In my artistic endeavours, I've always been greatly influenced by music.
And there has been very little music that has touched me more than a specific kind of rock.
It might be called something like "adventurous melodic rock", maybe "Satriani but turned up to 11", or, how about "wild dreamy guitars take you on a journey"...?
It's hard to put into words what exactly is the essence of this style, but I'll try to make a list of "requirements" that must be met:
But of course, audio examples are worth a thousand words.
(This page was last updated on 12 December 2018.)
This is the second version of the opening theme (don't mind the sound effects!) to a game show from my childhood called La Carte aux TrÚsors (literal translation: Map to the Treasures).
To sum it up very fast, two contestants, one red, one blue, had to go hunt for the solutions to three riddles, each leading to a clue that helps whoever grabs it first find the Rose of the Winds, key to the eponymous treasure. They used helicopters, asked locals, sometimes hitched a ride, all while racing each other, and against the clock. The show was an excuse to wrap up a lot of cultural and historical exploration of obscure corners of rural France into a package made of adventure, sports, and gorgeous aerial sights.
It was edited to reflect the real-time progress as closely as possible, with none of the weird flourishes you'd find in reality TV. The host filled downtime with cultural insights, and even sometimes mini-documentaries about the subject that pertains to the current riddle. It was one of the highest-rated shows of French public service TV for over a decade.
That alone sounds pretty good, right? But what sounded even better was the soundtrack by Jean-Marc Bena´s. It mixed wonderful electric guitars and what one might call "soft rock" with lots of "world music" influences. A soundtrack album was released in 1997, during the second season; the show would go on to last for another decade. Despite many demands on the channel's forums, a huge amount of catchy melodies would never be officially released on another album, and to salt the wound further, the composer kept writing new awesome themes with each season.
All of this is mostly for context, and also because I get a chance to explain how awesome this thing was; the opening theme isn't the best piece of music from the show, although a lot of its themes are derived from it, and/or include its first six notes as a leitmotiv.
But it's not like this would stop me. For instance, right here, I've stitched a few bits from a couple of different episodes to try and get a clean-ish version of an alternate version of the theme which I find to just be incredible. Especially 0:44 and onwards.
This is one of the many themes that they used for the more action-packed bits. It was released on the official CD... without the guitar track, which makes me extremely sad.
LISTEN TO HOW CRAZY AND WILD IT GOES. I JUST FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS GUITAR, MAN.
And this is the ending theme. Very moody. This song might be more closely associated with the show than its main theme. It's that good. So, this helicopter-treasure-hunt-game-show has cool music and all that. I hope I got that point across. Here's the thing, though: I think that genre/style of music is incredible. And I've been trying to find more like that.
I haven't had much success. But I do have a few more examples for you to check out!
Oddly enough, I think the closest I ever got to finding something that matches the genre was the soundtrack to, of all things, an amateur OpenGL named GL Excess tech demo made in 2001 by someone made Paolo Martella. He did everything himself: the code, the art... and the music. This first example, if it were a profile in a dating app, would be a solid 99%. In fact, in some ways, it's a 150%.
Another one from GL Excess, on the calmer side this time.
Still GL Excess, one that demonstrates a guitar that goes "wild" without it necessarily being something super energetic or fitting to an action scene.
This rearrangement of Corridors of Time from Chrono Trigger shows off both the calmer, new-age-ish ambiance, followed by an amazing solo at 1:01.
Overall, it oozes with a melancholic mood, and it's outstanding.
More recently, I discovered a band / musical project called Enigma. Its first two albums are very, very good, and part of the track I love you, I'll kill you stuck out to me for its similarities to the style of rock I've been pursuing. It's a bit too much on the "violent" side, though.
With all the comparisons I made with him, it's only normal that I'd end up including an excerpt from Joe Satriani. It is. Here's Clouds Race Across The Sky. It doesn't get that close. It's funny, you could classify all of the music I'm showing off here as examples of stuff that's really Satrianiesque, because Joe's considered to be a pioneer of melodic rock. But having listened to all his discography again, I would say that while I do like a lot of his stuff, a lot of it doesn't tick all the boxes of the specific kind of rock I'm looking for. It made me realize that he, himself, doesn't measure up to the idea I had built up in my head of the term "satrianesque".
A friend sent me this track from Sonic Mania (Lava Reef Zone, Act 2), which gets surprisingly close in nearly all aspects.
Here's an excerpt from Bj°rn Lynne's 2003 album Return to Witchwood. He's more on the symphonic rock side of things, so it doesn't ever really get too close in general, but some tracks, like this one, do.
Hopefully you now get the kind of music I mean, and maybe that's something you dig as well!
IF YOU KNOW MUSIC THAT'S LIKE WHAT I'M DESCRIBING, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!
I've got e-mail (ml.maxofs2d-at-gmail), I've got Twitter, etc.