EarthBound 64 Enemy Designer Interview
A reader by the name of Iwant recent e-mailed me about trying to figure out where some of the sound samples used in MOTHER 2/EarthBound are from. Here’s the e-mail, along with the sounds in question for your easy listening:
First things first, I really appreciate this site and the work you’ve done on the MOTHER series. If not for your efforts to make this series get the popularity it deserves, I may have never heard about it. And I wouldn’t be writing an article about it either! I’m indeed writing a rather large article covering the whole MOTHER series, which will initially be released in french but will also be featured in a translated version on HardCore Gaming 101 when it’s done.
So, why am I contacting you? Well, you see, I love sample-based music, so my love for MOTHER2’s soundtrack is no surprise. We all know about the creative use the game made of those samples… or do we? By exploring the game sound effects and fiddling with them in audio editing softwares, I’ve come accross a few intriguing occurences. You probably know that already, but what makes samples apparent in sound fonts is the fact they are more than just a stab/shot/keynote long, and that they have a distinct “lo-fi” feeling. And well… there are MORE of these than those we already know about.
I’ve edited them so that they sound more like what they would in their original context. I have no idea where they may come from, though… and that’s why I’m mailing you. Would you be so kind as to make a post on EarthBound central containing said samples, so that everyone can join in the hunt? When it comes to hunting down sample, having more brains is never too much. The involvment of the whole MOTHER fanbase would be of great help! I’ve included two versions of every sample to ease the research. So far, here’s what I think:
– First, the “woa” and “dont’t think” vocal samples from the opening. There’s something strange about their very existence in the first place: While all “voice actors” were credited in the staff roll (OK, Whistle, Belch, Venus, Mu), nothing is said about these two. Furthermore, there seems to be a small background noise on the “don’t think” one.
Woa sample (slowed down):
Don’t think sample:
Don’t think sample (slowed down):
– Continuing with the vocals: The weird “wubble” from the background music of the Dungeon Man’s insides. If you slow it down, you can actually hear it says something. Something along the line of “welcome goldman”. I have no idea in what language this may even be spoken.
Dungeon Man sample:
Dungeon Man sample (slowed down):
– Going back to the opening: See the “Giyg Strikes Back” screen? Well, it does not only features the guitar riff of Mr. “Seeger” but also a distinctive background sound: When manipulated, it becomes clear it is sampled from a riot or something of the like. I thought it may be from The Beatles’ Revolution 9, but it doesn’t seem so. The people involved sound like they’re chanting a slogan, ‘cuz they all go “waaaaa-wa-wa-wa”.
Riot-sounding sample (slowed down):
– And, at last, Giygas. Everything about him seems sampled. But two samples have attracted my attention: The electric-soundind thing from Giygas’ Intimidation and the aspiration sound from when he disintegrates. The first one is very unnatural when listened to and, when radically slowed down, it actually reveals itself to be a very sped up and high-pitched sampling of something like a submarine soundscape or a music from an old horror flick. The other sample, when sped up, actually sound like a chorus chanting or something of the like; not only that, but you can also hear it’s definetely cut off from something because of a tiny sound at the end of this sample.
Giygas sound (slowed down):
Giygas chorus sound:
Giygas chorus sound (slowed down)
So, that’s it. I hope this message reaches you, and I hope you will agree to take part in the hunt for these obscure samples’ source!
Now, I’ve already pointed out that the Dungeon Man sample is actually just Itoi randomly humming without realizing he was being recorded (and he didn’t know about it until 10 years later!) and that the Giygas sound was done by randomly taking some sound and then just pressing different keys until it sounded “voice-like”. Both tidbits come from this old MOTHER music discussion from 2003 that I can’t remember if anyone’s translated or not.
But I’m still just as curious as Iwant about where a lot of these samples might’ve come from or what they’re saying in some of them, if anything. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to share them in the comments!
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