ReMix: Final Fantasy VII "Short Skirts"
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- Game: Final Fantasy VII (Sony, 1997, PS1)
- ReMixer(s): Vig, djpretzel
- Composer(s): Nobuo Uematsu
- Song(s): "Tifa's Theme"
- Posted: 2007-09-14, evaluated by djpretzel
- Album: Featured on Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream
- Terms (BETA): cello chill collab electric-guitar jazz organ strings vibraphone
2007 was SUPPOSED to be the year that I returned to my more prolific ReMix release schedule from days of yore. In actuality, I do have seven or eight works-in-progress sitting around that I need to just FINISH, and up until Andy approached me with this project, my Tifa mix was one of those. Yes, I was actually working on this before the project was created; it was simply fortuitous that Andy invited me to contribute and I already had something in the works. This is my first ReMix collaboration - though Town Life with Taucer was released in July of last year, this mix was already in progress at that time, and Jesse had already visited to record the guitar part. That's a whole story in and of itself, with great imbibing of strong substance and IRC shenanigans, but from a musical perspective, it worked really well. I had a rough sketch of the melody I was looking for, and Jesse worked around that with several permutations. It was a pretty fluid and expedient collaboration, perhaps because we chose to postpone our revelries until AFTER we had finished it.
So, what was I trying for with this? Well, for starters, I love the Tifa theme. I tend to like dominant, memorable melodies, and Tifa's track definitely fits that description, so I was drawn to it. As many of you know, one of my personal goals that I also love to see other artists doing is trying to work in multiple genres. I didn't really have anything on the site yet that represented a truer approach to what I'd call "jazz", and I was inspired to create something in the style of Neskvartetten, whom I deeply admire and respect. While the Tifa theme has wonderful melody and harmony, it's rather static rhythmically, with a constant, quantized feel. That's specifically what steered me towards jazz - I wanted to hear this great melody that Uematsu wrote injected with some rhythmic playfullness. The title, "Short Skirts," alludes both to Tifa's fondness for rather skimpy bottoms (I ain't complainin') and to the concept of doing three consecutive brief variations on the main melody. Jesse's jazz guitar is first, then a duet of sorts between vibes and EP, then finally organ with a drum dropout.
The reason this took a hundred times longer than it should have is that Jesse did perhaps too good a job on his part - after the guitar solo, I was stuck with what to follow with. I finally decided on vibes, but it wasn't until I added in the EP doing a sort of call-and-response bit and livened up the drum track (all parts recorded live into sequencer) that this decision actually started not sucking. From a tonal and rhythmic complexity perspective, I think this is one of my best and most mature ReMixes to date. The cello plays a key role in flying over the underlying, interlocking parts with legato passages that ascend and descend. I had a blast doing drums for this - there's lot of going ahead or behind the beat, particularly on the vibes section, that all would have been lost with any sort of quantization. Quantum Leap Colossus was used for almost everything you hear, and is a great library for those looking to do jazz arrangement in my opinion.
I'm so glad to have been part of this project. When I listen to the other tracks this mix is side by side with, I'm honored to be in such company. I feel like Jesse and I added something different to the album, but something that fits in, too. This arrangement was a major headache for me in terms of finding my focus and coming up with a second half that I could really get fully behind, but - while it's not as accessible or immediately catchy as my other stuff - I feel like the end result is some of my strongest work yet. I'd like to thank Jesse for the excellent Scotch he brought along with him and a guitar part the arrangement couldn't have lived without, Nobuo Uematsu, Neskvartetten, and Yo-Yo Ma for inspiration, and Andrew Aversa for inviting me onto the project, letting me do the artwork and website, and for putting together a project that shows the very best OverClocked ReMix has to offer.
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