Monday, April 5, 2010

Jay's Playlist: JigginJonT

Welcome to my playlist, where I discuss the music which is currently entertaining me. Below you will find a video, press play to begin the song and then read my feelings on the album.

Today's music is arrangements by JigginJonT:

As I've said numerous times before, one of my favorite genres is soundtracks. One of my favorite sub-genre of soundtracks is game soundtracks. And my favorite sub-genre of game soundtracks is orchestral/band/piano arrangements. Surprisingly, the genre of arranged video game music is actually quite large (at least bigger than you would expect), and even more surprising is how many well made fan arrangements/performances of game soundtracks exist. Talented musicians. who also love video game, will write, record, and upload their arrangements for everyone to hear; and with Youtube and OCremix it is easier to get attention for your arrangement.

One of the first fan-made performances that blew me away was "Live from the Yggdrasil" by the jazz pianist Jon Titterington (aka "JigginJonT"). The complex jazz single stuck with me from the moment I heard it, and it is one of the very few pieces to survive my (now retired) 72-hour test: I would start playing the song on Friday morning and if I was not sick of it by Monday morning then I knew it was a wonderful piece.

Beyond being a talented pianist, JonT found success in his arrangements by choosing video game pieces that were lesser known and making them his own. At the time (and today still), most fan arrangements were of pieces that were either the game's main theme, an overused-cliche theme, or the game's few piano/guitar only themes which were easy to recreate. Yet Jon chose pieces that if I hadn't been told the game I probably wouldn't have recognized, even after playing the games (although sometimes a decade had passed since playing them). He then adds his favorite style of the time to the piece (there is some definite Vince Guraldi in the above piece) and by the end of the arrangement he has made the theme his own.

Below you will find the original themes for the two pieces listed above and can see how much Jon changed, yet retained, in his arrangements.

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