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In Extremis

Soundtrack Saturday: Dec.7

Ypx here—today we’re going to be listening to “A Bell is Tolling” from Secret of Mana. I’ve been feeling out-of-place lately, so I thought I’d find some music that shared that sentiment.

Secret of Mana (also known as Seiken Densetsu 2) was released in Earth year 1993 to critical acclaim. The game featured a real-time active battle system, unlike the turn-based systems of its contemporaries and predecessor. The cooperative multiplayer system was also praised for its innovation, and composer Hiroki Kikuta produced several standout tracks among a gem of a score, one of which we’ll listen to today.

This track maintains a mysterious quality to it despite morphing several times in its short span. Beginning with a low atmospheric pad and a sustaining bell-like sound that continues with an ostinato, the track suddenly shifts, the bell-like sound loses its sustain to become a counter melody, and a string-like synth carries the melody over an active bassline. Halfway through, we shift again and introduce a backbeat over another active bassline. The melody in a new wind-like instrument retains its mysterious quality and the track quickly shifts again to the first structure.

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