ReMix:Final Fantasy VI "A Nightmare Before Kefka" 3:43

By zircon

Arranging the music of 2 songs...

"Kefka", "Wild West"

Primary Game: Final Fantasy VI (Square , 1994, SNES), music by Nobuo Uematsu

Posted 2005-02-09, evaluated by the judges panel

FIVE YEARS. It's been five years since the very first ReMix was posted here on OCR. In ways, that seems amazingly short, and in other ways, unbelievably long. I'll save the larger retrospective pontification for the last of three mixes being posted tonight, all of which - by sheer coincidence - are from FF6. Surprisingly enough, there were only four ReMixes from this most popular of mix candidates in 2004, and in one fell swoop, 2005 will catch up to that figure. Fear not, intrepid listener, as I think you'll find each of these mixes brings something new to the admittedly crowded FF6 table, and you may or may not be assuaged to hear that none of them cover Terra :) First off is zircon's coverage of Kefka, with a little Wild West thrown in for good measure. Quoth the mixer:

"This is a remix of the Kefka theme from Final Fantasy 6 (track 1.08 "Kefka.spc" in the FF6 RSN on OCR). It also incorporates a little bit of material from track 1.17 "Wild West", or the Veldt theme. I also feel it's worth noting that the excellent bell melody from 1:12 to 1:22 is actually by Tyler Heath (Unknown), with his permission...To create the song, I used FLStudio 5 (for putting it together), Garritan Personal Orchestra (for most instruments), Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra Gold (for a few other instruments), free ethnic samples from Samplefusion (for percussion), and some assorted soundfonts.

A quick background of how this mix came to be: I love Danny Elfman's musical style, and I think it has shown up in some of my other works. It's dramatic and often dark, but at the same time quirky and mischevous. I thought that would fit the character and theme of Kefka well, so I decided to combine the two with my own style. I know this isn't a long mix, especially for this genre, and I'll be the first to admit I'm really new to orchestral arrangement, but I'm very pleased with the final result and I think it's enjoyable. Hopefully, you will too."

Things begin suspensefully with a delicate bell melody and offbeat pizzicato, but swell quickly at 0'20" with ensemble strings and percussion. I'll go out on a limb and proclaim that any time you got bassoon action going in a break, it's a good thing, and Andrew throws some of that bad boy down, with clarinet and percolating latin percussion joining the fray. There's some choral work as well, then things bust into dramatic unison action on the Veldt theme at 1'23" before eventually getting back to Kefka and building towards a well-implemented gotcha ending that gets you even when you've looped the piece half a dozen times and know exactly what to expect. Things are layered, with a variety of winds, strings, and especially ethnic percussive influences. Israfel pointed out perhaps the one flaw, which is that the arrangement might have too much variety for its own good, and could have been longer to fully explore the dearth of musical ideas, tempos, and styles that were clearly circulating through zirc's mind as he mixed. When the numero uno beef with a mix is too much variety, however, as opposed to not enough, that's a pretty good sign. Gray says:

"However, what is here is done very very well. The arrangement is great, the instrumentation though linear and expected is still pulled off very well. The ethnic percussion added a nice flavor to the mix too. I particularly enjoyed the tempo shifts in the mix."

For this to be one of zircon's initial stabs at orchestral arrangement is impressive in and of itself, but the mix would stand on its own two feet without that context, and packs quite a musical wallop. Fans of Kefka, FF6, zircon, and ethno-classical will dig it, and hopefully that's almost every last one of you.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2010-12-13 09:03:25

Well I just finished downloading all of zircon's remixes yesterday as I realised I only had about half of them, so am working my way through them today. This one jumped out at me as being something a bit different, so I came to see if anyone else had noticed the MASSIVE reference to Edvard Grieg's In The Hall of the Mountain King (for other UK citizens - the "Alton Towers" music :wink:). Apparently no-one has commented on that in nearly 6 years so I'll throw it out there. Was this in the back of your mind, zircon, as well as the Elfman influence? I haven't heard the source, so maybe it's already influenced by Grieg and you just took the source as it was, but certainly the building intro's similarity is uncanny!

Totally love it though, it's such a complex piece and yet executed so well. I'm sure I'll be listening to this for years and still finding new things hidden within its rich textures.

Also... that comment by mrjag must be one of the best reviews on this whole site!

on 2010-03-22 00:08:01

I downloaded this song a while ago and I really enjoyed it and I wondered who made the track. Then I saw zircon made it and then I wondered no more. Solid mix and it really does feel like the Nightmare before Christmas!

on 2009-11-27 11:02:16

Pretty rockin stuff, it does have a distinct Elfman style, and I think the constant changeups were good, and require a more active listening role. I do think a little more additional repetition of the themes to help solidify them would have been nice, but I certainly won't turn my nose up at this track. I really enjoyed the percussion and the overall feel of the track. The wild west transition was really well done, and felt very natural.

It seems like Zircon has moved on a bit from the site, but I'm really glad he made so many great tracks while he was here.

Recommended, check this one out. :-)

on 2009-07-09 11:36:04

How the heck have missed this mix? It's really good. The percussion is fantastic.

on 2008-12-11 22:27:28

zircon, you are amazing. your music never disappoints.

sorry I don't have any specific comments... but I love the source to death and this mix does it JUSTICE

on 2005-09-16 06:03:53

I like the careful bells in the beginning, and then

the rest of the mix comes sneaking along with flutes

and other nice instruments which leads to a very

great remix and a content downloader.

on 2005-08-18 22:18:08

What can I say? After listening to about a dozen okay/decent remixes I stubbled upon this, not expecting much and nearly joygasmed. Absolutely amazing work, zircon! The other songs in my favorites are going to be jealous.

on 2005-07-24 08:50:28

This is an excellent remix. It heavily reminds me of that classical song; something to do with faeries.

on 2005-07-05 10:37:06

if you notice he acutlly got the theme from the a nightmare before christmas theme which is good to so i like it

on 2005-03-10 17:12:53

Wow, you've added more to the Kefka theme that I would've normally thought possible. You have a talent that I wish I could emulate.

on 2005-02-26 21:05:03

I've been hoping for some good Kefka remixes like this for a while, and this is great. :) I enjoyed the original tune, and this arrangement is great. The instruments fit perfectly, too.

moIto pene
on 2005-02-18 14:28:11


just awesome

the feeling of it

it feels lke it is JUST from a nightmare before christmas

verry verry nice work

too bad this didnt come out jujst 2 months ago

oh this song would have probably been the favorite of the month haha


nice work


on 2005-02-18 05:45:02

The first time I meet zircon, he was a simple member with a FL Studio and then he became a judge. What is about to come?

As far as I remember, the post count isn't determine whether good or bad your judgment will be, but the quality of your work say for what you are here. You are here to be one of ours best.

You are suffering a fast metamorphosis. The bests talk in doubles, speak in diferent languages and they are seldom understandable. But never, and I am saying never singing in diferent pitches, this is a gay metamorphosis.

You are walking in large footsteps zircon, so large that is almost stranger, anyway I am not here to judge nothing.

For the last I wander about a happy mix zircon. No more calamitous, hope fading, nightmares. The teenagers save your soul. And keep in mind, the eletronica lovers can't go down for a second, the stage always claim for them to start jumping again.

on 2005-02-12 20:35:59

This mix reminds me of Harry Potter movies for some reason. And yea, while those aren't the best things ever made by well...anybody, this mix definitley was. Good beat, nightmarish atmosphere, its got it. Great job.

on 2005-02-12 11:36:36

Wow, thanks for the feedback, guys! Glad you enjoyed the mix :D

Sources Arranged (2 Songs)

Primary Game:
Final Fantasy VI (Square , 1994, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
"Wild West"

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