ReMix: Final Fantasy XI Online 'A Decent Challenge'
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Been awhile since we had an FF11 mix OR a Tweex mix, and now we get both! Primarily orchestral but rocking some guitars & drums to heighten the drama, this arrangement uses its 3'17" effectively, with the exception of a fadeout ending. Brian writes:
"This is one of the songs from the "Land of Vana'diel" project I recently released. This particular remix comes from the Battle Theme in Final Fantasy XI. The idea was to turn the song into an orchestral/rock track that packed a much bigger punch than the source did."
It should go without saying that you need to check out the rest of the (FREE!) album for more in the same vein, as this is the tip of an epic iceberg of orchestral arrangements that's WELL worth your time. OA had a lot to say:
"DAT DRAMA. I love how the track slow burns, and keeps inching the tension up, bit by bit, and then eases back in the midpoint, keeping it really moody. This sound is pretty much exactly what I think a 'classic final fantasy' sound is. I am a little surprised that Uematsu didn't compose this track, but Mizuta does a very convincing impression.
I really like the careful attention to detail in the auxiliary percussion rhythms that help drive the track, I think the dynamics are very effectively used, and I just about flipped the table when I heard that weaksauce fade out. Duuude :(
Arrangement-wise this is definitely more of an expansion rather than a complete re-imagining, as it stays very similar in regards to overall structure, but with all the additions and the excellent feel added, it sounds a lot more dramatic and heroic than the original. The second half is excellent, and the pacing overall is great."
Judges were all similarly positive, but all cited the fadeout as a bit of a letdown, and I'll concur; to be blunt, it's not groovy... probably makes more sense in the overall context/flow of the album, but sometimes for standalone versions of arrangements, altering things from the album cut (especially intros/outros) is called for; this was one of those times. That's it on the downsides, though, as there's PLENTY to love, from the pacing & development to the mixed percussion (dig those anvils) to the rich blend of brass and strings with varied articulations & dynamics, this is a fun and cinematic ride. DarkeSword adds:
"This is doin' it for me. Love all the pizzicato strings everywhere. Blend of orch and rock really works. Like other joojes have said, I love how you're building tension throughout the piece."
Well said; great to see another submission from Brian, great that it's more FF11, you owe it to yourself to explore The Land of Vana'diel, and hopefully this taste is more than enough to persuade you!