ReMix:Final Fantasy II "Imperial Rapture" 6:14

By IanFitC

Arranging the music of one song...

"Battle Scene 2"

Primary Game: Final Fantasy II (Square , 1988, NES), music by Nobuo Uematsu

Posted 2015-06-18, evaluated by the judges panel

Another new face on Rebellion is IanFitC (Ian Fraser), who contributed a hulking behemoth of a metal arrangement that opens with a sick drum cadence & grows from there:

"This track is a culmination of a huge melting pot of influences. Because it's due to appear on a predominantly metal album, I wanted a sludgy and powerful vibe akin to Alice in Chains and Gojira, but with the production sensibilities of someone like Dimmu Borgir or Devin Townsend and a little of Finntroll/Moonsorrow's arranging flair.

I also wanted to explore and develop the source to see if I could take it to some weird places, initially notating themes and chord patterns to look at the relationships and arcs within melodies. This is almost a response to the verbatim metal mixes that crop up all over the place. As such, I've treated the themes in a similar context as to which a classical arranger might, but fitting it into a heavy metal context. To this extent, I have focused on a theme in the source moreso than others, purely because of the relationship between the first few notes really opened up loads of possibilities for me in this mix, with regards to brewing a stormy disposition and creating almost a mantric tension. I also wanted to explore using some different time signatures in this piece to see if I could create a constant flow that didn't present itself as disjointed or fractured.

I realise that I might have taken too many liberties with my developments of the source material, and I made a point to add some more recognisable parts to combat this, allowing each theme and section in the source to make an appearance in the piece. I often doubled important themes and gestures with synths and orchestral instruments in an attempt to bring them to prominence.

I really enjoyed working on this mix. It allowed me to work in some areas I don't normally get the chance to in my band, and to try out some things I would normally discount. With help from Brandon and BONKERS, I managed to clear up a lot of gloop that was really holding this mix back initially, and ultimately learned a lot about EQ balances between instruments. At the very least, I hope you enjoy it!"

First off, I'd like to give Ian some serious props just for thinking about his arrangement and the line between liberal/conservative interpretation as much as he did; this is exactly the type of conversation I think arrangers should be having with themselves. For every last mix? Maybe not... but I don't think it can hurt too much to consider where your piece falls on the spectrum of deviation/interpretation and whether it's where YOU think it should be. OCR does have its own ideas on this topic - basically, we reject both extremes ("near verbatim" and "unrecognizable") - but the artist's own compass should always come first. Right then... this mix has a dark dread to it that's very sinister, and Ian's been very creative in incorporating the source in some unorthodox ways and building original material in & around it. Larry disagreed with the amount of source usage and did not approve:

"I caught whiffs here and there, but what's there ultimately felt too liberal and overly simplified to the point of not enough overt recognizability compared to the source. Palpable mentioned something I also heard, which were a lot of instances of using, say, the first two notes of a pattern, then drastically altering what came after it. Just a lot of liberal, seemingly original writing that had vague similarities to the source, but that was it."

So it didn't pass Larry's stopwatch-based sniff test, but I think Emunator accurately conveyed the majority sentiment:

"Man, this caught me by surprise. It's rare that we hear from a newcomer with this solid production/arrangement chops, but you've definitely got them. This mix features a very unique flavor of metal that I haven't really heard before... the clean guitar breakdowns, the unique drum tone, and scattered orchestral elements demonstrate a lot of creativity in pushing your arrangement beyond the typical metal template that gets used so much. This track was extremely refreshing to me as a listener.

Source usage is tricky here, but the liberal approach seems to be very deliberate, and not simply the result of negligent arranging. It toes the line, but after many side-by-side comparisons I feel comfortable signing off on this. Great track!!"

Enjoyment of this track as a creative, brootal, and interesting piece of music is basically a no-brainer, but whether you enjoy it as an arrangement of the source is going to hinge on how you feel about liberal arrangements and "connecting the dots" - as Wes says, it's clear that the artist has considered this, and he could certainly make the judges' lives a bit easier with future submissions (which we'd love to see!), but he's also not under any obligation to do so. This is a major part of WHY we have a judges panel - to look at arrangements that operate on the far ends of the spectrum and see what we think. Kudos to Ian for making the cut & for putting together a hell of a debut - great stuff!



Latest 5 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2015-12-11 12:43:03

Hum, that drum solo at the beginning is nice. The overall production is clean. I really like where this is going: blast beats and then harpischord and strings? That's interesting! Some parts reminded me of the Binding of Isaac: Rebirth soundtrack (which I love). I liked the quieter parts too, with the cleaner guitars. Excellent and polished work. :)

on 2015-07-17 13:44:25

Cheers guys!

I've got a few more coming on the FF9 album, and they're generally more conservative overall.

Thanks for the feedback too - I appreciate it!

on 2015-07-16 14:32:29

The source was definitely there in one way or another later on, and with plenty of interpretation to boot, this is a fine liberal ReMix. The key thing is how clean it sounds. Excellent production, smart writing choices and keeping things brutally metal while changing the tempo or the emphasis on where the drums and guitar hit make this an enjoyable mix. Well done, looking forward to hearing more.

on 2015-06-19 23:43:06

Ok, after listening to this I do see the judges' argument; there are times that it is tough to pick out the original source, and the mix does keep you off-balance. But after an initial minute, this thing starts hitting all levels of awesome. 2:15-3:00 is especially great (and recognizable), and I am majorly impressed with the different feel and emotions the artist was able to create; the fadeout and quiet of 3:42-4:05 with the single, faint, high screech behind was FABULOUS, reminiscent of Doom and some downright eerie metal writing. Goes to prove that you need not blow out ear drums all the time to really grab the listener - well done!!

Overall, I was quite impressed. Yes, maybe the first minute and late 4's are a little varied off the original, but I have to say that the interest, sheer range of quality in the mix, and those amazing sections are so worth the listen! Grab and enjoy something different than a simple metal verison of this source - this one is complex and thoughtfully dangerous.

on 2015-06-18 11:05:07

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Final Fantasy II (Square , 1988, NES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
"Battle Scene 2"

Tags (8)

Electric Guitar,Strings,Synth
Time > Duration: Long
Time > Time Signature: Variable

File Information

11,014,875 bytes


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