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Imagine my sur­prise, fans and friends alike, to wake up Tuesday morn­ing, my cof­fee fresh and my mind grog­gy, expect­ing to write this review in con­tin­u­a­tion of my Final Fantasy series, only to be absolute­ly bom­bard­ed with emails about the announce­ment of a Final Fantasy 7 remake. Some may say it’s coin­ci­dence, some may say divine prov­i­dence, but I’m a lit­tle bit more opti­mistic, and I would like to say that it’s des­tiny, so, while you’re wait­ing for that tiny ounce of per­fect to be release, let me enchant you with the sights and sounds of Final Fantasy 7: Voices of the Lifestream.

Final Fantasy: Voices of The Lifestream is a com­bined total of 45 tracks, span­ning the length of four discs! There’s nev­er a dull moment with our boys over at OC ReMix, they pro­duce so much con­tent It’s absolute­ly awe inspir­ing. Project direc­tor Andrew Aversa (Better known as Zircon), had this to say about this over­whelm­ing col­lec­tion of musi­cal splen­dor:

There is no ques­tion that Voices has been a mas­sive under­tak­ing, far beyond what I could have ever imag­ined. I had antic­i­pat­ed six months – at most – and a mere 20 or 30 mix­es. I could not have expect­ed the moti­va­tion and enthu­si­asm of all the remix­ers who had accept­ed my invi­ta­tion, nor could I have expect­ed the count­less peo­ple ask­ing me to come on board to help com­plete tracks that no one else had tak­en. I admit that at first, I was unsure of tak­ing on some remix­ers who I had nev­er heard of and who had not even been post­ed on OCR yet. But as it turns out, the­se indi­vid­u­als have been vital to the project and pro­duced some fan­tas­tic arrange­ments. “ – http://ff7.ocremix.org/about/

I could not have said it bet­ter myself, Andrew. To quote one of my favorite musi­cians of all time, “You took the words right out of my mouth.”

Before we start this, I’d like to say thank you to my read­ers. I don’t know if you know this, but writ­ing and talk­ing to you guys and gals, and get­ting to do this as a job, has been a bless­ing that, I can­not stress enough, is the light of my life. I val­ue each and every­one one of you, along with my col­leagues, with an appre­ci­a­tion that makes get­ting out of bed some­thing I look for­ward to.

For those who read fur­ther, this one’s for you.

Disc 1

We start the whole she­bang off appro­pri­ate with a bar­rage of beau­ti­ful vocals from the love­ly Jillian Aversa in the first track, “Deliverance of the Heart (Heart of Anxiety).” She does a wicked job here, mesh­ing with the calm­ing, elec­tron­ic tone of the track very nice­ly, very rem­i­nis­cent of the tal­ent­ed Anneke Van Giersbergen. Again, we have a nice bit of work with “Every Story Begins with a Name (Opening – Bombing Mission),” the artists absolute­ly nail­ing the Opening Theme, only to come up short on the sec­ond part, Bombing Mission. Here’s the deal, kids; Music is real­ly fick­le, some­times it’s hit and miss, but one of the most cru­cial things you must nev­er mess up is the pac­ing of the orig­i­nal track. The idea here with Bombing Mission is inter­est­ing, but the lead parts are mud­dled under the over­ly com­pli­cat­ed drum track. Everything sounds meshed up and not entire­ly all there. Another exam­ple of this is “(No Such Thing As the Promised Land (Mako Reactor),” there’s too much going on at once, and if you don’t give your indi­vid­u­als parts room to breathe when doing so, you mud­dy the com­po­si­tion. Still, the­se tracks were labored on exten­sive­ly and you should give the­se artists the respect they deserve. We con­tin­ue on with “Full Frontal Assault (Let the Battles Begin!),” and I praise the com­po­si­tion and in par­tic­u­lar, I love the keys in this very heavy ren­di­tion of the Battle the­me, how­ev­er, as always, I have a par­tic­u­lar crit­i­cism in regards to the rhythm sec­tion of gui­tars. The lead parts are fine, the drum sec­tions also, but the gui­tars that sit in the back­ground feel like they have too much gain and they’re being pushed out of a lit­tle beat­er ampli­fier. Speaking of fan­tas­tic key­board work (Or sam­ple work with a key­board), we have “Nomura Limit (Fight On!),” a very inter­est­ing take on the orig­i­nal, but the key­board work is real­ly good, I cer­tain­ly sug­gest giv­ing this a lis­ten if you’re par­tial to The Black Mages.

Do you remem­ber how I said that some­times when you don’t give the indi­vid­u­al parts room to breathe in a com­po­si­tion, things become mud­dled? Here’s a good exam­ple of what hap­pens when you do a track like that right. “Son of Chaos (Shinra, Inc)” is a very good exam­ple of that. Nothing is mud­dled, and I quite hap­pen to like it con­sid­er­ing it’s an elec­tron­ic track. Kudos to the artist, Xaleph, for bang­ing this one out with style. I know of anoth­er artist who bangs out his tracks with style very well, our man Sixto Sounds and his track “Lunatic Moon (Red XIII’s Theme ~ Cosmo Canyon).” Yet again, we’re con­front­ed to the prob­lem of pac­ing. This track starts out in a hec­tic race to the fin­ish with blaz­ing gui­tars, then slows down into some­thing beau­ti­ful, then does it yet again. I don’t know what the prob­lem here is exact­ly, the com­bi­na­tion of themes or the com­bi­na­tion of pac­ing. Sometimes two good things go togeth­er, but most of the time it doesn’t. You might be think­ing that I don’t like this track, well, you would be wrong, as Sixto Sounds real­ly shi­nes in the end­ing. If you’ve come to expect great things, the end­ing is where you will find it.

Let’s move on to Disc 2.

Disc 2

This disc didn’t start off the way I thought it would. “Short Skirts (Tifa’s Theme)” is a great track, in fact I think that in cer­tain moments it’s damn near beau­ti­ful, but it has the same mud­dled feel to it as the oth­er tracks did. Our next track how­ev­er, “Valse Aeris (Flowers Blooming in the Church ~ Aerith’s Theme),” is a beau­ti­ful waltz that com­pared to the orig­i­nal, I thought, would have major pac­ing prob­lems, as a waltz at this tem­po is a tad bit too quick for the orig­i­nal ver­sion and it’s cue times to match up and sound well with. Instead, they revamped the track and blast­ed it with a breeze full of fresh air. Absolutely mes­mer­iz­ing work by our artist Jeremy Robson. Another to men­tion in regards to fan­tas­tic work is “A Life Without Parole (Desert Wasteland),” a very fore­bod­ing piano piece filled with tones of sor­row. Something to real­ly give a lis­ten. Sixto Sounds is up for round two, along with Suzumebachi and Zircon in their track “Scenes from a Memory (On That Day, Five Years Ago).” They have inter­est­ing­ly turned what ini­tial­ly was not a bat­tle the­me, into a bloody bat­tle the­me! I’m all for it, odd­ly enough the pac­ing here real­ly works well. Certainly a lis­ten is need­ed if this sounds like it’s your cup of tea. Another cou­ple of good exam­ples in regards to stuff that isn’t my cup of tea, and might be yours are “Chasing the Storm (In Search of the Man in Black)” and “Crystal Sermon (The Prelude),” both are great tracks in the elec­tron­ic depart­ment, though they fall very far below on my radar as impres­sive, with the excep­tion of the string sec­tions and piano sec­tions in Crystal Sermon, they are very impres­sive. Moving on!

Disc 3

As we roll on through into this disc, we have a very nice ren­di­tion of Costa del Sol in “Suco de Melancia (Costa del Sol).” It’s very charm­ing and very pleas­ant on the ears, with a good bit of key­board work rem­i­nis­cent of The Doors. What real­ly shi­nes to me is “Stone Eyes (The Great Warrior),” a excel­lent piano piece that gives off a feel­ing of both beau­ty and sor­row all at once, yet still being so ridicu­lous­ly com­plex in places. “Daydreaming Again (Words Drowned by Fireworks)” does this as well, with a very love­ly and impres­sive duet of acoustic gui­tar work. Oddly enough, this is all that stands out to me on this disc, and that seems to be the com­mon the­me with this col­lec­tion. I’m sad­ly unim­pressed by abun­dance of Electronic tracks that pace either very weird­ly, or at best decent­ly, except for “Alien Exploration (Gold Saucer ~ Cid’s Theme),” which is very charm­ing and very, very well done. Now, I know, I know, there are more tracks to this disc and to some, yes, they would be good tracks, but they don’t stick out as real­ly good tracks and so I am going to, as always, skip over those and high­light only the cream of the crop or the worst of the worst in my opin­ion, alright? Don’t get so flus­tered, it does not mean those tracks are at all unwor­thy inher­ent­ly; I just don’t think they’re par­tic­u­lar­ly fan­tas­tic. Last disc, gents and gals!

Disc 4

You know, artist Pot Hocket real­ly has impressed me, and only in two songs no doubt. That’s a quite a feat, and so is his track “Sleep, My Sephy (Judgment Day),” anoth­er beau­ti­ful acoustic gui­tar duet. Speaking of gui­tar, holy crap, Omnislash (Hurry Up!) blows it out of the water! If you’re par­tial to pro­gres­sive met­al tracks, this one is for you. I’d be sur­prised if they didn’t use this for the Final Fantasy 7 remake as part of it’s OST, that’s how much stock I put in this. “Jenova Returns (J-E-N-O-V-A ~ Jenova Complete)” and “Black Wing Metamorphosis (One-Winged Angel)” are also both pac­ing scores that I’m sur­prised wouldn’t be a part of the remake either, as both have the charm of a Tim Burton score, and the sense of won­der we come to find in Pixar flicks. Good job, you two, I am thor­ough­ly impressed! And, at last, we end on a bit of a sad note, but a beau­ti­ful one at that, with the piano piece “The Golden Ivories of Gaia (Medley).” It’s fun­ny, you come to me to tell you what the lay of the land is, in a man­ner of speak­ing, but some­times I’m a lit­tle speech­less. This one, ladies and gen­tle­men, you’ll have to enjoy and lis­ten to all on your own to real­ly under­stand.

And there we have it, in the end there were some tracks that real­ly stood out as some­thing spe­cial, but sad­ly there were a lot of tracks that I just could not appre­ci­ate. Now, I wouldn’t avoid this album, heav­ens no, I encour­age you to get it for free on Oc ReMix right now. It’s a free album for cry­ing out loud, and one of sur­pris­ing­ly high qual­i­ty and a lot of tal­ent, but most of it isn’t my thing. If elec­tron­ic stuff is your cup of tea, then you’ll be delight­ful­ly enchant­ed, but if it’s not, you’re going to feel like it’s got a lot of filler and just some killer

We’re not done yet! Next Friday I will be here as usu­al, and “Trigger Warning”: We’ll con­tin­ue this train of Squaresoft insan­i­ty with anoth­er fan­tas­tic album.

You know the drill, cue the fan­fare!

https://supernerdland.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/23272_805068-1-1024x448.jpghttps://supernerdland.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/23272_805068-1-150x150.jpgChristopher KingMusicFinal Fantasy,Music,OCRemixImagine my sur­prise, fans and friends alike, to wake up Tuesday morn­ing, my cof­fee fresh and my mind grog­gy, expect­ing to write this review in con­tin­u­a­tion of my Final Fantasy series, only to be absolute­ly bom­bard­ed with emails about the announce­ment of a Final Fantasy 7 remake. Some may say…
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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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