Tag Archives: Final Fantasy VI

Review: MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY Original Soundtrack

Mitsuto Suzuki was known mainly as an audio programmer, solo artist, and arranger until he broke out into composing with The 3rd Birthday and later, Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns. We discussed his work on the SCHOOLGIRL STRIKERS last year. There’s been a lot of anticipation for his full-length score for MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY, and it’s finally here.

Fans of his work on Final Fantasy will be pleased. There’s a nice blend of atmospheric textures and orchestra. There are several Final Fantasy references as well, which are tastefully done. In fact, Suzuki provides some of the most refreshing takes on both the “Final Fantasy” theme and “The Prelude” by using fragments of the themes alongside his ethereal blend of choir and pads that makes for a wonderful listening experience. Chocobo makes an appearance with the vocaloid “Chocobattle!”, and there’s also a metal battle theme that heavily references “Battle Scene” from the original Final Fantasy (very cool!). Finally, there’s a new spin on the Final Fantasy VI battle theme with some metal layered over the top of the original recording.

His bombastic “Legend – Mobius Final Fantasy” blends filtered guitars and bombastic orchestra and choir into a powerful theme, while “Wol’s Theme – The Journey Begins,” is sweet and catchy. This theme is featured many times throughout the score to great effect, with relaxing, tropical, and the upbeat, funky, and pop-oriented main version being featured throughout. “Dancing Edge” is a super cool dubstep-infused track brimming with positive energy, “The Forsaken World” works in ethereal pads and piano/acoustic guitar in an unsettling combination, and “Attack Ignition” is a heavy dancefloor tune. “The Rune Crystal” layers pads and bells in a beautiful and otherworldly fashion, “Sarah’s Theme” brings in sweeping orchestra and choir, and “Lightway” introduces massive pads and a spacey melody. “Among the Musty” sports hauntingly beautiful guitar work, “Just Desserts – Second Helping” is a super energetic orchestral track featuring snippets of the Final Fantasy theme, and “Infinite Arena” is an upbeat rock track with that feels like Final Fantasy battle themes of old, while “Echo’s Theme” features mischievous chattering, a sweet and innocent piano melody, and la-la choir. Coming to the end, “The Last Stand” sports epic choir and orchestra and the sound of machinery chugging, “The Azure Witch” gets cool piano and pads with rapid piano playing, and the closing “Palamecia Breeze” brings in harp runs from “The Prelude” behind a beautiful piano and pads melody, and is absolutely gorgeous.

Fans of Mitsuto Suzuki should be pleased with more of his unique sound. The two-disc album is available on CD Japan.

Review: Final Symphony music from Final Fantasy VI, VII, and X

Final Symphony represents one of the most ambitious undertakings Thomas Boecker and Merregnon Studios have attempted to date. While their “Symphonic” series has been a smashing success, with productions dedicated to the works of Chris Huelsbeck (Symphonic Shades), Nobuo Uematsu (Symphonic Odysseys), Square Enix (Symphonic Fantasies), and others, Final Symphony brings together an assortment of Final Fantasy titles and presents them in a grand classical tradition. Prepare to hear your favorite “tunes” from the Final Fantasy series elevated to a new level with expert arrangements by the team at Merregnon Studios (Roger Wanamo and Jonne Valtonen) and by Masashi Hamauzu himself.

After an original playful opener, “A Circle Within a Circle Within a Circle,” the album launches into an epic 18-minute suite from Final Fantasy VI titled “Born with the Gift of Magic,” which opts for a narrative angle by telling the tale of Terra and her conflict with the empire, her past, and with the tyrant Kefka. There’s a lot of turmoil embedded in the music, and my favorite moment is the mysterious take on “Another World of Beasts.” There’s a piano concerto arranged by Hamauzu that masterfully combines various themes from the game into a coherent musical experience, and a three movement symphony dedicated to Final Fantasy VII that also adopts a narrative format, focusing on Sephiroth, Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, and the epic showdown between them. A few pieces are shorter in length, including “Suteki da ne” from Final Fantasy X, “Continue?” from Final Fantasy VII, and a clever “Fight, Fight, Fight!” which sports battle themes from across all three titles presented in a unique way as they battle with one another to be heard.

The release comes housed on a Blu-ray disc which can be watched in a Blu-ray player, showing off photos from the recording sessions while you listen to the sometimes-beautiful, sometimes-intense performance by the London Symphony Orchestra. The MP3s are also housed on the disc, so you can take the music with you on the go. The included booklet is written in Japanese and English, and includes bios for all of the artists as well as a wonderfully-written listener’s guide that explains the creative decisions that went into the music, allowing the casual listener like myself to understand what’s being represented by the various musical passages.

I referred to the original scores as “tunes” at the start of this review because this presentation is so steeped in the classical tradition that it makes the source material sound almost like child’s play. That’s not to say it’s without merit, as nothing can top the nostalgia provided by the original sound source, but if you ever want to impress your classically-trained music friends with what game music can be as heard through the lens of true classical music, show them Final Symphony. It feels like the adult way to enjoy Final Fantasy music.

Final Symphony is out in September and can be pre-ordered from CD Japan.

Review: Distant Worlds III: more music from Final Fantasy

Distant Worlds has always been exceptional, from the live concerts to the album recordings. I figured after the first two albums and the live Blu-ray concert recordings, however, that we wouldn’t be seeing more from the series. Then came along Distant Worlds III with a mixture of new arrangements and old ones that have been hard to come by.

Can Distant Worlds do it a third time? Read more below. Continue reading Review: Distant Worlds III: more music from Final Fantasy