ReMix: Lufia & The Fortress of Doom "Flowers, Life and Memory"

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Lufia & The Fortress of Doom

Vampire Hunter Dan succinctly writes:

"Hello. I'm writing to submit an arrangement/remix of mine called "Flowers, Life and Memory." This is an orchestral arrangement of pieces from Lufia and the Fortress of Doom: "Priphea," "Fortress of Doom," and the Overworld Theme."

'Bout time we saw some Lufia in these 'ere parts; 'bout time we saw some VHD, as well. While Mr. Barnaba seems to stick to RPGs, his selections have drifted outside the comfortable realm of Squaresoft with an excellen PSIV arrangement, and - while it WAS Square - he was also the first to cover Threads of Fate early last year. Now he broadens his RPG horizons further with his first coverage from the Lufia franchise, bringing his A-game along for the ride.

I had JUST watched this before listening to this mix, so instantly the opening timpani hit DID make me think "This Octopus... Let's Give Him Boots!" for a split second. Lots of interesting things going on here... this arrangement is definitely divided up into segments, but it avoids medleyitis by employing consistent instrumentation and referential construction. What's perhaps most conspicuous is the space - Dan is definitely firmly eschewing hall reverb and going with something much smaller here, and, especially given the number of exposed solo or duet passages, this has a significant effect on the overall execution. For one, nothing gets buried in long, extended reverb trails, which is both a blessing and a curse - it puts the excellent trumpets Dan's using front and center and highlights some cool Asian-infused string bends, but it also makes elements like the colonial-style drum roll seem less emphatic. But perhaps that was the intent... avoid going too grandiose, and keep the emphasis on the individual parts at all times.

It's hard to know one way or the other, but one way to put it is that this is NOT "John Williams-esque", a makeshift (and complimentary) adjective we often toss the way of pieces with more ensemble passages and epic grand hall verb applied. Which isn't a bad thing, and in this case actually makes it a little more interesting - there are lots of counterpoint and layered bits here that have their own thing going on, a lot of tonal subtlety and variety, and if every last orchestral mix tried its damnedest to be epic all the time, that'd be problematic. This does have swells, mind you, and the intro itself is a good example, but the meat of this mix is handled in smaller, articulate, more intimate instrumental passages that unravel to tell a story. I also think it's an arrangement that makes excellent use of the compositional equivalent of negative space, letting silence (and what's NOT there) convey quite a bit. It might be a bit more "challenging," but I think it shows how Dan's challenging *himself* and growing as an arranger/orchestrator, and I particularly dig what he's done here with high brass.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Melbu Frahma
on 2011-12-14 02:27:40

Vampire Hunter Dan's masterful use of silence - something he uses to great effect in many of his remixes, such as To Times Once Forgotten - and a wide variety of instruments keeps the track always changing, never boring; an exceptionally strong arrangement, altogether. VHD's brass writing, as usual, is particularly good, and aside from one or two moments that sound a touch less than real, there's no problem with the samples used either. Particularly beautiful ending, as well.

In short: It's VHD, it's an amazing arrangement, you should listen to it if you haven't already.

Emunator
on 2009-12-01 21:27:25

Dan's mixes are always so under-reviewed... considering all the hard work he must put into each and every composition, it makes me a little sad.

That being said, I absolutely love this. Like your other project mixes that I've heard, there are definite moments where it all clicks and you just get this momentary feeling of euphoria. For me, it's the strings that come in momentarily at 2:31 and again at 3:28... just amazing, dude. You are a master of putting emotion into your songs, and this is one of the best examples of that.

Thanks for never skimping on the arrangement, either; you've got these amazing 7 or 8 minute-long remixes that never, ever get boring or repetitive, and I think you're a perfect example of how to keep your songs fresh while still clocking in above 5 minutes. Keep it up dude! :-D

DragonAvenger
on 2009-12-01 20:45:36

The trumpet sounds in this make me happy, they are pretty awesome. There are still some moments that aren't quite believable, they are still pretty darned good.

I'm really liking the arrangement on this as a while. There is a lot going

on, but everything is clear, directional, and adds to the piece as a whole. It's a medley, but it really doesn't feel like one, as each theme is constituting to the whole. Great use of silence, that's something you don't hear enough of these days (I blame an ADHD society).

Quite a nice piece, and there aren't enough reviews on this, for sure.

Mtlbro
on 2009-04-13 16:59:42

That theme around 3:10 is so pretty, I like how the arrangment fits those candy moments in so well. Definetly original

Dj Mokram
on 2009-03-14 12:10:12

I wouldn't call this remix a "song", but rather a "piece", like a piece from a score.

At least that's how 'Flowers, Life and Memory' sounds to me.

The memories it brings sure hit the right spot, if you've ever played the Lufia games.

The overall orchestral presence is not as overwhelming as it could be, due to lack of reverb.

It could have taken a lot more space, but the articulation is remarkable nonetheless.

And as Dj Pretzel stated, the liberty in the use of silence is a sign of one's mastery.

Some would think that 7 minutes is quite lenghty...

But I'll go ahead and say that's the right amount of time to develop the story and share the feelings it conveys.

And in the end it's pure bliss. Made me dream of an entire fan-arranged Lufia album.

Rozovian
on 2009-03-10 09:52:51

Lack of reverb a problem? I find it more expressive this way, you hear the instruments better, their own tone and timbre.

How does one jump from playful to dramatic like is done so successfully here? Part of the time listening to this is spent just smiling at how rapidly it changes in mood, yet it all flows smoothly. Lovely might be a word well used to describe this. Impulsive might be another. I'm using both.

Lexis_saia
on 2009-03-08 10:09:08

I love it ^^ It's almost like listening to the eminence orchestra on youtube, great job.

Martin Penwald
on 2009-03-08 06:41:26

Lack of reverb is unfortunate, but the arrangement is great. Good job.

Platonist
on 2009-03-07 12:16:31

two great lufia remixes in such a short time makes anyone cry..

these games need more coverage!

great work

Master_Yoshi
on 2009-02-25 20:04:53

I love this! Such good stuff, I have literally nothing to say against it.

avaris
on 2009-02-23 14:02:06

I love the sources; but what I found best is this mix didn't seem to stick to the sources. Rather the remix had it's own agenda and thought and the sources were merely used as building blocks to build upon this. Excellent stuff Dan; love to see Lufia get some bonified lovin!

OA
on 2009-02-23 12:47:10

Completely awesome- I love the source songs- all of them, and this is great stuff. Excellent expression, especially in your strings, I am so happy to hear this.

Highly recommended. :-D

derako
on 2009-02-22 22:03:04

I like this one. Lots of progression building and counterpoint make this a feast for the ears. Very impressive use of samples, the brass especially. One note is the reverb issue.. for the size of the orchestra you are trying to convey, more reverb or convolution would have been a good choice. But overall very nice job.

The Runaway Five
on 2009-02-22 18:31:07

Absolutely fantastic. It sounds like you've studyed orchestration and alot of Jeremy Soule's music. Keep up the good work! I'm not a huge fan of the lack of reverb though. Though I can agree it gives it a unique sound it makes it easier to distinguish VST's.

djpretzel
on 2009-02-22 15:33:32

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