ReMix: Final Fantasy VI "Gobble, Snarf, Snap" 3:36

By XPRTNovice

Arranging the music of one song...

"Phantom Train"

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

Posted 2013-07-01, evaluated by djpretzel

While we posted an excellent FF7 ReMix of Joe's (the dude just likes to whistle, ok?) last year, along with a Theophany Majora's Mask mix he collaborated on, I think Balance and Ruin is the true unveiling of just how brilliant & multitalented he is, at least to OCR's audience-at-large. The album's title could almost be "FF6: Balance and Ruin - XPRTNovice Unchained" - he's got four tracks all to himself and collabs on two others. He also became a father DURING the development of the album (congrats to Mr. & Mrs. Z and welcome to XPRTBaby!), he plays every instrument that was ever invented (only mild hyperbole), and does voice-acting too, as featured in this here ReMix. Balance and Ruin wouldn't have been the same without him; everything he's touched on the album has turned to gold, each contribution is clearly distinct, and his skill as a musician has made his AND others' arrangements really come to life. Can't say enough good things, so I'll stop trying and let him talk:

"This was my second remix I ever really tried on OC ReMix, and the FF6 contest was a great inspiration for me to get going. I kept hearing this wild sort of Caravan Palace remix in my head when I was listening to this, and I thought "Wow, there needs to be more clarinet on OC ReMix." So, I decided to make it happen. When I found out I won the contest, I had no idea what I was in for. Balance and Ruin has been some of the most fun I've ever had musically, and the chance to take my classical training and use my powers for evil has been smugly satisfying. And, of course, there's whistling."

But of course :) He was dead right, too: not enough clarinet on OCR! Perhaps that's because it's one of the more challenging instruments to emulate with enough character and emotion to handle a foreground lead part - there's nothing quite like a live player, and Joe's talents let him go there... he's his OWN sample library. I was also super-excited when I first heard an excerpt from this mix because it's very close to being OCR's first klezmer arrangement; Joe wasn't shooting specifically for that genre, but when you've got a sort of gypsy jazz thing going on and there's a lot of clarinet, you're 90% of the way there, basically. McVaffe concurs:

"Wading through this flood of amazing songs, it's nice to find one that can put a smile on your face within the first few seconds of it playing. Remixing a source track that was meant to convey uneasiness and haunting, this piece is playful from the first few notes - and only takes off from there. The atmospheric opening soon gives way to a fantastic klezmer romp, complete with authentic instrumentals and a bassline that could even get the dead dancing. One of the undeniable gems of the project."

This is one of those mixes where you just sort of marvel at the creativity and wonder how on EARTH it came to be... funeral clarinet ensemble intros over train tracks that turn into a sampled rhythm, almost taking the place of tapping, as acoustic strumming gives way to a nice (recreated!) Young Frankenstein reference before lead clarinet takes over. This isn't just a modicum of isn't a trial edition or a starter package or a light dusting of clarinet; this is a full-fledged smack-in-the-face, god-mode, vault-hunter-edition quantity of clarinet. Injustice rectified, scarcity quelled, thirst fully sated, etc. Suffice it to say, the instrument now has its own championing arrangement, courtesy XPRTNovice, who does a far better job living up to the first half of his pseudonym than the second. The bass writing transitions from oompah to a walking jazz line and back without a hiccup, and the tradeoffs at 2'14" between clarinet and... sampled train... remind me of the tap dancing scene FROM Young Frankenstein, where the ritz was put on (see the film!) The mix is not unlike the matrix, in that you really need to experience it for yourself. With a single arrangement, Joe's infused OCR with a heapin' helpin' of clarinet, at least paved the way for klezmer, and offered up one of Balance and Ruin's most unexpected & delightful arrangements; brilliant.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2015-12-20 17:38:13

Fun arrangement with some neat ideas, like the use of the train samples. My only little nitpick is the sluggish piano at 3:09 - 3:11. Otherwise, great instrumental performances, especially on the clarinet. That ending with the long sustained note was the icing on the cake :D

on 2014-10-31 15:38:30

Ah, a typical XPRTNovice mix with some whistling, clarintet and acoustic guitar. Love how greatly all samples are used here. Most of all the train samples. They create very nice rhythm, accompanied by killer jazz instrumentation, for sure. Cool!

on 2013-08-07 05:42:29

Hah! Yes! Clarinet is underrepresented but this guy is a clarinet wizard. I can't stop listening and hope I can remotely approach his level of skill with the clarinet playing.

on 2013-07-15 02:51:50

Honestly had no idea what I was in for until 0:34. Love how the subdued intro accelerates into some ol' timey modern swing. If there's one thing OCR needs more of, it's swing jazz. The "old speaker"-filtered dialogue added nicely to the old-school atmosphere. And that ending is perfect. Too many songs try to wind down at the end, instead of finishing in such a triumphant climax of a note. Wasn't even a song I was particularly looking forward to, and turned out to be one of my favorites. Good job, dude!

Also, can someone add "swing" to the tags? XPERT's inspiration, Caravan Palace, is electro-swing and while I'm not qualified to speak on klezmer this is definitely swing style.

on 2013-07-08 00:15:19

Been having trouble getting to the rest of the album, because this one seems to be stuck on repeat. So great.

on 2013-07-06 03:34:15

Holy... You are AWESOME!!! I LOVE you...!! I love this genre so much!! I was about to run to the comments to write that it reminded me so much of Caravan Palace, a group I absolutely ADORE but then I saw that it WAS indeed an inspiration!! :)

One of the best remix I've heard in quite some time, months at the very least, maybe even years!

I will follow your career with great interest Mr.XPRT :P

on 2013-07-06 02:56:05
I remember this track from the voting competition from a few months back (or however long ago it was). I have to say, after hearing this track and his Mt. Koltz arrangement on the first disc of the FFVI album, if XPRTNovice wasn't on my radar before, he definitely has my attention now. Awesome job all around.

This...everything I've seen his name on with this project I've loved the track. He's on my radar....

Kenogu Labz
on 2013-07-04 04:03:00

Oh man, I could hear the Caravan Palace influence in there from the beginning. This is one seriously swingin' track!

on 2013-07-02 19:15:22

This jam is SO catchy; it's well recorded, well played, well mixed, well written. I loved it as soon as I heard it. Totally infectious remix and most definitely one of the best out of them all.

on 2013-07-02 14:38:20

Klezmer on the phantom train? Haha, yeah! This is freaking infectious and you just can't help but move around with this one. Great clarinet and amazing production combined, oh man it's just too much fun going on here. Sweet.

on 2013-07-02 11:41:55

Omg, Joe. Just wow. Gypsy jazz, klezmer arrangement with your super expressive and cheeky clarinet lead, and Young Frankenstein all together? I'm in music (and comedy movie) heaven. Performed and produced to your usual level of XPRTise. Nice. :)

on 2013-07-02 04:31:10

This is goddamn amazing. Super-clear production and performance, a foot-tappy rhythm, and some touches of genius like the train-track sample make this an instant classic. Nice one, Joe!

on 2013-07-01 23:17:25

I remember this track from the voting competition from a few months back (or however long ago it was). I have to say, after hearing this track and his Mt. Koltz arrangement on the first disc of the FFVI album, if XPRTNovice wasn't on my radar before, he definitely has my attention now. Awesome job all around.

on 2013-07-01 18:58:26

Quirky track that brings in a lot of fun! :D

on 2013-07-01 18:06:16

This one makes me laugh. XD And I love the rhythm. :3

Most Listened Album Track? I think so n_~

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Final Fantasy VI (Square, 1994, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
"Phantom Train"

Tags (8)

Jazz, Klezmer
Acoustic Guitar, Clarinet, Sound FX, Talking
Lyrics > Lyrics: Existing
Time > Tempo: Fast

File Information

6,173,369 bytes
album cover
Published 2013-07-01
By OverClocked ReMix


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