One of the most effortlessly chilled out game music arrangements of all time.
I’m a sucker for a game music arrangement. The piano collections that many game franchises do are often held dear to my heart but I often overlook some of the unofficial lo-fi beats and chill out arrangements. Often they don’t have their own unique character and blend together. Rifti Beats “Chocobo & Chill” is a breakthrough album for me in that regard.
Across 15 tracks taken from Final Fantasy VI – X we have some of the best flowing chill beat arrangements I’ve come across. The album is almost seamless from track to track too as little “kweh” chirps from Chocobo’s or meadow and forest noises create a palette of relaxed ambience around the music arrangements. What I like best about this album is that the arrangements have some really subtle pacing changes to keep everything elegant and forward-focused. For instant “Aerith’s Theme” is faster so it fits a chunky drum loop better. “Song of Memories” does a similar trick. Other songs that have a natural groove just bounce with the added vinyl crackles and beats. “Sight of Spira” was a laid back acoustic guitar piece and now it’s a full-on artisan cafe anthem.
It isn’t just the speeds and beats that make the album, it is the instrumentation too. PianoDreams guest performing on “Final Fantasy VII” (its the main theme) gives a human nuance to what could have been a rigid number. “Crossing Those Hills” is expertly translated across to kalimbas and tuned percussion for a melodic cascade. “To Zanarkand” skips the obvious piano and opts for a distant Rhodes piano. Everything has a hazy hue to it, be it the seagulls and waves lapping in the snoozy “Breezy” or vintage game effects alongside muted electric keys in “Village of Dali” – it just works. Personality is key here. Rifti Beats contains a few in-jokes too including Tidus’ laugh. It made me genuinely belly laugh when I heard it pipe up midway through his theme.
Rifti Beats has created a breakthrough album for me for lo-fi beats to chill to but also one for many music lovers to enjoy game music arrangements too. Effortlessly calming, melodic and soothing, I’ve had this on repeat since buying it yesterday and I keep finding new layers of ambience and grease smeared music to enjoy. A delightful release that hopefully opens up more fans to game music.
Recommended track: Sight of Spira
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