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SLEEP MODE: Lullabies for N00bs

December 16, 2017

 

In 2016 Materia Collective released NIBEL: Ori and the Blind Forest Remixed on its one-year anniversary. Although it was one of the fastest creative deadlines in our short history as an organization those involved were very exited. After finishing my track I asked around to see if anyone wanted to throw together just one more song on the fly and grouped together a handful of friends. We started work right away, but not in time to finish the track in time for the deadline. It also wasn't the best in terms of quality or polish either. So we just wrapped it up and moved on. 

 

I was so inspired by our little campfire track though that I started working on several more songs that could be sung to children as cautionary lullabies like 'Aesop's Fables' and Campfire songs like we used to sing as kids during summer camp. I tried to keep the instrumentation simple to play and learn, but elegant.

 

When I contacted the Ori team to see if they wanted to help me record an album of lullabies and campfire songs everyone jumped on board and we dove into the process. While this was going on I started asking some different communities about whether or not they would be interested in a Lullaby collection of video game covers for children, and what we could call it.

Everyone loved the idea and so we plunged forward. It's taken us nearly two years, to complete SLEEP MODE, We put a lot of heart into it and I feel like those who listen will catch that energy.  

 

 

Warning Ori and the Blind Forest Spoilers Ahead!

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The Moral of the Story is... is the original song that launched SLEEP MODE. It was inspired by the last song on Ori and the Blind Forest's soundtrack called 'The Sacrifice'. The song takes place after the death of Ori and Kuro as the world is restored to its former glory thanks to Kuro's self-sacrifice. 

 

We took this song because it plays at the part of the game where everything has been resolved at the end. In the lyrics I summarize the ideas taught throughout the game. All of the primary enemies encountered in the game have a story to tell. In the moment it just seems like they're evil, but as the story unravels you discover someone motivated by loneliness, and another motivated by sorrow and grief. It really shows that sometimes you can't see the whole picture, and it can be worth it to look behind the curtains and learn about what's going on behind the scenes before passing judgement. 

 

Sometimes the best answer to aggression is compassion. 

 

 

 

 

 

Warning Undertale Spoilers Ahead!

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 Underground is a cover of Waterfall from the game Undertale. The entire game is based around the player's freedom to make choices that are good, bad, or otherwise. Every decision you make effects all of the characters, and how you are able to interact with the world around you. 

It's up to you, the player, to determine whether you are a friend of the monsters in the underground, or an enemy. 

 

I wanted to capture that element of the importance of choice. Understanding that our decisions really do affect those around us, 

 

Toriel is a character that introduces you to all of the nuances of the Underground. She is the one who tells you to make the right choices. She tries very very hard to shelter and protect you. This song is in the voice of Toriel who is desperately trying to keep you safe, but is also letting you know that the decisions you make are incredibly important. 

The moral of Underground is taking a moment to consider personal responsibility for the decisions that you make in life.

 

 

Warning Kingdom Hearts Spoilers Ahead!

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When I played Kingdom Hearts in High School I was very taken with Riku's story. When Riku re-appears late in the beginning of the game I was so sure that he was corrupted completely. However, as the story goes on it turns out that Riku's heart was in the right place all along. Both He and Sora wanted to rescue and protect their friend Kairi. Sora and Riku both attempted to accomplish this by doing what they believed was the best way to accomplish this goal. Riku was deceived into joining the villains in order to obtain as much power as possible so that he could protect his friends. However, as evil is want to do, it corrupted him, and his mind became clouded by darkness. 

In the end Riku was able to break through both his own deception, and the villains control to save his friends. He is fully willing to give up his life to the unknown darkness teeming with enemies in order to protect his friends from certain destruction. I believed in that moment, and some of the ones leading up to the finale that Riku actually has a beautiful heart. People often make mistakes, sometimes by accident, sometimes by choice, and sometimes those decisions are something that others see as completely unforgivable. However, even the worst of people can change, can make a right decision at the right moment, and become someone who is perhaps even more beautiful than those who have never lived on the dark side.

I wanted to capture Riku's essence in this song to show that even though he didn't always do things the right way. He still cared about Kairi, and did what he could to show her that in the end.

 

 See the Artist 1ndajone5's full original artwork here.

 

Dovahkiir is not a typo. I promise. In Skyrim the old language of Dragons is called Dovahzul. The game's creators developed the language so that it could be written with a dragon's claw. The language has been so well developed and refined by the kind folk over at Thuum.org that people who have loved the world and lore of Skyrim can actually learn and communicate in the language.

I only recently started playing Skyrim for the first time, in fact it's my first Elder Scrolls game, and I've fallen in love with the lore. I still have a lot to learn, and I'm working through all of the books in game. But what I do know is that the people are hopeful that the Dragonborn, their long awaited hero, will come and rescue them from the war and political turmoil their country is steeped in. 

 

Dovahkiir translates as Dragon Child rather than Dragonborn since the album was thought to be lullabies for children. Although I shortened the song a bit I didn't change any of the lyrics...this is a straight cover. Instead my inspiration was imagining a mother singing to comfort her child in the night.

 

Don't fret little one....the Dragonborn will save us.... sleep for now so that when he comes we will be ready.

 

In the end I think it sounds a bit more like a father and daughter singing to encourage each other... but I think that is just as fitting in a world where parents calm their children with the hope of a hero.

 

See the Artist nini-pooh's original artwork here.

I also wrote a couple of original songs on the album. The Salty Dog Waltz was inspired by the animated film Song of the SeaSong of the Sea is about a family where the mother is a Selkie.

In Irish folklore selkies are said to live as seals in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land. The stories usually revolve around female selkies being coerced into relationships with humans by someone stealing and hiding their skin, often not recovering it until many years later. Once recovered they typically return to the sea, forsaking their human family.

Song of the Sea Spoilers Ahead

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In this particular story the loss of the mother is so devastating that the father sends his children to live with his mother in the city. However, the children run away, their pet dog Cu meets them about half-way and then they all return to their home together. (After some heroics of course <3 not too many spoilers just-in-case <3)

 

The song is from the children Ben and Saoirse's point of view as part of their story unfolds.
The Solos in the song were performed on an Irish Whistle, and Concertina to give it that Irish shore kind of vibe. I hope that we were able to share their adventure with you through those sounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The picture above is of my son and I just hours after he was born. He is almost three-years-old now and I want to inspire him to be brave, to be creative, and to dream. I wanted to write a song to inspire him with the spirit of adventure. Something to let him know that it's okay for him to explore, and that I'll be here to put a band-aid on when something is wrong. I want him to pass on that spirit of hope and adventure someday so I put all of this into a song that I feel like other geeky parents like myself can relate with, and want to share with their own children as a lullaby. 

It is my hope that you will enjoy listening to SLEEP MODE and sharing it with your family, and your children. Whether you are putting your children to sleep, slaying dragons, or just relaxing with a book I hope that this album will find its way into your heart and your home. 

 

If you really love SLEEP MODE please let me and Materia Collective know, and tell us what you want to hear so that we can get started on a sequel!

 

Also take some time to check out more work from the heroes who helped make this dream a reality:

 

Bonnie Bogovich

Jesse Buddington

Ian Martyn

Joel Everett

Kristin Naigus

Skill Tree

Stephen R. Froeber

Anthony Avon

 

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