ReMix: Final Fantasy VI 'Tastes Like Victory'

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Final Fantasy VI: Balance and RuinFinal Fantasy VI

When I think of the fanfare from FF6, I think of a lot of things... NONE of them could be described as "a minimalist airy vocal synth-pop meditation that blends modern and retro aesthetics," and yet that's EXACTLY what's Jaron Widman, known with vocalist
Samantha Krzyston as Leitbur (and known individually as Arkimedes here on OCR) has created. Jaron's last mix, from Shenmue, was posted all the way back in 2004, but I still listen to it all the time, and he's maintained and expanded on that style of ethereal, shimmering synth-pop since. So this is a bit of a comeback, albeit as part of a collaboration under a different moniker. He's taken a simple-but-catchy motif and turned it upside down, forming the framework for an entire track that slips by the listener in a dreamlike state of crystalline hypnosis, seemingly slowing down time itself in the process. It's the last thing I think anyone would envision when considering potential arrangements of this source, and yet it's the first thing I actually want - something that recontextualizes the straightforward, triumphant victory fanfare outward, into something... more. And yet it's right there, the whole damn time, right under your nose. It's like a musical Escher, an optical illusion made auditory; zircon writes:

"Creating remixes or arrangements is hard enough, but trying to do so when you have mere seconds of source material is borderline maddening. The subtle layering and overall production on this track are second to none. Leitbur's signature sound is wonderfully retro yet current at the same time, and was beautifully applied to create this memorable piece."

The overtones of Balance and Ruin are primarily, as the title suggests, about peace and aggression, beauty and distortion, calm and chaos, and so I was afraid that a boldly victorious melody like the fanfare would result in an arrangement that seemed somewhat out of place, thematically. Jaron has decisively squashed such concerns with a ReMix that turns bombastic triumph into more of a new wave Zen mantra... and I mean that in the best possible way. I feel like every album should have some surprises in the form of arrangements you never would have seen coming in a million years but which work brilliantly; Balance and Ruin has several, and this is definitely a highlight!

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 14 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
timaeus222
on 2013-07-24 17:11:39
Hearing just a little overcompression from the kick, but not a huge deal. Interesting electro-retro remix.
cipher_nemo
on 2013-07-19 14:20:49
It sounds like the samples are all peaked and clipping. Not liking that at all. Otherwise the rest of the remix has a good feel to it.
fester
on 2013-07-13 15:54:06
Pander18;927994 wrote: Eino: I kinda get what you're talking about, although I find it backwards. I feel like the guy is singing baritone when the poppy melody is hoping for a tenor.

Might need to dig out the old Joy Division records from storage for classic examples of pop melody + deep vocals. Ian Curtis had that nailed to a perfection, and this song reminds me a lot of those days.
Pander18
on 2013-07-12 15:23:45
Eino: I kinda get what you're talking about, although I find it backwards. I feel like the guy is singing baritone when the poppy melody is hoping for a tenor.
Crulex
on 2013-07-08 15:28:52
You know, I never would have imagined the victory theme like this, and yet it just seems like something that you naturally think of if you wanted to make it pop out a little more in an airy poppy sort of way. Cool. The vocals sounded like they fit right into the style of the ReMix and it maintains plenty of the melody that in turn, brings on the nostalgia. Sweet.
Kuolema
on 2013-07-05 01:44:00
Love this! Such a cool take on the theme, very reminiscent of M83. Love the title/lyrics too.
evktalo
on 2013-07-02 19:31:46
There's definitely nothing stylistically wrong with the vocals for me. Somehow they just come off as not well enough performed, as if the melody was too low for the singer. Or maybe they stick out from the mix in some awkward way. Perhaps they come in a little unexpected. The more I listen to the piece less it bothers me.
I like how brief this piece is - it makes me want to listen to it several times! (:
--Eino
José the Bronx Rican
on 2013-07-02 18:44:23
These are my kind of feels. I grew up in the exact era the Leitbur sound hollers back to, and I say the male side is nothing but correct. By design, the vocal tones are steady, almost deadpan, with none of the negative connotation that word usually carries. Pleasant reminders of The Thompson Twins, Animotion and Information Society.
avaris
on 2013-07-02 11:23:36
Holy Depeche Mode!
scyllus
on 2013-07-02 06:54:39
Being an shoegaze/dream-pop fan in my earlier years this track was an instant win for me :) I love the beginning shift from our usual fanfare stuff into electrodreamscape:D Nice vocal work, and overall nods to The Jesus And Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine or Ride just made my day complete:D If anyone wonders how victory does taste-just like honey! ;)
FenixDown
on 2013-07-01 23:09:55
I'll admit, it took a few listens to get this track to grow on me. I'm still not fully a fan of the male vocals for this one, sounds almost too lethargic for an arrangement of the victory fanfare, but it's kind of a trend for OCR FF album tracks to have titles/arrangements that take the original and do the inverse of it ("Hey Cid!" becoming "Goodbye Cid" and "Into the Darkness" becoming "Step Into the Light" from the FFIV album come to mind). However, the track is still continuing to grow on me and I never outright disliked it, it's probably one of those cases where you can chalk it up to a clashing of personal taste. Good job all the same!
Melbu Frahma
on 2013-07-01 19:34:17
I've loved Leitbur's music ever since I found On the Far Side of the World, and Work This Out, and this doesn't disappoint in the slightest. Really creative take on the Victory fanfare, and I think the minimalistic lyrics really worked well for it. I think I'm going to have to start playing this song every time I finish a project at work, or get done writing a chapter on a story.
evktalo
on 2013-07-01 18:29:24
Really impressive use of the source material, it's clearly recognizable but I don't remember it been used this way, slowed down and forming a solid basis for an electro-pop song. I especially love the airy vocals! On the downside, I don't find the male vocals quite up to par, and the bass drum is pumping the rest of the mix uncomfortably. I don't think the piece is dragged down by these points though, and the unexpected but natural arrangement is something to raise your hat to.
edit: I'll add that on the second Leitbur track of the album, the male vocals are spot-on, although the bass drum is again quite uncomfortable. I'm pretty happy to hear another track immediately!
--Eino
djpretzel
on 2013-07-01 12:58:45
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