Miracle of Sound - Encore

Miracle of Sound - Encore
Silver And Steel and Shadows In The Moonlight

MiracleOfSound | 24 May 2012 16:00
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Shadows In The Moonlight

I was apprehensive about tackling another Assassin's Creed song after the somewhat mixed response to "Brothers Of The Creed." But I love the series, Ezio is one of my favorite characters and well, I'm a stubborn, determined git and wanted to make another AC song just to show that I could.

The inspirations for the music were the soundtracks of AC2 and Revelations. My friend Lorna lent her voice to this one for the chanting part. The intro was almost identical to the style used in AC2 - acoustic guitars, strings and harp providing a backdrop for Lorna's lovely floating vocal. I wanted to capture a very European, Renaissance-esque feel, something many felt was missing from the previous AC song.

The vocal melodies in the song are very deliberately crafted. Each line starts low, climbs upwards, then drops down again. This was meant to subtly imply climbing and falling. I wanted the melody to sound like the way playing the games feels, constantly ascending and descending against the lush classical backdrop.

The abrupt musical shift two thirds of the way through the song into more eastern sounding melodies is meant to convey Ezio's final chapter in the story, hence the "Revelations" line. The "shores of gold" line is a simple reference to Constantinople's golden shores.

I wanted this part to be brimming over with extra layers to the point where so much extra stuff was added in it all started to become a bit cluttered. This was exactly how I felt about Revelations - there was so much un-needed extra crap in that game that it tended to overpower and mask the main story and mechanics that were so good in the first place.

A couple of people complained that the lead vocal was lost in the mix here and yes, it was, that was the whole point. I added in so much extra stuff and even brought the main vocal down by 4 or 5 decibels so it felt like another background instrument as opposed to the central focus of the piece. I even whacked up the de-esser on it so it lost some of the clarity on the "s" and "t" sounds. I felt it suited the game - perhaps not a great move on a musical level but I liked it as a weird little statement. You can make your own minds up on that one!

Lyrically, the song is simply a very brief story of Ezio's life. "Race you to the top" was the first line that popped into my head when writing as that opening scene to Assassin's Creed 2 (where Ezio and his brother race to the roof of the church) has always been one of my favorite moments in the story. Verse 2 deals with Ezio's "all grown up" time in Venice as an expert covert killer. I like the line "On Venetian stone I climb and clamber, cloaked in dark" - I'm a sucker for alliteration, I always think it makes a line move along more smoothly.

Criticisms:

The song and lyrics fit the game perfectly!

Phew. Glad most of you felt that way this time!

This song makes me want to finish Revelations. If only I could figure out those damn tower defense things.

I have filed those tower defense minigames in the "What the fuck were they thinking" drawer. They sit there festering away next to GTA4's checkpoint system, Dead Space's turrets, Max Payne 3's timer-based mission fails and Sheva Alomar's alternative costume.

The guitar is a bit loud, drowns out your vocal near the end.

Yep.

Seems a bit aimless for me. Expected something more vivid, more action.

The vivid action in the AC games was not the focus of the lyrics so it wasn't going to be the focus of the musical style either. The "aim" was to abbreviate Ezio's life story, not describe a swordfight.

Didn't really fit Assassin's Creed because it was too relaxing.

Playing Assassin's Creed 2 was one the most relaxing experiences of my life.

I'm surprised at how many comments are criticizing the slow, contemplative nature of the song, saying it should have been more violent and big ... I guess it's a common complaint with your music, people not understanding why your song is like that when all they did in the game was kill people, but I still just wish people didn't regard games with such shallowness as to ignore the thematic elements around which you build your songs.

You are my new favorite person. Everyone read this, memorize it and think about it next time you're about to complain that I song I wrote wasn't "actiony" or "violent" enough.

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