Challenging. This is an adjective that might not be entirely obvious when applied to game mixes, but the long and short of my particular usage is that it essentially means a piece isn't going to follow the rules, is going to have something like dissonance, unusual meter or structure, etc. that makes it perhaps harder to get into for some - that sort of thing. It's not an insult but not necessarily a compliment either - while it's great to see people taking risks, it can also be challenging to work within more accessible constraints and still have mixes that sound fresh and interesting. But I digress: newcomer Noir (like the somewhat formulaic anime with a great OST) alias Eric Barker has come up with an ornate, "challenging" solo piano arrangement from FF6 that is very worth your time. Beginning with an energetic chromatic build on the fantasy arpeggio, you quickly get a sense the arrangement is going to be riskier, flamboyant, and very creative. Great attention to LARGE dynamics changes, keeping things tense and taut. Judges were very split on some of the dissonance, with half feeling that even if it was intentional it didn't work, and the other feeling that it clearly was and that it did work. Listening now, in the context of the entire piece, I'd say it makes sense. Mr. Baranowsky writes:
"The bass notes in the beginning work for me. It's dissonant, but dissonance is not always bad. Like the D^2 said, it resolves. I like how a lot of it is similar to the original, but a lot of it is totally different as well. It keeps it fresh, while at the same time familiar. Performance skill is top-tier, no qualms there. Recording works for me, could use a dash more reverb, I say. It's a new take on the ff6 battle theme that I never thought possible. Good Stuff. "
In general, the intonation takes some twists and turns that keep you guessing and, for me at least, raised the interest level. Israfel had some more technical comments about the performance - timing, tempo, and recording issues - most of which I agreed with, but the human factor works to the advantage more than not in this case, and adds a degree of kinetic energy and verve that makes things click. I agree with Dan; this transforms the battle theme in a way that's not at all obvious but does work, enjoyably and admirably so.
on 2010-12-14 21:01:59
I also love the massive dynamic shifts. Go big or go home, IMO.
Most definitely this ^
The dynamics here are what make this mix fun to listen to; you can literally feel the urgency underlying this. It makes sense why this is called Ivory Metal.
This is definitely a piece no one should miss.
on 2010-04-22 12:44:20
I didn't really find this one that challenging to listen to, but i'm sure people listen to all kinds of different things. The performance of this is very human, and the live aspect is one of it's strengths. I also love the massive dynamic shifts. Go big or go home, IMO. The original writing was tastefully mixed in with the source, and there were a lot of cool moments to this.
Overall it's really nice stuff; not flawless, but damn good.
on 2009-03-10 21:39:55
I enjoyed this tune, the dynamics makes it ideal for an intense battle theme. I'm reminded of the battle theme scene in Advent Children, when Tifa fights the bigger brother.
Besides the ending being a little more choppy than I prefer it was wonderful song, keep up the good work!
on 2009-03-10 03:29:02
Reading the reviews here is a bit of a surprise, but then again not really. I would NEVER have labelled this a piece that is hard to access, hard to interpret and especially would never say it was hard to listen to. Okay, so it has some dissonant notes. It has some fluctuating tempos. It's a piano piece. Versatile, dynamic instruments play versatile dynamic music. Also, the type of play style doesn't equate to a good song, so it's just as well this track and it's artist have the credentials to justify the instrument.
Arrangement wise, I can see where the controversy lies, but I also see it as a bit of a moot point. OverClocked Remix, to me, is that flash moment where the familiar meets the unexpected and unimagined. I agree with the critics that say this mix is too divided between old arrangement and original arrangement, but there are some great moments where the two converge. It does lose tightness because this only occurs in a few isolated incidents, but without outside knowledge, noone would really care. As a standalone song, this is perfect. Freaking awesome playing with some truly special portions of music (2:28 - 2:42 is brilliant stuff.) Piano pieces are generally awesome, but this raises the bar. Recommended.
on 2008-12-06 20:09:05
I love this piece; it's intense and dynamic. Great work.
on 2008-04-02 18:56:30
I really like it! The begining is obviously a little reference to the Prelude and I even heard from 0:25 to 0:32 something that sounds like FF7 but this part can be found somewhere in almost all FF battle themes. The Fanfare can be heard but it's very subtle and just blends perfectly. A great work you did!
on 2006-01-01 02:09:56
!!!!!!!! Whoa! Very nice. But kind of confusing, which makes it good, for a battle theme.
on 2005-10-05 07:58:35
This piano sounds like it´s from the old times, 1890 or something, I´m not that good at history. Just liked the sound noir got out of it, the battle theme is of course a very hectic track, thanks for that, but that makes it harder to remix it, or is it just me being stupid? It is me right?
Anyhow, very good piano rush, draws out a little more power from this instrument that many of us love.
Nice work black.
on 2005-07-22 11:40:17
I'd would have battled with this one then the ost one.
on 2005-05-07 12:38:22
Nice song with average piano skills. The dynamics are a little confusing at times, and some of the rythm, though it may have been intentionally, sound very off and sounds sloppy at times. Other than that, nice job.
on 2004-12-08 13:46:26
You can certainly hear the quality and effort put into this. It manages to give the battle theme a fresh feel without altering what is generally liked about it, in my opinion.
I like it, very much so!
on 2004-12-01 02:37:25
LOL. It makes me picture the game in a noir film style. Very refreshing.
on 2004-09-06 16:08:14
Noir's best, and that is one hell of a statement. This is in my opinion the single greatest piano piece ever, not just in the game music genre but in any genre. I cannot possibly describe how awesome this piece is. Keep it up, Noir
on 2004-06-12 06:38:49
Ahhhh... but the Victory fanfare IS there! It's just not at the end, but in the middle (just before the tempo slows down before the "improv solo section"). Surprisingly, NOONE has realized it yet! I keep waiting for someone to go, "Oooh! Is that the victory fanfare in there?" but noone has. Maybe that's a good thing, because it was a total musical joke, and comes across as a really bad punn when people finally realize it's there... I've made many of my gamer friends really groan when they figure it out.
About doing a remix of the victory fanfare, I DO actually have a version I've been working on now for a while. It's a flashy, running 16th note thing in 5/8 time. Although, it's just the original melodic line, and I usually just improvise a B section (the thing is SO short, it would need a lot of extra material to make it a stand alone piece). When I get around to actually writing some solid material for a B section, I may do a release of it.
on 2004-04-13 11:04:18
I personally don't like the little bit at the beginning before you go into the actual battle theme. While nice in and of itself, it doesn't give that feeling of sudden crisis that battle music should. Otherwise an awesome piece. Good to hear some pure piano. What would've made me really happy would've been if you would've ended the piece with the Victory Fanfare, but that's mostly cause I really love that piece, no one's remixed it yet, and I don't have clue one how to remix stuff.
Sources Arranged (2 Songs)
- Primary Game:
Final Fantasy VI (Square, 1994, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
- "Battle Theme"
- Arrangement > Solo
Production > Live Recording
- 4,775,840 bytes
- Size: 4,775,840 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: c9ea6a89181d86ad024de40074ca6be1
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