ReMix: Final Fantasy VI "Smoke and Clouds" 3:21

By Jeff Ball, Laura Intravia

Artist Links
ambient collab electronic flute lyrics-original singing strings synth tempo-fast vocals-female
Arranging the music of one song...

"Locke"

Primary Game: Final Fantasy VI (Square, 1994, SNES), music by Nobuo Uematsu

Posted 2013-07-01, evaluated by djpretzel


Hey, remember that Jeff Ball guy? From the lovely violin performances on Will's 'Prologue' AND Andy's 'A Fistful of Nickels'? That we JUST posted? I did promise you'd be seeing more of some1namedjeff, and here's the proof. As a sidenote, Jeff recently scored the soundtrack to Tiny Barbarian DX - a great chiptune OST well worth checking out, with tracks like 'Put Your Pecs Into It' :) He channels a wee (!!) amount of that for this electronic/orchestral hybrid arrangement of Locke's theme, with ethereal vocals and flute from Laura Intravia:

"Locke is very connected to Rachel in Final Fantasy 6, so I felt she should be incorporated somehow. I imagined Locke falling asleep and entering into a dream. Rachel appears, and Locke is struck with intense feelings of passion and loss as she sings his own feelings to him, surrounded by a beautiful dream-like landscape."

So far we've posted an orchestral track, a spaghetti western, and a purely electronic arrangement, so it seems like an appropriate time to introduce a track that's harder to categorize, blurring lines and incorporating synths, some chiptune/8-bit components, strings (Jeff's specialty and something he always does gorgeously), and Laura's singing into an enveloping & distinct universe. This mix almost runs at two tempos simultaneously - the underlying drum & synth foundation percolates double-time beneath the layered vocals and strings. I'd use the word "dichotomy," but then I'd exceed my pretentious word quota for the month :) Album co-director McVaffe lends his thoughts:

"While most artists with Jeff's fantastic orchestral arrangement skills might have gravitated to a purely orchestrated version of Locke's theme, Jeff uses his knowledge of instrumentation to make these samples, synths, and vocals absolutely sing in this piece. From the first few seconds of this song, you're transported to another, wondrous world. A daring departure from the original, and one that significantly pays off."

It is indeed VERY transporting, and has a certain Yoko Kanno quality to it that reminds me of some of her work, in effect if not direct similarity. I'm very glad that Laura contributed vocals, because they really complete the atmosphere and heighten the spiritual, angelic quality that contrasts so well with the mechanized machinations below. Jeff and Laura both appear elsewhere on the album, both have played a large part in influencing its signature, and in this mix their respective talents are put to breathtaking, unforgettable use!

djpretzel

Discussion

Latest 10 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
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Alorial
on 2013-08-21 21:59:24

This is one of my favorites on the album - beautiful soaring vocals. I really like the strings around 2:00, when the song becomes a little truer to Locke's theme, and wish that section was a little longer. It feels like the song really gets going there, and then it's over 90 seconds later. But it still makes me happy to hear, and that is why it will stay one of my favorites.

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Pander18
on 2013-07-19 16:27:53

Locke's theme has always been one of my favorite tracks from FFVI. I used to let my SNES just kinda sit during the Locke + Moogles fight just so I could have the song loop over and over.

So I really wanted to like this. But it just seems to go so far away from what I liked from the theme. I liked the swelling uptempo grandeur of the original, the snares and horns providing one hell of a heroic atmosphere, which this remix skews from completely. If I had gone in anticipating an experimental Japanese-style synth mix, I'd probably have understood and accepted it differently. But outside of a brief point around 2:00, this was an exercise to stay with that I didn't find enjoyable, no relief in sight from constantly diving strings and voices that cacaphonied unpleasantly, with my mindset the entire time being "how is this Locke's Theme"?

You can bring up the Rachel callbacks, and it's neat a song references the connection, but I can't think of a song off this album that's less suited to the frequent mental exercise of "if they remade the game, which remixes should replace the original versions?" than this one. I think that summarizes my issue with the song (and it's probably a problem with me rather than the song). I don't dislike the musicianship or singing, I just dislike how different it is from the original in terms of spirit and theme.

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SirChadlyOC
on 2013-07-17 11:40:13

I had to listen to this track quite a few times before I "got" it, mostly because it has so many different things going on. Reading the mix write-up helped me see Jeff's vision of Locke seeing Rachel in a dream. Part of what makes it hard to follow is that Rachel's theme is basically a slower version of Locke's theme, so it's hard to notice when there are callbacks to her "voice" in Locke's dreams.

Laura's voice is solid, and she really helps push the piece to a higher level.I enjoyed the background that comes in at 0:44 and goes to 1:56. It kind of reminds me of "Into the Giant" music from FF4. Then it's triumphant Locke chorus all the way!

This is one of the more "explorational" and diverse songs on the album, especially compared to other more "straight" or "traditional" mixes on disc one. Once I got over the initial shock of hearing something so different, I was able to appreciate it a lot more. Jeff and Laura have created an interesting piece that allows me to hear Locke's theme in an all-new way.

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Moguta
on 2013-07-15 02:35:51

Ambitious. The intro left me with high hopes for this track. However, the instrumentation 0:45 onward is really not my style. The distortions and electronic percussion felt too chaotic for my personal taste. Maybe if it had some bass kick I would've enjoyed it as happy hardcore, but as-is I just don't understand where it's going. Also agree the high frequencies sound excessively gained.

However, I am a fan of Laura's vocals. They come shining through everything. So this track is a mixed bag for me.

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Crulex
on 2013-07-02 14:27:58

The glitchy, wonky synths were crazy and I dig the female vocals. Certainly a ReMix that seems to come in clear and then break away into an electronic whirl. A tad loud at some parts, but that's not really a problem if you know how to work the volume on your player. Pretty good.

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scyllus
on 2013-07-02 06:42:03

Wonderful! I couldn't help but imagine myself Rachel awakening from her sleep going:

LOCKELOCKELOCKELOCKELOCKE

LOCKELOCKELOCKELOCKELOCKE

LOCKELOCKELOCKELOCKELOCKE

A great tribiute to the original song- and wonderful vocal work here!

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Crono3of3time
on 2013-07-02 02:16:34

The synths literally hurt my ears. Had to take my headphones off after 30 seconds. o.o; they need to be toned down or removed to some extent.

I'm not being metaphorical to any extent. I got a headache and my ears hurt from the noise.

I'm not sure where this was trying to go in the least. The introduction seems... rambly... excessively rambling. 1:30 it's kind of going to the song... then kind of not... making that a very long "intro".

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Melbu Frahma
on 2013-07-01 19:48:44
What did I think? I thought wow. Genre-defying stuff, very fragmented, constantly shifting.. combination of sounds is quite unusual, many points of comparison come to mind (American minimalism for one).. reminds me also of some classic Shnabubula tracks, which can never be a bad thing. I do think the mixing seemed pretty bright/loud, I had to turn the volume down while listening to the album in sequence for this track. I can live with that, this was a surprising and exciting track, I'm looking forward to listening to this again and again.

--Eino

All this and more. I was definitely getting just a touch of a Yoko Kanno vibe from this, as well, which is never a bad thing at all. My one real complaint was that I was left wishing it was so, so much longer, which is also almost never a bad thing.

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evktalo
on 2013-07-01 18:07:00

What did I think? I thought wow. Genre-defying stuff, very fragmented, constantly shifting.. combination of sounds is quite unusual, many points of comparison come to mind (American minimalism for one*).. reminds me also of some classic Shnabubula tracks, which can never be a bad thing. I do think the mixing seemed pretty bright/loud, I had to turn the volume down while listening to the album in sequence for this track. I can live with that, this was a surprising and exciting track, I'm looking forward to listening to this again and again.

edit: * lavosslayer thought in the album review thread that Inner Universe by Origa came to mind and I have to agree!

--Eino

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djpretzel
on 2013-07-01 12:50:32

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)


Primary Game:
Final Fantasy VI (Square, 1994, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
Songs:
"Locke"

Tags (10)


Genre:
Ambient
Mood:
Instrumentation:
Electronic, Flute, Singing, Strings, Synth, Vocals: Female
Additional:
Lyrics > Lyrics: Original
Origin > Collaboration
Time > Tempo: Fast

File Information


Name:
Final_Fantasy_6_Smoke_and_Clouds_OC_ReMix.mp3
Size:
6,332,821 bytes
MD5:
e8eb288a8cdca2d5c02fc9c4a17a9682
Bitrate:
248Kbps
Duration:
3:21
album cover
Published 2013-07-01
By OverClocked ReMix
Arrangement

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