"Rygar on Rhodopa Mountain"

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Rygar (NES)Composer: Michiharu Hasuya
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Man, I thoroughly enjoy Rygar. The original one, for NES. Yes, it was difficult, yes, it was a ridiculous maze, and yes, it was easy to die... but there was just something about it. The creatures were unique, the variety of stage types was interesting, and of course, the music was cool. Back when tape recorders were the thing, I remember taping the music from many of the stages and listening to it away from the TV, like when I was doing homework and stuff.

Now, this particular remix isn’t quite as good as my Trippin’ on Snails remix, but there’s still a story it. Let’s see... the year was 2000. In summers between semesters of attending Purchase College, I was working in New York City. One of the jobs I fell into was that of a back-waiter at a very prestigious and upscale restaurant in upper East Side Manhattan. I actually started as a runner; I was only 20 years old and wasn’t even of drinking age, so it didn’t make sense for me to be waiting tables and describing fancy wines... and yet, a month into the job, they promoted me. They promoted a few of us, actually, guys who had the look they wanted and could speak good English.

Another guy they promoted in parallel with me was a gentleman from Bulgaria, named Tzvetalin. At one point on the job we got talking about music, and he described me to some of the nuances of Bulgarian music. He described some of the vocal nuances, how various harmonies were joined in ways that Western music rarely explored. He also explained the bagpipes. At first I was quick to basically say “oh yeah, I know bagpipes,” assuming that they were the same as the Scottish variety. However, they are not. He was quick to point that out, and then he let me borrow a CD so that I could hear, well, basically how wrong I was.

As I recall — and as the name of the remix implies — the name of the album was “On Rhodopa Mountain,” although I can’t say with 100% certainty that I’m right about that. Anyways, here are a couple tracks to showcase the raw Bulgarian style:

So, what do I do with this new knowledge? I sample it. I tried... not very successfully... to take some of the nuances from this very CD and loop the sounds, turn them into samples that I could manipulate in the tracker. Both the bagpipes sounds and the vocals found their way into this remix, and the combo is an homage to Tzvetalin and to the great classic NES game of Rygar.

It’s a bit painful, agreed. The samples aren’t the easiest on the ears, especially after they’ve been all chopped up and looped inside the tracker. And, arrangement-wise, it doesn't have a great arc. Aside from some subtle layering, it's kinda the same thing twice in a row. But, hey, it’s unique. And, it's only my sixth video game remix ever, if that means anything. All in all, if you’re a fan of the game like I am, and also appreciate unique ethnic flair, perhaps you’ll enjoy this track.

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