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OCRA-0040 - Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin

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A great thanks OCR for this amazing album! A new time, the community reveals the extent of its talent. I love the side eclectic of this album. I’ve a weakness for the ending theme, the spinag rag, the unforgiven… I despaired to hear one day and arrangement worthy of these masterpieces. And sure I love also the prologue, which shows straightaway the incredible level of this album. Special mention for XPRTNovice, for his particular style really appropriated for the final fantasy atmosphere. I’m eager to hear his other works on OCR :) I was afraid to be disappointed after these months of wait, but this album is really flawless! GREAT TRIBUTE TO MASTER UEMATSU!!!!

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Bad Octopus is bad ass, awesome tune, very well executed. Adding Joe on the clarinet and sax was an awesome touch.

Cheers dude! And who doesn't like Joe's magical touch.

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Hello to the Overclocked Remix community! :)

First time poster, long time listener. This album has finally gotten me to sign up and post here telling you all how wonderful you are (and how lazy I am).

"Balance and Ruin" has been my musical world for the last week. I'm enthralled. I just want to say a little bit first about why this album matters to me before I discuss some specific tracks.

If you want to skip my background, just go down to "My Favorites so far" section.

Just about all my comments are tied to my past Final Fantasy VI and music remix community experiences. FFVI is my favorite game ever and the music is a large part of it. In fact, for a good six months after I first completed the game in '96, I still went back to beat it just to hear the ending music. I bought the original soundtrack in '97 after years of using the SNES cart for my musical fix. Years later, "Black Mages" came out and the song "Decisive Battle" went from "pretty cool" to mind-blowingly awesome thanks to Uematsu's metal take on it. It got me thinking, maybe there were other remixes/rearrangements of that song and other FFVI tracks. (Someone earlier in the thread mentioned Housethegrate's version of Decisive Battle: "Seized by Fury". That remix is easily my favorite version of that track and perhaps favorite FFVI remix in general.) And then I found this place, around 2003-4. I was eventually led to VGMix, Newgrounds, and a ton of awesome Japanese remix sites. (You guys ever hear the "Lost World" version of Decisive Battle? Aural Ambrosia.)

So yeah, been here for 10 years and haven't said hi til now. But I have spread the OC Remix gospel to other people and websites for a long time so I'm not a total freeloader. Plus, I have no musical talent so I'm probably helping you guys out by not even trying to make a remix.

I check this site daily (sometimes more) just to see when new FFVI remixes come out. I remember hearing about this project last summer and even voted for some of the tracks Then when the "Balance and Ruin" site went up a few weeks ago, excitement abounded! And when I saw the video, I reacted similarly to if Square said they were making an FFVI sequel... (well, if the Squaresoft from the early 90's said they were doing so, at least...)

Let me just say before I even touch on the tracks, the HYPE video for the project is incredible. I don't know how you guys even did that but I kind of want to play FFVI in that style. Right away it gave me that sense of FFVI nostalgia and excitement. Is that video available for download?

I'm not a musician and I'm not in the habit of critiquing those who are, from a musical perspective. I can tell you what I happen to like and usually why I do, but often that why is "just because" (personal taste and all, like with food) and largely tied to nostalgia in the case of FFVI. I'm sorry that I can't offer much in the ways of a technical praise or critique but I'm sure there are plenty of artists here who will be glad to know that their tracks made my day because they sounded awesome and I got very happy and excited as a result. That's the highest praise I personally can really give: That some of these tracks made FFVI sound even more awesome then I can remember.

My favorites so far

Trauermarsch:

The first thing I did when I saw that the track list had been released was check it to see if "Last Dungeon" was covered here. Ever since the last time I played the game through (which was the GBA FFVI release), I gained a whole new respect for this OST. But for some reason, I haven't had much success finding this track remixed on any site. I've found two other versions and was not really into them. Within five seconds of hearing Trauermarsch, I knew I hit gold. This track is the definitive version of this song. I'm still shocked this was created. It shows someone else really "gets" the power and potential of this track. While I love "Decisive Battle", "Last Battle", and "Dancing Mad", I think "Last Dungeon" is right up there with the "dark magic" music. There are some moments of this track that are just brilliant and the inclusions of the Terra and "Dancing Mad" tracks are amazing and seamless transitions. It's likely this will remain my favorite track on this album due to how nuanced and varied it is, as well as how "clean" and bold it sounds. This really blows me away and the second I heard it, I pictured the airship dropping the party down onto Kefka's Tower and them steeling themselves for battle.

Bad Octopus

I love "Save Them" for so many reasons. I tend to mostly enjoy metal and orchestral remixes of FF (and other game) themes so this already had my attention. But what amazed me about this track is that it's metal but also really fun/quirky to listen to. It's Ultros after all! And working his part of the Opera house music into this is great. This track just gets amazing at 1:35 with one of my favorite parts of the opera tracks. The way it goes back into "Save Them" is also amazing. I'm not surprised that remixes of these two tracks are among my favorite for this album but the way its executed is incredible. Since Trauermarsch is long, "Bad Octopus" is probably the easiest to listen to for me given its relative short length and PEP.

Ending Suite

The ending theme to this game is gold. From the character specific themes to the way Nobuo transitioned them together to the "main Final Fantasy theme" to the end. It was a masterpiece. And this version of it on "Balance and Ruin" retains all the style of it and emotion. I love the combination of instruments used here. It's low key but poignant. 11:19 has all the rousing emotions of the original (thank you for 11:30-11:40). Then 13:19 on is amazing. It reminds me a little of the "Final Fantasy IV: Celtic Moon" album which was a great one. This is one of my favorite takes on the FFVI Ending.

Castle in the Sand

"Figaro Castle" is one of my top 5 OST tracks easily. So it's really hard to remix this and not be awesome. But this doesn't just play it safe. It raises the bar and feels like the masterful orchestral track for a blockbuster movie. It has the power behind it but also works as a soft song in places. It also really highlights certain transitions in the music that Nobuo had stand out. I've noticed that about his original tracks and remixes. Some parts or transitions are really understood by remixers and they aren't left "flat" or "remixed over" but are kept in and emphasized. And this track along with my other favorites does that.

A Fistful of Nickels

Red Dead Redemption has become one of my favorite games in the last few years so a western style remix immediately got my attention. And it works so perfectly for Shadow. Given the prevalence of "whistling" in Western movies, it's such an amazing tie in to Shadow. This honestly sounds like the introduction to an Ennio Morricone track for a spaghetti western. And that's awesome to me. In fact, I want to watch "The Magnificent Seven (dreams)" after hearing this.

River of Sine Waves

This wasn't one of my favorite tracks on the FFVI OST. It was kind of a "filler song" for years to me. At least until the last few years when I've gained a slow appreciation. Well, this track just sped that appreciation up a lot "River of Sine Waves" has done more to make me appreciate this song then any other remix. It really brings out the great composition Nobuo gave it. Out of all the remixes on this album that aren't one of my long time favorite tracks on the OST, this is my favorite one.

Idle City Street

Probably the most relaxing song on this album. Obviously the source material is relaxing but this remix takes it to a new level. This is almost like a lullaby. Great original track, amazing remix.

Fiddlesticks Rag

Just puts a smile on my face. Very clean sounding, the melody comes through great. Love the part at :53 that just brings it all home. I've heard a fair amount of versions of this song remixed and most are very good but this is probably my favorite one.

The Impresario

I was kind of going into this album hoping it was going to be all power metal and epic orchestral arrangements. This song, "Bad Octopus", and "Blackjack's Breakup Bossa" opened up my mind. In addition to all the fun to be had on these tracks, there's also incredible musical quality. The Impresario was a genius arrangement of this track. It's amusing and fun but also very powerful. It retains the emotional connection of the original OST. Also love the guitar work throughout. It's perfect. I know people are mainly hearing Queen here (and for good reason as it's likely the main influence) but I'm hearing a little Dream Theater here too: specifically "Home" from Scenes of a Memory.

Blackjack's Breakup Bossa

First time I heard this song I got a huge smile on my face, and every time since. I love the instrumental portions but the singing just makes this entire song pop. That singer has amazing range and force as he hits the high notes.

Anyway, those are the tracks that have particularly stood out to me right now. There are others I've heard which I've really liked but my attention tends to fall on the ones I immediately loved. Then I will proceed to play them repetitively til I need a break and will listen to some other ones. So I'm sure I'll have some new favorites by the end of the month!

Thank you to everyone who worked on this album and for everyone who contributes remixes to this site. You've kept my music library overflowing for 10 years now, mainly with Final Fantasy but also Chrono Trigger, Castlevania, Mega Man, and Super Mario. This album is a punctuation mark but I know there's plenty more amazing music to be heard. I'm looking forward to an FFVIII album if that is in production. It's probably my second favorite music album (although FFIV and the OC Remix version of FFVI has challenged that recently) and should be awesome. Anyway, thanks again and I'll update with my impressions of new favorites from Balance and Ruin.

- Orochi Geese

Edited by OrochiGeese

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XPRTNovice is the standout performer on the album so far. I love the Jewish Phantom Train music.

I haven't listened all the way through, just jumped between my favourite tracks from the game. I'm impressed with A Fistful of Nickels, Prologue, Ascension of a Madman, Bad Octopus, Slam Davis, Megiddo Brigade, Black Genesis, Event Horizon, Go-Go Gadget Gonkulator and The Narshemellow.

Once again, haven't listened to them all, or even thoroughly yet. Just first impressions. I'd love to do a full review, time permitting.

Edited by The Orichalcon

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Aaaaand we have the most awkward line of the day, ladies and gentlemen!

looking forward for more magical touch then :D :that sound like a rage tech. !Joe magical touch [ignore defense and randomly cast muddle]

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looking forward for more magical touch then :D :that sound like a rage tech. !Joe magical touch [ignore defense and randomly cast muddle]

As long as it's not from Ultros, we're fine here. Nothing magical about his touch, no sir.

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As long as it's not from Ultros, we're fine here. Nothing magical about his touch, no sir.

glad too see i'm not the only one to remember Ulty tentacle attack.

On a more serious note i'm now listening to the whole stuff in order. I enjoy a lot how some song goes together, like Gesthalian

Sonata and The Meggido Brigade, showing the two faces of the empire.

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On a side note, I'm really surprised at the lack of comments on this review thread. The Final Fantasy VII thread had 18 pages in the first day. Do people just not care about FFVI anymore? Just on observation.

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I noticed that too, but I think it's more that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are more popular (by far) than they were in 2007. People are sharing thoughts and leaving comments there too and don't feel the need to post on the forums.

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I want to do a track-by-track personal review, but for now...

Most unexpectedly addictive song: On The Run (The Returners)

Difficult to recognize the source, since the melody deviates significantly. But boy is it catchy.

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I noticed that too, but I think it's more that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are more popular (by far) than they were in 2007. People are sharing thoughts and leaving comments there too and don't feel the need to post on the forums.

I've been quite the opposite, I've come onto the Forums a lot more since this was released. But I like to buck trends :3

Most unexpectedly addictive song: On The Run (The Returners)

Difficult to recognize the source, since the melody deviates significantly. But boy is it catchy.

This, totally this. I can just about recongise the source but by jove, it's catchy as fuck.

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I must say, one of the tracks I've enjoyed the most is There's Nothing Like Flying by DDRKirbyISQ. It's got such a great happy feel, reminds me of Star Salzman's airship track on VotL. The flurries of chip tones are expertly done. Excellent!

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On The Run (The Returners)

Difficult to recognize the source, since the melody deviates significantly. But boy is it catchy.

I totally agree with you, I've listened to this song pretty much everyday since the preview disk came out. VERY catchy.

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I noticed that too, but I think it's more that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are more popular (by far) than they were in 2007. People are sharing thoughts and leaving comments there too and don't feel the need to post on the forums.

I think people are just waiting on the physical discs. I don't know why you guys allowed for a such a long gap between the digital/physical releases. If it was gonna be a month late then make it a month late, it's better in the long run.

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I think people are just waiting on the physical discs. I don't know why you guys allowed for a such a long gap between the digital/physical releases. If it was gonna be a month late then make it a month late, it's better in the long run.

Although I do try to get physical copies of things where I can (bit difficult with OCR stuff unless I donate and stuff I guess, but hey that's summat for me to sort out when I know about job sec) when it's easily accessible via a download (and for free) why wait?

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Although I do try to get physical copies of things where I can (bit difficult with OCR stuff unless I donate and stuff I guess, but hey that's summat for me to sort out when I know about job sec) when it's easily accessible via a download (and for free) why wait?

It's not a matter of physical vs digital. In this case the people waiting for the physical copies have already paid for them a long long time ago, so they may not want to listen to the digital version more than once or twice. The whole point of the kickstarter was getting the physical CD.

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It's not a matter of physical vs digital. In this case the people waiting for the physical copies have already paid for them a long long time ago, so they may not want to listen to the digital version more than once or twice. The whole point of the kickstarter was getting the physical CD.

Yeh pretty much. I listened to disc 1 and a few random songs but I was really waiting for the CD

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It's not a matter of physical vs digital. In this case the people waiting for the physical copies have already paid for them a long long time ago, so they may not want to listen to the digital version more than once or twice. The whole point of the kickstarter was getting the physical CD.
Yeh pretty much. I listened to disc 1 and a few random songs but I was really waiting for the CD

Ok guys, I see your point. I mean it's the same thing with Autorip customers I guess (the UK got that feature recently), but I still would have at least one full play-through.

That said, I tend to rip my CDs straight to PC and put them in a CD wallet... until I learn to drive that is :D

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Like I mentioned, we're working on getting the CDs printed now. They should start shipping in early August. We didn't think it made sense to make everyone - including backers - wait for the music until that point.

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I was under the impression that the CDs would ship first, so the people who actually backed it would get something sooner or bigger than what the general public gets for free. I mean I know that there was the projected release date to fight towards but we all know well we meet our deadlines here, so maybe setting such an unrealistic release date was detrimental.

Maybe if the release date on the kickstarter was more realistic we could have spent more time and money on getting a more cohesive sounding album too, so it wouldn't sound so much like a compilation. But that's all in hindsight, this was the first release of its kind for OCR, so it's as much of a learning process as anything else. The end result is good and people are generally happy everywhere I go, so it's a good thing.

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people are generally happy everywhere I go

I want to know what planet you live on because most of the people on Earth are pretty bitchy.

But yeah, the album's been pretty well met with near universal praise.

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