ReMix: Final Fantasy II "Rebel Dream"
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- Game: Final Fantasy II (Square, 1988, NES)
- ReMixer(s): BONKERS
- Composer(s): Nobuo Uematsu
- Song(s): "Find Your Way", "Main Theme", "Main Theme", "Rebel Army Theme"
- Posted: 2015-06-08, evaluated by djpretzel
- Album: Featured on Final Fantasy II: Rebellion
- Terms (BETA): aggressive ambient chiptune chromatic-percussion duration-long electric-guitar medley piano rock synth tempo-variable timesig-4-4
BONKERS! Nick's first featured ReMix on OCR was actually part of Random Encounter, and now this frantic, shifting, & glorious rock/metal Rebellion arrangement marks his eighth! Director Brandon Strader writes:
"Named after my mental state upon hearing his new remixes, BONKERS continues to amaze. I would take up begging as a full-time gig if it meant we could get new BONKERS remixes for FF3 - but for now, I hope you feel as entitled and honored as I do to be able to experience the magnificence of "Rebel Dream" and "Analog Freedom." As for "Rebel Dream," it's a truly artistic take on the overworld theme that mingles in with "Find Your Way" from FF8. BONKERS' artistic choices and overall ability leave me in a depressed state of inadequacy."
While not quite what I think of as prog, this mix definitely pivots a lot and works in quite a lot of material, painting a dynamic picture. It also pulls no punches, rocks out, and has all of the unbridled enthusiasm one would expect from an artist named "BONKERS":
"This song will probably be hit or miss for most people and you'll probably not be able to tell when listening to it that I worked harder on this than I have on anything else in my entire life. Through the worst depression of my life, trying to bring creativity from the depths of my body where it seemed there was none at all...
I struggled just finding ideas to start the song off. But then I had a moment of creative genius (IMO) when fiddling on the piano one day. I was creating my own harmonies for a piano/keyboard interpretation of FF1 main theme and something in my mind clicked. "HEY, this can be bridged to Rebel Army theme, I think!" And that ended up being the intro, a keyboard (mostly. The counter melody on the harp near the end is still playing FF1 parts ;) ) arranged seamless transition from FF1 to FF2. To the layman, maybe this intro will be awkward and not make any sense. But I still wanted some semblance of consistency from my FF1 songs to FF2. And I guess this was one way to do it.
But after that, another brick wall. Until I was talking to Brandon one day and he suggested something along the lines of mixing up "Find Your Way" from FF8 in there. And I had considered something like that before but dismissed it. But something made sense here and another click came. And that paved the way for the basic first section that would interweave "Find Your Way" with the world map theme from FF2J, and what would ultimately become something the song plays and relies on HEAVILY."
BONKERS has this really intense creative process where the level of analysis and planning and revision is just, well... bonkers. I can't imagine grappling with a beast of an arrangement like this while also dealing with depression, which tends to demotivate. I hope that making music provides an outlet & a respite for Nick like it does for so many, including myself, instead of contributing any additional stress. Note to project directors: don't push artists too hard & make sure they're healthy enough to rock, at all times!
The sheer number of tempo changes & shifts here is formidable, and there are arguably three endings in a row, which means it's tied with Return of the King :) The whole production screams EXCESS, and on paper it seems like it should simply spiral out of control and implode under the gravitational weight of its own musical ambition, but Nick has a knack for controlled chaos and taking these giant ideas, powering through, and making them work. He's done that again, here - providing a play-by-play or even a highlights reel is almost pointless when it's the totality of the overall vision & the energy he's poured into bringing that vision to life that's the main attraction. Great to see BONKERS put in some repeat appearances on Rebellion - wouldn't have been the same without him, and he's outdone himself with this mix!
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