Threshold of a Dream Review: Written Whilst Listening

After 8 long years of waiting, of dying and being revived on multiple occasions, Threshold of a Dream has finally been released. Contained within this link is a detailed review giving an aural tour of the album with locations to look for and tracks to listen to over and over again.


by Taylor Brown
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DISC 1 – MAIN ALBUM

1. Theophany – Full Moon Cello (The Tail Cave)     5:49
Peaceful at first, befitting the intro track to the album. Bells or something come in at about 0:20, and then the main intstrumentation at about 0:28. Strings at 0:46 elaborate on the basic rhythm already created. More strings at about 1:09. The mood is set quite beautifully by the strings and bells. Quick breakdown like in the source at about 2:10. Drums come in at about 2:25, along with bass a few seconds later. More breakdown at about 3:00, this time distinct from the source. Main melody returns at 3:40 for a second, then violin comes in at about 3:45. The melody takes a life of its own at about 4:09 with a beautiful fashion. At 4:28 all the instruments come in for a truly beautiful buildup to the finale, which begins at 5:10 or so. It all ends suddenly and only bells and bass remain at 5:29 to end.

2. Benjamin Briggs – Lucidic (Koholint Island)     3:23
The artist formerly known as chthonic makes his mark known immediately. Buildup until 0:32, when some nice peaceful and semi-ethereal instrumentation come in. Briggs’ basic style comes in at 1:16 or so, and demonstrates his love for this soundtrack (seriously, listen to It’s My Turn to Dream and you’ll see what I mean). Main melody returns at 1:50. Breakdown at 2:10 or so, with more of his style and touch. True remix comes in at 2:38. Fadeout beginning at about 3:05, with spacey instruments to end.

3. Level 99, prophetik – Threshold of a Dream (Title)     3:14
Stevo’s acoustic sexiness begins the track immediately, with a rain sound effect backing at first. Violin comes in at about 0:48, adding to the beauty. Shakers at about 1:10 add to the atmosphere, and the guitar evolves into an electric one at 1:29 to truly amp up the listening experience. Drums appear with it, and a nice remix breakdown comes in at 2:09 or so. A truly atmospheric and beautiful peace, with the finale beginning at 2:57, consisting of the rain and the violin.

4. Iggy Koopa – Oceanfront View (House)     2:23
Piano begins immediately. A beautiful track, reminiscent of Shnabubula‘s work on Voices of the Lifestream, is found here. A short one, but a classic.

5. prophetik – Animal Counterpoint (Animal Village)     5:00
Here there be electronica; reminiscent of an odd 80s space movie soundtrack, part of the melody comes in at 1:24, after an odd effect that repeats. The instrumentation chosen is eccentric, but it fits the village the source tune plays in. It keeps building slowly but surely, until 3:25 when it starts to get a bit intense. This track is a bit strange, but in a purely enjoyable fashion. The source is recognizable, but it’s hidden under all the bizarre music. The song ends suddenly at 4:57.

6. Ten19 – The Wind Outside (The Egg)     4:20
A bizarre and creepy source track gets an upgrade here, with spooky sound effects that sound like they came from the Shadow Temple in Ocarina of Time and ambience that chills the spine. 1:11 starts the main melody. 1:52 brings in a break with heartbeats or something… 2:11 heralds the return of the main melody. More melody comes in at about 3:15. Ambience from 3:50 to end, with melody.

7. The Joker – Evigilo Inserpatus (Dream Shrine)     4:26
A beautiful soundscape comes in here, with echoing piano at about 0:25. Drums come in at 1:04, complete with echoing. Powerful ambience comes in at 1:20 or so, creating a dreamscape with the soundscape. Somewhat haunting effects are interspersed within the track to accompany all the music to give a complete package here. Breakdown at 2:50, shattering the dream, albeit momentarily. Everything returns at 3:17, bringing with it a dark feeling that ups the ante considerably and gives the song itself that much more emotion. Breakdown at 4:00 until end.

8. Benjamin Briggs – Climb My Mountain, This High (Tal Tal Heights)     3:40
Chth’s second track on the album (he changed his name, I’m still calling him that) is just as great as the first. Giving a mellow feel to the track with his champion chiptune expertise, the music comes in right away, and explodes at 1:03 with raw chippy power. A pretty sweet breakdown begins at about 1:22. The song has its own energy, infectious in its old-school style and sound. Briggs took the source, got an idea, and ran with it. Good thing too; this track is awesome. The main rhythm comes in at about 2:45. The music is drowned out by the bass from 3:15 to about 3:35, when it stops.

9. Sound Test – Spare Key (Key Cavern)     3:55
A haunting track, consisting of piano and space age sounds. Main melody comes in about 0:50. There are some nice breakdowns along the way, with what sounds like the boss theme thrown in at about 2:10. It sounds like a bunch of radio sounds are thrown in too, which adds to the atmosphere. Raw power comes in at 3:10, and ends suddenly right on time at 3:52.

10. Dj Mokram – Fierce Melancholy of the Woods (Mysterious Forest)     4:30
What sounds like a pan flute starts the track with the famous Zelda theme, and then piano comes in with what sounds like the Ballad of the Wind Fish. Strings come in at about 0:48 with what sounds like Tal Tal Height’s main rhythm. The flutes come in at about 1:10 with the main mysterious groove of the forest. At 1:35 the flutes come in, and there’s a beat that adds drama and energy to the track. The strings come in with force at about 2:10, with another melody at 2:30. The same raw energy he showed on Essence of Lime is present in this track. Peace comes in at 3:20. A cool rhythm comes in at 3:55 or so, and kicks off the finale of the track. The end begins at 4:20.

11. Artem Bank – Liftin’ Them Pots (The Bottle Grotto)     4:10
Ambience kicks the track off, and the main rhythm on bass comes in at about 0:32. Piano comes in at 1:20. Guitar comes in at 1:57, adding to the atmosphere of the track. More intstrumentation comes in at 2:30 or so, building the raw emotional energy already present in the track. Some cool guitar comes in at about 3:00, and continues until about 3:35 when the music calms down and the ambience carries the track to its end at 4:05.

12. prophetik – Facies Templum (Face Shrine)     4:50
As with other tracks on this album, ambience kicks the track off, this one interspersed with strumming. At 0:39, saxophone comes in. 1:18 shows the start of the main track. Mr. Burr demonstrates his skill with the wind instruments. 1:58 shows some piano that really elaborates on the feeling of the source, which always was a bit melancholy and somewhat spooky. Sax returns at 2:38 or so. A very mellow listening experience can be found here, beautiful in its elegance and simplicity. More atmosphere comes in at 3:50, and even more at 4:08. Tears almost started to flow; bravo, Bradley Burr. Bravo.

13. Dafydd – Sköldpaddsklippan (Turtle Rock)     4:07
The track begins immediately with the main rhythm. Drumbeat comes in at 0:30. The track continually builds up until 1:17, when some power appears behind the basic rhythm. Bass beats back the track up. The bass vanishes at 2:30, but the main rhythm remains intact. Strings come in at 2:40 or so, with a building sense and then piano at 2:57 or so to show off the main part of the track. 3:28 brings back the part of the track the played for the majority of it and plays that until the final ten seconds, which add a finishing touch to the track.

14. Xenon Odyssey – Sunrise in Mabe (Mabe Village)     4:08
A basic piano rendition of this beautiful source. This mix is just as beautiful as said source, so something was definitely done correctly. The Ballad of the Wind Fish appears here as well, starting at about 2:10. Fitting for this album, as that was basically the main musical theme of the game.

15. Lashmush – Beneath (Shadow Battles)     3:30
The final battle mix starts out with menacing ambience. Some nice beats come in at about 0:50 that do nothing but add to the menacing feel. 1:58 brings in more menace. The ambience present in this track actually reminds of a few tracks from the Crash Bandicoot soundtrack. 2:40 brings in more feel to the track. 3:20 brings in a roar that is just scary..

16. Rexy – The Feather’s Reflection (Eagle’s Tower)     5:19
A nice piano rendition by Rexy, the thing she is known for the most. 1:28 brings in more of the source. 2:28 shows another part of the main rhythm. The track continues to build and expand into something more awesome and more beautiful, just like with Mario’s Hazy Beach Holiday. It slows down at 4:03 or so. It goes back to basics at about 4:40.

17. prophetik – Voices of the Deep (Catfish’s Maw)     3:09
Bells come in at 0:20. Ambience plays throughout, and whistling comes in at about 0:50. More instrumentation comes in at about 1:10 or so. Everything keeps building, just like in the previous track. A very mellow track on the whole here.

18. Sound Test – The Vision of the Wind Fish (Ballad of the Wind Fish)     6:09
A very odd beginning, with vocals and crazy ambience. The sounds used for the main melody (one of my all time favorites) is ethereal and awesome. There is a lot going on here, and it’s all good. A drumbeat begins at about 1:55 and carries the track a bit further. 2:27 brings in a different style of music, reminiscent of Joshua Morse almost. There’s even a running water sound effect that’s present in two of his tracks (that I know of). His voice comes in at 3:35 or so, and describes the game’s finale. Some awesome electronic sound effects accompany this, and bring the ballad back in. 4:50 or so shows the credits theme in a chippy happy rendition. More vocals at 5:40, heralding the coming end of the track. They end at 5:57, and the water sound effect comes in with seagulls cawing.

19. prophetik, Fishy – House of Frogs (Richard’s Villa)     3:48
Some pretty beautiful guitar starts out the song, along with some nice saxophone. A nice ending to the album; great collaboration between Burr and McCormack. Cain breaks out a solo at about 1:50 that just sounds awesome, with Brad accompanying in masterful fashion. Some awesome double woodwind action at about 2:45 or so. These play until about 3:19, when simple acoustic guitar takes over until the end.

DISC 2 – BONUS TRACKS

1. Sound Test – The Beginning of the Tail (The Tail Cave)     4:21
Our second Tail Cave remix comes from Sound Test, who quickly became the zyko of this album. It’s pretty nice, and mellow. Drama starts to build at about 0:59. It calms down at 1:37, and more odd instrumentation comes in. Everything starts to build again at about 2:33, and is replaced by more ambience. Crazy music comes in at 3:20. It crashes at 3:50, and ends suddenly at about 4:15.

2. sloopygoop – I Don’t Know Who I Am Anymore (Player Select) 7:56
The longest track is, quite fittingly given the game of origin, a chiptune. Great work considering the short source. The ZELDA activated salsa remix comes in at about 0:50. 1:18 brings on sloopygoop’s own take. 1:35 adds more to the track. 1:57 throws in another style, and 2:00 brings in a very odd take on the track, which is quite dramatic. 3:00 brings in a circus version in its happiness and eccentricity. The director’s comments are quite accurate in that this is “generally just eight minutes of awesome.” 4:15 brings in yet another style, after demonstrating it in waltz tempo. 5:06 is the mark for yet another change of style, once again using the salsa remix already present in the game. It calms down at about 5:45, with an almost straight copy of the source, and 5:57 expands it once more. 6:28 brings about a return to the source. It slows and stops at 6:45, and is silent until 7:03, when it kicks back in with a very basic and simple remix of the source that plays until the 7:40 when it starts to fade.

3. Obtuse – This Cave Is Creepy (The Tail Cave)     3:56
The final Tail Cave remix is from Obtuse, alias Andrew Struve. The rain sound effect works, and the instrumentation works for the creepy vibe that the title portrays. Thunder roars at 0:50, and some violin comes in to back up the creepy feeling. The tension continually builds up until about 2:09, when everything pretty much stops, and more of the melody is explored. More thunder at 2:57, with basic melody explored thereafter. Violin returns at about 3:20, and the song ends with a high note at 3:47 or so.

4. prophetik, PriZm – Villa (Richard’s Villa)     3:37
The original version of House of Frogs is right here. As with the remade version featuring Fishy, the beginning starts out beautifully. PriZm’s guitar solo at 1:36 is definitely different than Fishy’s, but classic PriZm instead. Very reminiscent of his work on Summoning of Spirits; certain parts of Final Destination, in particular. The dual woodwinds at about 2:35 are just as beautiful. Very basic guitar at 3:10 until the end, just like in Fishy’s version.

5. Mustin – Inception (Shadow Battles)     4:06
The title of this track no doubt refers to the connection between dreams and the recent film of the same name. Very funky; would fit in on an album with Mysterious Groove on it. Excellent work by Mustin; no surprise there. Chiptune sounds at about 1:11 work with the track. A phenomenal remix right here. A bit of a solo begins at about 1:40. 2:20 brings in The Egg’s melody for more elaboration. The funkiness is prevalent throughout the track. Some ambience comes in at about 3:05, but only for a few seconds. It returns at 3:15, and vanishes again at 3:22. It returns once more at about 3:26, and fades for a quick false ending at 3:37. The song ends suddenly at 3:56.

6. Miku – Eagle Tower (Eagle’s Tower)     3:44
A beautiful piano rendition similar to Rexy’s work on the album proper. The main melody comes in at 0:22. The source is continually built upon in elegant fashion. The main source returns at about 1:50 in all its beauty. Everything slows down at 3:10, and continues in the same manner until the end at about 3:39.

CONCLUSION
Given the album’s long history (having originally begun in 2002 with an attempt to remix all 96 tracks present in the game’s sound file, then dying shortly after, coming back again again in 2005, dying again in 2007, and reviving one last time in 2008), one would think this album might never have been completed. Instead, it has become the Zero of OCR’s albums, persevering even through death to come to its completion. And it’s a good thing it has; the 19 tracks on the album are phenomenal, all staying within a restriction and doing it with style and aplomb. A phenomenal listen; all tracks are covered equally and in grand fashion. The six bonus tracks are a real treat, as they give an insight into the album’s history with two tracks that were replaced in the update, two that competed for the first track spot, and two that didn’t meet the restrictions but were too damn good to leave out. This is a must listen for both fans of the game and the soundtrack, for fans of the musicians, and for fans of remixes in general. Stellar work from all involved, whether they’re OCR regulars or total newcomers to the scene. It’s an album full of firsts, and all involved have made their mark, and much like Neil Armstrong’s footprint on the moon, it’s not going away any time soon.

Taylor Brown, alias Mirby, has been playing games for as long as she can remember. As such, she's also been listening to the music contained within said games, and enjoying it for just as long. She's interviewed quite a few remixers, including Level 99, Sixto Sounds, zircon, and even djpretzel! Now that she's at ThaSauce, she's gonna keep the interviews and scoops coming! Stay tuned!

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