There are, however, even subtler hints at the thoughts towards history influencing the game and its themes. Today, we're stopping in the land of cliffs that rise higher than can be fathomed, of caverns crawling with the toughest baddies...and three singing horses with guitars and sombreros. Yes, we're headed to Cool Ranch to take a look at something I've never taken for granted - the music!
Besides the general pioneering theme in Cool Ranch from the birdy folk, there are two major historical stereotypes presented in Cool Ranch: The native peoples, whose counterpart would be the Native Americans and Mexican culture and customs - essentially, traditions north and south of the border between the United States and its neighboring country, Mexico.
Due to icons like Brother Wolf, the native bison of Cool Ranch reflect the traditions and customs of the Native Americans on the United States' Pacific Coast. Within that culture, songs and music are used within ceremony and tribal or even family rite. Common within songs of that culture are chanting and steady drum beats. Rattles were made of gourds or shells and wind instruments like flutes and whistles were common. In the above song and dance, the same themes are presented. There's a strong drumbeat accompanied by the rattle as is used traditionally.
Also likely of note in Cool Ranch could be Mexican themes. This is already very evident in the musical figures portrayed in Santo Pollo, Los Dos Amigos y Uno. These three compose a Mariachi band. In the Mariachi genre, guitars, violins, and trumpets are very commonly heard as well as the vocals. "El Rey" and "La Cucaracha" are very popular Mariachi titles and you may even recognize them if you listen!
Are we able to find these elements in the music of Cool Ranch? Let's see...
This song is played in many of the locations where the Native American aspects are most obvious. In this theme, we can hear chanting in the background and a strong drumbeat with the occasional rattle. To provide melody, there's a flute. This mimics traditions from the Nootka to the Navajo Native American tribes and beyond.
Where is this more modern? I'd say the usage of modern brass instruments and string instruments like violins and cellos (I cannot tell the difference within this piece). Also of note are the usages of bells and non-traditional percussion. I think this is to provide more common ground for the majority of players, as few are very used to traditional chanting/drumming alone. If you'd like to listen to passed-down, ceremonial music, check the tracks out here. My favorites are the Baby Song and the second Potlatch Song. (A potlatch is a large feast and celebration of sorts.)
Just like in mariachi music, there is definitely a lot of guitar and violin in here as well as the same feeling presented through the percussion (the percussion being clapping). A violin is the melody with a trumpet and guitars as backing. The clapping noise could also be castanets, one of the instruments the mariachi trio in the saloon instructs us to retrieve.
Strum, Rattle and Sing
From what I can see, KI's music department is doing a wonderful job in maintaining cultural norms in music while adding a special touch to make it appealing to the players and fit the mood of the situations. Cool Ranch is one of my favorite worlds and it's very interesting to fish out everything that I like about it and give it reason.
What do you think about the music? Are there any other tunes around the Spiral that you find historically accurate? Let me know in the comments!