ReMix: Final Fantasy VII "Holding Hands"

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Final Fantasy VII

Some sources were made for vocals, and sometimes it can be a stretch.... you also don't always know until you actually try. That being said, I'm very glad DrumUltimA (Doug Perry) gave his concept a shot, because this modern pop ballad with sparse chromatic percussion, a dramatic whooshing wind, haunting background vocals, and original lyrics & autotuned vocals is something different, something expressive, and thus something quite welcome:

"This was my contribution to Materia: Final Fantasy VII Remixed, a massive arrangement album put together by Sebastian Wolff. I'm primarily a percussionist, but I've always loved singing and have always dreamed about being some sort of pop star. While those dreams are probably best left as dreams, the timing of Materia ended up being perfect for me to try my hand at arranging, performing, and producing a pop track. The result was this!

The lyrics can be interpreted in a lot of different ways, but were inspired by the scene in FF7 when Barrett tries to save Dyne after the Mako Reactor blows up and the village catches on fire. Feel free to take the lyrics EXTREMELY literally. :)"

The tempo is deliberate, with everything undulating & the whole entire soundscape breathing in & out like a single organism; pretty cool. There was a time when stylized (i.e. obvious) autotuning had a polarizing effect with some listeners, but I think (hope) we're past that, because ultimately it's just another tool in the toolbox, and the question should always be whether it works in the context of the arrangement, not whether it's "acceptable" in the abstract. I think it works here, especially when Doug reaches up into his falsetto. It also helps that the lyrics are serious, contextual, & emotional; Doug should definitely explore his inner pop star a bit further, based on the strength of this initial attempt! Production highlights a few key ingredients very effectively and draws attention to the right elements, while the ebb & flow of the accompaniment lends interior motion to each passage. The whole thing feels like a very specific concept/vision that has been realized with style and conviction; great stuff, a wonderful contribution to the Materia album, and a musical side of Doug that I'd love to hear more from. Highly recommended.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Gario
on 2016-07-21 14:22:49
On 3/29/2016 at 8:20 AM, YouGuysRock said:

I know you're not serious. You can't be serious. My mouth hung open for minutes after the first time I listened. This is one of the best pieces OC Remix has ever produced. Think "Drift" or "Jade Catacombs" or "Zeal Feels Good." Yeah. This is right up there. And I've listened to all of it. Since the beginning.

Oooooh shit, my Zeal track was just compared to one of MY personal favorites on the site (dat Catacombs track). This pleases me. ;)

This arrangement is also awesome. The singing is on point, the autotuning is certainly stylistic, here (no one at DrumUltimA's production level would accidentally make autotune so noticeable), and it's sexy as shit. The chill backing instruments compliment the whole thing so damn well, too... Just pure goodness all around.

Chromarin
on 2016-07-21 11:40:34

Did not know that DrumUltimA sings and... woah.. 8O This went straight to the "most favorites ever!" list. The atmosphere is really exceptional and the autotune definitely adds a great interesting acoustic touch (at least for my musically illiterate ears) to the song to make it stand out even more.

Love it!

HoboKa
on 2016-05-30 19:20:21

EDIT over 9000

This song resonates very much with many aspects of my life. Seeing friends go...misguided and lost. See some of that in myself too. Moreover, Drummy captured the feeling for that tragic scene in FF7 with Dyne and Barret. You've done a very good job at capturing that most depressing feeling DrumUltima. Nice work man.

YouGuysRock
on 2016-03-29 11:20:49

I know you're not serious. You can't be serious. My mouth hung open for minutes after the first time I listened. This is one of the best pieces OC Remix has ever produced. Think "Drift" or "Jade Catacombs" or "Zeal Feels Good." Yeah. This is right up there. And I've listened to all of it. Since the beginning.

And I hate 90 some percent of the songs with lyrics on here. But you broke the mold in a way I'd put right up there with "Under Construction". Granted, the production wasn't as clean, but you have something it doesn't: power. So don't use words like "garbage musician". Everyone here knows better than that.

Well, maybe not those who had never heard of pitch-correction before "auto-tune", but those of use in the know were long aware that nothing gets put on the radio that hasn't been adjusted. Ignore the dumb gawkers. They aren't who you make real music for anyways.

This song is a classic example of doing something totally right and your lessers missing the point. I find this actually happens quite a lot in life, but that people are trained to not draw attention to it.

I will concede that I do think this needs some editing to tie something as fresh as "On The Run." Specifically, A) 1:05-1:10 B ) 2:22-2:24 C) 2:49-2:50, D) 3:11-3:16 E) 4:55-4:56 For those who are thorough, they will notice that all but one of those points of weakness are in the straight vocals. That's right. This piece needs more auto tune, not less. D) is the only instrumental criticism. The turn doesn't fit the piece. I feel it was vocally driven. Had there been less vocalization and it was more synthesized here, this might have been avoided. If you wanted to address these points in an updated version, I would be honored.

I'll say that the climax is right where it should be (starting 3:53), when the theme restarts and the auto-tune is used most heavily. DrumUltimA, I knew your handle before, but now I'll be paying far closer attention to it, especially when you go outside your percussion comfort zone as you have done here. Please don't be afraid to again. I beg you. Ironically, I don't recognize anyone else in this thread besides the first 3 posters. So everyone else can put up or ... you know the rest.

DrumUltimA
on 2016-02-01 15:30:11

Most recorded vocal music you hear nowadays does involve some level of pitch correction, unless you're listening to recordings of live performances or other genres (like opera and other classical mediums). I like autotune as an effect sometimes, and wanted to use it in this track both because I liked the way it sounds in this context and because I wanted to have a slightly different "voice" to go with certain sections of the lyrics. For me, it was a stylistic choice, but if it makes me a garbage musician that's cool too :)

timaeus222
on 2016-01-31 18:58:10

I don't have an inherent problem with autotune, but I don't think it was a particularly effective use of autotune here (specifically before 2:20). On the other hand, I actually liked the autotune on "Tetris Plays You!" because it was funny, so I'm not dismissing it as a technique that insults the singer's ability. In this case, I preferred the usage of autotune at 2:20 - 3:52 the most since it was less obviously correcting pitches there (less warbly) and felt more integrated. Let's put it this way: I liked the autotune here more than in this.

His Infinite Machine
on 2016-01-31 18:47:58
52 minutes ago, Liontamer said:

T-Pain, Lil Wayne

Hardly a glowing endorsement, but whatever.

Liontamer
on 2016-01-31 17:54:53
3 hours ago, His Infinite Machine said:

Autotune is a tool for people who can't sing, and want to point this out to people.It's an insult to the ear and to the skills the artist does possess.

That's pretty dumb and sweeping to say. "DrumUltimA, congratulations for -- by virtue of choosing to use Auto-Tune -- insulting... yourself?" You have your own personal taste, sure, but ever since T-Pain, Lil Wayne, and others made a successful tool out of transparent use of Auto-Tune, it's been used by many artists on purpose as its own aesthetic. And you can (and will) complain all you'd like, but plenty of people have no problem with it. You're framing it like it's being used here to fool people that the singing was pitch perfect, and you're coming in like "it's an insult to the ear," which is just overly broad, closed-minded, and silly.

Your taste. Your loss. :-D

His Infinite Machine
on 2016-01-31 14:03:44
On 1/28/2016 at 0:02 PM, Liontamer said:

Your loss. :-D

Autotune is a tool for people who can't sing, and want to point this out to people.It's an insult to the ear and to the skills the artist does possess.

DimeTower
on 2016-01-29 23:34:38

I don't care what you think about the autotune (I think it's fine, don't love it, don't hate it), but the lyrics, damn, anyone who has played FF7 should recognize the amazing depth to these! Man, "no matter what I'll always hold your hand" is tremendous for the Barret/Dyne backstory. Really great lyrics here. For a song this vocal, that's a huge win! Well done!

Liontamer
on 2016-01-28 15:02:10
1 hour ago, His Infinite Machine said:

Autotune lyrics?

Nope.

Your loss. :-D

His Infinite Machine
on 2016-01-28 13:58:12

Autotune lyrics?

Nope.

zykO
on 2016-01-17 22:49:21

this is the bombdizzle

nitrozsz
on 2016-01-15 20:44:46

Very well written and produced arrangement. It sounds so haunting, and dark. And the lyrics definitely did the Desert Wasteland justice. I could really feel the emotional impact behind what Barrett went through with Dyne. The only thing that really disappointed me was the autotuning. Not because I don't like the idea of autotuning, I just didn't think it was necessary for this arrangement. It would have been nice to hear you sing these wonderful lyrics written for this wonderful arrangement without relying on autotune. Despite that issue, I still enjoyed this track.

FlashX
on 2016-01-15 07:00:02

Wow! I was on edge the whole time waiting for the song go shit, but it didnt! This is a gorgeous track! Well done! So beautiful and simplistic! Love it! :grin: