ReMix: Final Fantasy VI 'City Corner Lullaby'
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Newcomer Jared Ong, alias Jennerstein, writes:
"Having heard both McVaffe's arrangement and Uematsu's piano arrangement of the piece, I tried to compose this lullaby arrangement as a homage. My intent was to add a quiet slightly lilting feel by altering the melody in places (making it a bit more melodic) and making subtle changes to the chord progressions. My harmonic modifications are mostly found in the A section of the piece, as a walking a bass line down from the root. Originally, I planned on making more extensive chord modifications to the B section, but my attempts took the flow away from the piece and I kept the the main chord pattern intac instead.
The mix was made using a Motif ES6, and ProTools. I'm a keyboard player, so I played the piece directly into ProTools and made final tweaks and edits on the midi notes itself."
For some reason "Jennerstein" made me think of "Bennifer" crossed with Frankenstein, which would be horrific but excellent tabloid material. Regardless, we haven't had a solo piano mix in these parts for a good stretch, and though FF6 isn't exactly obscure, 'Kids Run Through the City Corner' is certainly a seldom-covered track off its epic OST. Thanks to Jared for explaining his arrangement approach in such detail - always good to have a bit more insight into the artist's thought process. This isn't a superflashy, run-fest with blazin' arpeggios of fury, and the recording level is soft enough that you'll have to pump up the dBs a bit to get into it, but what the mix lacks in flamboyance and/or amplitude it compensates for in expressiveness & subtlety. Vinnie writes:
"This is great stuff - very gentle, even compared to the original. It's conservative in structure, but I found a lot to appreciate about this arrangement in other areas. There were somewhat significant additions and changes to the melody, the left-hand part strays a good amount from the bass part of the original, and there are a couple short parts like 1:23 that are entirely original and alter the chords. I think it has enough personalization. The piano is full and crystal clear, playing is excellent, and the dynamics are good."
"Fairly close in terms of melody but you've gone the extra mile and spiced it up with melodic additions and chord changes to make this a very pleasing arrangement. You could probably have made this a finger-jerk session but I think this arrangement is terrific as is, additions like 1:23-1:35 are small but gives the piece that extra something that is needed."
An arrangement like this completely rides on whether the performance has the dynamics and emotion to carry it through, and that's what I think Jared nails. It's not overly elaborate, melodramatic, or embellished, but it's a carefully thought out, emotive, and well performed solo piano piece that adds a bittersweet nostalgia to the original composition. In more ways than one, sweet.
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