ReMix:Final Fantasy VI "Ascension of a Madman" 3:22

By Steffan Andrews

Arranging the music of one song...


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

Posted 2013-07-01, evaluated by djpretzel

IT'S KEFKA TIME!! Steffan Andrews, who was the driving force behind the gargantuan, stylish, and in my opinion definitive mega-collab arrangement of 'One-Winged Angel' on Voices of the Lifestream returns for Balance and Ruin with a very cinematic & sinister take on everyone's favorite lunatic:

"A rearrangement with an attention span as short as the character it pays homage to, this piece takes Kefka's classic theme and weaves it through several divergent styles within the film music vein."

Insert gratuitous nod to Danny Elfman here; while relatively brief, Steffan uses his time wisely & covers a lot of ground, transitioning seamlessly from one tone & tempo to the next by way of deft part-writing and a firm grasp on film cues and everything needed to weave them into a coherent whole. He makes it look effortless, but simply getting from point A to point B, especially when they vary so much, takes a skilled hand and a very visual sense of how music can work, both of which he has. McVaffe writes:

"Kefka is one of the most memorable villains in the Final Fantasy series, so his traits of playfulness, pomp, and insanity had to be carefully incorporated into his musical theme. It's definitely one of the signature songs of the game, and Steffan did an amazing job of arranging that theme into this arrangement. Not only are all of the main parts of the theme fully realized, but in perhaps a nod to an *ahem* other prominant FF villain, Steffan incorporates a chorus into this mix. An unforgettable rendition of an already memorable song."

From the diabolical opening pizzicato to the choral chanting at the first minute, this piece blends the quirkiness of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1'32") with the demonic grandeur of Omen III: The Final Conflict (0'57") and throws in some late-breaking Batman major-key heroicism (2'40") to round things out. At 3'22" that's a LOT of pivoting, but part of the POINT is to convey a certain schizophrenia. It's a credit to the arranger that he was able to communicate lunacy, passion, malice, whimsicality, and power without that schizophrenia derailing the piece. Steffan embraces the madness that is Kefka but never succumbs to it, instead channeling the mental divergence into a fantastic cinematic orchestral ReMix that celebrates a classic video game villain!



Latest 10 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2013-07-20 12:44:40

I was listening to this song on repeat while at work last night because I couldn't get enough of it. This song is simply beautiful, crazy, and energetic. If definitely feels like it could be played within a movie version of this game. (Hopefully it would be animated if one should exist.) Within a contest between Kefka and The Joker, Kefka would pretty much annihilate him in every department, literally and figuratively. This song pretty much cements that notion. Awesome work Steffan Andrews!

on 2013-07-11 14:50:51

This is one of my top... six I think over the whole project? Kefka's theme, with what sounds like influence from the Elfman, big top carnival, and even a bit of wonder. Even catching some of the undertones that the composer from FF Tactics, Hitoshi Sakimoto, likes to use... possibly coincidental, possibly influential, neither would surprise me.

If I ever do a Grand Masquerade Ball set with a Ventian Carnival, I'll be upset that I probably can't set it to this due to SE copyrights. :)

on 2013-07-09 10:23:55

I already reviewed this on my site, but I wanted to post in the forum, too, how amazing I thought it was. On a scale of 1-5, I gave it a 6. It's mind-bogglingly good.

I can't really think of any other words at the moment, so I'll just post what I said on my review:

There are some tracks up to this point that I’ve really enjoyed. Some that I’ve thought were really, really good.

This track… Was F^#ING. AWESOME.

Brilliant. Captures Kefka’s madness perfectly. At a minute-thirty in, it really starts rockin’ and rollin’, and it doesn’t stop until the end. Amazing. Don’t read what I have to say about it any more – just go listen to it. It’s that good. Worth the download just for this track (although others are great, too).

on 2013-07-07 14:35:40

The clown's grand entrance. Malevolent tones that never sit still. A perfect introduction to the madman. :)

on 2013-07-05 18:47:16

This shit is on another level. I can hardly imagine a better way to do this theme

on 2013-07-02 16:45:17

Wow. This may be short, but it does not leave me with the feeling of "something's missing." If they ever make an FFVI movie, this should DEFINITELY be in it.

on 2013-07-02 14:32:47

This is pretty much Kefka in musical form. Switching tempo and general direction of the mix over and over throughout the arrangement while transitioning in a way that doesn't sound cluttered or sudden takes real talent, and you've certainly nailed it here. This is wonderful.

on 2013-07-01 23:00:32

I enjoyed this track a lot. The variations of Kefka's theme really suited the character's nature, hitting the highs and lows of his personality. One of my most listened to tracks from the Kickstarter exclusive Disc 1 preview. Excellent work to all the performers involved.

on 2013-07-01 18:55:43

Tempo changes were smooth and overall flow worked pretty well. Awesome job. =)

on 2013-07-01 12:51:45

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

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