I planned this album as a soundtrack to a silent protagonist, one of those with one or two dialogue choices, which have little to zero impact on their journey.
A lot of time is spent answering for him, living through him, running away, trying to find…
I got to know about ‘Signal Eustasy’ out of a dream, such as those we forget about almost automatically after waking up. The name stuck.
‘Signal Eustasy’ is a franchise which only exists in the astral plane. It obviously has links with another very famous franchise, the name gives it away. But, more than that, it proposes its own universe, made up from rags of various other universes, such as those we spend hundreds of hours immersed in them, sitting, busting both our sight and our backs, probably all that being something like a second home for some of you – you lot reading this text – during happy or difficult moments of your childhood and your lives as a whole…
What I remember the most, the most intense of these immersions I’ve taken in these universes, is the sound from each place, the themes, soundtracks composed by those who will always be a huge influence to me (Yoko Shimomura, Nobuo Uematsu, Koji Kondo, Hirokazu Tanaka, Keiichi Suzuki, Koichi Sugiyama, Yasunori Mitsuda, Keiichi Okabe, Shoji Meguro, among many others), who surely were the main reasons for the smiles and tears I’ve shedded, much more than the plots which came alive through these soundtracks.
The album keeps alive a dream of mine. Another step in this dream which is actually a necessity, which everyday gets harder and harder not to forget (to wake up?) …
That’s one of the main reasons for my effort to record it here, now.
So, here I’ll try a track by track commentary
A crescendo arrives exploding. The idea was to strike from the start. A scare, as Kefka or Sephiroth would have done, to claim the urgency of a battle, the sense of ending. A single Health Point happens to be still enough, a crack, an open wound oozing all sorts of memories. Memories flowering among the syncope – asphalt or chaos keeping the body moving rather than paralysis: head, feet.
Unstoppable, severe pulse, following the horizon’s curve. Fragments are falling, one after the other, beat pieces working as beats-reframing-beats, themes underlaying themes. A lament surgically stitched between pads, choirs and arpeggios by Kiko Dinucci’s guitar and delay. Finally everything finds its place.
Ryougi or Tohno, both simultaneously discovering the points where things end, in their respective dimensions. “Everything in existence has a flaw. Not to mention humans, but air, will, and even time. It’s natural to have an end if it has a beginning.”
The points formed by raindrops burst into surface, trickling down the window, cheeks reflecting traces. Slow Arp, coming from silence as drops in both ears accumulating pulse, dancing, falling and dripping in this whole life’s flow, the harbinger of the end in processed strings aiming a deep dive to wake up the butterflies in the stomach.
The bassline keeps the sense of direction and form, I see it as the drawing’s borderline. The water drips from you and over you, from one ear to another, bubbling: we’re made of it. You can tell it’s been a huge obsession for me in the last few years, trying to force this dialogue, synthesizers and water. The origin of “Nothingness.”
Woken by the whistle of cute creatures, there is something ominous about the melody they sing. Perhaps they’re not exactly what they seem since their steps resonate like thick reverb drenched drums. As strident as the singing, the siren, might sound at first, pay attention and it turns into an almost cute whine, as something breaking into you when you reach the end of the line.
Arps arguing among themselves, running and crossing. Awake in this new reality, getting used to gravity you dance and learn the new robotic language.
Incomplete giant robots – never finished – lie dormant in the sewers. Their eyes suddenly light up with the song that comes from the deepest side of our brains, pure feeling, glossolalia, overflows and vibrates, the dance is crooked, and
however dark it is now, you feel the tenderness, the lights go out, they disappear after the battle of arpeggios and let the pads and bells lead the beats that also cool down and become clearer, as if now our feet were dancing alone in search of some revelation of the moon bringing strange cries accentuated by echo, broken phrases in languages I don’t speak.
The idea was to trace a path from day to night. Emygdio added a beat over my beat and played pads in the
second part. The unmistakable voice is from Juçara Marçal, a longtime partner.
Bubbles, tickled in the ears. The “”purest”” tone I could get. A patch of innocence, pointing to nostalgia in the afternoons stuck in a misty forest. That’s when I woke up.
Would it be a dream within a dream? When playing this I alienate myself and if it weren’t for the fade-out (thanks!) I would probably keep playing this for a long time, in a trance…
The string is cut, Tohno or Ryougi, in their respective dimensions, “dance” with their knives in list, in the accelerated flow, arp and guitar dispute, a conversation of fierce spirits, action and reaction, fragmented melody, a mirror cracked in dozens of pieces. Slicing limbs, piercing and following lines. The references are echoes in this proposed universe. This is a moment of awakening in Signal Eustasy VI, the definition of a boss fight that changes directions, Borgia Rossetti and his guitar talking to my synth line, the intention was to have echoes of Yoshihide and Lindsay.
A seductive, strange groove, in a way. Formed mainly by drum kicks in different sides of the room, such as pop-ups, bubbles bursting in a wide environment, your ears trembles and you are awake, there is something tribal in the pulse
and a kind of singing, deep down, like a call, children shaking cans full of pebbles in a frenzy, a “stiffened”; hi hat, a snare like firecrackers.
The arp is like a yellow brick road taking you to a mysterious place, it impels you, it increases the rhythm. The strings come cutting the whole, it’s a guitar playing the bass, and adding voices in almost percussive riffs, the kind of contribution that only Kiko Dinucci could bring. It’s a party in the middle of the woods, but it sounds like a junkyard too – where am I? The ghosts are cheering upon the flames of a bonfire while frightening shadows of the metal carcasses are projected against the trees.
Shiva has always been my favorite summon in the games, each game makes me curious about the animation that will represent “Diamond Dust”. Here the glockenspiel aims for calm, it is like ice crackling, it leaves echoes, it is like
falling asleep and waking up. While “El-Seibzehn” portrays dusk, here I wanted to portray dawn, frozen by the change of seasons, it is a refuge, I really like the transition from “Gunblade” to this piece. It is a fluid cut at the same time brusque, a “comfort that comes at the right time”, like diving or waking up on a cold winter morning and boiling the coffee water.
Strings and choir pads slowly bring the tension back to the point where there is the revelation, and you realize that you are still trapped in that icy universe in shades of blue and white, full of ice sculptures, white hills, gloves and heavy coats. I like how the theme of the glockenspiel is dispersed, played calmly, like a child discovering the sounds, the instrument and the ability to repeat and how it stops signaling the last act of the piece. It crossed my mind to name this play “Sister Friede” as well.
A sad reference. A specific character that carried yellow flowers and today, being forced to relive the cycle, you know that you will hopelessly miss, what gives it an even greater urgency effect, about enjoying every second. It’s also a track worked within the “ringtone effect”: this was the first time that I chose to work on a set of very short pieces, with just over a minute (Kupo, Xibalba and Cursed Woods are also included in this umbrella). That idea was based on the school of game soundtracks I still listen to. In the game, some of these pieces use to show up in a loop, but within the albums, they’re short tracks. It was a nice exercise, because it’s like going straight to the point, thinking about having a single chorus to present what I want, like a pill condensed with feeling.
That’s interesting because there was an effort in sharpening it, there are many details in each one, giving a nice replay value. Once again, Lucindo and I in dialogue with the synthesizers.
Still following the short tracks aesthetics – synth talk with Lucindo, the coming of a suspicious young lady’s caravan. The next one, a disputed race.
The second act of the album ends here.
The third act is on, patching a hypnotic sequence which works as a wire leading you through a long corridor, some kind of noir ghost house, where you explore room by room finding a wide range of elements from mystery to seduction, a tavern that was actually the smoky ruins of an old bar, cigars and hats, a faceless dancer and time. A place of dreams and sheep, as in Catherine?
Something’s wrong. Water and synth again, saliva and synth, chewing the ears… tingles. There is so much going on here. All my albums end by having a track flirting with jazz and the noir aesthetics, since “Areia” by Sobre a Máquina.
It couldn’t be different here. In one of the last moments, the final dungeon, which is two but also one. The grind has always been intense towards the end. Borgia Rossetti again with his guitar but this time also on saxophone and rhodes piano.
The other side, patience towards the end. There’s no silence, something shakes, the time flow is completely altered. The choir-pad sea, midi-choral strings and the subtle sounds of earth, everything gradually changes.
The mysteries are unveiled, is this where everything is uncertain? Dream or reality? Even in the end, there is uncertainty: is it over?
Grimoire Noir and Weiss are two pieces, but there was the idea to produce them in a way that was “possible” to play both same time on two different sound sources, in the same environment. As a reference to a certain moment of Nier.
It’s the end, if you believe it and get into the trance it will come as it hasn’t. A lullaby. In the end, you only need to relax, turn off the lights and close the door to yourself.
On a Different Note:
- Review // Jeremy Zuckerman – Lucky OST
- Track-by-Track // Corntuth – The Desert is Paper Thin
- Review // Isvisible/Isinvisible – Moon-White Water
- Track-by-Track: Jilk – Welcome Lies
- Track-by-Track: Grey Frequency – Paranormal