ReMix: Final Fantasy VII 'Hydrophone Breakdown'

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Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the LifestreamFinal Fantasy VII
"ReMixing has always motivated me to expand my musical palette. My goal for Hydrophone Breakdown was to delve into the soundscapes of more experimental bands like The Flaming Lips and The Most Serene Republic. What I like about the original is its drawn-out structure, and interesting harmonic progressions. I tried to hold onto those elements while reinventing everything else.

Producing this track also gave me a great chance to demo my Nord Electro Rack, which was responsible for the piano, rhodes, and B3 sounds. The drum programming was done in Fruity, as was the synth bass (with Osc3x). The live instrumentation was care of my trusty Bach Stradivarius, the beater Yamaha guitar I used in "Anthem," and my friend's Ernie Ball Musicman bass, which shows up at the end. I also recorded the backwards guitar parts specifically for this, but can't remember what guitar or amp I used.

The bridge from the original is a clever bit of writing, so turning that into its own segment of the ReMix was easily the most satisfying part of the arrangement.

Before I finish, I'd like to say that I'm honored to have my track featured on a project this impressive (both in terms of size and quality). I'd also like to thank Jimmy (BGC), Chris (Hemophiliac), and Mattias (Another Soundscape) for their feedback, Andy (zircon) for the small (but appreciated) production touchups, and the other artists on VotL for rocking my aural cavities with awesomeness."

So sayeth Judge, ReMixer, and owner of much quality musical gear I am jealous of, JigginJonT. I'm always interested in seeing what direction Jon takes with a piece, because as a multi-instrumentalist with a wide variety of influences and capabilities, he's always got a lot of potential options. Here he couples a garage-ish drum track with a synth bass, rhodes, and a lot of neat backwards guitar textures, sonar pings, etc. You've gotta love the stylistic transition at 1'55" where Jon busts out his Bach and gets loungy wit da B3, too. Every last instrument, every last component of this arrangement has CHARACTER; that sounds like an empty, unprovable claim, but listen and see if you agree. It's hard to articulate, but Jon has a very effective way of ensuring that each individual piece lives and breathes on its own, in a musical ecosystem. Sort of like Bio-Dome, only not crappy and without Pauly Shore. Later in the mix things become downright serene, with drums dropping out and acoustic guitar serving as the rhythmic push. You can hear the Flaming Lips influence; it'd be interesting at some point to see whether Jon could either sing himself or collab with an appropriate vocalist and get some lyrics rockin', as I think his style(s) would work well with such, but his instrumentals are certainly more than satisfying as-is, this is just curiosity on my part. This is a wonderfully organic piece that grows on you with each listen; kudos to Jon for another surprising arrangement that manages to incorporate his many talents into a single cohesive whole.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Marmiduke
on 2013-10-14 01:03:44
Lots of things going on and lots of directions in sound being explored. It's hard to see the cohesive whole amongst the shifts in sound, but the mix is brilliant on a technical level.
The entire phase of the brass and organ was inspired and a clear highlight. Guitar and piano work also served towards the mix's high quality, I just wish the ideas and the interesting pairing of instruments were held together within a tighter overall construct.
Not sure I fully 'get' the sum of its parts after two listens, but the parts themselves are really cool.
JagerBaBomb
on 2012-08-18 10:47:40
Just wanted to say that this is in my top five on the entire site. It's in just about any playlist I make, and as others have said, it just grew on me. Helps that I went back and played FFVII again not too long ago, so the original is fresh in my mind. Good stuff, man.
tweex
on 2010-08-04 22:25:34
And we're back to the aggressive indie rock that Jon debuted for F-Zero. You can REALLY hear how his ability to work in this genre increased. He brought his A game for this one. The LFO on the bass sounded great. The mix of synthetic/reverses with the acoustic drums and rhodes/piano was VERY well done. This is the first song that Jon's drums really have a lot of meat behind them. The trumpet playing lends itself well to the indie style; i.e. throw everything in there but the kitchen sink! The piano is a thinner sound that what we've heard from Jon, but it works well in context. The guitar playing was solid as was the recording of it. He captured the sound well. I love the sonar pings in there. They really sounds great! When everything comes back in at the end, it really kicks hard. Great vibe, great sound, and excellent execution from Jon!!
L. Adam Bell
on 2010-03-19 02:08:44
Sometimes I give out "sampler" discs of ReMixes to friends, and this is one I always include.
This is probably in my top ten of all OC ReMixes. I love the quiet, unassuming beginning that bursts into sound with the big, bombastic percussion. It's like Beckett007's Flashback ReMix, in that sense, and I really like that one too. The difference between Flashback "Memory Leak Suite" and this is that the arrangement here rocks. You never get bored, because there's always that shift from quiet moments to big percussion blasts, and a little jazzy noodling in between. Mad props to JigginJonT.
SubNormal J3
on 2008-07-13 20:51:54
At first I wasn't very interested in this song, but the more I hear it, the more I love it. Now there isn't a single part of it that I don't enjoy. Excellent work.
OA
on 2008-01-17 12:07:13
Wonderfully varied textures throughout, with a very excellent sense of space and a distinctly human touch. Trumpet playing as great, and the bass is nice. I like how how this could go to any number of new directions at any moment, and frequently does. The section with the solo trumpet and grungy synth was my favorite; I totally agree with the write-up that each instrument has a lot of character.
Cool mix, check it out guys. :-)
MisterBiggler
on 2007-10-02 01:47:13
damn there's a lot going on in this track that I loved, but I think that piano/guitar breakdown is king. that bass is sexy too; i love how it sounds sorta muted/muffled, sorta like how horns are muted to relate the idea. great track, man.
MojoHamster
on 2007-09-24 23:47:12
This is definately one of my favourites of what has been my favourite OCR compilation so far.
JJT is my favourite OC composer too anyway.
Once again it's refreshing to hear the acoustic guitar when it comes in sound like it could be someone sitting next to me playing it rather than super-human production creation.
JJT's music is great in that it is both explorative and challenging while being engaging at the same time.
Many complicated compositions often get too attached to being challenging to the point where they become endless dissonant hooks devoid of emotion.
This is not the case here.
Can't wait to hear what's next.
JJT
on 2007-09-20 16:54:33
bonsai;321153 wrote: Also my favourite from the album. Played this song to a friend of mine who's in a band and didn't mention to him it was a remix, after it was over he asked which band had played this song as he wanted to listen to more.
I think that about sums up.


Closest thing I have to a band right now.
bonsai
on 2007-09-20 16:45:10
Also my favourite from the album. Played this song to a friend of mine who's in a band and didn't mention to him it was a remix, after it was over he asked which band had played this song as he wanted to listen to more.
I think that about sums up.
underthesun
on 2007-09-19 07:48:55
I really love this track.. elegant, and I just love the drums, awesome stuff man
Fishy
on 2007-09-16 08:31:25
I didn't like this on first listen. It just didn't work. Now I love it and I can't explain why. Great feel.
ps, my track was constructed with 3.4 aswell, it does the job :D
avaris
on 2007-09-15 21:09:31
Hemophiliac;318452 wrote: the more i listen to this piece the more it grows on me...and hopefully other people feel the same way.

QFT
Always the sign of an excellent piece of music IMO. Pretty much agree with everything Hemo said. Favorite part has to be the acoustic guitar strumming though. Really lovin all of the variations and chord structures. Great stuff dude.
JJT
on 2007-09-15 03:41:50
big giant circles;318477 wrote: Fruity Loops 3-something FTW. Nice work, Mr Jiggin. :nicework:

3.4, but who's counting? :tomatoface:
big giant circles
on 2007-09-14 15:38:07
Fruity Loops 3-something FTW. Nice work, Mr Jiggin. :nicework: