The Donkey Kong 64 OST

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The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#1

Post by Apollo the Just » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:43 am

I know, I know. "AJ what the **** there are like 6 David Wise DK OST's out there that are a thousand times more musically complex and engaging and incredible." I'm aware. Shush. I want to gush about the DK64 OST.

I was going through my old files on my laptop today and ended up spending 3 hours undoing a really pointless issue thanks apple your OS isn't broken at all and I discovered several MIDI files I had downloaded in my earliest days on the Internet, probably around 2006. These files were from the DK64 OST.

A couple things about this:

- I didn't know how MIDI worked and what differentiated it from like wav and mp3 files, so I didn't understand why the songs I downloaded didn't sound right. However, they were the ONLY files of the DK64 OST I could find at the time - how times have changed, am I right? Anyway, I listened to them anyway because they were all I had, but they were decidedly not the actual songs as you listen to them while playing. This made me be more... actively listening to them, I guess? I was hyper aware of what was the same and what was different. It honestly helped me pick out how the compositions were put together, hearing the songs interpreted in different instrumentations on different devices.

- there are a couple songs that I very heavily associate with my early days experimenting with music. Most of them are from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, but notably, Banana Fairy Island from DK64 is among them. It's one of the songs that my only-cello-playing self managed to plink out two-handed on the keyboard and try to figure out the harmony. Now, my harmonic understanding of these songs was very limited, shall we say, and I've revisited many of these old "covers" with a better grasp on how to properly voice things.... BUT my early years actually playing music by ear, not just reading off sheet music, involved a few key OST's that I really identified with as a young kid. DK64's was one of those.

- despite the fact that I loved this OST so much as a kid and was so enamored with its soundtrack that I learned how to play two-handed harmony on the piano with it...... I more or less completely forgot about its existence for the better part of about ten years.

Anyway, flash forward to a couple days ago. I decided to listen to the DK64 OST for giggles, and found myself absolutely enamored with it. Now that I have a more advanced musical ear, I can pick out what is happening, be more critical, etc., yet despite this I found myself more than anything having a greater appreciation for it now. The whole thing is basically a big ole theme and variations (that much was obvious as a kid) but I think the soundfont is excellent to convey atmosphere and most of the pieces are just..... really, really great. They are successful mood-setters. But more than that? I absolutely love the composition style. There is SO MUCH counterpoint, but if there is one thing you should know about me as a musician it is that I **** LOVE COUNTERPOINT. I AM A SLUT FOR COUNTERPOINT. I WOULD SELL MY SOUL FOR COUNTERPOINT. If a song is basically just a glorified round/canon I am HERE FOR THAT ****. DK64 **** delivers here, y'all. mmmmmmmm. yes.

Also, Frantic Factory was my favorite theme as a kid, but it was too harmonically complicated for me to actually pick out with my amateur ear alone. That said, it gave me an obsession with the use of the neapolitan chord about 15 years before I learned that **** had a name.

A N Y W A Y .

Given all this, I had a very unique and particular experience opening those MIDI files on my computer today. Because it wasn't just nostalgia for these songs, it was nostalgia for specifically the MIDI VERSIONS OF THESE SONGS that I listened to when it was the only way I could interact with them without turning the game on. I opened them up in my preferred MIDI editor and kind of just re-voiced a couple of them (by which I mean I just spent 4 hours re-voicing like 8 of them) so now I have actually listen-able wav files of a very particular reorchestration of them, that I made, out of files that I have held on to for over a **** decade because I loved this game's soundtrack so much.

I honestly believe this game's composition shaped my aesthetics as a composer. Because as I listen to it, I KNOW the techniques it is employing, and I can say with relative objectivity that the DKC games for example have overwhelmingly more nuanced composition, and yet the DK64 soundtrack absolutely resonates with me. Every theme I'm like "yesssssssss!!!!" with such extreme personal gusto that this pointless megapost is not quite capturing it still.

So, shout out to the Donkey Kong 64 soundtrack, because I thought it was so cool in middle school that without realizing it I developed a particular relationship to it that ended up probably actually shaping my tastes as an artist in ways I didn't recognize until about 3 hours ago.

To wrap, here's one of the super minor re-voicings I did. Not posting it because it's a particularly amazing feat, I did nothing to the arrangement, I just did minor balancing stuff and changed the instruments used; just to share this track that is produced from a MIDI I've held on to since my very first days on the internet:



I definitely want to do a full cover or remix of at least one of the songs in this OST soon. But for now, I should go to bed because it's uhhhh 5:30am whoops when did that happen

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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#2

Post by CaptHayfever » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:50 am

COVER THE DK RAP.

And remember, "I'm-a Luigi, number one!"

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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#3

Post by Marilink » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:03 am

I love that you have this intense nostalgic connection not necessarily to the DK64 soundtrack, but specifically to the VGMusic.com MIDI versions of the DK64 soundtrack. There's something special about that.

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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#4

Post by DarkZero » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:10 am

Marilink wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:03 am
I love that you have this intense nostalgic connection not necessarily to the DK64 soundtrack, but specifically to the VGMusic.com MIDI versions of the DK64 soundtrack. There's something special about that.
this is a MOOD though im the same way with the paper mario 64 soundtrack
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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#5

Post by smol Kat » Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:27 pm

I'm the same way with a bunch of random tracks tbh.

Also due to some weird Finale shenanigans, whenever I get the palace music from Zelda 2 in my head, it's a completely different musical experience and not how the song actually goes at all. Hard to explain.

VGMusic.com had some fantastic MIDI medleys though, don't judge me
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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#6

Post by Apollo the Just » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:33 pm

holy **** you guys I completely forgot about vgmusic.com (I did not understand its purpose or how MIDI works, like I said, so I had no appreciation that these were covers sequenced by fans) AND GUESS WHAT

THE "Angry Aztec (v2.0)" by Icy Guy that is still on there is the very same track I've preserved on my **** computer all these years. I just downloaded it fresh off the site to compare, and lo. bless y'all

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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#7

Post by smol Kat » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:40 pm

I think I've said this before, but downloading MIDIs from VGMusic.com and then opening them in Finale is how I practiced sight reading, like no joke.
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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#8

Post by Apollo the Just » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:51 pm

I kind of want to edit the midi file I used as a base in my Crimson Pride arrangement and submit it. The Tales of the Abyss section on there needs more love.

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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#9

Post by smol Kat » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:53 pm

You should do it! A lot of the newer stuff could use more love tbh.
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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#10

Post by Deepfake » Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:16 pm

Regarding the track you linked, it's interesting to me to hear the same theme repeated across different lead instruments for more understated presence just to give it more power when the primary lead comes back in, it feels like a shortcut but it clearly works well for the melody and prevents the energy from going up and down too much while still giving it a dynamic (important for BGM in a game where you don't know how long the player's going to be hearing it or what they'll be doing). Good work on the voicing choices, it feels like it's intended to sound this way. I have definitely heard some oddly chosen MIDI voices over the ages.

This reminds me, by the way, I know you're on Apple and I'm not sure what's available or how the system's configured, if it has a generic midi table as Windows does, but do you use your own soundfonts/drivers at all for general purpose? I have my system setup to run the Timbres of Heaven soundfont for older PC games like Doom, Dark Forces, etc. It really improves the experience overall. You can grab that particular one here: http://midkar.com/soundfonts/
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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#11

Post by smol Kat » Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:30 pm

^I don't think he's on Apple anymore, but I will say that all the hecking around I did in high school was on my dad's Mac.
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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#12

Post by steeze » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:43 pm

I never played Donkey Kong 64 but I've listened to the sound track. Should I stream my first run on twitch. I don't have a camera but it'd be like watching a fish out of water flop around breathing for air.

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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#13

Post by DarkZero » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:41 pm

i only know a few songs from the dk64 soundtrack but im familiar with both the n64 banjo games so i have a solid grasp of kirkhope's style in this era.

also leo i really liked that angry aztec mastering you did! i see what you mean about the counterpoint, that song has some very satisfying double melody stuff going on
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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#14

Post by Deepfake » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:49 pm

smol Kat wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:30 pm
^I don't think he's on Apple anymore, but I will say that all the hecking around I did in high school was on my dad's Mac.
He def said he was to me at the time of writing the post, and pretty certain he said so above!
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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#15

Post by smol Kat » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:51 pm

<_<
>_>
juuuuuuuuuust kidding! Could've sworn he had gotten a PC. o__O
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Re: The Donkey Kong 64 OST

#16

Post by Apollo the Just » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:48 pm

i am dual wielding mac and pc like a real gamer, checkmate atheists

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