September 8, 2010

Musical Sketches: “Time Circuits” and “Into the Thick of It”

Hi everyone! Wow, I’ve been so busy in real life, between teaching piano 6 days a week and then when I’m not working, I’m still working (freelance composing). Unfortunately, that means almost zero time to arrange new pieces, write new scores, and practice. But I finally figured out a way to get around that: post things I’ve already made, but have never shared with anyone before.

I put up a new back-door-page on my portfolio site called Musical Sketches, where I’ve posted a few rough recordings and ideas. It’s kind of like looking at doodles in an artist’s sketchbook, and sometimes that’s more fun; I think there’s a certain charm to seeing a piece of art when it’s unpolished and in a more “natural” state. Well, okay, I’m not sure if that applies to me, but hopefully someone will feel that way about my pieces!

So... enough talking! Let me show you some music.

Into the Thick of It
December 19, 2009

This is a rough recording (or as I was calling it, a “draft of a draft”) of “Into the Thick of It,” a fantastic piece from Secret of Mana by Hiroki Kikuta. If you remember my pal Alex from Dragon Roost Island, this was our second planned duet that we never got around to finishing up. We recorded this to feel out the structure of the arrangement, but even for a “draft of a draft,” I think it turned out nicely. Hope you like it, too! Piano by me; guitars and drums by Alex. The drums were influenced by “Did You See the Ocean” - mmm, two birds with one stone.

Time Circuits 
February 28, 2010

This is, hands down, my favorite song from a videogame. I adore it so much, and it even inspired me to play Chrono Trigger. “Time Circuits” is such a unique piece for a game - the instrumentation is exotic, with tabla, sitar and what sounds like some sort of gamelan instrument, yet the notes themselves aren’t “exotic” at all, carrying a sound that’s much more familiar. The result is a beautiful kind of tension, something that instantly inspires the fantastic feeling of far-off worlds and bittersweet nostalgia all at once.
Anyway, this is a little piano sketch that I recorded of it awhile ago. I really like where it’s headed, and I’ll definitely finish it sometime!

Feel free to check out the Musical Sketches page for some original pieces, too. As usual, please enjoy!


  1. Isn't "Time Circuits" also known as "Corridors of Time"?

    The version you posted from another youtube-guy long ago was awesome. Ans yes, I LOVE this theme too. Not my favourite of all videogames but indeed my favourite from Chrono Trigger.

    I love your arrangement, too. I'm writing this while listening to it at the same time and I can't describe how i feel when you start to hear the Theme itself at 0:35. It feels... personal, familiar. Maybe it's because i've played Chrono Trigger too many times =P

    Anyway, welcome back =)

  2. Nice to see you posting again! I found you via YouTube a while back and had to start following your blog because I loved your arrangements & performances.

  3. In different releases of the OST, the track has been translated differently. Most recently, the DS lists the track as "Corridor of Time".

    Amazing playing, as always. I completely agree about "Time Circuits" being amazing; you think it's just the instrumentation that gives it that dreamy feel, but even when stripped down to just the piano it still has a transcendent feel to it... Just takes you to another world.

  4. Fortress was obviously inspired by Buoy Base Galaxy, but boy is it unpredictable, in a good way :) Btw, I love playing ur arrangement of Buoy Base. Only tonight did I hear the source tune and honestly, urs is better!! imo

  5. Instant smile on my face! You rock!

  6. I agree Chrono Trigger was great. But Chrono Cross did really awaken my love for game music.
    The sketch was indeed very pleasant to listen to, I can't wait for the update if you're still planning to do one.