"Ceremony" from Secret of Mana on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1993)
Record Label: Square
Composer: Hiroki Kikuta
The first time I heard this song, it was between midnight and two in the morning way back in 1994 or '95. It was the first major temple/dungeon in the Secret of Mana and it creeped me the fuck out. I recall feeling very uncomfortable, but not in the sense that something big and evil was about to jump out at me, just that I was in a place I wasn't supposed to be; that something was happening that I was not supposed to be bearing witness to.
This is what good music does. Sure there are music cues that make you feel excited or afraid, but the really good ones, make you feel something specific within those wide ranges of emotion. And this is what "Ceremony" did to me. There's even those two seconds of the initial gong before the chimes/bells come in that you're pretty sure something is just a bit off and you're not quite sure what. That's when the bells kick in and you just know that you're not in a good place. It's at about the same time too that the tenor flute starts playing, but it seems like it's playing at a different time signature than the people playing the bells. Maybe someone told them the notes to play, but didn't give them the sheet music? It's all very unsettling.
Whenever I think of music that is supposed to make me feel uncomfortable as I approach a temple of somekind, this is the music that I want playing.