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I’ve been asked, “What’s your favorite RPG, Chris?” and my answer is usu­al­ly Final Fantasy VI. The thing is a knock-out, a 10/10, “grandma’s cook­ing when you’re hun­gover,” the whole ten yards, the anti-thesis to Kotaku’s writ­ers, and for a damn good rea­son; It was made by Square at its pin­na­cle, and with Square comes the almighty Nobuo Uematsu, a self-taught, absolute jug­ger­naut of musi­cal genius. Orchestral, pro­gres­sive met­al, con­tem­po­rary jazz, tech­no, Celtic and Irish tunes, he’s done it all, sis­ter, and there ain’t no get­tin’ off of this train he’s on!

Here’s a fan­tas­tic lit­tle ques­tion, though; What hap­pens when a bunch of mad men get a hold of his com­po­si­tions and run wild with them? Gals and ghouls, let me have the plea­sure of show­ing you this titan of a sound­track.

Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin is a five disc set brought togeth­er by a high­ly suc­cess­ful Kickstarter. It is a mas­sive 74 tracks, made by 74 artists! I’ll give you a moment to recov­er from that. This thing is huge, made by the fans, for the fans, and a tes­ta­ment to both the inge­nu­ity, cre­ativ­i­ty and dri­ve of the OC ReMix com­mu­ni­ty, and the leg­endary con­tri­bu­tions Uematsu has made to the gam­ing world­wide, and I have to say, I’m real excit­ed to write this mon­stros­i­ty up for your read­ing plea­sure. Now, with­out fur­ther adieu, let’s begin.

Disc 1

Shhhhh, lis­ten. Hear that? That’s the sub­tle, then thun­der­ous roar of our first open­ing track, appro­pri­ate­ly titled “Prologue (Opening Theme),” and — oh my stars and garders — is it ever good. So good in fact, that I would com­pare it’s qual­i­ty and com­po­si­tion to the 25th Anniversary “Legend of Zelda” sound­track. It’s beau­ti­ful, sub­tle in tran­si­tion, and pow­er­ful when it needs to be, which seems to be a com­mon the­me on this disc, with exam­ples like “Castles in the Sand (Edgar & Sabin),” a very boda­cious take on the song — if I do say so myself (and I do), or the infa­mous track “Ascension of a Madman (Kefka),” which sounds like some­thing straight out of a Tim Burton movie. How appro­pri­ate for our Clown Prince of……Crime? No, that’s tak­en.

Crown Prince of Genocide and Apocalyptic Proportions?”

Yes, that’ll do nice, and speak­ing of nice, do I smell a bit of Zircon’s work? That I do. “A Fistful of Nickels (Shadow)” is eas­i­ly becom­ing a favorite of mine. It’s got such a Spaghetti Western/pacing orches­tral feel to it, it’s hard to not like. Other tracks on this disc include a funky, hip hop beat­down “Stone Drum (Cyan)” ded­i­cat­ed to our favorite swordsman’s the­me. I have to say, it real­ly grew on me, a real­ly good clash of tra­di­tion­al hip hop and ori­en­tal sounds. Thou art clev­er, my friend. The excel­lent “Now Is the Winter (The Mines of Narshe)” a faith­ful and inno­v­a­tive piece that high­lights this disc. That’s a hard thing to achieve, the­se days. Really reminds me of the jazz-feel of Final Fantasy VII.

Let’s see what kind of trea­sures we can dig up on Disc 2 & 3, eh? Hopefully no div­ing hel­mets this time.

Disc 2 & 3

Both of the­se discs offer up some top-tier stuff, that’s for sure. Hell, the start­ing track “Wild Child Ballad (Gau)” proves that right out of the gate. It has such a calm, whim­si­cal feel to it, the accor­dion odd­ly fit­ting amongst the string sec­tions. You expect it to feel out of place, but it doesn’t. “Bad Octopus (Save Them!, Grand Finale)” is the same. It has such an odd structure/choice of instru­ments, yet it works so well. When you’ve played music for as long as I have, heard crap­py pro­gres­sive band after anoth­er, over and over, you start to real­ize that achiev­ing this is a rar­i­ty and some­thing to be trea­sured. Speaking of nice arrange­ments, “Terra’s Resolve (Terra)”  is anoth­er great piece. It doesn’t detract from the orig­i­nal in a way where it — excuse me — bas­tardizes the com­po­si­tion, yet strikes out on it’s own as some­thing unique. Don’t we all love that? Faithful but fun. “A Simple Flip Can Change Fate (Coin Song)” is also a good exam­ple of that, and my god is it beau­ti­ful, the rich acoustic gui­tar tones always impress me.

What’s real­ly impres­sive, though? “The Impresario (Opera Sequence).” Imagine — if you will — Queen or a sub­tle Dream Theatre instru­men­tal, with the vocals of Periphery’s Spencer Sotelo in a fun and superbly done opera. This track is eas­i­ly one of my favorites in this set.

Let’s end this with not a bang, but with a brief whis­per. I’d like to say that the most sub­tle reac­tions are always the strongest. You’re always forced to pay close, rapt atten­tion, so as to not miss a sin­gle thing. “Gestahlian Sonata (The Empire ‘Gestahl’)” is pow­er­ful in it’s lack of vol­ume, often the signs of a good piano piece, and a per­fect exam­ple of what I’m talk­ing about. “A Tranquil Rest (Rest in Peace)” and “Elegy for a Ruined World (Dark World),” empha­sise this as well. They’re both just such good string pieces, so sooth­ing and beau­ti­ful, they paint a pic­ture with sounds, tell a sto­ry by pulling at your heart strings and enchant you by appeal­ing to your imag­i­na­tion. I think that’s a good sign that you’re writ­ing or remix­ing some fan­tas­tic stuff. Create a sto­ry with sounds, and the lis­ten­er will imag­ine the rest.

And sad­ly, so ends the first part of this behe­moth of a review. Check back next Friday, where we go over Discs 4 & 5 in the same fash­ion. Tah Tah!

Cue the fan­fare, guys!


(You can find Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin for free stream­ing on YouTube or down­load it in its entire­ty at OC ReMix.)

https://supernerdland.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/FFBR-Header-1024x400.jpghttps://supernerdland.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/FFBR-Header-150x150.jpgChristopher KingMusicFinal Fantasy,Music,OCRemixI’ve been asked, “What’s your favorite RPG, Chris?” and my answer is usu­al­ly Final Fantasy VI. The thing is a knock-out, a 10/10, “grandma’s cook­ing when you’re hun­gover,” the whole ten yards, the anti-thesis to Kotaku’s writ­ers, and for a damn good rea­son; It was made by Square at its…
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Christopher King
I yell at stu­pid peo­ple on the YouTube. Enjoy my pain, because some­body has to.
Christopher King

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