ReMix:Final Fantasy VI "Return of the Phoenix" 4:10

By GrayLightning

Arranging the music of one song...

"The Decisive Battle"

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

Posted 2005-02-09, evaluated by djpretzel

Continuing the theme of FF6 mixes from members of the judges panel, next up is Gray's second 'Phoenix' mix, the first being from FF4. The mixer explains:

"The original was in my opinion more carefree - I've changed it to a more dramatic, thoughtful new age symphonic piece with orchestral and electronic elements. Structure, form and rhythm have been changed significantly, lots of new compositional elements, along with new intro and ending sections. This was somewhat inspired by an idea I had to try to combine some Castlevania musical elements into a Final Fantasy 6 mix. Enjoy.

I think that last line specifically helps explain some of the surprising, risky, and cool electronic stuffs happening here, as at a certain point the mixes takes off and gets pretty electro and edgy; I can hear how inviting the Belmonts into Squareland could have ended up conjuring such textures. Up until 1'22" you've got a normal, high-quality GL orchestral piece going on, with uber-dramatic percussion, thick strings, and generally elaborate, lush arrangement, but then a solo female vocal enters, accompanied by a rapid synth arpeggio and more electronic rhythmic colors, with the peggio speedin' up to double-time at the two-minute mark, leading into a build that resolves and is followed by... pitch-bent oriental strings? Sure, why not. Hey, he makes it work, and even manages to use the last minute or so to change the tone to decisively triumphant and achieve a nice harmonic closure. Don't know what he's using, here, but the solo female vocal here adds a lot, giving the piece an ethereal-yet-worldly, victorious feeling to it. Some of the intervals can be likened to pieces of Zimmer's Gladiator score, and if there's one thing Gray isn't shy about, it's making his percussion loud and giving it a lot of well-earned emphasis. Can't blame him; if I'd put together a rhythm track like this, I wouldn't let it get buried either. Plus, I think drama and general over-the-topness is part of the nature of the piece, regardless. Flute flares, bells (but of course), harps that ain't afraid to glissando, well-mixed brass, and an arrangement that throws all of these myriad musical tools around fluidly - great, elaborate stuff that definitely takes risks, more than usual for GL, and is singular, striking, and memorable.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2012-08-22 22:30:19

Such gossamer transitions and instruments. Such a measured pace. Such star-studded awesomeness. As for the individual highlights:

- When things pick up with the duo additions of the "clapping" drumwork and the Naruto ninja flute (1:02+ and 3:47+), the mix tells me, "you better prepare yourself for a revolution. Sacrifices will be made, etc." Both times follow through, first with its "lightning in a bottle" potency and second with its "we made it through!" trailing vibe.

- In the frantic section (1:21+), the volume modulation (general and individual) makes things sound a bit muddled at times, but it also invites/stimulates my imagining of the tension and activity going on here.

- After the rapid OMGWTFBBQ panoply at 1:59, its conclusive note is drawn out long enough to evaporate into a conservative, same-key aftermath that would sound abrupt in less skilled hands.

- That gentle foray at 2:57 - 3:06 is the cream of recuperation in an atmosphere already populated by silky sounds. 3 3 3

And somewhat unrelated, but the vocals make me think of the choir used in the Dancing Mad source tunes, especially when closing out the mix. Cuz y'know - boss music, FF6, grandiloquent presentation... feels natural.

on 2009-12-02 11:16:25

I totally didn't recognize the theme up until about 1:30. Once there, it really picked up, and the main arpeggio was played by a really cool synth. Nice orchestral backing, and a decent voice synth as well. I'm not totally certain all the sections transition to each other seamlessly, but there is a lot to love otherwise in the track. Great bells and harp, and the percussion is also very nice.

on 2009-11-16 08:01:38

Loving this! great mix man 9/10

on 2007-02-26 15:25:19

Very original arrangement of a great theme!


on 2005-09-19 12:30:00

You made a great job changing the original song to something new in this remix, because I can hardly recognize it. However, the remix itself was great,

the piece that started around 2:30 was very orchestral with the bells, the drums and that lady voice singing in the background. Beautiful GL.

on 2005-03-21 04:24:26

I've been listening to this for a while, and I've come to the decision that it's just not my cup of tea. I'm generally a fan of GL's work (his "Drifting Towards the Stars" mix from The Secret of Mana remains my absolute favorite), but I feel that his trademark new-age style simply does not work here.

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but the first thing I focus on in any Final Fantasy soundtrack is the boss music -- fast and adrenaline-pumped, usually melodic and memorable. Something that screams for a remixed makeover with heavy guitars. Now I'm definitely not against reinterpreting an original composition or its genre, but GL's decision to employ a tribal theme and completely change up the tempo of piece, particularly the length and timing of most of the critical notes of "The Decisive Battle", just did not jive with me at all.

I did enjoy the synth arpeggio, up until the point where it breaks off into 32nd(?) notes, which I felt was a less than ideal ending.

Sorry for breaking up the feel-good train, and I hope this didn't come off as too negative.

on 2005-03-09 21:43:19

A "boom-chick, boom-boom-chick" beat doesn't make it onto OCR anymore. What Gray does with percussion is incredible and far more complex than something "satisfyingly predictable."

I don't understand how you can want something predictable like a drum beat, yet call Gray's style too predictable for you when his percussion is far more dynamic than some simple and stereotypical techno beat using a snare and a kick. Mind boggling...

Sure, he has settled into his style, while before he was wandering and experimenting in every which way to find what his strengths were, but he's definitely found them, and his percussion is far from being his weak point. Just because it's not some simple techno beat loop doesn't mean it's not good. Shit, it's better than good.

Do you bitch about John Williams' orchestral pieces not having a "boom-chick, boom-boom-chick" beat to them? Do you bitch about how Howard Shore's scores aren't techno enough? If you do, well... You might say that their pieces don't surprise you as well, just because they don't go outside their genre. But, that's just ridiculous. It's obvious that their pieces are amazing, and although they might not be great techno loops or have that cool "boom-chick, boom-boom-chick" beat you're looking for doesn't mean it's not surprising or dynamic. It just means that you didn't get your highly repetitive and generic, "cookie cutter" musical piece that you wanted to hear. The things that Gray does within the piece, however are still original, although the genre may be the same as many of his pieces.

on 2005-03-09 17:58:38
This sounds....exactly the same as all his other pieces. Exactly, except for the rather stupid electronica section in the middle. Bleh.

Sorry it wasn't your cup of tea.

Before reviewing, I do suggest you read the OCR reviews guidelines and try to refrain from posting borderline unconstructive or rude comments.

on 2005-03-09 16:52:49

This sounds....exactly the same as all his other pieces. Exactly, except for the rather stupid electronica section in the middle. Bleh.

Quinn X5
on 2005-03-09 14:12:16

The Good

1. Excellent sound quality, as usual from Gray...

2. Great instrument selection, especially love the pizzicatos near the end...

3. A ballsy, electronic section in the middle....

4. Did I mention wonderful samples?

The Not BAD, but

Okay, Gray..... I'm going to cut to the chase here....

This particular piece strikes me in a very similar way to many of your others, in that while they sound wonderful and show respectful liberation, the actual composition is sometimes rather plodding, and for me, portions that are given a stomping, almost military feel are out of place. Time after time with your mixes, I keep waiting for a real BEAT, not just the (sometimes seemingly overhumanized) percussion elements. The electric area in the center of the song is a great idea, and I enjoy the switch, but I kept waiting for that chromatic, satisfyingly predictable, "boom-chick, boom boom-chick" of a snare and kick....

I just found this to be a slightly boring listen. It has moments where I perk up and find myself almost envious (the string swells, the asian fiddles and such), but I'm waiting for the moment when there's nothing orchestrated, cinematic, or 'new age' about a Gray piece..... I'm still waiting for you to just JAM, Gray! Ya hip? That middle section with the 'electronica' (which was a tight idea) sorely missed a solid, fierce drumbeat; I felt the percussion that was present was out of place.

In the long run, this IS one of Gray's upper tier pieces, and I'm being a little hard on it, but only because it's not really surprsing me at all.... something Gray did a year ago quite often... it's still worth a DL to any FF fan, and I'm positive that many in this scene will appreciate it much more than I. It's not a bad piece of music at ALL, but this time I'm just not quite 'feeling' it.

Sorry :(

on 2005-02-23 13:23:57

VERY NICE!!! I love it. I don't recognize the original piece though. What was the name of the track that you used?

Hope to see a new mix soon. :)

on 2005-02-23 00:27:50
I tried watching it during a thunderstorm, with no lights (The monitor was turned off)on in the house sitting in front of a huge window, and precisely at 1:20, when the music suddenly turns evil, lightning began to stike evry few was so awesome...

Interesting. :D Thanks for the comments.

on 2005-02-22 11:40:35

Wow... This remix just blew me away...the song is very beautiful, with the beginning luring you into a peaceful state, and then suddenly blasting off into a evil-sounding stage of music. I tried watching it during a thunderstorm, with no lights (The monitor was turned off)on in the house sitting in front of a huge window, and precisely at 1:20, when the music suddenly turns evil, lightning began to stike evry few was so awesome...

on 2005-02-16 09:02:39

Bah. I listened to it again and found the electronic alot more interesting and dynamic the more I listen to it.

on 2005-02-16 08:37:03

... and its not over yet. It is an outstanding track.

The eletronica break is the part I enjoy the most, I can't explain exactly how I feel everytime I heard this little part, but I think is a good blend of distant elements in one remix. And it isn't only for the crazy synths and choirs but also for the drum in that break, somehow it is a very hormonic use of the drum techniques.

The quality and feeling of the rest of the piece is unquestionable.

The Graytest flute flares ever, aha.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Final Fantasy VI (Square , 1994, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
"The Decisive Battle"

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