ReMix: Final Fantasy II "Rebellion"
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- Game: Final Fantasy II (Square, 1988, NES)
- ReMixer(s): Brandon Strader, Chernabogue, Detective Tuesday
- Composer(s): Nobuo Uematsu
- Song(s): "Dead Music", "Rebel Army Theme"
- Posted: 2015-06-08, evaluated by the judges
- Album: Featured on Final Fantasy II: Rebellion
- Terms (BETA): acoustic-guitar collab electric-guitar lyrics-existing organ rock saxophone singing talking violin vocals-male woodwinds
We end our Rebellion mixflood with, quite fittingly, "Rebellion" - the album's namesake arrangement, a magnificent multi-instrumental rock collaboration between Brandon Strader, Chernabogue, & Detective Tuesday. Mr. Strader & Mr. Mourey are like brothers-from-another-mother in their enthusiasm & capability to coordinate VGM arrange albums, and it's great to see Anton return to the OCR homepage - HUGE fan of his debut collab with melody, and we've had a blast playing Third Strike at MAG since that piece was posted.
Let's talk about Brandon for a quick second or two though... this is his 74th featured ReMix on OCR, meaning that he has now surpassed yours truly and has DA MOST MIXES ON OCR. Of course, since at least a dozen of my older mixes are basically rubbish, in my mind his total # of "actually pretty good" arrangements eclipsed my own long ago. We did a piece with The Onion's A.V. Club back in December, and Larry had this to say about Brandon's dual-wielding of creativity & productivity:
"Brandon’s emerged as OCR’s most active contributor, recently surpassing Mazedude’s 65 OC ReMixes, and is quickly on pace to top djpretzel for the most remixes on the site. Part of the way Brandon has hit that mark is diving head first into creative collaborations that stretch his range and abilities, all while also pulling great new people like Richard into the community. Whether it’s a ballad, metal, opera, or chip-tune, you never know what you’ll hear next from Brandon. He’s fearless when it comes to expanding his repertoire."
Those words ring even truer today, as the prophecy is fulfilled - and with another collaboration that explores some new territory. Of the intial arrangement that became the seed from which "Rebellion" would grow, Chernabogue notes:
"This mix was first started a long time ago, when the FF2 project started recruiting in 2012. My first attempt to remix this track was a brutal metal mix. But later, Brandon suggested to change it, as it wouldn't fit the theme. So I wrote another arrangement, more acoustic/dramatic-oriented in a very short amount of time. Brandon decided to take ideas from both arrangements to create the final mix. I contributed by writing a short prayer in Latin and doing some background vocals. In the end, I really love the final mix, and am proud to be part of such a cool album. See you all in FF3...!"
"I am very appreciative to Chernabogue and the lot of work he put in. And I apologize to him for asking for more and more, and then ultimately changing the song completely. :P It was much more of a change than "Requiem for a Dying World," which was basically me slowing it down by 50% and switching between Mellotrons and orchestral strings like a crazy person. Ultimately, I am hoping that this mix will strike you as much less divisive, as it is quite enjoyable.
That's not to discredit the lot of work Chernabogue put into this of course, as the final structure is very much inspired by Chernabogue's structure of his second attempt. He originally wanted to end with FF1's "Dead Music," but for this mix I chose to go with the Rebel Army theme because it felt much more natural, and contextually it was PERFECT. And I like the fact that the album features "Rebel Army" as: solo piano, electronica, acoustic, metal, and... that thing BONKERS did... :P Very important motif.
Chernabogue said his choir vocals were sort of church-styled(?), so I tried to expand on that with a little reverb to really bring out the cathedral sound to them. :P I love it. I love that this is also the first overtly Christian mix I was able to make for the site with his help.
I am calling this "Rebellion" because this song really expresses my feelings of what the album and the concept of "Rebellion" means to me. That's why it starts with "Dead Music" and ends with "Rebel Army." Though we may lose loved ones and randomly encounter many unfortunate events, in the end we must remain strong and have the resolve to carry on. Chernabogue's Latin prayer is the ribbon that ties up the mix perfectly.
Tuesday, a.k.a. Detective Tuesday, a.k.a. Anton, brought a really incredible sax solo for the song. It's so much more complex and jazzy than I could have imagined, but I knew what the man was capable of after hearing him jam at MAGFest 12. When pressed for a statement, this is all he had to say: "Brandon made me do it."
I picked this to be the final album post, and named it after the album, because in my mind it represents the message I wanted to put across with this album. The structure follows a conceptual rise and fall that many people today can relate to. It begins with the theme when the party is incapacitated, and ends with the Rebel Army theme such as to imply that, despite some loss or defeat, the rebellion will not be swayed. The world today is in turmoil just like that world of Final Fantasy 2. Chernabogue and Detective Tuesday did incredible work on this song arranging and writing their respective parts (lyrics, vocals, sax solo) and made the song what it is. They gave it the spark of identity that made it a true song rather than just an idea, just as all the artists brought that spark of life to this album. Thank you, all."
Dramatic, classy, & narrative, this is a great rock piece that tells a story, and I feel like the Latin prayer was well-integrated and made sense - was worried a bit when I read the description, but in listening to the finished ReMix, it definitely adds something. Anton's sax adds even more emotion & musicality to the arrangement, and the finished work resonates as a track that's great in its own right but also has an enveloping, representative quality relative to the full album. Many congratulations and mad respect for Brandon AND the entire Rebellion team for an awesome tribute to FF2J and an album that lives up to the very high standards set by its predecessor! RISE UP & ROCK OUT!