Norwegian artist Maria Franz meets Japanese artist Fumito Ueda. This GMV weaves footage from ‘The Last Guardian’ and ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ together with music from Heilung. Inspired by scenic views of northern European landscapes, I chose some of the most cinematic footage from Ueda’s works of art.

The woodwind solo in the music is reminiscent of the flute descants in Kow Otani’s score for ‘Shadow of the Colossus’. The flute and its musical motif would often play to highlight the bond between Wander and Mono, as well as the game’s overall tone, a mood best described by the Japanese saying “Mono no aware”. Oftentimes though, this would also play during the appearance of the Forbidden Lands’ great bridge (another symbol in keeping with the Japanese saying). As with Mono’s life and Wander’s goals, it too crumbled and fell. To maintain this use of the flute, I chose to have the prologue sequence’s view of the great bridge coincide with Heilung’s woodwind.

The vocals “Wunjo, runo, sigur. Fahi, ganði, raginakundo” chanted by the male voice (Kai Uwe Faust) are first heard when one of the winged beasts lands on the white tower. Those who have played ‘The Last Guardian’ to its ending will know what happens just as the footage cuts to darkness, a frightening, nigh-spiritual event. The Entity in the valley grasps control over the minds of the remaining inhabitants. Its effect on humans is visually manifested in the appearance of tattoo-like runes which grow in complexity each time a person encounters the Entity’s power. The second time the chant occurs at the closing of the video, the listener is returned to that mindset and the stories’ pervasive mono-no-aware. As the great bridge plummets to the earth, horsemen and their shaman gallop just ahead in their flight from an awakened deity. The only connection between the forsaken Lands and the outside world is severed.

Maria Franz’s vocals similarly coincide with the visuals. Both Kow Otani’s score for ‘Shadow’ as well as Takeshi Furukawa’s score for ‘The Last Guardian’ make liberal use of choirs. Otani utilized the SATB arrangement and placed emphasis on the sopranos and altos in key passages. Furukawa, on the other hand, chose a boys choir and used solely the soprano and alto sections from the London Voices. Franz’s harmonizing vocals nicely compliment the footage of the white tower from ‘Guardian’ and the wanderer’s journey in ‘Shadow’, as the original scores for both sequences possess the most iconic choral pieces from the games.

LYRICS (original)
Fé vældr frænda róge
Føðesk ulfr í skóge
Úr er af illu jarne
Opt løypr ræinn á hjarne
Þurs vældr kvinna kvillu
Kátr værðr fár af illu
Óss er flæstra færða
Fǫr; en skalpr er sværða

Ræið kveða rossom væsta
Reginn sló sværðet bæzta
Kaun er barna bǫlvan
Bǫl gørver nán fǫlvan
Hagall er kaldastr korna
Kristr skóp hæimenn forna
Nauðr gerer næppa koste
Nøktan kælr í froste

Wunjo, runo, sigur
Fahi, ganði, raginakundo

Ís kǫllum brú bræiða
Blindan þarf at læiða
Ár er gumna góðe
Get ek at ǫrr var Fróðe
Sól er landa ljóme
Lúti ek helgum dóme
Týr er æinendr ása
Opt værðr smiðr blása

Wunjo, runo, sigur
Fahi, ganði, raginakundo
Wunjo, runo, sigur
Fahi, ganði, raginakundo

LYRICS (translation)
Wealth cause dispute among friends;
the wolf lives in the forest
Slag comes from bad iron
the reindeer often races over the frozen snow.
Giant causes women’s sorrow;
few are cheerful from misfortune
River mouth is way of most journeys;
but the sheath is the one of swords

Riding, one says, is for horses the worst;
Regin forged the best sword
Ulcer is fatal for children;
death makes man pale
Hail is the coldest of grain;
Herjan shaped the world in olden times
Need leaves you little choice;
the naked freeze in the frost

Wunjo, runo, sigur
Fahi, ganði, raginakundo

Ice we call the broad bridge;
the blind man must be led
Good year is a blessing for men;
I say that Frodi was generous
Sun is light of the land
I bow before the holy
Tyr is one-handed among the Æsir;
often the smith must blow

Wunjo, runo, sigur
Fahi, ganði, raginakundo
Wunjo, runo, sigur
Fahi, ganði, raginakundo

Feat. music: “Norupo.” by Heilung. The Orchard Music, Glassnote Records, UMG, Kobalt (AWAL Digital Limited). Glassnote Entertainment Group LLC. Footage from: 2016, PS4 release of ‘The Last Guardian’ by genDESIGN and Sony’s Japan Studio; 2018, PS4 remake of ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ by Bluepoint Games and Sony’s Japan Studio.

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