These guys continue to be utterly awesome. In 2013 I’ll be going back and reviewing a lot of their back catalogue of releases. Everyone needs to know how good these are for those who love memory snatching.
OCR continue to break new ground as they release their first album covering the original Final Fantasy NES/Famicom titles. Some of the arrangements sound absolutely bonkers as we veer from the usual hard rock to some awesome vocal sample trickery. I love that OCR still manages to surprise as the community expands time and time again. The album is out soon and as always, we can’t wait!
OverClocked Remix kicks off 2012 with a new compilation of songs from RPG’s than are given less love from the community such as Lufia, Breath of Fire II and Secret of Evermore. Below is a trailer and HPM will be having a big Overclocked review in early February!
Gotta love the OCR crew! Grab it for free now
We love OverClocked Remix and their dedication to VGM. This new collection is inspired from the game Super Dodge Ball and is entitled “Super Dodge Ball: Around the World”. The free album contains tracks from all the different locations you can play in the series from… you guessed it around the world. All genres of music are catered for and it’s the usual epic high standard. Grab the album here. The trailer is below!
I do love OCR. They simply make fantastic productions time and time again. This latest release today is entitled “Mega Man 9: Black in Blue” and celebrates the series’ return to its retro roots by rearranging its soundtrack into a variety of styles from a collection of OCR’s finest. Pop over to their website and grab yourself another slice of arranged excellence.
Another cracking double CD arrangement album from OCRemix, taking on the Nights series, we have all the music genres under the sun plus 30 stunning pieces of artwork to boot from Nightsintodreams.com. It’s yet another masterclass of game music wizardary and its time to go download over at the Lucid Website!
OverClocked Remix never ceases to amaze me. Led by Joshua Morse, the latest OCR release is an eight track mixathon from the first eight Mega Man games. What is so great about it is that its a tour de force of genres. Grab it now over at http://museum.ocremix.org. Also OCR are fundraising for Japan and please do pop over to their magfest site where plenty will be going on tomorrow.
We love all that is OCRemix and this latest release looks like being a ball. My friends called my Jigglypuff at school as I was fat and sung all the time… well I hope that’s why anyway!!! Here’s the trailer for the release:
OverClocked Remix never ceases to amaze me with its absolutely stunning arrangements and fantastic community. It’s 22nd arrangment “Heroes Vs Villians” was released today and features 20 tracks from 10 series – each series comprised of one Hero arrangement and one Villianous. The series’ tackled include Monkey Island, God of War, Megaman and Zelda and is available to download from the OverClocked Remix website. A review will follow shortly.
The first of 5 albums to do with Final Fantasy V, Wind is a collection of remixes from DarkeSword, Sixto Sounds, Mutritious, Level 99, Avaris, Another Soundscape, AeroZ and zircon – all household remix names. What’s better – its free! I’m sure donations are accepted but pop over to http://ff5.ocremix.org and discover the fun for yourself. A review will be on its way shortly!
Well the year is out and so we leave 2009 with our top 10 most viewed artists and here they are:
01) Lisa Gerrard: With more posts getting more than 150+ views than any other artist, Lisa Gerrard topped our most viewed list and she looks to stay high in 2010. Her Balibo soundtrack was amazing, and we’re still waiting for her 2009 album “The Black Opal” to arrive to review. Well done Lisa
02) Vienna Teng: Vienna went under the radar for me and is a surprise second. Her fourth album Inland Territory is absolutely stunning and we got our hands on her live DVD from a while back and loved that too. Hears hoping to more in 2010!
03) Brendan Perry: The anticipation for Ark continues and Brendan continues to clock up hits while we wait. Ark looks like hitting early 2010 and rest assured, HPM will be buying it on release day!
04) OverClocked ReMix: Well the biggest game music remixing project chalked up several releases but it was the FF4 project that really exploded over here grabbing the most viewed interview in 2009 with the project managers. 2010 will no doubt see tons of remixes for all and I’ll drink to that *glug*.
05) Akira Yamaoka: Well HPM did a lot of reviewing of Silent Hill soundtracks in 09 and that’s because the reviews always seem popular. Now Akira has left Konami (although Shattered Memories is still composed by him) it remains to be seen when we’ll hear of him next. Not too soon we hope!
06) Imogen Heap: Imogen actually had the most viewed post of 2009 with over 700 views of bizarrely the tracklisting for Ellipse. Sadly not as many read the review so that’s why Immi is down in 7th. 2010 looks like a year of touring so expect Heap to appear in the live vault!
07) Utada: This Is the One was one of pop’s best albums and was the third most read music review of 2009 and top of the non-game music reviews. Utada’s groove is definately on and maybe we’ll hear some more Japanese work in 2010.
08) Tori Amos: Tori strangely didn’t feature highly on the most viewed threads lists but constantly propped up just outside the top 10 and so ended up 8th overall. Abnormally Attracted to Sin and Midwinter Graces were fantastic albums that deserve much love and so 2010 should see Tori enjoy a break for a few months!
09) Hiroki Kikuta: The most read review of 2009 belongs to Hiroki and the Secret of Mana + Review that clocked over 500 hits. Hiroki was kind enough to send over one of his more obscure soundtracks which will be reviewed in 2010. Thank you Kikuta-san!
10) Christopher Tin: Sneaking in by just 2 views over Sarah Slean, Christopher Tin’s Calling All Dawns is simply devine and snatched the final spot on our top 10. Chris is a genuinely nice guy and deserves all the credit the albums recieved.
Top 5 Game Reviews
01) Battle Tanks (PS3)
02) Trash Panic (PS3)
03) Numblast (PS3)
04) Shatter (PS3)
05) Magic Ball (PS3)
October saw HPM have three distinct leaders in the race for top spot and despite only being a listen-to-the-samples post, Lisa Gerrard topped the bill for October while we all wait in anticipation for “The Black Opal”. Christoper Tin and Winifred Phillips followed closely behind with their interviews and reviews while Anonymous 4 was quickly catching all three at the end of the month. The top 10 are listed below:
01) Lisa Gerrard (^)
02) Christopher Tin (v)
03) Winifred Phillips (RE)
04) Anonymous 4 (NE)
05) Brendan Perry (-)
06) Imogen Heap (v)
07) Tori Amos (RE)
08) Hiroki Kikuta (v)
09) OverClocked Remix (v)
10) Yasunori Mitsuda (RE)
01) Battle Tanks (PS3)
02) Shatter (PS3)
03) .detuned (PS3)
04) Trash Panic (PS3)
05) Numblast (PS3)
Well due to my holiday and getting back into the routine, September was a very quiet month for HPM in general but towards the end we had a massive influx of visitors for one man – Christopher Tin! He grabs this months most viewed award with the review of his debut album and his interview afterwards. Lisa Gerrard also popped up the order with audio samples from forthcoming album Black Opal. Here’s the top 10 artists:
01) Christopher Tin (NE)
02) Lisa Gerrard (^)
03) Imogen Heap (v)
04) Lisa Germano (^)
05) Brendan Perry (v)
06) Hikoki Kikuta (^)
07) Module (v)
08) OverClocked ReMix (v)
09) Utada (v)
10) Vienna Teng (RE)
In the gaming front, Battl Tanks was the top read review this month and actually the second highest hit post this month too! We will be going really into game reviews from all old consoles from October and they will feature more prominantly, as the site will now be taking a much more active approach due to a change in circumstances of myself!
01) Battle Tanks (NE)
02) Shatter (v)
03) Numblast (v)
And so to August 2009 where we had a four way fight for the top this month, won by Imogen Heap whereby more people actually viewed the tracklisting after the whole album was posted as a streaming audio on the website and people didn’t actually listen to the album itself! However, HPM has not reviewed Ellipse (although I personally love it already) because I’ve ordered the two disc edition and want to hold on until it comes through.
Behind it was all go for OverClocked Remix, Module and Brendan Perry.
01) Imogen Heap (^)
02) OverClocked ReMix (v)
03) Module (NE)
04) Brendan Perry (v)
05) Utada (v)
06) Kento Watanabe (NE)
07) Akira Yamaoka (^)
08) Hiroki Kikuta (v)
09) Vienna Teng (v)
10) Baiyon (NE)
Top 3 Games
03) Magic Ball
Well was there really any doubt? OverClocked Remix absolutely smashed the charts with almost more views on OCR posts than the rest of the site put together! Only Imogen Heap’s track listing for her latest album Ellipse was able to pull in big numbers too. Interesting we had almost exactly the same number of visitors as June (14 difference) and it was our third most viewed month of the sites history. We did break one new record, our first day with more than 200 hits! August should be a great month too. Let’s enjoy the summer!
01) OverClocked Remix (RE)
02) Imogen Heap (v)
03) Brendan Perry (^)
04) Utada (^)
05) Vienna Teng (v)
06) Hiroki Kikuta (RE)
07) Akira Yamaoka (v)
08) Natalie Imbruglia (NE)
09) Patrick Wolf (v)
10) Dead Can Dance (v)
Top 3 Games Reviews
02) Trash Panic
03) Magic Ball
Finally we reach the final section of interviews. Apologies for the delays, I’ve been seriously ill with swine flu but all is getting back to normal now. So without further ado – the remixers of FF4 Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption:
“Fighting for Tomorrow” (Fabul)
“I chose this song because even back in 1992, it was one of my favourite tracks on the soundtrack . Back then, I imagined this one being huge with guitars added on top of the existing orchestra. The men’s choir idea came around after thinking more about the philosophy behind Fabul and what they were all fighting for. The most challenging part was balancing all the parts to sound cohesive despite the multiple mics and room sounds the vocals all had. I am really proud of the guys in the choir, of which I had only a very, very small part in. Without these guys, it’d be just another OA rock track with orchestra. With them, it’s something that resonates even further with me.
“Finale Part One” (Another Moon)
This one was creepy sounding, and normally my propensity is to lean (strongly) towards highly melodic, upbeat tracks. This one I did as a personal challenge, to mike it sound sinister and foreboding, yet still catchy. The most challenging part was to let go and let the song do its work. I caved a little at the end and added a keyboard solo, but for the most part, it’s all about the atmosphere here.
“Until the Tower Falls” (Tower of Bab-il)
No pretensions here, I picked this one just to rock out. The hardest part was fitting all the stuff we wanted to add into it without it breaking, and I’m most proud of the keyboard craziness. I am a terrible keyboard player, so it was a few overdubs, but i think it sounds really cool.
“The Might of Baron” (Kingdom of Baron)
My first contribution of many to the album. I found Andrew’s original post starting the album by mistake. I was looking for info on the DS game and when I found it felt compelled to contribute to the album. I had always wanted to sub something to the community but this was the first time it felt right to get involved. I actually picked up the track from a comment he made about doing a really hard rock version of it and from there it took off. I felt I could do it justice with my background of being a metalhead!!!
This track as a whole was a challenge and my first attempt of an OCRemix. I had actually never tried to do a track with heavy guitars or orchestra. It took some work and Andrew (OA) was there to bear with me to make it work. And I can’t thank him more for him helping to get this track out of me.
I’m super proud of this track and was actually sweating it for awhile hoping it would be up to snuff but the guitars and orchestra came out awesome. I am actually much more of a bass player and had to take some time to get my chops up. The prelude arpeggios in particular took a little practice. Very happy with how the guitar solo came out especially with the ridiculous modulations going on during (fm-em). My favourite part is definitely the prelude in minor that integrates the baron theme. That part came together really fast and I just remember recording it as fast I could to keep up with my ideas. The whole thing was a was a lot of fun.
“The Skies Hold No Angels for Us” (Castle Damcyan)
I came on originally to just help Level 99 with drums on this track. The other ideas like piano in major idea, which came about through Dhsu’s WIP of the track that he wasn’t able to finish, and the duelling guitars came about later. We just felt like it was really fitting to run with the guitars cutting heads for the battle and incorporating all of these thematic ideas like the piano interlude with the kids playing (as a kind of memory of what Damcyan used to be) and the end of the track with the acoustics playing while people are bawling their eyes. It’s a great track to be able to use to integrate so many drama.
The most challenging was probably the drum editing which is not a fun thing. It’s very microscopic details – at least it was for me. I ended up playing live drums and taking my ideas into the sequencer. It was my first experience with Addictive Drums.
I really love that high hat entrance – always sounds great to me and gets me pumped. I modelled that all after Infected Mushroom “Deeply Disturbed” – and it came out really different – but you just gotta roll with it. The piano section with it’s modulated resolution is really neat too. I worked on that for awhile. And the whole ending with the guitars coming back in really does it for me. First time I heard it come together I was blown away.
“Finale Part Two ~ Genesis of Destruction” (The Final Battle)
Me and Andrew (OA) choose this because we really needed a final battle track. I was hesitant to take something so grand but I’ll be the first to say that the original is my most favourite battle theme from any game. And I wanted to just blow it up as much as possible and make the biggest track I ever could ha. So I enlisted the help of everyone on the project.
Pretty much everything. The easiest part was arranging the skeleton of the track with synths and drums. But collaborations take time and this one takes the cake. The coordination of getting tracks from others took months. All in all this track is the result of 8 months of work and I was still struggling at the end of the project to get it finished. The mixing was a nightmare with 255 choir tracks (dead serious) and about 100 tracks being mixed together. I was fortunate to get zircon to come in and save the day and relieve of much stress. Thanks Andy.
All the vocals I’m really happy with. I wrote some pretty demanding parts and everyone really came through. Lisa really did an awesome job and our fantastic Zeromus (Cyril) really sold that breakdown meaning I felt Zeromus lose his mind. Great job. Nutritious did an amazing job with the orchestra – way better than I could have ever hoped. I’m just proud of all the awesome people that came together to make this track what it is. It just became what it wanted to; it was out of my hands.
“Goodbye Cid…” (Hey Cid!)
I came on to help Wiesty with guitar. I really liked his WIP and dramatic reinterpretation of the source. I got a big kick out of it. It was my idea to get him more involved with doing the organ solo. I’m really glad he came through
This actually came together rather smooth. I spent some time getting the right feeling for the clean stuff – I think the last bit with “wah” was a take or two. The solo in the middle was pretty much – “hey – track 4 bars and lets see what happens” but it came out pretty awesome. Oh and Andrew’s acoustics were fun - but he gave an awesome performance!
I really dig the bass tone I got, which was completely direct and surprised me. Some of the guitar licks during the solo were pretty sweet and I was surprised I pulled them off. I think the section without source in the middle with the solos is just awesome. Sure it’s liberal but the whole song just needs it. Cid needs it!
“RDX Necklace” (Bomb Ring)
This collaboration was the result of COTMM coming to me asking me to play guitar on it. And I’m really glad he did. It was a blast. I got to do some upright bass stuff and get some gnarly tones on bass and guitar.
The most challenging was the mix and trying to make sense of the 30 tracks of soundscapes that COTMM put together and have it build to a final conclusion. I was pushing for more arrangement in the track which is why we have two versions of the track essentially (his being a bonus track). And I love them both – I was just trying to make this version more accessible for the album. But even so, the song is really his baby. Also the tremolo guitar parts were pretty intense and I was having a hard time making it through takes but it was fun heh.
I’m just really proud of the mood we set and the pacing we were able to achieve to have this large crescendo track. It just keeps building to that final explosion.
“Kind of Green” (Rydia)
I helped resurrect this track for Abadoss when I heard his auto-arrange finale function on his joke accordion track. I just strangely really liked it. We already had a Rydia track so it was never meant to be on the album. I was originally just going to update the midi to have it as a bonus track but I got this crazy idea to use it as the last track for the album and get some live instrumentation. I met bustatunez at mag and he helped with piano and later melodica to replace the accordion which I think was the best way to go from the beginning and my good friend here in Nashville helped with the guitar.
What took the longest was the brush drums in terms of getting them to sound realistic and like a performance to compete with all the other live instrumentation. But I may have spent more time getting the piano to sit right in the mix – I spent way too long on this mix – but it came out awesome!
I’m just shocked how well everything worked. The parts Abadoss gave us changed quite a bit in the rhythm section but everyone brought their A game and it worked. the solos are well paced and we sound like we’re really jamming together when it really didn’t go down like that – ha . Great job to busta and ultravisitor.
“Zeromus the Serialist” (The Final Battle)
This is kinda a joke track that I did with all the MIDI data from Zeromus. I heard it play back by accident with all grand pianos and it sounded amazing and utterly ridiculous. I thought about converting just that but I spent a little more time getting some better sounds. It’s only for those not a faint of dissonances but I think it actually works well and is kinda interesting if your familiar with the original arrangement.
VAMPIRE HUNTER DAN
“A Saviour Ascends” (Lunar Whale)
Final Fantasy IV (“II” at the time) was literally the first video game to ever emotionally engage me. After finally arriving at what’s arguably one of its climaxes, I’ll never forget staring at the screen in awe as “The Big Whale” rose up to welcome the party aboard, with that magnificent theme song blaring out of my pathetic little TV speakers. “Mt. Ordeals,” too, hasn’t left my mind from the first time I entered that fateful place, and I’ll never forget recording each of these songs (the whole soundtrack, really) to cassette tape for repeated Walkman listens.
I typically find it challenging to make my tracks compete volume-wise with other “modern” remixes, so it’s no coincidence that the most difficult part about this arrangement was getting it to sound *epic* enough. I often had to get extremely creative just to make certain sections seem louder or more full. I tried to strike a balance between “constantly kicking the listener in the ears” and “subtlety,” and I hope I’ve achieved that here.
(What part/sound are they most proud of?) This is difficult, because I’m honestly not big on “pride.” It’s interesting to listen to an arrangement from what seems like long ago, as I think I’ve grown immensely since then. I’m definitely pleased I could somehow make such a grandiose piece sound..even *more* grandiose, while at the same time being a part of such a beautiful project to pay tribute to Cecil, Rydia and Co..
THE SCUBA DIVERS
“Rhymes with Elixir” (Chocobo Chocobo)
We did this track to try to encourage people to not take things so seriously. The purpose of this project was to have fun making something cool together, and though everyone who listens to the album brings with them their own perspective and experiences, we wanted to at least attempt to show that those who made the album had a lot of fun and made some new friends while doing so. PEACE OUT
The third or four parts of the arrangers interviews are upon us. Remember we asked the following questions:
~why they chose their songs
~what they thought was the most challeging part of arranging the track
~what part/sound are they most proud of
Once again thanks to the OverClocke Remix community for producing a fantastic collection and without further ado – over to the arrangers themselves!
“Smiling Hilltop for Four Hands” (Mt. Ordeal)s
I chose Mt Ordeals because it was a very interesting and had a unique mood. It felt like a very quirky heroic test and I wanted to turn it into a different but equally pleasing arrangement.
For Mt Ordeals I had to decide how to create a captivating yet gentle mood for the track using the piano to convey that. Also coming up with a name for the track was a challenge! I chose “Smiling Hilltop” because I was listening to a track by Shnabubula called “Emotional Tapeworm”, where he gave an object a humorous (to me at least) adjective that was impossible for a tapeworm.
I’m most proud of my Mt Ordeals track, because I was able to really convey the emotion I wanted through its intricate lines and runs, as if I turned a march into a soft dance.
“Tundra of Dwarves” (Land of Dwarves) As for the dwarves theme, monobrow and I loved that and wanted to collaborate together, but unfortunately were not able to complete it and I ended up splitting my piece with hers. The most challenging part of the dwarves track was figuring out how to combine and blend the two tracks between monobrow and I. Also I had to mix in Jeff Ball’s violin playing with the rest of the track, and I had to match the sounds of the other violins playing.
JOHN REVOREDO (“The Flying Machine” (Main Theme of FINAL FANTASY IV))
I came in contact with “FF4 : Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption” when it was 60% done. Normally, by that time, all good tracks are taken, and you’re just left the crappy tracks nobody wants to mix. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen!. I could have chosen tracks like “Theme of Love” or “Rydia’s Theme” , but the main theme had always been stuck in my head, and remembered it as something very special. So, I just took it!.
What was the most challeging part of arranging the track? The hardware of my computer!. Creating orchestral music requieres a high-end computer, and mine’s not. After doing a piano “sketch” of the piece, I had to write everything down, note by note, on a sequencer. Many times the computer was at the verge of collapse, so i had to render the instruments in separate tracks, and then render all the tracks into another one!.
The part/sound am I most proud of? 0:35 – 2:29 . It is really hard to make an orchestra work using VSTIs, but this worked pretty well. A common mistake among amateurs is to forget trombones!. They are a very important part of the orchestra, and using them right brings your piece to life!.
“All Your Calcobrena Belong to Us” (Dancing Calbrena)
Developing the track without being repetitive/boring was a challenge. Although it’s something we have to face in every track, this time it was something different for me , since i’m not used to write electronic-candy-synth music.
The part/sound I’m most proud of is thesection between 0:58 – 2:39 The transition part, right in the middle of the track. I started making things up, and it ended up quite… fun?. It’s really weird but i like it.
ÒFull of CourageÓ (Red Wings)
This was actually a track I had already begun working on before hearing about the FF4 project. Upon hearing it, I was invited by OA to join the project for this track. To me, it’s one of the most epic and meaningful songs in game music. It really sets the stage for the whole game and I just get chills listening to it. It was a natural choice for me to remix.
A big challenge on this song was trying to capture the epic feel of the original, but still rearrange it into something fresh and enjoyable to listen to. I actually wrote the song pretty quickly up until the FF4 Main Theme section. After that, I sat on it for a while, not knowing what to do next. Finally, I came up with the idea to transition into the second half of the original and really build it back up into the Red Wings melody.
I’m most proud of the section where I was able to integrate myself playing flute live for the first iteration of the FF4 Main Theme. I hadnÕt played the instrument in a long time, but I was really happy with the results.
Step Into the Light (Into the Darkness)
This was another track I’d started on before joining the project. The mood it created during the beginning of the game was very moving and mysterious. Upon remixing it, I attempted to capture some of that same mood, but also bring a bit of hopefulness to the song as well.
The biggest challenge, as well as what I’m the most proud of, is that this entire song is creating using freely available samples. No premium library sounds were used in the mix (as they are in my other tracks). IÕve created and released an FL Studio project file with these same free sounds arranged and mixed for orchestra use that will hopefully allow others to use them in their own songs. It can be downloaded from http://www.ocremix.org/forums/showthread.php?t=15415.
Until the Tower Falls (Tower of Bab-il)
As the project was progressing and many tracks were already completed, the Tower of Babil was one track that had been dropped due to inactivity. Wanting to remix one more track for the project, I went ahead and picked it up, intending a sort of Synth/Orchestra/Beat fusion. I enlisted the help of OA for some guitar work to fill out some of the additional sections when he began getting a lot of new ideas for the track. In the end, it turned out to be a big collaboration involving not only he and my contributions, but also live violin, viola, bass, and even some vocal parts.
The most challenging part of this track was trying to integrate so many different elements together into one cohesive song. I’d never dealt with so many different instrument tracks (both sequenced and live) at one time, so it was a challenge to pull it all together successfully.
I think the part I’m most proud of is when things build up near the middle and then suddenly the listener is hit with the vocals “Tear It Down!”. I remember being very excited when I heard the impact that particular section ended up having.
THEORY OF NONEXISTENCE
I Love This Radio (Theme of Love)
The song was originally for PRC130, Rexy chose the source tune and was giving prizes to the winners because it would be her last one. She chose the Theme of Love and being the Final Fantasy fan I am, I decided to give it a shot. I’ve attempted tons of PRCs, but none of them were ever completed. I put a lot more effort into this one because I wanted Rexy’s last PRC to be a good one.
The most challenging part of making this song was probably the lead writing. I don’t have a MIDI keyboard or anything so everything I write, I do by hand in a sequencer, including vibrato/modulation because I can control it how I want by controlling the pitch as opposed to using automated modulation. The lead is the most involved part of the song, so it was very time consuming.
I’d have to say my favorite sound would be the background synth that comes in around 1:07. It’s kind of lo-fi and really smooth sounding. I don’t know, I just really like it. The end was fun to make too with the radio thumping and cursing. Fun times.
Smooth Sun of Magma (Land of Dwarves)
I chose my song because I love the source material. I played FFIV in 1991 when it came out at a friend’s house and was instantly in love with the music, though I only played it briefly because I didn’t own the game or the SNES. Land of the Dwarves was the first song I heard from the game. Later I bought an SNES and FFIV and played it through. I originally chose the song to make with Long Dao, because he and I are good pals and we wanted to collaborate. Our old WIP turned into two separate songs, his Tundra of the Dwarves and an older version of my Smooth Sun of Magma. If you listen closely you can hear similarities because I wrote some parts to his song that he tweaked, and he wrote a couple things that I ended up keeping in my version.
The most challenging thing about my song was actually finishing it up for the project! The song started out a long while back as a collab, however Long and I had some minor differences about a bass (of all things) and then just didn’t get the motivation to finish it as fast as we should have. Later I moved across the country and in the process, had to rebuild my computer as well as upgrade my OS and my samples. I also lost the old project files I had. All I had were old, unfinished mp3s. Long went on to make Tundra of the Dwarves as the official Land of the Dwarves track in early 2009.
In late June of 2009, audiofidelity approached me to release the old, unfinished version of my part of the collab, however I felt that I should just go ahead and redo the entire song from scratch. So I worked on it some, redid it by ear, and then was really busy until July 11th, when I finished the last half of the song in an all-nighter. I also recruited Protricity to make me some on-the-fly drums for the song, because I really didn’t have enough time/energy to do them myself.
Although I still consider the song unfinished and that some things need to be reworked, I am the most proud of the last couple minutes of the song, I think that despite my horrible mixing and the placeholder drumwork, things mesh pretty well and hopefully when the finished version comes out, I will be able to listen to it and smile, and not cringe one bit!
Why did I choose the track? Honestly? Because OA contacted me and said it was one of the tracks that desperately needed to be done! The biggest challenge was putting a new spin on something that is that epic by nature.
My favourite part is the all-analogue style instrumentation.
THE PROPHET OF MEPHISTO
Long Time Gone (A Long Way to Go)
I chose my song because it was one of the few still available at that point, and because I liked the melody. Lots of arpeggiated 7th chords make for fun chord swaps.
The most challenging part was probably just the electronic nature of the whole thing. I haven’t written a track that used so few real instruments in months, so it was a bit of a stretch to get back into the electronic groove.
I love the bass opening in my track. It took a long time to get the distorted sound just right, but I really like it.
Somewhere to Hide (Somewhere in this World…)
I chose my song because it had a simple, yet effective melody that seemed to be able to be played with and distorted to fit my… interesting… needs. It was basically a 15 second loop repeated over and over so it had a lot of room for expansion.
The most challenging part of the track was the fact that I had no idea what style would benefit from the source material. I had half-done tracks of genres from Orchestral, to House, to some Avant Garde Breaksy thing to Ambient and none of them seemed to work. I finally decided to just distort the crap out of what I had and chop it up to fit with a Prodigy-like sound.
I really like the DnB bassline near the end of the track. I hadn’t worked much in the Drum and Bass sound palette and I was surprised at how well I was able to get the synth to fit that Noisia-like sound. The drums were also rather fun to play with as well; breaking apart the kick and snare to make sure they both hit hard was pretty interesting and new to me.
I originally chose epilogue planning to do all three parts of the song. I thought it had a very cool progression of styles and thought it was make a fitting epic ending to a very epic game and project. Unfortunately my laptop ended up breaking itself so I never got a chance to make the other two parts (or even a chance to mix the track properly!), although OA will probably agree I’d probably have been too lazy .
The most challenging part was definately the intro, or the “bladerunner” bit as some people put it. Obviously my roots are in rock and guitars, so it was a little bit of new territory for me, though I’m pretty happy with how the soundscape turned out and the way it builds up.
I’m most proud of the solo. I dragged in the main theme for the backing and let loose. I’m particularly proud of the whammy squeel at the end! Satriani would be proud.
Fallen Dragoon (Suspicion)
The track “Suspicion” is a variant of the “Red Wings” theme but in a minor key.I think the betrayal of
Kain is one of the most touching scenes in the game. I wanted to get the listener a closer approach on that part in the story.
Well, this was a huge experiment trying to combine 8-bit squares and cello.There was a lot of tweeking to do. Doing the
transition from the rhythmic part to the cello part was hard, but I am satisfied with the result.
I’m quite pleased with the cello sound though I recorded it in my own bedroom. I think I got a sort of fear and haunted feeling in the tune that I wanted to express with the mix. Im very proud over the background strings answering at 02.50.
Mystic Variations (Mystic Mysidia)
I chose Mystic Mysidia as it’s a very crazy tune, and I like it very much. This was kind of a natural choice for me really. I think it fits my style quite good.
The most challenging part of arranging the track was NOT to go overboard. I got a lot of feedback on this one when making it. It was wise to listen to my fellow remixers and stay on course with this one.
I like the answering call on the theme at 01.02. I think the upgoing square at 03.22 was nice touch to the transition.
Overture ~ TellahÕs Prophecy (Medley)
Well, I had some time over and there was track left and it ended up being a medley. This remix is quite different to the others. Much more simplified.Rhythm n’ Cello you can call it if you wish!
The most challenging part of arranging the track was getting it all together I guess. Much themes to get in there,
and the deadline was close. As said very simplified, but many themes to handle.
The ending with the “A Long Way To Go” turned out good I think.I think it worked very good as a transition to the next track on the album.
The Still Land (The Lunarians)
My favorite track for FF4 has to be the Prologue intro. In fact I’d already played around years
earlier with mixing Prologue and The Lunarians together. Lunarians wasn’t taken yet so there ya go. Also, my style for composing is very melancholy and melodic; I don’t see myself as OCR material, but I love the community because it challenges me. I like to pick tracks that can compliment the style that tends to come out of me. The Lunarians was a good fit.
I wanted to do things differently than my usual process, something that sounds like me but also fit the technical mastery of the album. Made some mistakes at first utilizing some cheesey effects but once I stripped those out over time what was left seemed pretty good. It was a real challenge to rewire FL Studio, Reason, and Cubase together and make it work, something I’ve never done before. Props to Andrew, Shaun, Jay and the others for giving me some really great guidance.
The part I’d say probably I’m most proud of isthe low piano note that drones throughout the track. I know it’s
just a simple piano note, but just like in the original music, it really sets the tone and I thought it was very important to get right. Problem was I didn’t really have one piano sample that really “hit” just right, so the instrument actually turned out to be this rather complex layering of several piano samples and bass to get it sounding big and foreboding. One of my biggest regrets on this track was the relatively low mastering level compared to others, but I was so picky on just getting that one note right and keeping it dynamic and ringing.
Our second batch of interviews from the arrangers of the latest OverClocked ReMix, FF4 Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption, is ready for everyone to enjoy. Remember we asked:
~why they chose their songs
~what they thought was the most challenging part of arranging the track
~what part/sound are they most proud of
I was fortunate in that I joined the project late in the game and still was able to tackle the source that I would have chosen. I wasn’t too familiar with the FF4 soundtrack, and this source was also used in SMRPG — a game I had actually played. FF games always had great boss themes and this one gives serious competition to FFVI and FFVII as my favorite in the series.
The remix actually developed quickly, and didn’t take long once I decided on a style and started working. I’d say the harmonic development was the most challenging part of arranging the track. I wasn’t content with just plugging in the original melodies, and I think it really paid off (especially in the section after the breakdown).
I like how bringing out some of the background elements really worked well in this case. I spent a good deal of time developing and tweaking the basslines (about three different synths working in conjunction). Also, the beats.
I was talking to OA about projects in general, I said I could do a track for his project. Not sure about the details, but I think he offered a few tracks to me, and I chose cry in sorrow. As for my contribution on zeromus, I was asked to contribute something to it. I did.
Lacrima is pretty abstract, it was hard to figure out the dynamics and the progression of it. I was going for a minimalist approach, but eventually ditched it in favour of just making sure there were enough sounds in it to keep it interesting. OA later suggested adding drums, and fitting that with the sound scape was a bit tricky. Finding the right samples was half the trouble, making sure I had a lead or something stronger than the drums being the other half.
I really like the serendipitous interaction between the echoes at the end of the track. Completely accidental, and the perfect ending. I wish I could claim credit for doing it intentionally, not just for noticing it and realizing how awesome it sounds.
To be honest, I came into the project rather late in the game and there were only a few tracks left to choose from. However, after hearing the source, I knew that I could easily do something with it.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the tone from the original. It was meant to be a battle song, but it just sounded a little too peppy/bouncy for my taste. The greatest challenge I faced was trying to take the “sissy” sound I felt and create it into something a bit more epic!
I would have to say the middle section at the tempo change (1:46-3:12) is my favourite part. While the first part of the track sounded great, I quickly realized that I was going to need to change tactics in the song to keep it from becoming stale. The complete turn around that the middle section offers really added to the intensity of the track for me!
Well, there are a few reasons I chose “Welcome to Our Town.” Firstly… it was one of the only songs left by the time I joined the project! Secondly, it’s a nostalgic piece, brings back memories of the game. Unlike some remix projects I’ve been part of, I actually played this game a lot, and hold a lot of the music dear. And thirdly… er, wait. There’s no thirdly. That’s it.
The challenge for me was in the rather unusual method I placed upon myself in the style of the track, in that I made the entire thing with sine waves. Talk about extreme attention to detail! It was work… well, fun at first, for the first section or so, but real work to keep up until I had a full song. That, and keeping it interesting throughout was tough.
I take great pride in the development of the track. In the beginning, it starts slow, and you really have to listen to make out the source tune. Then as it goes on it speeds up a bit, and the source tune becomes more apparent… and by the end it’s moving right along, with a fun and fast lead moving all over the place, and the main melody very easy to whistle along to. Good times.
Bridge to Eternity
This was my first choice if I ever had to choose a track from the game but I ended up taking it over late in the project anyway because of late deadlines. My wife actually pushed me to even be involved with the project and wanted me to do this track as well so it worked out.
This track wasn’t that hard to translate into my vision of a dance arrangement mainly because the tempo was there, the mood is there, and the suspense and builds are there. The building blocks in the original were very easily laid out for me. I wanted something that would stand out and for me that was the bassline, I wrote something similar to the original but slower and a little more in your face.
It is hard to choose just one part or sound I am proud of in this track. I wrote an original melody in the buildup of the track with a heavily reverbed piano that I am proud of. But its the combination of the lead melody, the bassline and the sidechained choir that I am proud of. It gives a very powerful sound overall.
Golbez n Goblins
I never thought in my wildest dreams I would remix this song, its my least favorite honestly… OA actually jokingly suggested I take the song. I took it as a challenge. First of all its 3/4, I seem to be grabbing these a lot lately. It seems the least likely to work as a dance track! It kind of has a halloweenish sound with the organ and all to it so I named it Golbez n Goblins…
The most challening part of arranging this song wasn’t necessarily the 3/4 to 4/4 but making it original and fun and something that would work for dance music. The best genre for that is electro house, something I have been listening to a lot lately and lots of artists are converting in the pro world. I completely rewrote the chord progression for the bassline I made so that was challenging.
Honestly I am proud of every single thing in this song in equal respect. I use the original bassline in the beginning of the motif and buildup into what I made, using the chords and the root key as the bassline, with a disco blip in between bars. Overall I am really happy with the bassline(s) and bass sounds I used especially. I didn’t know what to do with second half of the song so I turned it into a retro 90′s breakbeat section. Everything just really came together in the end.
Path of Deception
I chose this song as a leftover track that wasn’t taken or was abandoned, but I have always loved the original. And once again another 3/4 beat….ugh. This one is a little more obvious and I forced the 4/4 to work with it but the focus of the track is the atmosphere
The most challenging part of this track was getting the tempo AND the time signature to work for progressive trance period.
I am very proud of the chopped female vocals I used. Everything you hear was from 2 samples from voices of passion chopped and edited to all madness. I probably spent 2 hours on that sound alone. I also rewrote the chord progression in the first half and brought the original chord progression back after the buildup. Gives a completely different feel and it keeps the creepiness of the original. Once the part at 3:18 comes I would say the listener would be satisfied. I try to cover all the source and I love that part the most.
I chose Melody of Lute (Edward’s Dream Quartet) because it was the simplest of the sources available (or so I thought). I tend to pick out the simplier sources because they give me a lot more room to explore different ideas and sound without making it unrecognizable.
I chose Rydia as an escape from Melody of Lute. I’d been working on it for so long that I just needed something else to work on, so I played around with Rydia, since it was already taken and I could work on it for fun. Once I played around with it and bounced it off of to Audio Fidelity, it just grew into something absolutely amazing.
The most difficult part of Melody of Lute was that, at first, I couldn’t pull apart the chord structure and form of the source. It’s just a melodic line, that in MIDI doesn’t really explain a whole lot about itself. It wasn’t until I ran the source itself through Garritan’s harp patch that I was able to hear the actual structure of the piece. So, for the first movement, I had nothing to go off of except the notes themselves. So, I struggled to hammer out that movement, using every single note and hoping to God that it made sense.
With Rydia, the difficulty was making the transition from goofy fun bonus track to full blown production. I originally wrote it as just an accordian piece, but I later tried playing around with Finale’s auto-arrange feature, which adds a rhythm section to whatever you write once you put in chord markers. That gave the piece the little spark it needed to push off into an actual track, particularly when Audio Fidelity picked it up.
For Melody of Lute, I’m most proud of the variety I was able to draw out of such a minimal source. I also loved that I could do such a very classical piece and form for an OCR album. I’m not sure that anyone’s really done that for one before. Granted, I haven’t listened to them all yet, but I like that I was able to do something unique like that.
Rydia… I’m just proud of it altogether. It is so very different from what I normally do and the fact that it came off so well, especially for something started as a somewhat joke. I love how cool and chill it feels. And again, how unique the final product ended up.
CYRIL THE WOLF
I chose the songs becuase they were the only ones left at the time! That is the case for OMFG GET OUT OF THERE!!! I was attracted to Rydias melody and the challenge of Palom and Porom.
The most challenging part of arranging Rydia was getting the recording finished and perfected. The arrangement was complete in my head before I even started writing or recording so yes. The most challenging part of Run was getting all the freakin’ electronics to sound good. It was my first real attempt at that style. And palom and porom? The toughest part of that WAS the arrangment, becuase it’s such a weird little song, but Drop-B solved that.
OH DEAR GOD!!! I’m not most proud of anything I did, becuase I’m doing this to improve anyway, and if I didn’t I’d be sad. I AM proud of my little brother for doing all those voice overs in one take. Yes, that’s right one take.
Oh and a shout out to Jayseph for asking me to do vocals. I was pretty psyched about that becuase it wasn’t what I expected to be asked to do for an FF project
So hot on the heels of the latest OverClocked Remix release on Saturday, we’ve been speaking to the arrangers that made it all happen! We asked three simple questions to each of them and over the next week we’ll be posting their responses. The three questions were:
~why they chose their songs
~what they thought was the most challeging part of arranging the track
~what part/sound are they most proud of
“Airship was really the only choice left by the time I found the project out, and it was particularly only challenging based on how short the source material was. 30 seconds and just two “verses”. It came out pretty cool! I wanted it to be synth heavy without coming out as a typical dance track “uhn tiss uhn tiss” and that’s where the hard rock drumtrack came in handy. I guess that’s pretty much it. I’m not too deterred by the minus lukewarm response it got from the judges ya’know!
It wasn’t groundbreaking, just a solid synth rock track. The bridge is probably my favorite section when it starts building up into the final chorus practically that entire half of the song, especially the rhodes outro that was fun to sequence so it had that human element.”
I gave OA some options on what songs I would consider singing, and he chose Another Moon. Both the brass quintets were at OA’s request. The most challenging part was actually arranging Big Chocobo, which is not the easiest piece to pick up with little arranging experience.
I’m most proud of the fact that I was able to finish both the Fanfare and Big Chocobo.
All I did for Another Moon was pretty much sing and add some of the words. OA knocked out the rest!
“I chose this song because it has always sent a tingle down my spine. To me the song represents betrayal by someone close to you. My emotional connection to the source tune really drove my desire to mix this track.
The most challenging part of this mix was by far trying to resolve the inherent dissonances from the source tune as I expanded upon the original material.
My proudest moment is the end of the song. The final chord represents that the future is not certain and things will continue to move forward. To me the non-resolution of the final chord just felt right in my gut.”
“Well, to be honest, I hadn’t played FF4 before being told about the project. I chose Calcobrena because it had a cool name at first, and decided to do my homework later and actually play the game! Well, I played the game, was awestruck and then proceeded to come up with an absurdly abstract rendition of Calcobrena that would border on the insanely out-of-place. After that was wrapped up, there were a few tracks left, and the bombing of Castle Damcyan was a brief but heartbreaking turning point in the game, one which ultimately sets many of the characters on the paths to destiny. I wanted to give it proper treatment, but didn’t really have the time, so I asked AF to help out and I gave him my ideas and helped me realize them. I would have snagged golbez had bLiNd not already done a great version, but all the tracks have fantastic heart and soul poured into them.
The most challenging part of arranging Calcobrena was forcing myself to actually try and master the track. I’m an instrumentalist who’s been self-taught and not really been traditionally trained, furthermore never had real training in any sound engineering or mastering. That took many months. Also, inclusion of source in that track was always too little. For Damcyan, the hardest part was really the back-and-fourth getting the ideas of sound and music to be expressed accurately without being in a room with AF. Again, not traditionally trained, so I can’t really translate what I’m hearing in my head to speech as well as I could into actual playing. Also, references to theory flew way over my head most of the time, so I just followed along the best I could and I think it turned out pretty good.
What I’m most proud of is two-fold: the guitar battles in Damcyan are epic without being ludicrously show-offish, and the fact that Calcobrena sounds halfway decent mixing wise is enough for me to very proud! Oh, and I’m proud of all the people involved, especially OA, AF, and Avaris. I wouldn’t be where I am right now musically without their help and support (AND NAGGING!). *insert shameless magfest plug here*”
We’ll be back with more arrangers comments throughout the week