FFIX: Worlds Apart Review, Disc 4

Hello, and welcome to my review/listening guide of the fourth and final disc of Final Fantasy IX: Worlds Apart, the remix album from the sonic wizards over at OverClocked ReMix!

I’ll be going through, track-by-track, and rating them on a 1-5 “Dagger Scale”, along with giving a few thoughts on why I rated them so.  You can listen along on SoundCloud or download the album yourself at ff9.ocremix.org!

Inritus Bellum (The War to Nothingness) [Guardians]
Mikeaudio

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Okay, Trent Reznor, when did you sneak into this album?

In a word: epic.

In three words: epic as fuck.

In… more words: A perfect remix of “Guardians”.  Great build, great sense of… urgency, I guess?  I dunno.  It’s just super badass.

Ghosts (Terra)
LuIzA, Level 99

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I really wish I could rate this remix higher – I really like the music, and I think that the lyricism is some of the best on the album (far better than “Memories of Dali”, for example)… but… I didn’t like the singers.  Kind of a dealbreaker.  If I had enjoyed the voices themselves more, then this song would be a four, at the very least.

Ground Zero (Bran Bal, the Soulless Village)
halc

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There was nothing about this remix that really blew me away.  It seemed relatively conservative, relatively uninspired.  There were no risks taken to really get this remix to “the next level”, as it were, but it was good nonetheless.  I quite enjoyed it.

The Fallen Savior (Pandemonium)
Darangen

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First off, badass name for a Pandemonium remix.  Really shows that the artist knew what was going on in the plot of the game at this point.  Definitely enjoyed how the melody was introduced by some super-badass guitar, and punctuated by a nice drumbeat.  Reminds me of how badass Zidane really is.

You and I (We’re Not Alone) [Not Alone]
Poolside feat. Amanda Appiarius

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You know, I really liked this song on its own.  I enjoyed the vocals (they’re probably the best on the album), it had a nice, driving beat, and the lyrics were… acceptable.

All this is rating the song itself, however.  As a remix, it falls flat on its face.

Okay, so: “You’re Not Alone” isn’t a romantic song.  It’s not, like, Dagger going “omg zidane ur zooooo hawt will u date me y/n?”.  It’s an inspirational-as-fuck song during which, at Zidane’s lowest point, his friends refuse to leave him.  He had helped them realize that they all had priceless life experiences, and that they all had something worth living (and, indeed, thriving) for, and now they finally return the favor.  It’s about saving the savior when he can no longer carry the weight of the world on his own.

This remix completely missed that, and that’s unacceptable.  The strength of the song alone brings it up to a 3.  As a remix of one of the marquee songs in FFIX, I’m very disappointed.

Viking Funeral for the Damned (Silver Dragon)
Knight of the Round, Adam Higgins

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“Silver Dragon” gets the metal mix it richly deserves here.  This isn’t something I’d personally listen to (I find double bass fucking obnoxious (because it is)), but for “Silver Dragon”?  I’ll allow it.  Damn good remix.  The opposite of the remix above, basically: the song isn’t close to my favorite, but it’s damn faithful.

Filtering Through the Memories (Memoria)
sephfire

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Oooooh, here we go.  A fantastic remix for the nostalgically, creepily spacey Memoria theme.  I’m a huge fan of this remix.  When I hear this, though, I know I’m approaching the end, which is an excitingly scary prospect…

Crystalline Tempest (Crystal World)
Archangel

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All right, I’m calling it, it’s official – Archangel is the MVP of this damn album.  He, katethegreat, and umlaut-man all absolutely killed it, but… man.  Archangel knew the tone he wanted to strike in every song, and executed them all to perfection.  Well done, yo.

Arxidopita (The Darkness of Eternity)
SnappleMan, finbeard, norg

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DUDE.  I LOVE how badass people have made Kuja’s themes in this album.  As I’ve said before, I think Kuja is criminally underrated, but this album sonically draws him up to be the badass he really is.  Like, if you’re not intimidated when you listen to this shit, you need to check your amygdala (or whatever the part of the brain that handles intimidation is.  I’m no surgeon, fuck off).  The breakdown in the middle is great – it takes us back to a better time in the game, a less-intense, less-“existence-is-on-the-line” time, as if the artist is trying to escape the reality of the battle themselves.

Zero World (The Final Battle)
Fishy feat. Ludiotic

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FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKTHISSHITWASINCREDIBLE.  I love how the actual FFIX lines were uttered in the beginning and end; so epic.  I’ve always thought of Necron’s voice to be an… “anti-voice”, a sonic nothingness, greater than the deepest silence, cutting through the noise of the world around it… but I don’t blame the mixers for, y’know, not being able to do that.  That’s kinda tough.

FIVE.

EPIC.

DAGGERS.

Prelude to Fantasy (Prelude)
Archangel

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I mean, there’s honestly not much to say – here we are at the end of the album, and who’s here to punctuate it but our man, Archangel.

Do I even need to tell you that he earned a five?

This is another song, like “You’re Not Alone”, like “Melodies of Life”, that if you fuck it up, that’s some bad news.  Luckily, Archangel was on the job and up to the task, putting together the BEST “Prelude” mix I’ve ever heard.

It’s amazing.  It’s transcendent.  I wept in my office at work.  It was worth it.

Worlds Apart, OverClocked ReMix’s incredible FFIX album, five years in the making, doesn’t go out with a whimper.  It doesn’t go out with a bang.

It goes out… with a Prelude.  As it was always destined to.

Thanks for joining me through the greatest remix album ever to be released.

God, I fucking love Final Fantasy IX.

FFIX: Worlds Apart Review, Disc 3

Hello, and welcome to my review/listening guide of the third disc of Final Fantasy IX: Worlds Apart, the remix album from the sonic wizards over at OverClocked ReMix!

I’ll be going through, track-by-track, and rating them on a 1-5 “Steiner Scale”, along with giving a few thoughts on why I rated them so.  You can listen along on SoundCloud or download the album yourself at ff9.ocremix.org!

A Rose in the Storm (Roses of May)
Natalya Zarraga feat. Seth Tallman

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Man.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad “Roses of May” remix (and trust me, I have sought out many).  This mix is no exception – methodical, cathartic, with a nice little breakdown in the middle.  Nice use of harp.  Fuckin’ love harp.

Dig This Fossil (Fossil Roo)
Mazedude

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Y’know, out of the entire OST, Fossil Roo is one of the few I’m relatively “meh” on (it’s still Uematsu, so it is still, by definition, perfect… but you know what I mean).  This remix is definitely an interesting take, but it doesn’t really have the “wow” factor, nor does it make me look at the original song in a new way.  Still good enough for three Steiners, though.

Rally-ho! (Conde Petit)
Moomba feat. Fishy

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Dude.  Fishy rules.  I don’t look at the artists before I write these, but color me unsurprised that he (along with Moomba) took this remix and kicked its ass.  I thought I was going to fall asleep in the beginning, but they came back strong with some grade-A remixing starting about a minute in.

Fixations (Before the Altar)
RiverSound

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LOVED IT.  Made me feel like I was at the (fake?) wedding in Conde Petit.  Great take on a song which, had they fucked it up, I would’ve been quite saddened indeed.  This one tugs at the nostalgic heartstrings.

Blakk Majik (Black Mage Village)
Brandon Strader, Jeff Ball

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Another song that, while well-executed, doesn’t seem to allow the true tone of the original song to shine through.

OH WAIT WUBUBUUWBUWUWUWUUBUBBIIES

+1 for dubby-wubbies.  They’re used to great effect, adding a layer of quirkiness that would have been lost had they gone with the more-aggressive guitar sound for the whole song.

+1 for having a Wicker Man reference.  WELP, I started this review at a 3, now it’s a 5.  Whoops.

I Am Gonna Stop Eventually (Unforgettable Sorrow)
Brandon Strader

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Utterly fantastic.  It really packs that “I just realized that I’m going to die one day” emotional punch.  Very sad, as it should be.

Plus, I’m a sucker for solo piano.  Sue me.

I’ll Always Be There (Eiko’s Theme)
Flexstyle

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Aside from the creepy whispers that sound more serial killer-y than like friendly reassurance, I thought this was a great remix.  Relatively light and bouncy, but with a tone of sadness, just like the character.  Flexstyle did a great job.  Highly recommended.

Iifa, the Super Tree of Death (Iifa, the Ancient Tree of Life)
ch4rl33

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You can tell that this one’s by ch4rl33 immediately – sounds just like Knight-wit.  And, if you remember my review of that remix, that’s not a bad thing.

ch4rl33 does a great job of keeping the foreboding of the Iifa Tree, while adding his own dubby-wubby, constantly-morphing flavor to the music.  Another ch4rl33 remix, another 5/5 on my board.

Assassimander (Amarant’s Theme)
ch4rl33

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OH NO, CH4RL33 GOT SOMETHING LESS THAN A FIVE!  GASP!

Don’t get me wrong – Assassimander.  In fact, the more I listen to it, the more it grows on me; hell, it might be a five in my book sometime soon.  I don’t think it carries the same glorious epicene that his previous two offerings provide, however.  It may look like I just give out fives willy-nilly, and sometimes I do, but I can be picky; I expect a lot from ch4rl33 now, and with that comes higher expectations.  Four out of five.

Four Score and Six-Eight (Tetra Master)
djpretzel

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Speaking of high expectations, I have them for djpretzel.  On a lesser album, perhaps I’d give this a four, but surrounded by the other stellar offerings, “Four Score and Six-Eight” musters no more than a three.  It’s definitely good; it’s definitely worth multiple listens; it’s not as good as many of the other songs on this album.

Miles and Miles Away (Esto Gaza)
XPRTNovice

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Man.  After my FFVI reviews, if you had told me that XPRTNovice wouldn’t get a 5/5 on this album, I would’ve said you were crazy.  But, hey, here we are.

This remix was quite close, actually – I looooooove smooth jazz, and this shit is smooth as a baby’s bottom wrapped in silk and dipped into a vat of liquid velvet.  Unfortunately, it didn’t have the “wow” factor; it never blew me away.  It worked great with the tone of Esto Gaza, but it’s squarely in the 4/5 range.

When Love Must Be Saved (Broken Spell, Healed Hearts)
Bluelighter

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It took a few minutes, but this remix came into its own… eventually.  Kinda.  Before the halfway point, this thing was headed straight for Onesville.  Honestly, I was just bored to tears.  It picks up a bit towards the end, however, and earns a bump in my rating.  Nothing special, but okay.

The Final Melody (Melodies of Life)
Jovette Rivera feat. ISAO

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There are a few things you need to know about me: one, I’ve been looking forward to this album for years; two, the FFIX OST is quite possibly my favorite musical piece of all time; three, if you fuck up a remix of Melodies of Life, there will be hell to pay.

Luckily, Jovette Rivera knocks it out of the park, yo.  5/5.  Listen.  Love.  Listen again.  Love more.  Repeat.

Through Sun-drenched Skies (Aboard the Hilda Garde)
Archangel

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Dude, Archangel is really fucking good.  The whimsy and glory of the original song is balanced and mirrored perfectly in this remix, while the artist definitely makes it their own.  That dude with all the umlauts in his name from Disc 1 may just have a competition in the MVP discussion for this album.

Bibliotheca ~ Dreamer in the Library (Daguerreo, the Hermit’s Library)
katethegreat19, Chaeley

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So remember that time (read: those many, many times) I called katethegreat19’s voice gorgeous?  Yeah, well, it is.  And it remains so throughout this song.  The music is perfect for Daguerreo, one of my personal favorite locations in the entire game.  A fuckin’ library city thing built into a mountain?  How fuckin’ cool is that?

Anyway, yeah, five.  A fantastic run of songs to end the third of four discs.

FFIX: Worlds Apart Review/Listening Guide, Disc 2

Oh… Oh shit.  Is this two posts… in two days?!

You bet your ass it is, my adoring fans!

Welcome to my review/listening guide of the first disc of Final Fantasy IX: Worlds Apart, the remix album from the sonic wizards over at OverClocked ReMix!

I’ll be going through, track-by-track, and rating them on a 1-5 “Vivi Scale”, along with giving a few thoughts on why I rated them so.  You can listen along on SoundCloud or download the album yourself at ff9.ocremix.org!

Craic in the Castle Walls (Cid’s Theme)
XPRTNovice

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Another strong showing from XPRTNovice.  I interviewed this guy a while back, and I’ve always been impressed by how he can tie in seemingly-disparate styles and songs to make a super-cohesive, great remix.

Late Night Lindblum (Lindblum)
Mattias Häggström Gerdt

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Mattias, I am unconvinced that you are not Deadmau5 in disguise.  This song was funkalicious, fun, and had some great builds.  Very, very, very enjoyable.  Everyone listen to this shit.

As Long As We Remember (Garnet’s Theme)
Archangel, Claire Yaxley

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This was the only acceptable way to remix Garnet’s theme, and it was perfect.  God, ouch, the feels.  The feels make my cold, deadened heart feel things.  Such goodness.  Loved it.

Zaghnol Comes (Festival of the Hunt)
Sixto Sounds

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ZAGHNOL COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMES

Yummy-yummies (Quina’s Theme, Qu’s Marsh)
Mattias Häggström Gerdt

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Mattias, you might be the goddamned MVP of this album.  Loving your stuff so far.  Another great song by this umlaut-ridden homie.

The Knight of Woeful Sorrow (Freya’s Theme)
Abadoss, AndyP, Fishy

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Yep, I’m giving out 5’s like they’re candy on this disc.  Well, guess what?  I fucking love candy, and I fucking love all these songs.  They’re all really good.  Abadoss and friends, you killed it, well done.

You Don’t Know Me (Unforgettable Silhouette)
katethegreat19

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It kinda sounds like she says “Through Ice and Dragon-Fart” at one point, which is kinda funny.  But on the real side, katethegreat19 is a fantastic singer, and I’m super biased – I’m a big fan of… basically everything she’s done.  Her take on Rose of May is incredible.

FIVE.  VIVIS.

Spirits of Gaia (Faerie Battle)
Brandon Strader

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Strader, as usual, fucking slays it.  I love the little wooshy-wooshy woo-woo ghosty sounds, and it’s called Spirits of Gaia, and… yeah.  Jesus.  Disc 2 of this album is… one of the best discs of any album.  In general.  Seriously, listen to the entire thing.  It’s incredible.

You know what, I’m just going to tell you now: the next three songs are all five-Vivi songs as well.  So I’m just going to put them up here so you don’t have to keep looking at them:

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Terraforming Gaia (Kuja’s Theme)
Gario

Remember that cyber/steampunk Steiner spinoff I mentioned on Disc 1?  Yeah, if Kuja were in that, this would be his theme song, and it would be amazing.  Yep, another 5 Vivis, get over it.

March of Robbers in Treno City (Dark City Treno)
Bluelighter

Encapsulates Treno perfectly.  Just the right balance of goofy pomp, light harp/flute, and bass.

In the Hall of the Gangster King (Tantalus’ Theme)
Verdegrand

I like how faithful this stayed to the original, while still giving it a new, distinct flavor.  A little solo piano action to get your Tantalus on.  Delicious.

Ambitious Whispers, Immoral Chants (Wicked Melody, Devil’s Ambition)
Archangel

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The five-star run has ended… because this song was worth SIX out of five stars.  Holy hell.  This is easily the best song on the disc, and quite possibly nails it better than any other song on the album (that’s REALLY hard to say, but it’s definitely top-tier).  Drop what you’re doing and listen to it.  Seriously.  Unless you’re holding, like, a baby or something, in which case, please don’t drop it.

Into the Sandstorm (Cleyra’s Trunk)
jnWake, Argle

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Into the Sandstorm was… creepy.  It was good.  Had a nice sense of foreboding to it, but I didn’t think it was anything special.  The RIDICULOUS run of INCREDIBLE songs ends here.

Tribe of the Sandy Treehouse (Cleyra Settlement)
katethegreat19

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Again, my bias shows.  I’ve been listening to this song for years, and I think it’s absolutely gorgeous.  I can’t bring myself to give it any less than five stars.  Love the drums in the background, and, again, katethegreat’s voice is incredible.

Save the Queen (The Wavering Blade)
IanFitC

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I don’t feel like this remix went far enough.  It was good, don’t get me wrong, but it never really brought in that tension, that intensity that I’m looking for in a Wavering Blade remix.  It had a nice breakdown, but… yeah.  Maybe it’s because it’s surrounded with stellar mixes all over the disc, but it wasn’t impressive to me.

To Be Forgotten (Eternal Harvest)
Fishy, Chris | Amaterasu

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Another song I didn’t particularly care for myself, but I definitely think it was well done.  At about 2:35 it brings in some metally-guitar-stuff that I found completely over-the-top and unnecessary; I would’ve much preferred the acoustic deliciousness from before to continue.

Agree? Disagree?  Comment below and we can talk about this glorious homage to FFIX!

FFIX: Worlds Apart Review/Listening Guide, Disc 1

Hello, and welcome to my review/listening guide of the first disc of Final Fantasy IX: Worlds Apart, the remix album from the sonic wizards over at OverClocked ReMix!

I’ll be going through, track-by-track, and rating them on a 1-5 “Zidane Scale”, along with giving a few thoughts on why I rated them so.  You can listen along on SoundCloud or download the album yourself at ff9.ocremix.org!

Moguo’s Knife Party (Over the Hill)
Benjamin Briggs

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BEAST start to the album.  So funky, with some delicious little ska influences towards the middle…  Guh.  Glorious.  5 ZIDANES.

Sjá, Minn Heim (A Place to Call Home)
M-H

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Before I begin, let me mention that I used to be super into hard rock/metal, and these days I’ve come to start feeling the opposite.  However, I enjoyed this remix.  I liked how it’s not super overwhelming with the intense guitar, and stays true to the melody throughout.

Black Mage Master (Vivi’s Theme)
The Dual Dragons

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Oh jeez, more metal.  Again, I actually enjoyed this music, but… it didn’t sound very Vivi to me, y’know?  The tone was all wrong.  Even at his angriest, I don’t see Vivi in the light I felt this song was portraying.  Good music overall, but I think you need to keep the tone of the song, and the character the song is about, in mind when you remix.

Canaries and Hurricanes (Swords of Fury, Behind the Door)
Fishy

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Remember when I was talking about tone before?  THIS song is perfect for some super-sweet metal guitar, and I think Fishy nailed it.  It’s dramatic.  It’s epic.  It captured the tone, along with being a damn good song in general.

Vamo alla Django (Vamo alla Flamenco)
AndyP, Fishy feat. Dan Bryant

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Hahaha.  I don’t even know how to begin describing this song, except it was three great guitarists just chillin’ and bangin’ out some Vamo alla Flamenco.  I’m going to contradict myself here, and say, regardless of tone, listen to this one.

Lunar Rebellion (Court Jesters)
IanFitC

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Damn.  Yum.  This song was deliciously creepy, and fit Zorn and Thorn perfectly.  I felt the foreboding.  The faithfulness to the source material earns this baby a sweet 5 Zidanes.

Knight-wit (Steiner’s Theme)
ch4rl33

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KNIGHT-WIT IS AMAZING DON’T EVEN WAIT FOR ME TO FINISH THIS SENTENCE LISTEN TO IT NOW SIX ZIDAAAAAAAAAAAAANES ON A 1-5 SCALE

In case you’re still reading, this is so perfect Steiner; plodding, yet the remix makes it super upbeat and danceable.  I’m picturing a cyber/steampunk FFIX spinoff with Steiner as the main character and this as the title music.  Get on it, Squeenix.

Prima Variations (Prima Vista Orchestra)
Calum Bowen

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Damn.  This song… definitely had some variation in it.  It was all over the map, but I enjoyed it.  Not a must-listen (who am I kidding, they’re all must-listens; it’s Worlds Apart, for Christ’s sake), but it’s… good.

Doomed Lovers (Tragic Love)
Brandon Strader

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Another song where the epic power metal is completely appropriate, in my opinion.  Super tragic, super intense.  Loved it.

t.r.e.e. (Danger in the Forest)
Ross Kmet

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I like the direction that Ross Kmet took this song.  I’m no musician, so I can’t speak to the intricacies of composition, but I thought it sounded good, and it kept that creepy, somewhat dangerous feel that the Evil Forest is supposed to have.

Exploda (Battle 1)
Cyril the Wolf, Fishy

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Like the battle music itself, it’s repetitive, epic to a fault, and is ingrained in the mind of anyone who’s played this game.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.  FIVE ZIDANES.

Bossa de Victory (Fanfare)
Calum Bowen

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This was a bold move, and one I didn’t think would work when I first listened.  A minute in, though, I was sold.  Calum Bowen pulled it off.  Well done.  This one gets me groovin’.

The Throes of Death(guise) [Battle 2]
Gario

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Really interesting how Gario would carry the melody with this slow… weird… tone… thing (again, not a musician), but there was always that frantic shizz goin’ on in the background, a reminder that you’re never safe when you’re listening to this boss music.

Corra! (Run!)
Dr. Manhattan

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A perfectly good remix.  It didn’t blow my socks off, and was a liiiiiiiiittle slow and laborious at times for something that’s called “Run!”, but yeah.  It was good.

Memories of Dali (Village of Dali)
Jean Of mArc, Solveig Giffin, Christine MacIsaac

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When I first heard lyrics, I gasped and was ready to ruffle the shit out of my feathers.  “Hurr durr I’m a purist fuck this stupid singing shit SHE PRONOUNCED CHOCOBO WRONG god damn these lyrics suck ass”

And, y’know, the lyrics… weren’t great.  But they told a story.  And the story meshed with the story of Dali, and added a layer of underlying sadness in the music that I had never noticed before.  In the end, I think they added something that, without them, would have been sorely missed.

Birth Under a Blue Light (Zidane’s Theme)
Knight of the Round

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… Well, there had to be one clunker, right?

It took me 3 listens to even tease out the melody of Zidane’s Theme in this remix.  It was far too heavy-handed, and I just didn’t get it.  If there’s one track to skip on this disc, it’d be this one.  End with the super-sad “Memories of Dali” instead.

FFIX OverClocked ReMix Album, Worlds Apart, Drops Today!

SFKHASOIFDHOAIFNEJVNBSAIUOGVCBLKANGLJKAHHFD YESSSSS CLICK THE IMAGE TO GO TO THE DOWNLOAD PAGE NOW

IT’S OUT!  Five years in the making, Worlds Apart has been released!

Like I did with OCR’s FFVI album, Balance and Ruin, I’m going to do a track-by-track review of this I’m-sure-will-be-amazing album.  This pushes the Gaming Inspirations posts back a bit, but I’m going to continue to do at least 2 posts a week, so it won’t be long ’til I’m babbling about how inspiring and amazing FFIX is!

FFVI Remix Album – Balance and Ruin Review – Disc 1

In case you didn’t know, in addition to Final Fantasy IX, I’m also a huge fan of Final Fantasy VI.  In case you haven’t heard, OCRemix came out with a free-to-download remix album of Final Fantasy VI.  Comprised of five discs, It’s been in the works for months, and after a lot of Kickstarter drama, it was finally released yesterday.  I’ve been keeping my eye on this project, and now that it’s been released, I’m going to do a disc-by-disc, track-by-track review of the whole thing (don’t worry, Let’s Play fans – this won’t delay the editing process, and we are still on schedule to have the first episode released this weekend!).

I put them in the order of track number, followed by the title of the remixed song, the title of the original (in parentheses), and the artist’s name.  I’ve rated each song on a scale from one to five Kefkas.

Track 1 – Prologue (Opening Theme) by bustatunez

At the risk of every FFVI fan stopping reading right now, I have a confession to make:  I’ve never really liked the first half of the opening to FFVI – it’s too scary for me.  Too foreboding.  I mean, it’s a very intense game, but I feel like I’m about to start a Silent Hill or something.  That said, bustatunez did a great job;  it sounds amazing, especially when the music transitions about halfway through the song from the creepy-ish music to the more welcoming, epic, Final Fantasy-like introduction that I know and love.

Track 2 – Now is the Winter (The Mines of Narshe) by Mustin

This track reminds me of a mixture of Cowboy Bebop-esque jazz.  I’m a sucker for anything with a saxophone, so naturally, this track was for me.  This definitely had a different tone than the original version – the original version is much more…  Sullen.  This one’s more upbeat.  Definitely doesn’t carry the same message, but still great.  I love it.

Track 3 – Remember (Awakening) by Joshua Morse

Let me start by saying that this song deifnitely has a different tone than the original.

Y’know those softcore porno flicks that show up on HBO at ridiculous hours of the morning?  If not, let me describe them to you, as 15-year-old Casey (who had just gotten HBO) remembers them vividly:  they’re filled with terrible actors, terrible dialogue, terrible scene transitions, no character development, and some of the most over-the-top music during the sexy scenes that you will ever encounter.

Let me tell you that this track reminds me of those scenes.  It would totally fit.

Let me also tell you that I think that’s great.

It’s soft.  It’s soothing.  It’s lilting.  It brings me back to  younger, less complicated days.  Takes me away from the here and now and brings me to a totally foreign, yet welcoming, place.  That’s exactly what music is about for me, and this song does it perfectly.  Well done.

Track 4 – Smoke and Clouds (Locke) by Jeff Ball ft. Laura Intravia

WHOA.  Okay.  As soon as this song starts, you know it’s going in a different direction than the album has gone so far.  Lots of syncopated tones, melting into techno-y drum-and-bass-type stuff.  Jeff Ball’s really goin’ for it on this one.

One thing I don’t understand is the dipping tones, the slowing down of the music towards the end of certain measures.  It kinda makes my brain dizzy but AWWW SHIT!  It gets pretty awesome real quick.  Drum-and-Bass-and-chanting-woman-voice at its best.  There was some nice violin in there, and this track wound up being pretty sweet.  I wasn’t sure about it at first, but the second half made up for a less-than-stellar first half.

Track 5 – Polemos (Battle Theme) by SnappleMan, norg, Captain Finbeard

Final Fantasy has been known for its battle themes since…  well, since I can remember, at least.  It’s always been a trademark in the series for me.  That said, this track needed to blow me out of the water to live up to expectations.

It didn’t blow me out of the water.

That’s not to say it wasn’t good – it was definitely good.  I just think it’s really hard to remix something like a FF battle theme and not have people compare it to the original.  Indeed, that’s half the fun of a remix album – you can listen to your favorite tracks and see how the remixed versions stack up.  It was a challenge from the start.  Add that to the fact that my metal days are years behind me and I’m not much a fan of 10-minute-jam-sessions (which is what this sounded like to me), and I was bound to be a little disappointed.  Looks like these guys have some more tracks coming up, though, so we’ll see how they do then.

Track 6 – Tastes Like Victory (Fanfare) by Leitbur

…  “Tastes Like Victory”?  Really?  Guess so.  Well, whatever.

Anyway, again, this track wasn’t bad – I think it’s just my adherence to the original, amazing, perfect “Fanfare” that probably gives me a bit of aversion to this one.  That, and I do think the voices/lyrics were over the top.  I really enjoyed the music itself, actually.  It was beautiful.  Take out the voice track, and I think this song’s stock goes up significantly.  Two Kefkas.

Track 7 – Castles in the Sand (Edgar & Sabin) by Nutritious

I enjoyed this.  It kept the epic regality of Edgar intact (uh…  if he ever had this.  The epic regality he liked to pretend he had, at least).  This, I think, was a great example of not trying to do too much, which I think is important when you’re remixing.  Actually, I think there are two ways of going about it – you can either simply enhance the already-existing sound and make it your own, or you can go in a completely different direction;  this followed the philosophy of the former.

Then again, I’m in no way musically inclined, so maybe that doesn’t make any sense.  Just goin’ by what I hear, what I’ve experienced, and that one Classical Music class I took in college.  3.5 Kefkas.

Track 8 – Ascension of a Madman (Kefka) by Steffan Andrews

There are some tracks up to this point that I’ve really enjoyed.  Some that I’ve thought were really, really good.

This track…  Was FUCKING.  AWESOME.

Brilliant.  Captures Kefka’s madness perfectly.  At a minute-thirty in, it really starts rockin’ and rollin’, and it doesn’t stop until the end.  Amazing.  Don’t read what I have to say about it any more – just go listen to it.  It’s that good.  Worth the download just for this track (although others are great, too).  This is the first track on the album to receive the coveted FIVE KEFKAS.

Y’know what?  I’ll give it six.  It’s that good.  Get over it.

Track 9 – La Montaña de los Caballos Jóvenes (Mt. Koltz) by XPRTNovice

Ooh, I loved this one.  Great guitar, great breakdown around 3-4 minutes in, building it back up to a rampant, festive finish at the end.  A nice stylization of this song, overall.  Still reeling from Ascension of a Madman, though.  Have you listened to it yet?  It’s pretty good, from what I hear.

Track 10 – On the Run (The Returners) by Leitbur

Another very solid musical offering by Leitbur.  It really does sound great, and I think the vocals in this one are much better used than they were in “Tastes Like Victory” (I still can’t get over that name).

However, this track has one fatal flaw…

I can’t see any relation to the original FFVI track.  At all.

Maybe I’m just deaf, but it sounds completely different, to the point where I had to look up the original just to make sure I had the title right.

Overall, was this a better song than “Tastes Like Victory”?  Yes.  However, this is a FFVI remix album, and I want to hear FFVI remixes.  I’ll give it an extra half-Kefka, just because I really did enjoy the song as a musical piece.

Eh, maybe just a quarter-Kefka.

Track 11 – A Fistful of Nickels (Shadow) by zircon, XPRTNovice, Jillian Aversa, Jeff Ball

I loved pretty much everything about this track.  The old-west feel, the whistling…  A great example of completely changing the theme of the music while keeping the soul intact.  This also reminds me that I need to watch more Clint Eastwood westerns.

Track 12 – Camp Kefka (Troops March On) by Joshua Morse

An interesting take on “Troops March On”.  The heartbeats at the beginning were a great stage-setter for the heaviness that came in later, and I think that the dubby-wubbyness towards the end added a bit of character to the track.  I’m not a fan of dubstep, but when its stylings are used with prudence and care, it can sound great.  This track was a success.

I still liked Joshua’s first offering (Awakening) better, but that’s only because of my penchant for HBO-softcore music, as I mentioned above.

Track 13 – Stone Drum (Cyan) by Radiowar

Great music in this track.  Very listenable. I love the heavy, marching beat.  I didn’t much enjoy the samples that were put into the middle of the song – they sounded random, didn’t flow, and didn’t jive with my perceived theme of the song.  Overall, good enough for an average rating of two-and-a-half Kefkas.

Track 14 – Toxic (The Unforgiven) by Beatdrop

This is the sort of “classic techno” I grew up listening to.  It reminds me a lot of the Mortal Kombat theme that I used to dance to in Dance Dance Revolution.

Anyway, I’m glad to see this sort of genre represented by this song.  It was great fun to listen to.  It’s different from the original, but at least I can see where this one is coming from.  A worthwhile interpretation.

Track 15 – De Nuit (The Phantom Forest) by mv feat. Jeff Ball

Another great, techno-y interpretation.  the xylophonic notes in the background are a great addition to the nicely layered strings and a drum line that doesn’t try to do too much.  FOUR WHOLE KEFKAS.

Track 16 – Gobble, Snarf, Snap (Phantom Train) by XPRTNovice

Nice whistling at the beginning, much like “Fistful of Nickels”.  I like how it slowly builds in intensity and eventually turns very ghostly, almost surreal with about a minute to go.  I feel like I’m in a creepy, ghostly version of a 1920’s nightclub when I listen to this.  Another impressive offering by XPRTNovice.

Track 17 – Savage Triumph (Wild West) by Flexstyle, OA, Nutritious

Wow.  These guys pulled out all the stops on this track.  It was fast, furious, and full of techno-dub-goodness.  It did a great job of retaining its roots while simultaneously branching out, making bold moves and doing well at every turn.  I’d say that this was the second-best track on the album, and a very strong end to the first disc.

Overall

I’ve been following this project for a while, and I was really hoping that it would come out well.  OCRemix has been doin’ their thing for quite some time now, and they have a thriving community of very talented artists.  These artists took on a huge challenge, and I definitely think they did quite well.  It’s an uphill battle when you’re trying to cover Final Fantasy songs, since Uematsu is, in my opinion (again, I’ve only taken one semester of Classical Music), one of the greatest composers of the past century, if not ever.  Those are mighty big shoes to fill, and I think the OCRemix crew did a more-than-admirable job.  I can’t wait to review the next disc!