FIGHT THE POWER!! Final Fantasy II: Rebellion, our 51st FREE community arrangement album, is now available at http://rebellion.ocremix.org! Please help us disseminate the message... for great justice!
Almost three years ago, we released Final Fantasy: Random Encounter upon unsuspecting listeners (because it was random, see?), and now director Brandon Strader has made good on his promise to continue mining the musical depths of the original trilogy of NES/Famicom Final Fantasy games with this rebellious & revolutionary follow-up. He writes:
"A great album is the sum of its parts as much as any social movement or revolution is the culmination of efforts from brave individuals. The sheer amount of dedication that went into creating Rebellion will be difficult to properly appreciate; many of the involved artists worked on their music for months. Some of them worked on particular songs for over a year. At the end of this journey, it was the combined vision, talents, and dedication of each artist that created an album with its own personality. A smooth experience that seemingly has its own narrative, from one song to the next.
I'm eternally grateful to the artists that returned to work on Rebellion after the completion of the first album, Random Encounter. I am equally grateful to those who are making their first appearance, and those who have chosen to be on the final album covering Final Fantasy 3. Without your hard work and sacrifice, this album would not have been possible. To the fans - I hope that listening to this album fills you with as much joy as it has given me these past several years.
Thank you for the rebellion, and may our random encounter continue to bring us liberation."
SOMEONE has to start the slow clap, and (especially after such rousing rhetoric) I'd like to give Brandon and the entire Rebellion crew a round of applause for sticking with it & putting together a surprisingly diverse album that maintains the aggressive, metal sensibilities of its predecessor while also branching out into new stylistic avenues. Case in point: we begin today's flood with Jeff Ball's take on the prelude - a glitched, chippy, & trippy affair that opens up beautifully as it progresses. The artist writes:
"The "Prelude" itself is literally just an arpeggiated chord progression, since this was before Uematsu had put any melody with it. So, in this case, all you have to work with is a string of notes, which meant I had to use some creativity. I ended up taking the original arpeggio and mixing up the chords a bit, along with glitching the hell out of it. To this, I added some surrounding melodic material over some beats. Throw in some chord extensions, some live violins, then cook in the oven at 375° for 15 minutes, and you'll get something that sounds like an underwater cityscape. I kinda wanted the remix to be a gradual unfolding into the original chord progression, so you don't actually hear the full string of chords until the violins come in at 2:21, then the real heart of the piece happens at 3:00."
Glitching, chiptunes, & lofi/bit-crushing are all now relatively established aspects of the sonic vernacular in several genres, so the key is not just inclusion, but execution. Jeff does a fantastic job integrating these elements and building his arrangement around the effect they help achieve, and the attention to detail in how each individual sound plays off the others is what makes everything click. Director Brandon Strader writes:
"Jeff, like the other artists involved, is top class both as a musician/composer and as a person. He went above and beyond with this interpretation of the classic "Prelude," providing a nice warm, electronic sound, with some soaring violin melodies later in the song. A true delight and great introduction to an album saturated with more diverse and dynamic compositions."
"I had the chance to meet Jeff at Pax Prime this past year, who as those who know him, is super nice and took the time to introduce me to some other composers and friends. Such a cool vibe here, way to bring it with one of the iconic video game sources. As mentioned in the sub letter, all that's here to work with is basically arpreggiated chords. Jeff really focused on creative processing to bring something unique to them. The live violin parts were a very nice touch that hinted at the melody that Uematsu would later add to the tune in later games."
Well said; truly great, enveloping & transporting stuff from Jeff. Some of you may not know, but Jeff's been doing violin work on the deservedly-loved soundtrack to Steven Universe. Pretty cool, eh? Awesome and very satisfying to see artists from the scene landing great gigs & getting the exposure they deserve.
While FF2 & FF3 were originally released only in Japan, accounting for some international numbering silliness that resulted in FF4 being FF2 and FF6 being FF3 due to FF5 ALSO not being released (long story!), the game has since reached more mainstream global audiences as part of remakes/anthologies, most notably Dawn of Souls for the GBA. We hope you enjoy Final Fantasy II: Rebellion as OCR's tribute to the second in a long series of increasingly-not-final RPGs that changed the world of video games forever and is still going strong today!
on 2015-12-11 12:45:31
Interesting take on that theme. The glitchy stuff is working quite well, even if some stuff felt a bit out of place sometimes. The violin was quite unexpected at first but blends nicely with the rest of the instruments -- it's Jeff Ball after all. Clean production too, even with lots of reverb/synths. A nice relaxing/chill remix here.
on 2015-06-23 11:52:51
The glitchy nature of this mix gives it a very fever-dream/ bizarre mental trip kind of sound, but for something like prelude that doesn't have a whole lot to it at first, this is a great personalization. I love the violin addition. Nice start to the album.
on 2015-06-10 00:47:54
An interpretation best listened to if you're very familiar with Prelude, but within that sphere this arrangement crushes its goal. Echoes to other posters that mention the pulling together of the piece post-2:15. The best thing I can say is that this is truly a refreshing AND great take on Prelude, which is a really hard combo to do!
If the rest of the album has this level of talent, I'm getting it!
on 2015-06-09 13:12:38
I agreed that the initial glitching was a bit too superfluous (I mainly found a problem with this because one of my specialties is glitching), but it started making more sense after 1:20 with the chippy lead. Before then the arpeggio flow felt odd/chaotic/too dissonant to me. Best part was at 2:21. Great job expanding the source harmonies!
on 2015-06-08 17:29:40
This is vibe-tastic. Really great attention to detail. The subtle variations and persistently percolating, glitchy arpeggios are tasteful. Really enjoying those chord subs/extensions as well, they add some great flavor.
on 2015-06-08 14:45:16
Nice! The live violin is a gorgeous touch
on 2015-06-08 03:05:44
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