ReMix: Final Fantasy IV 'The Sky Was Never a Limit'

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Final Fantasy IV

goat goes orchestral? Apparently a symphonic sound, much like the sky, is not a limit for he-of-numerous-memorable-guitar-shredding ReMixes. Have no fear: he still works in a sweet electric lead, it's just now in a context that's a bit more sedate, romantic even, than his normal energized rock. The ReMixer writes:

"This was a valentine's day remix I did for "goatess" of the prelude theme from final fantasy 4. It's a bit different from my normal style."

Perhaps one day goat and goatess wil have a... kid. But I kid. Right - goat's stuff usually bypasses the panel and gets posted directly, but seeing as this was a different style for him, I figured he might want some feedback on the primarily orchestral portions of the arrangement. The first two minutes are entirely symphonic, with electric guitar entering afterwards, so a large portion of the mix relies on things working sans any fretted instruments whatsoever. While chris is an ace at putting together a shredding, rocking castlevania track, how does he handle something more delicate, with an entirely different sound palate? Pretty admirably, I'd say. Now, along with Mr. Baranowsky, I do think there's room for improvement, but the overall arrangement is effective if simple. The exposed harp intro covering the all-too-familiar prelude arpeggio, for example, could have used smoother dynamics and a bit more space, and the strings that enter afterwards are a bit thin, but things do build from there, and the solo strings at 1'30" are both compositionally interesting (the bass pattern changes to a moving up/down pattern) and dramatic. I do think having the french horn switch over to covering the arpeggio in this section wasn't necessary, and in general I might have exorcised the arpeggio a bit more from the overall arrangement and let the progression and melody hold their own. At 2'25" orchestral percussion builds, electric guitar and bass are subtly added in, and an acoustic kit comes in with a beat at 2'40" - I personally think this was a pretty graceful way to transition from the first section of the arrangement into the more rockish, swaying 3/4 feel of the next. Guitar really takes over at 4'32" with a nice repeating riff that quickly turns into soaring guitar-hero rock - picture slash out in the middle of the ocean (with no visible amp!) in the November Rain music video and you get the idea. Definitely my favorite part of the mix. The comparison to G'n'f'nR's NR is pretty relevant, since structurally the songs have aspects in common. I'm not too keen on reinvoking the solo harp for the ending, and again the processing on it seems incongruously clean compared to all other orchestral elements, but in general the last two minutes of the mix are the highlight. Yes, they're also the two minutes where chris is doing his "guitar thing" that he does so well, but I think it's made better here by the context the first half of the mix affords. It'd be very optimistic to expect a relatively initial stab at orchestral to succeed wildly on its own legs, but I think what goat's done is merged two styles, and while he may be better at one than the other, the fusion succeeds in taking his music new places - this doesn't sound like his other mixes, and overall it sounds pretty darn good, and I'd call that an accomplishment.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
dalborgo
on 2014-12-13 16:25:36
fantastic work!
tweex
on 2010-09-14 20:49:20
One of the weaker intros that we've heard from goat. The midi sounds were not my favorite but the strings sounded nice. However, it seems to meander and not really go anywhere. The orch samples are a bit weak here. It's better when the rock drums and guitars come in, but the drums sound wildly out of place here; they don't sit in the mix with the orch samples at all since they sound so dry. The arrangement is nice, but it does get too cluttered with movement from instruments that don't have a fast enough attack to handle the quick lines. But, this is really the second time we've heard goat step out of his comfort zone and it's definitely refreshing to hear. When the guitar solo comes in, that's where the mix REALLY shines. The orchestral backing is simple and clean and works extremely well with the lead guitar. Not Chris' best mix on the site, but he strives to do something relatively new for himself, and I have to give him props for that and I really hope that he keeps at this so that we can hear something like this again. Practice makes perfect!
Emunator
on 2009-12-19 03:09:32
This one takes its sweet time building up, and there's a few off-notes in the first half, but once things get going with the rhythm guitar past 3:00, this mix really kicks it up a notch in terms of quality and emotion. I love how the guitar solo fit perfectly with the uplifting mood created by the orchestral music... I was on the fence about whether I was gonna download this and keep it on my playlist, but once I hit that moment my decision was made. That's awesome, this just goes to show that stepping out of your comfort zone without losing sight of your style can pay off in spades!
Also, the mix title here is brilliant, it seems to fit so perfectly with the music I'm hearing. Killer work on all fronts!
OA
on 2009-12-18 11:11:42
Probably one of my favorite remix titles on the site, lets have a listen! :O
it starts out pretty conservative, But there's plenty of room to expand in the 7 minutes provided. Once it his the halfway point, expand it does, and there is some great original writing that ties in well with the classic theme. Where the rhythm guitar comes in at 2:30ish really works well, I love the tone and mixing levels Goat used for that- and prelude makes an awesome power ballad. It's all clicking for me.
I agree with DJP that the last 2 min is definitely the best part, with some rocking soloing, but the journey is half the fun here.
A really nice mix, Goatess would be proud. :-)
SoulinEther
on 2009-06-07 08:01:11
The pace of this piece is what puts me at peace. This is the kind of song for which (nobody likes dangling preopositions) I sit/lie down; to relax, to take a step back, and to reassess my situation I can turn to this remix. It progresses along inspirationally, first slowly, then slightly more rapidly and consistently.
And using the harp as a frame, revisiting the first idea of the piece with the newer emotions and optimism/determination/spirit of adventure/I'm-not-sure-what-word-properly-assesses-the-tone-of-this-piece revealed toward the end really seals the deal for me. Letting harp close off the piece so nicely on a chord as it does is satisfying to the version of myself who started listening to the piece just a few short minutes ago, so I walk away feeling content and determined.
....I mean, this is fantastic.
How did this get overlooked during 2 (3?) remix review drives? Maybe because it already had a decent number of reviews. Deserves more, still.
Duo
on 2007-06-14 13:26:51
I love this remix. I didn't really notice it at first when I dl'd it, then I threw it onto a CD to fill up the last 8 minutes and when I listened to the whole thing through at work, this stuck out as my favorite track by far. I love the slow buildup, and where it leads. I wouldn't want anything about it changed. A wonderful, wonderful song.
Forgotten
on 2007-01-27 08:34:49
Absolutely beautiful.
ChaosofRuin
on 2006-11-13 19:38:44
My fav remix from FFIV ><
Xx~~Zangetsu~~xX
on 2006-02-03 14:26:28
ooh...i d like to have a pet goat who can make a remix like this! 8O
Bummer
on 2005-10-04 04:47:05
What am I to listen to a goat? THIS is the reason. Not only it´s filled with some nice orchestrals and a totally jamming guitarsolo, it´s filled with love.
I haven´t really listened so much to the works of goat, but after this I could do a little check-up. Very good remix. Goat took two styles and meld them together to make a mix shrouding with skills and respect. Nice work once again, you truly are worth calling goat.
Heruwath Lomgil
on 2005-09-02 23:03:37
I LIKE!
Taffin
on 2005-09-02 07:02:26
Don't judge this song on the first listen. I didn't care for this mix at first, but it just came up randomly on my iTunes playlist while I was just doing other stuff and it finally hit me. I don't have any detailed criticism to give, only to say that it takes a few listens (and maybe even a "subliminal" one where you aren't paying attention) to fully appreciate it.
Magical Ninja
on 2005-08-19 00:48:08
Quality music, but im just not feeling it.
Jabberbox
on 2005-08-18 01:54:34
two different worlds colliding and growing togather like a vine covered tree...
this is a very good remix, using a very complicated combonation (ive heard it when its not done right... :roll: )
it could use a bit less uhh what is the e-guitear thing where its all dooleoodooleoodooleoo really rapid... that kinda got annoying... but than again im more into the orchestral part...
good job, goat. you almost made me jump when it exploded near the begginning. :D
Rexy
on 2005-06-06 13:37:15
Like I said to this user earlier, it's good to see him think hard for Valentine's Day, and the results are very sweet and reflective so it seems. :D I can't say I'm too much of a fan of the compression here, but that's understandable given how long the mix is as well as the ideas that were all incorporated into making this possible.
I'll see if I can bring in a more detailed scope on this via quoting my (semi-old) VGMix review for it.
Production techniques
This mix is provided at a heavy crossbreed of styles - for the opening 2 minutes we have orchestration, which in turn was lead into a prom night style guitar-oriented texture as soon as one of the bigger climaxes of the piece was over. Panning is shown to be at a strong rate; the orchestration was shown to be at a firm balance to match with the realism of that setup, and the steady textures for some of the remaining sounds have worked to reflect strongly upon the emotion. Even though some of the instruments chosen could have been given some further elements of reverb/sustain, the processing and expression work is done at a very strong height here most especially with the quality that has managed to fit some of which in general. The sound levels are as well balanced as we often associate with him, with a good amount of thought to EQ balance to grant a good sense of warmth towards the sounds here, so nothing much to fault in that particular aspect of the production. Given what we have throughout this aspect, the listener is sure to be taken through a powerful sense of atmosphere established through the technical side alone.
Compositional structure
The track started off with some sweet sounding harp structures providing a minimalist yet affective opening. This is soon followed by the flute's entrance at 0:20, providing notation at the same rhythm as the source but at a more liberal opening. As the strings gradually come in following on from that aspect of the piece, the idea of strengths towards the general romanticist notions have worked to provide a more different and peaceful side to goat to open up with. That's even more noted where the violin solo made its way through at 1:28, taking the audience through a more minor oriented motion of the mix; while that aspect was felt to be a little bit on the sudden side in terms of progressions, it has still worked on taking the emotional factor well enough for the listener. I also feel the cello attack was a little bit on the strong side, but it has still worked in maintaining the deep textured sounds as expected from this user - very interesting work.
And at 2:06 the track faces a climatic progression that has worked in giving the listener an idea that a battle was about to start within the music itself. But in true surprise fashion, the guitars and energetic drums that fade in have worked in providing a link towards the main focus of the piece by 2:41, what with the now established prom/waltz type expressions that have managed to maintain a good amount of truth towards the theme as well as providing a good set of realism through it. While I feel the opening reaches of this section were thought to be a bit sudden to take in at first, they still work at providing a good set of appreciation all around for the song's audience.
The violin melody has made its way back at 3:38, taking the audience through a romanticist original segment. It's here that I feel that the opening riffs of the violin are making me think of Sonic 3's "Ice Cap Zone" given their progressions, but even if that wasn't intended the progressions have still worked in maintaining the more reflective feel while in turn maintaining a steady rhythm to maintain interest here. Mind, repetition on the melodic progressions has hindered this part slightly, but it has still worked well in maintaining a good side towards the listener’s interest.
The trademark guitar performance then made its way through at 4:33, thus showing a good amount of improvisation on top of the string parts here. This has worked in providing a good sense of wonder towards the listener through a strong mixture of creative gestures and truth to the source. While some of the general guitar progressions were a bit difficult to take in at first the style behind the performance has managed to work in generating a good sense of wonder towards the arranger's work here. Thus, this section is what I feel a majority of the audience will more likely want to remember the most.
Another melodic change then came through at 5:29, while in turn leading towards the closing segments. The guitar improvisations alongside the orchestration have also worked in showing this user's creative side while diving through the more climatic reaches of the piece as it comes near its end. Looking on at here I thought the horns made a great touch to help maintain the general compositional touches all around. This in turn was lead into a climatic rock-based closing given the guitar and steady drums, before allowing the harp to provide the official finishing touches. I don't know about you, but I found the final sections of the guitar (from 6:28 onwards) to be a bit difficult to absorb at first; otherwise, I feel very fond of this closure.

As a whole I really appreciated the softer side as shown by him, and much of the tech elements have been intact to help make this shine. Likewise with the judges I still have a bone to pick with his orchestration techniques here, so with some thought on varying velocities/timings/attacks etc there could be some stronger results out of there.
But nonetheless, even though I feel really bitter towards the whole aspect of Valentine's Day (please people, think about the singles!) I can't help but appreciate a lot of the ideas that came together. So yeah, kudos to goat for developing another fine mix to add to his extensive library. :)