I’m probably not the only person who thought this album was going to be a brass album. It’s called Brass de Bravo, after all. What you’re going to get, however, is more along the lines of a small ensemble with, yes, a fleshed out brass section, performing mainly orchestral arrangements. Apparently there was a live performance featuring a brass group in conjunction with the Siena Wind Orchestra, which explains this sound. Fortunately the fun selection of arrangements and suites make up for the confusing album title, so let’s dig in.
The album opens with a “Battle 2 Medley.” That’s right, boss battle themes from Final Fantasy IV, V, VI and IX are presented. I think “Battle 2” from Final Fantasy IV gets enough love, but how often do we get to hear “Battle to the Death” from Final Fantasy VI? It’s one of my favorite tracks from that particular OST, so I was overjoyed to hear it here. From there, we get another wonderful medley of bubbly airship themes that touches on what I was expecting from this album with a distinct big band sound. The swanky take on Final Fantasy IV and the majestic version of Final Fantasy VI are both a a real treat.
Then it’s on to a short, sweet, and playful “Moogle’s Theme,” a powerful rendition of “Red Wings” (perfect for brass!) and “Kingdom of Baron” from Final Fantasy IV, a nearly ten-minute-long medley of dungeon themes, and a whirlwind tour through three Final Fantasy VII battle themes in three minutes. A series of one-offs follows with the jazzy “Zanarkand,” a straightforward “Aria,” a seldom-arranged “Never Look Back – Dead End” from Final Fantasy VIII (a nice touch), a thinned out version of the Final Fantasy main theme (same arrangement as performed by larger orchestras… without the larger orchestra), and a classic Final Fantasy medley to close things out with a lovely rendition of the sailing theme from the original game.
I also have to call out the visual appeal of the packaging. I dig the brightly colored instrument cases along with the 8-bit black and white mages holding brass instruments!
In all, this is a cool collection with some new and unique arrangements. I’m usually not one for medleys, but they’ve done a great job with these. It’s also priced right at 2,500 Yen (about $21 right now) on CD Japan. So grab it there if this sounds like it’s your thing.