basis.

There was one thing I wasn't looking forward to though. Well, besides the stupid fishing exercise at the beginning of the game. A certain musical track was not only one of the best I'd heard from the new Zelda game, but it managed to trigger a little bit of fear in me--something no Zelda game had managed to do before.  What was that track? or tracks?  The "Twilit Battle" and "Shadow Beast":

"Twilit Battle"

"Shadow Battle"

It was Legend of Zelda, so of course an introductory battle was coming. Something not too hard and not too simple either. Something to help you understand not only the mechanics of the game, but of the tone of the game itself.  So imagine how I felt like when a dark portal opens in the sky and instead of some dark, classically foreboding music, I was treated to this odd jangle of dissonance? I loved and hated it instantly. It was appropriately dark for the game, but more than that, it changed the scope of what Zelda music was. No longer could it be just a symphonic masterpiece. The music could inharmonious, twisted, filled with digital bleeps and bloops that were not merely not music, but the antithesis of music. Again, not in a horrible mess of noise way, but in a way that strikes you on a visceral level. It's a kind of music that sets the mood of the game so perfectly not by being what you expect, but by taking it in a new direction.  

This may not be music you have on repeat, but it certainly will send shivers up your spine.

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