Wednesday, April 19, 2017

MIDI Week Singles: "Pyramid~Marana" - ActRaiser (SNES)

"Pyramid~Marana" from ActRaiser on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1990 / 1991)
Composer: Yuzo Koshiro
Album: Actraiser
Label: G.M.O. Records / Alfa Records (distributed by Warner-Pioneer)
Developer: Enix

Dr. Potts' usage of "Into the Darkness" from Final Fantasy IV (II) as last weeks MIDI Week Single got me thinking about music used in caves and subterranean areas in games; although I recognize that the pyramid is not actually below ground, but it is similar in feel to a cave. Then last night, I had the soundtrack to ActRaiser playing and "Pyramid~Marana" is definitely one of those songs that exudes subterranean exploration, at least in my opinion; and yes, I know the Marahna (localized spelling) is all about deep jungle exploration, but it works well for that setting too without losing anything in the music.

I admit that since I first played the game back in, probably 1992, this song reminded me (a little bit) of one of the songs from the film Top Gun.  It is the the section from about 1:00 - 1:17 here that sounds a lot like the music Harold Faltermeyer wrote for after Goose and Maverick's plane goes into a tale spin.  Maybe that is a little silly (the mental connection, not the scene in Top Gun), but that is what my brain goes to every time I have ever heard this particular song.

Something that I really like about this song is that there seem to be two distinct sections.  There is the first part that has the kind of harsh sounding horns accompanied by some type of flute/recorder type instrument that has some hints of a melody.  Then at around 0:30, there is the the rest of the song which is much more somber, but has the main melody which seems to wisp its way through until the horns come back when the song loops.  It is all a little unsettling, to come back to those horns after the much calmer B section, which easily could have been taken out on the loop, but the fact that it was a conscious decision to loop the entire song is something that I really like.

Maybe this is just one of those songs that I heard during my seminal development years that has solidified, along with "Into the Darkness" as being what a cave or subterranean song should evoke.

Hovering Over Me At Night

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