December 5, 1991
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There is one arranged album in Ys’ discography that has become simply infamous. This is Ys Provincialism, a bizarre and misguided attempt to integrate the innocent melodies of Ys into groovy electronic and hip-hop mixes by the so-called J.D.K. Dulk Factory. It features remixes of five favourites from the original score followed by an extended hip-hop medley.
The opening arrangement of “The Morning Grow” takes a surprisingly downbeat approach compared to the more rock-oriented remixes of the theme. While goofy electronic beats run throughout, listeners are presented with a folksy intepretation of the melody and some random extended electric guitar solos. This remix is one of the least offensive on the album, yet it still lacks much relation to the original and is derivative independently of it. In fact, it is frightfully similar to Monkey Island’s music. The subsequent “Palace of Destruction” places a much stronger emphasis on the charming melody from the original. However, the backing track is so thin and uninspired that the whole arrangement sounds very empty, a few weird voice samples aside.
“The Last Moment of the Dark” is one of the more enjoyable remixes on the soundtrack. Given the gothic nature of the original, it suits the hip-hop take a little more and is reminiscent of Perfect Collection Dracula in that regard. The classic hip-hop references are potentially cutesy, though will be intrusive to others. “Beat of the Terror” is a little similar and gains some grit with the hard drum beats and electronic solos. However, any redemption for the album is only short-lived, since “Feena” sounds atrocious. The melody is totally incompatible with the Tijuana brass, conga beats, and piano chords so hideously synthesized here and the female voice reinforces the tacky feeling. It aspires to be ‘so bad, it’s hilarious’, yet it’s just too damn ugly to be enjoyed on any level.
The final item “Ys Provincialism (Virtuality Mix)” is a 15 minute medley with hip-hop influences. It rehashes samples of all five preceding tracks together with an appearance of the final battle theme. Once again, the beats aren’t atrocious, but they sound like generic pop music and don’t fit the original music at all. The most offensive aspect of the medley, however, are the random voice samples that fleetingly appear during the remix, such as “Let the rhythm take control” and “Yeeah boooy!”. As with most dance and hip-hop tracks that use voice libraries rather than real performers, this one is a disaster. To the medley’s credit, there is quite a lot of variety during the long playtime and it’s probably enough to keep listeners moderately entertained, yet also left thinking ‘what the heck?’.
The original idea of Ys Provincialism is clearly a misguided one given this style of arrangement is incompatible with the originals. However, perhaps the biggest problem is the weak implementation, with uncreative arrangements, unappealing samples, and low quality synthesizers. Furthermore, the album also lacks in terms of quantity — featuring just six tracks, including one long yet recycled one. Though some of the more gothic arrangements are listenable, there is no impressive material here and most would benefit from completely skipping this production. I still don’t really know what a Dulk Factory is, but this album indicates it is a very bad thing.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.