Posted 2009-07-23, evaluated by djpretzel
Six down, two to go: Our initial Final Fantasy IV: Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption flood caps out at eight mixes total, after which we'll be returning to working through the queue. There's still plenty of Echoes where that came from, a lot of which should pop up here sooner or later, but OA and I wanted an initial selection that conveyed a significant spectrum of the diverse artists and styles involved. We've seen cinematic ethnic/choral work, electro/trance, chiptune/orchestral, frenetic big beat battle action, an awesomely uncategorizable piece from ilp0, and a stunning electronica/vocal collab piece - what's next?? How about some VHD? Not Viral Hemorrhagic Disease, not Volumetric Haptic Display, and not Virtual Hard Disk... it's Vampire Hunter Dan, adding intimate, expressive orchestral arrangement to the Echoes lineup. Director Andrew Luers writes:
"Dan has a very distinct style of orchestration, in that each instrument breathes very freely, and is incredibly expressive. The flute and strings in this piece really sing - they really breathe life into the arrangement, but everything sounds great. Dan can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes, but this piece is really something special. Very nice pacing, excellent variation, and a triumphant theme, make this my favorite of his to date."
Dan's preceding Lufia ReMix really paved the way for this piece, as they both employ similarly short reverb tails that bring attention to beautifully articulated solo passages which get more stage time & emphasis than ensemble/unison bits, for the most part. Normally this would be the kiss of death, but the artist has a fantastic ability for writing solo parts that swell, contract, accelerando, and - in a word - breathe, and thus the vulnerable, exposed setting works all the better. There's a scene in Amadeus (one of my favorite films) where Salieri is reading over the score for a piece Mozart's just conducted, and he describes the simple perfection of a pulse that is eventually joined by a solo passage:
"On the page it looked... Nothing! The beginning simple - almost comic. Just a pulse. Bassoons, basset horns... like a rusty squeezebox. And then, suddenly, high above it... an oboe. A single note, hanging there, unwavering..."
That's one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite films; I feel like it really captures the true perfection solo orchestral performances can attain in context at the hands of masterful composers/arrangers. The intro here reminded me of that scene, with an intimate conversation between several solo instruments before ensemble strings/pizzicato and percussion enter to fill things out a bit more. This is extremely delicate work, with flutters and trills and crescendos and transition passages bringing everything to life. With Lufia and now this piece for Echoes, I really like where Dan is heading as he continues to explore and refine his craft. Awesome mix.
on 2010-05-28 16:40:04
I guess it's not my cup of tea, I enjoy other orchestral pieces much more.
on 2010-04-04 19:45:15
Very cool. This is one of the best pieces on Echoes with its grand orchestral feeling and length (I thought it went perfectly and didn't drag on like some orchestra songs do).
on 2009-12-02 10:19:47
In a word? Epic.
As I've said before, I feel this is one of the strongest pieces on the FF4: EoBLoR album. The samples are excellent and don't sound overtly fake at all. It's also somewhat lengthy but it doesn't get repetitive or drag on. It switches it up every now and then and *really* explores the Lunar Whale theme. If FF4 were ever made into an actual factual movie, I could easily see this being part of the score.
In songs like this, what really amazes me is there's parts where there's a lot going on, but it doesn't *sound* like there's a lot going on. It's not like it's always booming and powerful and emotional, but there's a lot of subtlety going on. A chime here, a note there, but it's not at all out of place and really adds to it even if you don't pick it up the first or second time you listen to the song.
I definitely recommend for everyone to check this one out.
on 2009-12-01 19:35:32
After about the first twent seconds, I expected.
Needless to say, this reminds me of a classic cartoon's epic theme.
The orchestration lends itself to the source well, but I feel it gets repetitive at times.
It's a great arrangement, I like it, but six minutes was probably a little long for its purposes, making it feel drawn out.
on 2009-10-03 22:01:59
Definitely what I've come to expect from VHD with the dry orchestral sound, but I think this takes it to another level, arrangement-wise. I don't really make it a secret that I've kind of gotten burned out when it comes to straight orchestral arrangements, so I'm not easily impressed when it comes to this genre. However, your unique style and dynamic arrangements really hit the spot for me.
This is one of my favorite songs from the FF4 album, it's clear that you put a lot of effort into this song and it paid off in a big way!
on 2009-09-26 09:57:52
I would have liked it if the instruments had a little more reverb on them a grander feel, but that barely detracts from the overall experience of this song. The writing is still quite varied and it feels very complete once you make it all the way through. I could hear this being played at a Distant Worlds-like concert for sure.
The later half of the composition is where I feel the writing and instrumentation really shine. LOVE IT!
on 2009-09-08 01:12:07
One thing that surprises me is how much his arrangement has matured over the past 6 or so years I've heard his work. There's a clear cut quality difference between his work and most others when it comes to orchestral music. The buildup to main whale theme is just a joy to hear, and you really get some positive vibes from it.
on 2009-08-07 10:44:08
Just listening to how he uses specific articulations in his instruments inspires me to really make the most of my samples, and try some stuff I wasn't sure was even possible with synthetic instruments.
I'm not even close to his level of skill, but it's encouraging to have someone leading the way for me.
on 2009-08-01 21:10:12
This is yet another solid, wonderfully creative and fun to listen to piece by VHD. I just wish he had more, because his remixes are always a guaranteed will-love for me.
on 2009-07-28 09:43:30
I'd love to hear this live. VHD creates such fantastic arrangements that have such a range of moods and dynamics. This piece stood out to me during my first listen through of the album.
For some odd reason there's a part that reminds me of the musical version of The Lion King. The intimate feel just reminds me of one part during "Can You Feel the Love Tonight". What's awesome is that there is such intimacy after a march feel, a triumphant feel, and everything in between.
Awesome work, really.
on 2009-07-24 17:15:49
Only 2 reviews so far?!
This is a great piece. It has very lyrical instruments with great dynamics and a wonderful arrangement. The way each part speeds up, slows down, mixes up the rhythm and basically feels as though its actually being played, so fluidly, is truly great. I don't think I have ever had a bad thing to say about VHD's work and I'm not about to start. This is a great piece and a great addition to OCR.
on 2009-07-24 03:06:20
your awesome dan!
love this arrangement and am amazed at how much you get these instruments to speak
on 2009-07-23 22:53:42
I was hoping you'd put this mix up--honestly, how could you NOT put up anything VHD's ever done, said, or eaten? (I'm serious guys. His entire LIFE needs to be up on OCRemix because I'm SURE it's equally awesome to his musical work.)
But yes. Fell in love with this the moment I listened to it on the album. Needless to say, it shall be gracing my playlist for many happy years, nay, decades--nay, CENTURIES to come. (Yes, I plan to make my iPod last that long. I'm cheap.)
Doesn't hurt that the source is one of my favorites from the game and totally deserved an epic orchestral treatment. Teehee.
on 2009-07-23 22:15:18
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Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Orchestral, Strings, Woodwinds
- Time > Duration: Long
- 11,488,677 bytes
- Size: 11,488,677 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 37474302592dac768ad838ca50013b1e
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