Liontamer

OCRA-0060 - Chronology: A Jazz Tribute to Chrono Trigger

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I first played Chrono Trigger when I was seven years old. It was my introduction to JRPGs, anime, and most importantly, video game music. I can vividly remember watching my brother play this game... or was it a movie? It certainly wasn't Super Mario Bros. or Donkey Kong Country. It had complex writing and intricate characters put into a vast and colourful world accompanied by music you might expect to hear in a film. As I learned to play the game, it consumed me. I would rent the game every weekend for what seemed like years. It didn't matter how many times I had completed it because I could restart and it would seem like a new adventure every time. Needless to say, I have a bit of an addictive personality. Over the years, I would go on to obtain many new obsessions and interests that would come and go. Chrono Trigger, however, did not. I am 25 now and, after nearly two decades of playing the game, I can honestly say that it still remains an important part of my life and that every time I play it, I look at it with the same wide eyes and enthusiasm as when I was seven.

I explored Chrono Trigger through all of its facets whether it was trying to copy Akira Toriyama's art (and learning that I'm not very good at drawing), discussing the more intricate plot features on the forums at Chrono Compendium, actively awaiting the English dub of Radical Dreamers so that I could further my knowledge in the Chronoverse, or attempting to learn Yasunori Mitusda's score on piano. I believe at one point I had just about the entire soundtrack learned and it was this that nudged me in the direction of the video game music community and, eventually, OverClocked ReMix.

Fast-forward another half-decade and I decided to pitch the idea for a jazz-based Chrono Trigger album. It seemed like this was going to be an impossible task to accomplish given the genre restriction and general interest from other arrangers at the time so move ahead another couple years and the OC Jazz Collective was born. Through some fluke, I was able to assemble my own "dream team" of musicians and arrangers on OC ReMix who all shared a passion for jazz and video game music. I felt Chrono Trigger would be an ideal candidate for our first release given the game's quickly approaching 20th anniversary and the fact that Mitsuda's music lends itself so well to jazz and improvisation. The musicians and artists on this album have put in countless hours of practice and recording to produce an album which I think sounds authentic and natural. Jazz is a social music best captured in the moment... and while the production process of this album was anything but "in the moment," I think the album's sound and cohesiveness will speak for itself. It has been an honour getting to know and work with these talented artists from different parts of the world. Each of them brings their own unique sound and nuances to the album and without each and every one of them this album would not have been possible. I hope that our devotion to detail will be apparent in the music and that you will enjoy Chronology: A Jazz Tribute to Chrono Trigger.

 

- Dylan Wiest (Wiesty)

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Listening to the album now. Nice arrangements and playing in all the tracks, definitely a nice tribute!

My favourites on first listen:

- Time's Seal. Cool rendition of the original.

- Dream of Green. Forest theme lends itself well to jazz with the cool chord progressions and ambient mood. I love the strong accentuated chords in the "chorus". My favourite of the album. Also really like the bass and synth lead.

- Fight or Flight. Love the change at 1:10. Like that this one is more upbeat. And it has a drum solo!

- Driftwood. Another source very suited for jazz!

Really nice! All tracks were cool but the 4 above were my favourite.

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I got really excited about this album when I saw the trailer a week or so ago, it feels like a long time ago since I'd been that hyped up about an upcoming album, and it felt great! I haven't been checking out as much of the new content here on OCR as I would like in recent years (mostly just busier, sorrrrrry!), but I knew this album was going to be a must-get as soon as it was out for me, and I could not have been more right. To give some background, I never really considered myself much of a jazz fan until I discovered OCR many years ago, and just sort of absorbed a love of the genre of jazz through some kind of musical osmosis without even realizing it from the many excellent jazz remixes I've encountered here over the years. This eventually resulted in me becoming a fan of non-VGM related jazz music as well, and I have OCR to thank for that, which I could not be happier about!

So with that out of the way, few things could be more of a perfect storm than a Chrono Trigger Jazz Album for me, and it's every bit as awesome as I could have hoped for. A couple listens through, I can safely say that I love the way every single track flows, that perfect combination of keeping the source tune alive while improvising just works so well here. While I almost don't want to single any one track out, I'd be lying if I didn't mention "Dream of Green" cause let's face it, there is simply no such thing as too many remixes of "Secret of the Forest" and this one is as good as any that came before it!

Thanks for an awesome album, OC Jazz Collective!

Wiesty, Fratto and TheChargingRhino like this

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I haven't listened to it yet but I love the idea of "Kingdom Trial" and "Lavos" in a Jazz style. It's a clever idea and probably sounds great. I'll give it a listen.

Wiesty likes this

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I got to hear this one a few months early, and I fell in love with it immediately. Such a good album!

Fratto and Wiesty like this

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This album is absolutely fantastic. Jazz is, by far, my favorite musical genre and Chrono Trigger is one of my favorite VGM OSTs. You guys really did this justice - the arrangements are compelling and the performances are amazing. The album really does feel like one cohesive set that was performed and recorded live and not pieced together from performers all over the world. So much so that I kept expecting to hear clapping at the end of the opening track, haha. I'll be listening to this for a long time. Bravo!

djpretzel likes this

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Easy favorite at my end, right up there with The Answer. Just a fully realized vision.

My earliest reaction upon listening is lamenting how much I've missed Neskvartetten. "Dream of Green" in particular is quite amazing, with the kind of soul that's hard to describe, but I suspect the bass is a factor. :) Tight arrangement everywhere. No question, keeping an eye out for any and all future product from the Collective.

zeableu likes this

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this seems the sequel Esther's Dreams (so good) the essence of jazz makes me feel like I could fly away (i love jazz music) the truth is they did an excellent job sorry for my english

EDIT: all songs are my favorite

djpretzel likes this

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Ugh, I wish I had reviewed this sooner. I listened to this awhile back, but didn't have the time to actually type up the full review. Until now. In short, I loved it. Love Chrono Trigger, love jazz, so this is one example of a perfect album for me :)

----

Yasunori Mitsuda did things in the games he composed for that not a lot
of composers could do. He was certainly ahead of his time when he composed
for his first game, Chrono Trigger. So how do you rearrange the music of Chrono
Trigger in a way that exemplifies, and honors the unique composing style that
Yasunori Mitsuda brought to the game? Make a full-on jazz album.

Wiesty notes in the comments that this seemed like an impossible task. But in
all honestly, the jazz genre perfectly blends with the audio asthetics of Chrono
Trigger. So the only impossible tasks were time (no pun intended), and motivation.
And all the artists apart of this managed to bring jazz to the forefront of one
of the greatest soundtracks of all time.

1. Wiesty, The OC Jazz Collective - "Way Before the Day Before Yesterday"
Era: Prehistoric (65,000,000 B.C.)
Sources: "Burn! Bobonga! Burn!"; "Lavos's Theme," "Rhythm of Earth, Wind, and Sky" (cameo)

An excellent opener for Chronology. It sounds like an excellent warm-up session,
quickly transitioning into the opening number of a fine jazz concert. Right away,
you know what to expect. The Lavos touch was quite remarkable. As a jazz piece,
it adds more of an introductory "OMPH" than any other piece composed for the
prehistoric era.

2. Triplepoint Trio (Doug Perry, Sam Suggs, Jonny Allen) - "Triggernometry"
Source: "Chrono Trigger"

I don't know if this was intentional or not, but the transition between track
1 and track 2 is one of, if not, the best I have ever heard on an OCR album. It
is so seamless, almost as if both tracks were one in the same. As for the track
itself, it is a great interpretation of the main Chrono Trigger theme. It's just
as exciting as the original source material. The vibraphone, and violin work here
is especially phoenomenal.

3. Nostalvania, The OC Jazz Collective - "Time's Seal"
Era: Dark Ages (12,000 B.C.)
Source: "Sealed Door"

What makes this track interesting is how they turned a slow, haunting track into
something very reminiscant of a night stroll through New Orelans. It makes opening
that sealed door a lot more exciting and interesting than kind of depressed and
lonely.

4. Wiesty, The OC Jazz Collective - "Neuga, Ziena, Zieber, Zom..."
Era: Middle Ages (600 A.D.)
Source: "Magus Confronted"

In comparison to the last piece, this one feels like a night club lounge jazz
track. Pretty appropriate considering the source material, the battle theme of
someone who at first is viewed as a dark, foreboding individual. The flute is
a nice touch. A fine way to honor the original, while turning a dramatic battle
theme into something more subdued, and chilling (the relaxing kind, not the creepy
kind).

5. Wiesty, The OC Jazz Collective - "Dream of Green"
Era: Present (1000 A.D.)
Sources: "Secret of the Forest"; "Chrono Trigger" (cameo)

Both this arrangement, and the original source material give off a sense of
mystery and intrigue. Right off the bat, this arrangement does the forest portions
of the game justice. It doesn't sound like just an arrangement, it sounds like
something that would fit right in with the actual game.

6. Nostalvania, The OC Jazz Collective - "Fight or Flight"
Era: Apocalypse (1999 A.D.)
Source: "The Epoch - Wings of Time"

The Epoch theme was already jazz inspired to begin with, so I can imagine this
being a difficult piece to arrange for a jazz album. The time signature changes
really helped make this arrangement stand out from the original source material in
a way that honors the game, and Yasunori Mitsuda's work.

7. Wiesty, The OC Jazz Collective - "When Hell Freezes Over"
Era: Future (2300 A.D.)
Sources: "A Desolate World," "Yearnings of the Wind"

Very mysterious, and very intriguing. The original source material was more
ominous, and reflective of a defeated mood. This sounds like something you'd
hear in a noir film when the main protagonist is at a loss on what to do next.
It kind of makes me think of what Casablanca would sound like if it were
made in this day and age (HOLLYWOOD DO NOT REMAKE CASABLANCA).

8. Fratto, Wiesty, The OC Jazz Collective - "Driftwood"
Era: End of Time (∞)
Source: "At the End of Time"

And here we reach the end. The end of time that is. At first, you think this piece
will serve as something of a "wind down" sort of track. But no, it wants to go out
with the excitement and flair that helps define this album.

From beginning to end, this album is nothing but pure fun. Other albums serve to
wow and excite you with how classics can be arranged into different genres, and how
many different feelings you can get throughout the album. That is why I appreciate
the pure fun that this album brings. I am still in awe over how tracks one and two
sound back to back. But each track can still be listened to on its own, and appreciated
at the same time. If you don't like jazz, this album may not be for you, as this
is 100% jazz all around.

TillyFun likes this

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Gah damn.

I was sleping on this album for a bit, I don't know why. But this is probably in my favorite albums on this site now. You dudes did the soundtrack to this game justice.

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 i love ocremix albums that are consistent like this(I am talking instruments or maybe even rhythm) ... it gives you the ability to dive in the world for a good length of time. sonic 1 speed of sound is probably my favorite oc album because of that, its pretty much a mix and master of instruments that relate to the original, plus they made mixes of the same track (special stage) through out with different pacing  to give it theme and make it sound like a score...when ff8 album remix comes out(which by the way any plans on that?) give some consistency please. oh, and there is already a chrono trigger jazz album (brink of time), guess i'll mix this one with the other.

Edited by zeableu
illiterate, not well expained

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On 11/15/2016 at 6:36 PM, Cole Train said:

Gah damn.

I was sleping on this album for a bit, I don't know why. But this is probably in my favorite albums on this site now. You dudes did the soundtrack to this game justice.

I legit find it hilarious that a user named Cole Train didn't immediately listen to a jazz album. Just a tasty bit of irony to that, I think.

The album as a whole is pretty damn great, by the way - it all comes together in a nice, jazz'd up package that never really breaks the overall atmosphere. If you like jazz, regardless of your feelings about the game music itself, you'll enjoy this album a whole lot. It's rich, the improv is great and overall the performances are tight.

I mean, if you like Chronotrigger you'll love this album, too, but that almost goes without saying, at this point. ;)

Cole Train and Bowlerhat like this

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5 hours ago, Gario said:

I legit find it hilarious that a user named Cole Train didn't immediately listen to a jazz album. Just a tasty bit of irony to that, I think.

The album as a whole is pretty damn great, by the way - it all comes together in a nice, jazz'd up package that never really breaks the overall atmosphere. If you like jazz, regardless of your feelings about the game music itself, you'll enjoy this album a whole lot. It's rich, the improv is great and overall the performances are tight.

I mean, if you like Chronotrigger you'll love this album, too, but that almost goes without saying, at this point. ;)

Lmao, I know right.

Like since it came out though I had it downloaded but never took the time out to listen to it. Should have earlier tbh. 

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2 hours ago, JBarron said:

So there needs to be another jazz album like this :).

I'll give that a secular "amen" :)

JBarron likes this

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