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Seiken Densetsu 3 – “Sea Breeze Strings” (The Pancake Chef)

March 15, 2010

“Sea Breeze Strings” is an absolutely amazing rendition of “Innocent Sea” from Seiken Densetsu 3. The game came out for the SNES back in 1995, and then only in Japan; for the longest time, it was one of the most legendary Square RPGs that never saw the light of day. It took roughly ten years for the game to become available in English when a team of hackers translated the game. Sometimes, you can find copies of this game (I got mine for around $40 about six years ago).

Seiken Densetsu 3 – “Sea Breeze Strings” (Pancakechef)

“Sea Breeze Strings” comes from 2001, back in the good old days of VGMix, but the quality of the instruments are so high that it could almost be recently minted. The song pulls all the stops to evoke the sea’s edge, with kelp gliding lazily in the deep waves and the ocean rolling everlasting into the shore. The deep rumbling timbre of the cello cuts a solid core, while the buzzing of the violin gives form to the arc of the waves. Halfway through (2:20) The Pancake Chef adds a piano and strings interlude, a beautiful section reminiscent of Yasunori Mitsuda remixes, and also Donkey Kong Country. For the finale, the piano from this section is woven in with the main melody. Though deeply calming, the track is also strangely sad, full of nostalgia for a pure ocean that seems lost like raindrops on a misty shore.

Hiroki Kikuta‘s original, “Innocent Sea“, is played with mandolin and harp, with pipes used to enhance the melody. As a result, it feels like an ethnic sea song, played from a boat or pier. It’s pretty simple though. Pancakechef’s rendition though fleshes out the melody and emotion of the original, literally submerging the listener beneath the waves and floating along with the tide. The beauty and majesty of the sea is all here with a depth and intensity rarely felt in other pieces. What is perhaps most amazing though is that these emotions all lie within the original melody, and have simply been unlocked by the imagination of the arranger.

There have been other remixes of “Innocent Sea”, with Joe Bammarito’s “Memories of the Sea” using a beautiful acoustic guitar and pipes. However, it feels a bit more like a dance or lounge music than the traditional sense given by the original, and so doesn’t feel as grounded in location. Nice piano integration though. Zyko’s “At First Innocence” is more along the lines, but suffers from subpar recording. There is some amazing drumwork here, and the guitar has the twirling sense of the original. I’m sure there are plenty more mixes on Japanese doujin albums, but I honestly haven’t listened to enough to name any.

The Pancake Chef produced several remixes on the old VGMix, but also has plenty on OCR. His homepage is on the horribly ad-riddled 50megs.com (which apparently no longer gives 50mb of free space), but for some reason, this track isn’t on there…

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