Majora’s Mask Remixed -Time’s End-
Majora’s Mask Remixed -Time’s End-
December 21, 2012
Download at Bandcamp
Three days before the supposed “end of the world” (provided by an ongoing popular hoax involving the Mayan calendar) a timer popped up on TerribleFate.com counting down to the end of the world, Zelda style, using the stylized three-day system featured in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, alongside an ominous graphic of the mask itself. Though the world did not end on December 21, 2012, we were treated to a delightful and very well-crafted remix album by Theophany. The artist’s previous works include tracks on the Harmony of the Hunter arranged album and the free-to-download EP Crystal Flash, both based on the Metroid series. Here, he presents us with the first disc of several that will encompass all of Majora’s Mask‘s soundtrack. Theophany states, “For years I have wanted to create an album that attempted to capture the beautiful and nightmarish world of Majora’s Mask… This album is a free gift to fans and a tribute to one of the greatest games ever made.”
Time’s End opens appropriately enough with “Majora’s Mask,” which starts with young Link screaming as he falls down, along with some deep drumming, instantly setting a dark mood. The melody sort of weaves in and out in some solemn string instrumentations, as an eerie sentiment descends upon the music. We can even hear the Skull Kid laughing at one point. Although it encapsulates a very accurate feeling of dread that is present in the game, it also captures some of the sadness and, paradoxically, silliness of the Skull Kid. But treated like a cinematic cue, it isn’t a very well-developed track and the melody never really expands or develops in a meaningful way. “The Clockworks”, on the other hand, captures the sadness and solemnity of one of the first opening pieces of the game, “Clock Tower”, which is essentially a reworking of the “Song of Healing”. Filled with some ambience noises that immerse listeners into a clock tower, and with a floaty piano melody, “The Clockworks” proves itself to be an early highlight.
This quickly gives way to “Terrible Fate,” which works as both the “Song of Healing” and as an introduction to the Happy Mask Salesman, as his laughter creepily echoes during the song several times. However, the track itself is a lovely tribute to the “Song of Healing” filled with an expansion of the piano melody presented in the last track, and building upon it. Some nice woodblock instrumentation is also present, reminding us that this is indeed Skull Kid’s story. The rhythm quickly changes to form sort of a haunted carnival of sorts, though it keeps the same empathetic approach. Some English vocals by Laura Intravia also fit in the mix, changing the song just enough to keep being lovely without being repetitive.
Easily one of the greatest musical highlights in all of Majora’s Mask was the ever popular “Clock Town Theme”, and that is no exception here. Theophany wonderfully uses the theme in a very refreshing way, while deviating from the current style of the album. After smoothly transitioning into “Clock Town”, the soundscape of entering into the actual clock town is heard. It combines a synth drum rhythm with several standout performances: a very lovely acoustic guitar and mandolin provided by Joe Zieja (XPRTNovice), some very inspired tube lines by Darren Dvoracek, and an ocarina solo by David Ramos. That said, it’s Ramos’ beautiful performance that absolutely steals the show, lending the track some sincere nostalgic sweetness. The way the track progresses into a celebratory song, and even interweaves “Zelda’s Theme” in violin instrumentation and “Ahhs” from a chorus is very masterful, especially considering how many remixes there are already of “Clock Town”. Theophany outdoes himself here, and gives a definitive remix to “Clock Town”. He should continue to pursue the music in this direction, especially if he plans to remix “Clock Town – Day 2.”
“Healing the Great Fairy”, based on the theme and imagery of the ever popular “Great Fairy’s Fountain”, is unfortunately the weakest piece on the album. Theophany tries to change the track, by slowing everyything down and giving it a bit more of a pensive, dramatic atmosphere. But while it is very pretty hear the “Great Fairy’s Fountain” melody finally completed, it’s admittedly too dramatic for its own good. Lorraine Noack also gets singing duties on this track, and although her vocals are quite ethereal, they don’t really develop and play off as complementary to the haphazard melody construction. Despite that, it still has its inspiring moments, for example a section around the 3:35 mark, where very mystical-like bells perform the main melody. It’s unfortunate that so many stronger arrangements exist of this, already overdone theme. “Moon’s Tear” on the other hand, focuses on another ethereal theme, “Astral Observatory,” which played off as a very romantic, almost playful theme originally. Here, it has once again been slowed down substantially, and still possesses a romantic quality. However, it is still filled with this dark, and somewhat disheartening air that makes it much more dramatic. Around the 4:40 mark, a bass gives the song a jazzy quality, but isn’t very developed aside from being there. Not a bad track at all, and definitely stronger than “Healing the Great Fairy,” but still somewhat lacking. It is also excessively stretched out, at 7:31 in length.
This excessive stretching is felt even more so in “Lovers Mask,” a pensive look at “Zelda’s Theme.” The violin performance by Jeff Ball is great, although at times the theme becomes more of a wail than anything else. The exploratory deviations the track takes, making the lullaby-styled theme a tragedy, makes the experience all the more powerful. Laura Intravia returns to provide a light choral touch, which works very well in conjunction with the melancholy violin, and the sounds of the rain falling. Unfortunately, once again, the track overstays its welcome, and the constant depressing mood becomes quite a sore drone after a while. There’s also a techno-like beat that shows up towards the end that makes the track sound like something out of the Mass Effect series. Theophany would be wise to make the tracks a bit shorter in order to stave off repetition, in my opinion.
However, as the music drops, we get ominous, destructive sounds in the background, leading us directly to the misleadingly named “Majora’s Wrath,” which is not a remix of the final boss theme, but instead “Clock Town – The Final Day.” Theophany takes a very dramatic approach, filled with dawning bells, chaotic strings, and a creepily slowed down version of David Ramos’ ocarina performance. As the melody of “Clock Town” collapses, Skull Kid’s laughter is heard, followed by the ocarina suddenly speeding up to ridiculous lengths. “Majora’s Mask’s Theme” returns with a vengeance in the background, as everything approaches a chaotic end. The track ends with Skull Kid’s ghoulish scream, along with the tolling of bells, and fireworks. All in all, it’s an impressive theme that… in this case could’ve been explored a little bit more. Moving on, “Final Hours” is a basic reworking of “Last End,” one of the most emotional and devastating themes in Zelda history. Here Theophany truly makes the track shine with a very mournful synth, and although he doesn’t do much to change the theme up, it is a very strong track, and works wonderfully well to establish the impending doom of Majora’s Mask. Lorraine Noack also gets a chance to shine here with very effective vocals.
Time’s End ends on the titular theme, created by both Mike Grier and Theophany. I honestly have a hard time with the track. On the one hand, it is a very powerful reworking of “Oath to Order”, “Last End”, “Majora’s Mask” and a very incredible take of “Song of Time. Laura Intravia gives one more rousing choral performance, and it works very well, along with the mournful piano melody that drops in and out at will. Length is also not an issue here, despite the fact that it’s the longest track so far at 8:22. The track changes very dynamically, even becoming a war march near the end, and the actual ending is just amazing. “Song of Time” takes over chorally before the ocarina plays the melody, and proceeds to rewind the track completely, as thematically and narratively Link travels back in time. It’s a very powerful ending, and proves that Theophany knows how to tell a narrative story. However, in terms of being a tribute to Majora’s Mask, I have trouble with it because of how unlike the Zelda series it sounds. Yes, Theophany does a lot of things right, but at the same time, by the time it becomes a dynamic war march, it essentially becomes action music that could have easily belonged to any other franchise. The melodies are there, and they are reworked wonderfully well, but the music is somewhat generic. However, this is my take on it, and by its own merit it is a good track, and a good closing to a great fan tribute.
Time’s End – Majora’s Mask Remixed does a lot of things right. Despite my complaints, and some off repetition here and there, Theophany experiments successfully with a number elements that made the original The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask a classic. He offers a refreshing, though sometimes odd, take on The Legend of Zelda’s venerable music and takes listeners on a musical journey through the game. I’m very excited to see where he takes the music to next, and I wish him all the luck as he completes this sincere tribute album.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Julius Acero. Last modified on August 1, 2012.