ReMix:Final Fantasy VII "A Life Without Parole" 4:51

By Dhsu

Arranging the music of 2 songs from 2 games ( view all )...

"Dead Sea/Tower of Destruction", "Desert Wasteland"

Primary Game: Final Fantasy VII (Sony , 1997, PS1), music by Nobuo Uematsu

Posted 2007-12-20, evaluated by the judges panel

The thing about a life without parole is, things could always be worse: you could be serving multiple life sentences to run consecutively... without parole. Then even zombification/reincarnation couldn't help you. I've seen Sam Waterston use this very technique rather often, to great dramatic effect (and staple repeated musical cue.) But I digress; Dhsu, who recently celebrated his birthday, writes:

"So yeah, it was bound to a moment of weakness and lapse of better judgment, I finally caved and did a Final Fantasy arrangement. It guess it's just destiny for piano remixers and Square to be together, like so much peanut butter and Nutella (I call it a peanutella sandwich).

Anyway, the source tune here is "Sandy Badlands." The arrangement is a bit sparse at times, in part to reflect the desolation of the Corel Prison. There's also a reference to Death Sea ~ Tower of Ruin from Chrono Cross in the left hand about a minute in, because I felt like it. Then the second time through, the melody takes on a Middle Eastern tint for some reason...probably to make it sound sandy. Or something. And finally you hear a hint of hope, as your lawyer just called and said you can get off on self-defense, or at the very worst feigned insanity."

Indeed. Dhsu + Final Fantasy can only really be a good thing, no matter how gratuitous or inevitable it was, as Uematsu is both amazing and prolific, so much of his body of work lends itself to solo piano arrangement, and at this Mr. Hsu excels. Andy rendered this for David, and says of the end result:

"What strikes me about this mix is how well it was rendered. And that's it. I mean, seriously, whoever rendered this must be a talented, attractive genius... there's no other explanation."

Actually, that's not what he said at all. Here's the real deal:

"The first time I heard it I was initially thrown off by its minimal nature. It's quiet, somewhat sparse, and not at all flashy or dramatic. However, the slow and somber mood really works. It's only as dense as it needs to be, and there are significant dynamic contrasts (eg 2:23 vs. 2:54). Very interpretive arrangement given the simplicity of the original, with lots of interesting melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic variations. I liked all the harmonic changes especially as certain chord + melody combinations in the original didn't sit well with me. The ending is particularly chilling."

That's better, and I'd have to concur with the above. VotL in my mind did an excellent job of incorporating multiple styles, and all of the solo piano arrangements, this piece included, fit right in alongside more aggressive, maximalist fair. Great piece from Dhsu, who hopefully received a discrete set of presents for his birthday, given its proximity to certain other gift-giving holidays. Joking aside, very appropriate and artistic title, as well.



Latest 14 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2011-12-26 17:20:47

Eh, I may be prominent on the keys but I'm not entirely a Square-based player. But I can see it working for Dhsu's way of performance easily.

I thought it would be hard to see it being interpreted just by the minimalism of the source material, but sometimes minimalism works best for sources like this. It starts off well being this dark and delicate interpretation of the source, with merely nothing but booming low octave notes supporting the notes. That minimalism was similarly maintained with the gentle hammered chords consisting of a fair chunk of the middle. There had been some more dynamic parts thrown in well, notably with bringing in the Chrono Cross "Dead Sea" source on the left hand at 1:20 being a genius way of expanding the soundscape that had been done, and the octave trills steadily building it into a more dynamic nature close to the 3 minute mark if only for a few moments.

The last minute can be seen as a major highlight in regards to performance, really building it up on the left hand while supporting the melody and fitting in a sweet Prelude cameo to take the track back the way it started with the low booming octave notes. It's sparse, it fits the mood and I like it - that's how I associate Dhsu's style.

Personally I would've said get Mustin to do your piano render instead of zircon, because from what I heard it sounds as if the note attack is too soft for a piece like this, and I felt it would work better on Mustin's pianos from what I later heard in the Tales project simply because they had this more dynamic punch that would've emphasized the dynamics tenfold. But that would be me and my tastes, I'm guessing.

Still a beautiful performance for a more obscure FF7 source, and I'm game to see how Dhsu would keep going as a performer in the time to come. I still love you man :)

on 2009-12-19 18:40:11

Not the most captivating remix of Dhsu's, but given the source tune this is about what I'd expect from it. It's moody, barren, and evokes a feeling of desolation, but honestly not a lot of fun to listen to :?

I can admire the good work done on the source, though I don't think I'll be replaying this often.

on 2009-11-08 20:44:24

This really fits what one expects from the source - somber and downtrodden. A solid solo instrumental.

on 2009-07-11 00:57:43

Captures the mood of the title to a tee. Excellent rendition, allowing the correct notes to hang and draw out the misery of the sentence (though the song itself is anything but miserable).


on 2008-12-06 16:52:05

I don't think I've ever listened to a Dhsu production I didn't like, and of course this is no exception. Brooding, emotional, yet beautiful at the same time.

on 2008-10-06 17:52:02

Wonderfully emotive. I love how both themes were incorporeated together, they work quite well, which I wasn't expecting.

Minimilistic, but with good reason. Really sets the tone of the 'desolate' feel. Great performance all around. Good job.

on 2008-01-08 12:39:23

Chillingly barren.

I admit I'm not really in the mood for something like this right now, but it;s so emotive that I can't help but take notice. Great piano sound, and I love the shimmering descending runs. A great mix that is only brought down by a few minor *minor* dissonant notes at 3:53 and 4:21.

Very nice piano work, I'm envious of your skill. ;_;

on 2007-12-23 08:37:43

Piano is probably the best instrument to carry the mood of traveling through a wasteland. If you like piano give it a try.

on 2007-12-21 14:05:34

So awesome, I love this

on 2007-12-21 10:10:27

Dhsu does music when he's not posting on the forums? Wicked!

Seriously though, this is a very moody remix. The thing I think you're doing best here David is making a piece that stays true to the original song AND the role it played in the actual game. The chord progression is, as many pointed out, great. I like the sparse nature of the arrangement and the playing is superb too, very dynamic.

A wonderful piece.

on 2007-12-21 08:41:34

One of my favorite remixes in Voices of the Lifestream. As I mentioned in my review, the piano solo really conveys a cinematic vibe compared to the original track. I can easily listen to this remix playing during a cut-scene.

Love the progression of the remix overall. Goes from mellow to complex to mellow again in smooth transitions.

on 2007-12-21 02:29:12

Just brilliant. Another favorited Dhsu track.

Sam Ascher-Weiss
on 2007-12-20 20:20:26

David You Rock!

on 2007-12-20 17:51:08

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (2 Songs, 2 Games)

Primary Game:
Final Fantasy VII (Sony , 1997, PS1)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
"Desert Wasteland"
Additional Game:
Chrono Cross (Square , 1999, PS1)
Music by Yasunori Mitsuda
"Dead Sea/Tower of Destruction"

Tags (2)

Arrangement > Solo

File Information

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