ReMix:Final Fantasy VI "Umaro's New Groove" 3:28

By Archangel

Arranging the music of one song...


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

Posted 2014-12-29, evaluated by djpretzel

Archangel's LAST posted mix was a cartoonesque orchestral album cut (from DKC3:DTT!), and it's time to wash-rinse-repeat with another arrangement in a somewhat similar vein, from B&R. No one else is really doing mixes in this style, and I'm grateful & thrilled that he continues exploring the more playful side of what this type of instrumentation is capable of.

"Greetings, almighty primarchs! This arrangement was heavily inspired by various cartoon soundtracks, especially John Debney's soundtrack for The Emperor's New Groove (hence the track title). I've been watching a lot of cartoons with my little nephew lately, so it seemed like a natural choice of genre for Umaro's theme, which is pretty goofy compared to the bulk of the Final Fantasy VI soundtrack.

I arranged the theme so that the remix follows a little story. Umaro wanders through his empty caves, alone and bored. His only comfort is his vast collection of bones and rocks, which he uses to make music (hence the percussive emphasis in the song). He has even designed a series of pulleys and ropes that allows him to play a whole number of different drums at once. He can just take a walk through the cave and casually murmur or tap the percussion along the way to entertain himself. He also likes to do a little samba jig now and then.

Then, one day, he hears voices coming through the tunnels (1:52). It's been a while since anyone has been in his caves, so he becomes suspicious and decides to find out where the noise is coming from. He moves through the caves in a mock-James-Bond/Mission-Impossible manner, dramatically jumping off rocks and skulking stealthily along the cavern walls, until he finally runs into Mog and the rest of the Final Fantasy VI gang (2:33). Mog says: "There you are! You're coming with us, kupo! We need your help!" Umaro readily accepts his new mission, relieved and glad to finally have a good reason to leave his caves and be a little more active for a change. With his new groove and a renewed sense of purpose, he is more than ready to kick Kefka's butt. Enjoy the track!"

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BASS...OON. Faint echoes of "Peter and the Wolf" in addition to the stated inspiration, with PLENTY of emphasis on varied solo woodwind part-writing, chromatic percussion, AND hand percussion. Absolutely love every bit of it; it's a treat to hear all of these instruments given center stage, as opposed to the accompanying parts they usually find themselves filling in many arrangements. Jaka Čibej: Liberator of Non-Brass/String Orchestral Instrumentation? Nah, that's too long... "Archangel" works just fine :) Larry writes:

"Excellent! Another great one for the PC ReMix initiative. ;-D OK, maybe NOT that, but still excellent. I loved Jaka's thorough and informative description of the imagery behind this piece, and can dream of actually seeing it used in an animated romp based on the FF6 characters. Props for style points in the nod to Debney's work; it's nothing but a hit as far as the quirky and playful film score vibe. Please keep making musics forever, Archangel. [sic] :-)"

Part of the reason we may not hear as much exposed woodwind part-writing is due to sample quality, but another contributing factor is probably just plain old difficulty; Jaka certainly checks the first box, and deftly overcomes the second challenge with confident, graceful solo parts brimming with character & expression. I think I've heard so much (excellent!) epic and/or dark orchestral work on OCR that focuses primarily on strings and brass that I'd almost forgotten that this sort of approach is even an option, which is silly... but at least partially true. Thanks to Archangel for another appreciated, sublime reminder of the wider world of orchestral music!



Latest 12 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2017-06-12 09:17:32

Hey there! I can't believe that no one has mentioned in this thread the word bassoon, or better, CONTRABASSOON! It represents Umaro himself and is the main character in this piece. As someone who's played bassoon for many years, I was absolutely delighted to hear the lowest member of the woodwind family featured so prominently and so playfully - wonderful! It just shows the breadth of character and expression this instrument is capable of.

Now what I really want to know, however, is whether this was a live contrabassoon performance or not. I can't imagine this being done digitally, though I am not a composer or mixer - just a player - so I really have little concept of what is possible these days. It sounds very authentic. But whether it is live or synthesized, I'm impressed either way. Bravo!


on 2015-12-18 10:59:13

Haha, what a cute arrangement :D I actually like XPRTNovice's jazzy jam a bit more, but this is an interesting way to tackle the original as well. Love the playful nature of this track - sounds something like from Tom Jerry. Excellent track :)

on 2015-12-12 09:09:21

Wow, this is excellent. Reminds me a lot of Joe/XPRTNovice's stuff. The choice of instruments is on spot, and the performance is excellent. Very interesting way to arrange this track, but it fits it very well. It even has a little adventurous vibe to it. I enjoyed it a lot, and I hope to hear more stuff like this in the future. :D

OverClocked PodCast
on 2015-01-12 20:01:04

This whole "scoring a cartoon" idea is good, goofy fun. It's not something I would often listen to on its own, but sitting down and imagine the animation is pretty darn neat!

on 2015-01-11 14:42:43

I love this mix. It was one of my favorite interpretations from the album; totally unique.

The Orichalcon
on 2015-01-11 03:59:43

Love it. Reminds me of the Mutato Muzika style.

on 2015-01-10 14:40:06

Man, Archangel, you really know how to work a cartoonish arrangement. This is excellent. Digging the story behind the mix and I can totally picture it in my end along with the music. Sounds like ripe pickings for someone to animate, I'd say. Playful, silly and all around fun, everything you could ask for in a ReMix like this one.

on 2014-12-31 18:40:38

The info page says this track was featured in the Balance and Ruin album, but I've got the album and this song is not included. Am I missing something?

Great mix though. :)

on 2014-12-31 02:26:12

Haha, this track is just silly. Well, and pretty excellent too. This is one of the more interpretive OC ReMixes I've heard to date, and this is such a creative and transformative take on Umaro! Didn't anticipate it, but definitely one for the record books.

on 2014-12-31 02:11:39

Good to see the woodwinds gettin' some love! I was talking to a friend of mine just the other day about orchestral music and he's like "Nobody cares about woodwinds anymore".

At least we know Archangel still does. Great work!

on 2014-12-31 02:07:37

Ok, so I admit that my expectations for this remix (an odd take on a source tune I didn't particularly love?) did not necessarily give me the warm fuzzies. I hit play and decided to give it a minute... which was good enough to try a second minute... which I loved and wanted to hear more... and by the end I was just floored. The description that goes with the music really is perfect - a must read - and the unique and singular nature of the dance of instruments and fun, not-too-serious vibe was a SMASHING success. Really unique and special - give this mix a listen!!!

on 2014-12-30 09:31:37

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 (4)

Chromatic Percussion,Orchestral

File Information

6,049,277 bytes


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