Tobal No. 1 Remixes -Electrical Indian-
Tobal No. 1 Remixes -Electrical Indian-
September 21, 1996
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Tobal No. 1 Remixes -Electrical Indian- is an arranged album by Hiroshi Hata and Hidenobu Ootsuki, who go by their respective nicknames ‘HATA’ and ‘KALTA’, and call their team GUIDO. Like Chrono Trigger: The Brink of Time and Xenogears Creid, this album is highly experimental. However, it is more electronica-based than jazz or Celtic, in line with the original fighting game soundtrack. Behold seven tracks that expand and transform their originals in often the most unexpected fashions.
The original version of “Character Select” is definitely the strangest character select theme that I have ever heard and the arrangement is even stranger. The track starts off in a rather trudging fashion, and there is a person who shouts out every now and then. A looped trumpet melody then follows, and the frequent input of a deep male voice really gives it some more activity. With a wonderful drum beat in the background, this track really moves, and it is such a change from the original too. The track begins to pick up so much variation towards its end, and the persistent looping trumpet melody just keeps the whole track going. Although the end seems rather abrupt, I think that it is a superb way to end the track.
The second arrangement on Tobal No. 1 Remixes Electric Indian is Yasunori Mitsuda’s “Your Name Is…,” which gets spruced up by the Guido team. The arrangement sticks to Mitsuda’s original melody, but adds dominating electronic drums, a repetitive double bass, and, as mentioned earlier, a jazz guitar. The smooth chill-out feeling of the original composition still remains strongly intact, and with the new live jazz guitar performance, it can only get jazzier and more relaxing. I’d say that the new guitar passages aren’t very memorable nor do they try and grab your attention, but you can still thoroughly enjoy the feeling when it’s playing. That said, the track is also strongly based on the original’s construction, which is the arrangement’s weakness, as once it builds to its maximum potential, it tends to become repetitive very quickly.
“Poltano” begins very much like the original, but this time the melody is dampened and a muffled radio noise sound is added. The same dramatic rising pizzicato chord sequence still remains, as does the original melody. An interesting improvised part in the bass is extremely effective, and it is only when we are thrown into a mass of noise around the 2:10 mark that the track starts to get moving. The sections after 4:00 have to be my favourite in the track, as it sounds so much more head-on than the rest of the track. The bit that I love the most is the part after the 4:30 mark, where there is a change in rhythm and a bit more improvisation in the bass. This isn’t the best arrangement, as it doesn’t vary too well from the original, but the melody makes it very enjoyable.
Junya Nakano only has one track arranged on the Tobal No. 1 Remixes -Electrical Indian- album, and luckily it’s a great one. With “Hills of Jugon”, the GUIDO team use the synth noises found in the background of the original track and they turn it into the main melody. They also concentrate on Nakano’s traditional ambience that was used in the original track, and then they analyze the key features whilst layering them all together. Like the vast majority of the tracks on the album, this track has a slow and steady introduction with chiptune synth. As the introduction progresses, another synth sound enters and plays the same melody but at a different time. After this awesome introduction, we are treated to an excellent middle section which incorporates both forms of electronica and techno. The track ends on a high note by returning to the introduction’s synthesizers, which I thought was a great way to end a fantastic track.
Masashi Hamauzu’s last composition on the Tobal No. 1 Remixes -Electrical Indian- album, “Vision on Ice”, is most definitely peculiar. The GUIDO team took an already ambient tune and transformed it into creepy electronica. They seem to have a unique ability which enables them to pick out the shortest of melodies and turn them into a main theme, and this is a key feature throughout these arrangements. The track is pretty simple, and the mixture of an ambient melodic and experimental synth clash. I must admit, at first I prefered the original, but as I started to listen to it multiple times, I changed my viewpoint, given the imagery it inspires. You can easily imagine an icy outer space environment with civilization living around the outskirts. Such powerful imagery already makes this track a must listen.
“Disused Mine” in a rather minimalist fashion with a drum beat and some popcorn noises. More synth instruments are added over this to create a very industrial effect. The main melody line in this track isn’t as distinct as it was in the original, and this is because the accompanying line plays a much more prominent part. This track is a whole two minutes longer than the original, and the reason for this is the wonderful development. A variety of rhythmic changes, contrasts, and musical devices are used by Yasuhiro Kawakami in the original to give it a really interesting and dark vibe, which are nicely emphasised by GUIDO. There is a part where the track changes pace, and this is at the 3:12 mark where we are given some shocking chords. From this we are thrown into a nauseating part, which really sums up the whole of the track. I have to say that to create a remix of such diversity from the original can only be done with extreme skill.
The album closes with the title theme “Electrical Indian”. The original theme was always extremely cheeky, and this arrangement is not too short of this either. It begins strange piano melody, which is then accompanied by a drum kit. Synth instruments follow this, and the most prominent addition after this is an electric guitar which plays out a wonderful melody. The piano part stays the same throughout this track, and it is what happens over this that matters. This is a perfect Mitsuda track, and it just brings out his and GUIDO’s creative side perfectly. It is a shame though that each part isn’t brought out as well as they would have been on other tracks, however; the drum kit is far too prominent in this track, and GUIDO seems to make too much of a big deal out of its beats, which stay the same throughout the whole track anyway. The ending could have been a bit more effective too.
With Electrical Indian, Guido decided to arrange the original compositions in an experimental style. In doing so, they produced some extremely entertaining and creative electronic mixes. However, they will alienate most mainstream audiences like Chrono Trigger: The Brink of Time before it. Nevertheless, there is a lot to like here for fans of the style and it is definitely one of the most interesting remix albums out there.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Dave Valentine. Last modified on August 1, 2012.