ReMix: Xenogears "Ragnarok"
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- Game: Xenogears (Square, 1998, PS1)
- ReMixer(s): FFmusic Dj, Geoffrey Taucer
- Composer(s): Yasunori Mitsuda
- Song(s): "Awakening", "Bonds of Sea and Flame", "One Who Bares Fangs at God", "Premonition"
- Posted: 2015-10-07, evaluated by the judges
- Terms (BETA): accordion acoustic-guitar aggressive choir collab dark electric-guitar energetic folk prog-rock synth timesig-3-4 timesig-irregular timesig-variable vocals-male woodwinds
Geoffrey Taucer (Jeremy Waters) & FFmusic Dj (Haroon Piracha) (who I still insist should go by "Waters & Piracha") have been officially killing it lately, with a series of popular, creative, & accessible collabs that do new things with old classics. The best thing about this collaboration OTHER than the amazing music it's producing is that it seems be the motivating force behind both artists returning to do more VGM arrangements in the first place, which is fantastic. Their latest goes in a completely different direction, with an epic, electrified, 7-minute prog rock/metal/folk medley tribute to Xenogears... prepare your body. Jeremy writes:
"When I first made a WIP for this idea, it was intended for the Xenogears project, which tells you how long I've been sitting on this idea. I didn't finish it because I couldn't get the "Awakening" section to sound right; no matter what I tried, it didn't sound harsh enough or intense enough, and eventually the mix just fell on the backburner.
Fast forward to a month or so ago. After finishing up "Dire on the Rocks," Haroon and I wanted to do a longer mix in a different style. I mentioned that I had a WIP for a metal Xenogears medley, but I no longer had the project tracks, so we had to start from scratch. When we got to the "Awakening" section, I told Haroon to just go crazy with it, and he absolutely knocked it out of the park. He also did a fantastic job of processing the vocals, making me sound like a deep Gregorian chorus in the "Omen" sections and a Slavic women's choir in the "Awakening" section."
"I like music like this, I like the ability to make music that extends on for longer than a couple of minutes, and Taucer had the vision and the drive to get this to extend. When Taucer showed me the song, I didn't know what I was getting into, but I jumped in on the idea of doing some prog rock. I learned a lot from the experience. There were many new ideas I had never thought of. Many of the engineering aspects were things I had never done before in music. A lot of tracks are quaded, giving a wider sound than I usually produce in my trance remixes. I could not believe some of the vocal effects we got to achieve in this mix, it's remarkable.
Keep in mind that besides the roar at the end of the "Awakening" section (which is me), and the female choir patch, the majority of vocals are done by Jeremy, including the vocals in the "Awakening" section. When it comes to the "Awakening" section, Jeremy just let me do whatever I wanted in the 15/4 timing. The challenge was trying to get a drum pattern going. I'm so happy to have worked on such an awesome mix with such a talented person as Taucer. Couldn't have been possible without his assistance through every inch of this song."
Bravo, not just for the ambitious scope, galvanized execution, and outpouring of creativity dripping from every note, but for throwing a true changeup & taking your collaboration in a different direction; I'm very glad you took this risk. This is a cathartic, at times spastic release of musical energy that incorporates several of the best Xenogears themes into a unified opus, complete with demonic chanting, folk jam breakout, and an infectious energy that oscillates from ominous to celebratory and shades in between. That being said, some sections work better than others, and the judges panel did have some production concerns (a bit overstated, imo), but ultimately the audacity, energy, & unbridled creativity of the arrangement and performances won the day. Larry writes:
"There were a lot of substantially different sections in this piece, but like many progressive pieces, the transitions and overall flow were smartly written and effectively presented. Definitely no reason to hold this back. Really varied yet cohesive medley; props for pulling this off!"
Well said; I dig the mix on multiple levels - for the conceptual ambition, for the deviation from form, for the variety of textures, etc. At a hair shy of seven minutes, it's like a personal musical journey through many of Xenogears' highlights, with a unifying strain of energy, momentum, & guitars. Very cool!