ReMix: Final Fantasy VI "Dramatic Dark World" 3:09

By LemonLime

Arranging the music of one song...

"Dark World"

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

Posted 2012-10-10, evaluated by the judges panel


Newcomer Christian Floisand, aka LemonLime, sends us a dramatic arrangement of the 'Dark World' theme titled - in a stunning display of usability - 'Dramatic Dark World'. Don't worry, this orchestral arrangement is far more creative than its appellation:

"I was inspired to do this arrangement after hearing Jeremy Soule's great orchestration of Terra's Theme from Final Fantasy 6. But in addition, I was also keen on developing my midi orchestration skills in Logic using Vienna Special Edition and this seemed like a good way to do that. After auditioning several tracks from the game, I decided that Dark World presented some good orchestral opportunities that I wanted to explore."

To me this is actually closer to 'Romantic Dark World' - not in the lovey-dovey, Valentine's sense of the word, but rather the -ism that Wagner, Tchaikovsky, et al belonged to. Deliberate pacing and thick chords make for a serious tone, and I love that we intro with ensemble brass right from the get-go, when it's so often delayed until bombastier middle bits. This arrangement shows a lot of restraint and development; it's a unique debut and I'm very glad Christian decided to resubmit with some suggested edits from the judges:

"Thank you for the constructive and valuable feedback, which I took into account when tweaking this piece. I think the mix and production are improved now, after I fixed the mids in the beginning, toned down the brass in the middle, spaced out the panning more, and adjusted some velocities and removed some instrument doublings. I hope you find this version to be an improvement."

Clearly the judges did too, since I'm writing this ;) OA offers:

"I do think the opening notes are a little heavy-handed, but the strings that come in after are very nuanced and expressive. Arrangementwise, some of the stiffness is coming from the piece being so blocky, but it works in an ominous and oppressive way. Great setting of mood ...The combination of light arrangement touches and a dramatic and dark sound work well in concert, and the samples are well used, with a lot of intelligent and interesting articulations."

It's funny, because I personally think of a lot of Wagner as having a similar "blockiness," and to me it's refreshing & easily identifiable relative to other classical styles or orchestral Hollywood scores. Your mileage may vary, but unlike the judges I found that the intro piqued my interest, and I was glad when the entire piece stayed reasonably close to that initial impression. I'd like to hear more from LL to see whether this is a pervasive characteristic of his style - which may or may not wear thin - or represents a more intentional selection, among options. Either way, this is a distinct piece that shows a lot of promise and provides a new, very creative vision of the source, so bravo!

djpretzel

Discussion

Latest 6 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
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Crulex
on 2013-12-12 09:57:36

Really interesting, this one. It really does sound like a nice classical piece that could fit in around areas like romantic periods in terms of arrangement, like something you'd hear in a grand recital's interlude or slower bit. It's a nice break to hear a ReMix like this after a lot of time with more popular genres and sounds. Love it.

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LemonLime
on 2012-10-12 12:44:29

The Tristan chord! Ah music theory. I remember spending at least an entire class on just that chord; analyzing it and tracing its trajectory through the opera. Fascinating stuff! I didn't attempt to take any direct influence from Wagner on this, but I can see where you're coming from, definitely.

The static nature of the original piece is one of the things I like about it, to be honest. Perhaps it's my minimalist sensibilities. I'm a big fan of Arvo Part -- Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, Fratres, etc. For the Cantus in particular, he makes a statement, walks away, and the listener is left to reflect/extrapolate on its meaning.

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djpretzel
on 2012-10-10 18:42:26
Dave mentions Wagner in his writeup, and there's something in perhaps the most iconic Wagner prelude (Tristan and Isolde) that is notably absent here after reading the writeup.

Insightful analysis! I wasn't intending to express an exact match in terms of complexity, and your point about resolution is accurate - part of what I love about Wagner - but I still feel a general atmospheric kinship, probably due to the pacing more than anything else. I think this piece could definitely have been MORE Wagnerian, and I probably would have appreciated all the more for that, but I also felt like some of the judge comments were asking not for the tonal complexity you mention but for more lively Classical part-writing.

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Melbu Frahma
on 2012-10-10 18:21:49

I'm actually really digging how subdued this piece is. Yeah, you get the really strident brass, and some other instruments really come forward in a few places, but for the most part it just kind of... "hovers" I guess, like a dark cloud. I think the intro would've bothered me, except for how short of an amount of time it spends exposed before other instruments come in; as is, I'm probably siding with djpretzel in finding it more intriguing than anything. Nice one!

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BardicKnowledge
on 2012-10-10 18:02:25

Dave mentions Wagner in his writeup, and there's something in perhaps the most iconic Wagner prelude (Tristan and Isolde) that is notably absent here after reading the writeup.

Music lesson time! If you read sheet music, click over to IMSLP and look at the first score under the Tristan and Isolde Prelude, item 2.1.3 -- we're talking about the first six measures or so. While that loads, queue up the

. Note the ambiguity of the chords at measures 3 and 6 -- they don't resolve to something satisfactory...and won't for the entirety of an opera nearly six hours long. It's this combined with other forms of harmonic suspension that makes the piece so compelling

In the remix proper, the bass note does not move in the opening chords, and the harmony is not as complex. I think a Tristan-esque moment delaying the resolution of the sequence (which occurs on the 4th chord of the piece in the Dark World remix) might have created a more engaging introduction that demans we listen onwards, waiting for the appearance of a tonic chord.

Here, because of the early resolution and resulting repetition of the four chord sequence, it becomes a little stale, as some of the judges have pointed out. The piece as a whole is good, but would be even better with a little more harmonic dexterity borrowed from Wagner (and Richard Strauss later on in the early 20th century, for that matter).

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djpretzel
on 2012-10-10 17:16:02

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

Sources Arranged (1 Song)


Primary Game:
Final Fantasy VI (Square, 1994, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
Songs:
"Dark World"

Tags (7)


Genre:
Classical
Mood:
Dark
Instrumentation:
Brass, Orchestral, Strings
Additional:
Origin > Resubmission
Time > Tempo: Slow

File Information


Name:
Final_Fantasy_6_Dramatic_Dark_World_OC_ReMix.mp3
Size:
4,615,052 bytes
MD5:
cc01c5cc3c5feabd2284edbaadaedafa
Bitrate:
192Kbps
Duration:
3:09

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