ReMix: Final Fantasy IV 'The Dark'
5,556,368 bytes, 4:24, 166kbps
Streaming preview on YouTube
Patrick Waters writes:
"The Dark gestated in 2005 as one of several now lost and indefinitely abandoned projects following a massive data loss; the rebooted project began in late 2007 to be finished February 2008. The short tone poem draws on the music of Mahler, particularly his first and seventh symphonies, and of Debussy.
A bassoon begins the piece, intoning the opening motive of the melody; it is joined by the other bass instruments of the orchestra as the line unfolds. In the second section, a solo violoncello carries the primary melodic material, colorfully accompanied by pizzicato and staccato strings and woodwinds. The final section explores the canonic possibilities of the source tune as various parts of the orchestra laminate the texture leading to the climax with chromatically altered harmonies, resolving to the sudden and subdued coda-like conclusion; the final, hushed utteration of the motive comes from the lowest register of the solo cello.
Scored for two flutes, alto flute, three oboes, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, three horns, three trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, tam-tam, celesta, two harps, organ, and strings with solo violoncello."
That's certainly an official-sounding, borderline hoity-toity description - but is the mix any good? Thankfully, yes, though I must say it would have been amusing to have a submission email namedropping Mahler and Debussy attached to a mix filled with generic, FruityLoop-preset trance. Mr. Waters is certainly wielding the vernacular, but he's wielding it accurately, so props. Very quiet, deliberate introduction, living up to its title with a cavernous bassoon solo that feels like you're tiptoeing around a sleeping dragon. Dynamics are excellent, though - don't turn it up too much because it's quiet, as that does change. Vinnie writes:
"...really cool harmonic elements that add a lot of character to the original. Great balance of new and old. It's very quiet for most of it, but the dynamic range is used fairly well, and the quiet moments work. You get that sense that the instruments are bubbling under, waiting to burst out."
"Great writing at 1:29-1:40. The harmonic changes at reminds me of the overworld theme from Final Fantasy VII and works really well. Natural use of 5/4 from 1:40-2:11, doesn't sound forced as some odd time signatures easily can. Even the 7/4 that follows fits like a glove. Great support-writing throughout and good instrument choices."
I'm glad he pointed out those signature changes, as I didn't even notice them the first time through - everything flows very naturally. This is a fantastic example of an orchestral arrangement that conveys power and emotion without bombast: lots of subtle detail and part writing that weaves a rich, integrated tapestry. I might start sounding hoity-toity myself (too late), but it's the type of music that basically requires such language to effectively describe. I think I can personally classify this mix as "deceptive" - it seems very direct, almost simple, but it progresses in a fashion that really spirals into something simultaneously enveloping and developing, not to mention enjoyable. It's a smart arrangement, but it doesn't shove its tricks in your face or beat you on the head with them - an excellent, very deliberately-crafted ReMix from trickwaters.
If I ever needed a song for one of those thought-provoking, reflective moments in a movie, I think this is around the style I'd be looking for. It feels like you're trudging through uncertainty and darkness for most of the mix, but toward the end when the instruments get louder and more profound, you feel like you've reached enlightenment and everything is much more clear. If that's the concept you were going for, then kudos to you! :-D
- Emunator on December 22, 2009
I had to break out my headphones to listen to this one, because it was just so *quiet*. Admittedly I should listen to more music with headphones, especially for reviewing purposes, but I don't have a great setup for that kind of thing. In this case I'm glad I did though, because with the headphones I'm picking up a lot of stuff I missed initially. Some of the strings and flutework in the background, for instance. And it's all done well, in that the instruments don't sound too fake to me. In pieces like this, authenticity is important. (Then again it could be real instruments for all I know.. I'm not too good at telling the difference XD)
The overall mood of this piece is really reminiscent of the original for me. Haunting, but still beautiful. My one complaint is something I'm torn about. The quiet beginning sets up the mood of this really well, but at the same time my instinct is to cut up the volume so I can hear it. Then later it gets loud! So the volume must come down, and the having to cut it up and down makes this.. not the best candidate for easy listening or just having something on the mp3 player to chill to. But that's me just being anal and nitpicky, I'll admit.
Overall, this is really worth a listen if you love orchestral stuff, and moreso if you're into the FF4 soundtrack!
- Otakatt on November 30, 2009
Oh and beautiful key change during the climax was a special "oooh" moment for me :)))
- Mtlbro on August 10, 2009
- Polo on August 9, 2009
It's awfully quiet, though. As Kirby Oak said, it's kinda hard to have this remix as part of a playlist. As a standalone song, though, with the volume cranked up accordingly, this is pretty sweet stuff.
- Martin Penwald on July 23, 2009
It's been a long time since Music pulls my strings like this.
gotta start listening to this genre again.
Edit: Oh, I agree whith this:
OA;565512 wrote: If only it wasn't so short, I felt it could have gone for quite a bit longer with some additional expansion.
- DramaNoMore on July 10, 2009
Still, it's good, and I enjoyed it. Nice work. :-)
- OA on July 10, 2009
This mix is very quiet to start, and I have a hard time listening to the whole thing at one consistent volume level, but as I'm a pretty huge fan of the source I can certainly cope with this.
- ZealPath on July 10, 2009
- SmartLX on July 9, 2009
- Nobbynob Littlun on July 9, 2009
I do feel that the instruments don't sound very real, though, but it does the job well enough - the arrangement and dynamic play works well, making up for that one deficiency. Nice stuff!
- Gario on July 9, 2009
- Kirby Oak on July 9, 2009
Anyway, this is beautiful, marvelously subtle, and evokes the atmosphere of the original perfectly.
- Lucentas on July 9, 2009
- DragonAvenger on July 9, 2009
Beautiful buildup, and the climax was moody and magical.
Turn it up guys, this is very atmospheric soundtrack-like material!
- Arian on July 9, 2009