ReMix: Final Fantasy 'Sentient Machines'
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The title to this debut long-form rock/prog mix from mithius, off Random Encounter and collaborating with director Brandon Strader, reminds me of the TNG "Measure of a Man" episode where there's a trial to determine whether Data is Starfleet property. Yeah, I'm a geek. mithius writes:
"The first draft I laid out was too complex and, in the end, I believe it did not capture what I wanted "Floating Castle" to be. After I sent it in as an update, Brandon brought me back to reality. The 2nd draft was composed from scratch and it contained bells, and these bells are like the machines ticking and working as some kind of harmonious structure trying to stop the heroes. But deciding to start the 2nd draft so late did not give us much time, but, by working together with Brandon's help, we managed to overcome the floating castle. Brandon was mega in this adventure, this was my first collaboration with other remixers and I hope to work on more collaborations in the future at some point. The original name "Floating Castle" itself conjures up many images, and I think we have given justice to the machines that live in the sky to the floating castles in all of our hopes and dreams."
"This song was a real t(h)reat, and the idea of people listening to it on the album gives me shivers. Leave it to the incredibly talented mithius to record classical and jazz fusion prog to blow everyone away. When I saw that he was trying to turn in such a big WIP when I was basically winding down and getting ready to turn the album in, I was like "meh," but then I actually listened to his tracks and was blown away. There's too much I could say about how awesome his song is. In the end, I played bass, programmed the drums pretty much uniquely for the entire song, made the acoustic intro/outro, and mixed and mastered it. Everything else was mithius, who sent me over 45 audio tracks and an equal amount of MIDI data to use for EWQLSO, RA, Choirs, and Colossus. It was the largest song I had worked on in quite a while and helped me transition over to my own original stuff of an even greater length in the future. A huge thanks to mithius for all of his help!"
This is definitely a humdinger, there's a lot going on, and what's impressive to me is the dynamic variety - especially with the vocal bits, but even without, this almost feels like a mini rock-opera due to its scope & frequent structural changes. Larry was feeling it, and sums things up nicely:
"I thought this was an excellent arrangement by mithius with good additions by Brandon, and I loved the way the piece constantly morphed and evolved. The opening acoustic guitar work sounded great, I thought the transitions were strong, and the original writing pieced together with this like a glove. At 10 minutes long, some will say it's too long or meanders, but to me there were no meaningful issue with length or development and it's not a criticism I take seriously. Exemplary work here, and a personal favorite from the album."
My personal fave is probably FF:FFF, but there's a metric ton of creativity & musicality packed into this collab, and mithius & Brandon should be proud for completing such an opus in time to be featured on Random Encounter, where it was in excellent company and added its own self-contained micro-journey to the overall narrative.