Posted 2013-08-12, evaluated by djpretzel

Talk about unexpected... this is definitely one of the more surprising & distinct tracks on Balance and Ruin that I think very few would have seen coming. This Tom Jones Latin lounge rat pack take on 'Blackjack' (I know, right?) marks the debut of Calum Bowen (arrangement, lyrics), with swaggerly, velvet crooning assistance from Jesse "Xarnax42" Deacon on vocals & the deservedly ubiquitous Jeff Ball on violin. Calum writes:

"Having never played FF6, I browsed the OST a little and this track immediately stood out to me as something I could work well with. The chords of the first section were already pretty well rooted in Latin-jazz tradition, so it wasn't a huge leap to re-imagine the rest in this style. Since it's so tricky to pull off with MIDI, an awful lot of effort went into making it as humanised as possible, along with layering a lot of audio along with that - vocals, backing vocals, violin, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, shaker and brushed snare. One of the major influences (and the reference I used when I was on the hunt for singers) was Katamari Damacy's "Que Sera Sera." I also looked to Fantastic Plastic Machine for inspiration on the arrangement and production of modern orchestral Latin-jazz tracks. I hope not to soil anyone's beloved memories with what is a fairly light-hearted vocal rendition especially from a someone who had never played the game! Anyway, I had a total blast making this remix and I hope you enjoy listening to it. Big thanks to Jesse for stepping in and delivering some solid gold vox, Jeff Ball for the lovely violin playing and zircon for organising the album!"

Interesting set of influences & unique approach, to say the least! With a high profile album arranging a legendary game soundtrack, one might be concerned that artists would feel inhibited or inclined to play it a bit safer, but I'm happy & proud that that really didn't happen, and that Balance and Ruin is absolutely in keeping with the site's focus on musical diversity & creativity. This mix is a prime example of that; Xarnax42 adds:

"I'm no professional and am much too inconsistent to be a live lead singer, but I've been looking forward to offering some measure of vocal talent to the community. I've been holding out, too, because of poor recording equipment and environment. I finally decided to give it a shot with the means I have and leave it up to my collaborators to determine whether the quality was up to par. I was very excited to jump on Calum's request as big band/bossa nova is such a fun style to sing. Ironic that it came up when all I had was my laptop and a cheap Samson mic. All of my vocals on this track were recorded in a little office in Afghanistan -- luckily, I had the night shift throughout my deployment, so I could turn off the AC, have the room to myself, and belt my heart out, and got some surprisingly clear results! The collab process was as smooth as I could have hoped. I recorded a few takes, sent them his way, and he always replied with prompt, clear, substantial feedback. The Final Fantasy 6 OST is one of those most near and dear, and I'm thrilled to make my debut as an artist published by OCR on this project. Many thanks to Calum, zircon, and McVaffe, and to everyone who supports and enjoys the album and the community. Enjoy!"

Crazy; Jesse certainly seized an ideal point in time to contribute - this is a great context in which to debut, and it's awesome that he was able to record everything even while on deployment. Jeff's live violin adds an extra dimension of authenticity and depth, and the whole track just resonates as something special - something that only could have happened with the right people, at the right time, for the right reasons. That applies to the overall album as well, as a creative enterprise this large involves nested networks of coordination & creativity, but it's always nice to see new artists not only contributing to & debuting as part of an album, but doing so with style & flair to spare!



Latest 6 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Elex Synn
on 2013-09-02 23:02:04

This is some hot stuff right here.

on 2013-08-20 11:06:38

Haha, fun stuff right here! Throw in some Latin jazz bossa style arrangement over here, some smooth vocals over there, and bam, a fantastic ReMix that excels in the creativity department is born! So good!

on 2013-08-15 18:27:07

Dude this is awesome. OCR bossa nova represent! I love all the quirkly little fills, great attention to detail. I definitely get the Fantastic Plastic Machine vibe. Excellent performances too from Jeff and Jesse; both of you nailed the style and really gave this remix so much personality. What a way to debut on OCR, Calum Jesse, and looking forward to hearing more from both of you!

on 2013-08-13 13:14:41

This is some crazy shit. It falls under the "complete subversion of the original" category of arrangement. Hope to hear more of this stuff.

Mr. L
on 2013-08-12 20:35:25


Congratulations to the both of you! :)

I've been listening to this song over and over again - I've enjoyed it thoroughly. :)

Great lyrics and vocals here! And a great job on arrangement!

on 2013-08-12 15:17:22

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

Tags (1)

Lyrics > Lyrics: Original

File Information

4,801,112 bytes

Babe, it's true,
I've never loved someone as I love you.
You know I'd like to

Find another one
Somewhere in the sun,
But you're the only one
I know I love.

You're the only one,
I know I love you.

Love you,
I miss you all the time.
Love you,
I need to make you mine.

But one thing I know
Is that you're happy now.
All alone,
I shed a tear.

Babe, it's true,
I'll never love someone... I love you.
Although I'd like to

Find another one
Out there in the sun.
You're the only one
I know I... love!


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