Posted 2015-09-09, evaluated by djpretzel
We are proud to announce the availability of our 53rd free community arrangement album, Final Fantasy IX: Worlds Apart!!
Let's all take a collective deep breath before we dive in...
YES! IT'S FINALLY HERE!!
Please help us spread the news on social media, tell your friends, shout it from the rooftops, etc. - many years of effort, development, & coordination with our friends at Game-Art-HQ to get some awesome fan art to accompany 58 arrangements from 57 artists has finally resulted in four hours and twenty minutes (woot) of a diverse, multi-faceted, & amazing tribute to one of Nobuo Uematsu's finest soundtracks! Director Cain "Fishy" McCormack took over from original director, Brandon Strader, and saw FF9:WA through to completion:
"Firstly, credit where it is due! This album project was originally started by Brandon Strader, who you might also know as the director of the FFI and FFII albums on OC ReMix. Please do check out those, and all of the other Final Fantasy albums!
As you might have heard, this album has been a long time coming. This is partly because it is humongous, featuring 58 tracks with contributions from 57 artists. Final Fantasy IX has a huge soundtrack (over 120 tracks), and the reason for this is the great number of variations on motifs. There are so many variations that we actually had to limit the number of versions of similar themes. Twice in interviews, Mr. Uematsu has said that the Final Fantasy IX soundtrack is his favourite of the series, and you can definitely tell he got carried away given the depth on display. Even if you don't agree that it's his best, I definitely think it's the most cohesive effort in the series.
One thing you might notice about this album is the amount of new faces (or new at the time) who contributed multiple tracks. This is because they actually joined OC ReMix just for this project because of how much they love FFIX. I'm personally really happy for that to be the case, as I've always thought that you can really hear when people are invested in their tracks. Spotlighting the game music you really love is what we're all about here, and I feel like that is particularly true with this album."
Head on over to http://ff9.ocremix.org to grab the whole enchilada & be sure to let the WHOLE WORLD know how much you enjoy eating said enchilada!!
Before we get started with our initial flood of NINE mixes (on 9/9... see what we're doing? Nein?), it's worth taking a second to talk about how much the VGM arrangement landscape has changed since this album project originated. In a few short years, things have become increasingly commercialized - monetized, packaged, & pushed - and the line between fan art & occupational enterprise considerably blurred. It's mostly a good thing... it's a sign of maturation & widespread appeal that video game music is now a big enough "thing" to be "cashed in" on at all... it does become difficult for our staff & myself to steer a non-commercial, grass-roots ship like OC ReMix through such waters, but I'd like to think we actually helped create this situation, at least in part, through our own evangelism of the art form. I think it's fantastic that in 2015 we can still put out a colossal, beautiful, & inspiring album like Worlds Apart, involving many artists who do plenty of commercial work but who still find the time to contribute to something larger in a free, by-the-fans-for-the-fans setting. It's something different, it's something that wouldn't exist without the support we get from the community and backing via our Patreon, and it's something we're dedicated to ensuring the continued existence of.
We've been carrying a torch for fifteen years, and the release of Worlds Apart reaffirms that its flames still burn as brightly as ever; my thanks to all of those who make it so, through work & through will.
Now let's start with the music, eh? Up first is Joe "XPRTNovice" Zieja, who's been killing it lately OUTSIDE of the music realm by getting some amazing voice acting gigs, moving his family to the West coast, and even getting a book deal. He also does parkour. So how's a multi-instrumentalist, wall-jumping, voice-acting, book-writing family man gonna get this party started, you ask? With some super-classy, utterly atmospheric jazz, that's how:
"Probably the greatest compliment I've ever received as an artist was when I showed this WIP to Fishy and he said "This is jazz as fuck." It happened so long ago that I have no idea how I got involved in this album. It was before FF6 came out, so I'm pretty sure nobody knew who I was yet. I don't know. What I do know is that he was missing "Esto Gaza," and when I listened to it, it was snowy outside (actually, I don't remember, but poetic license, right) and I just felt this really jazzy vibe coming from somewhere. Anyway, I threw a bunch of stuff together and Fishy liked it, but I didn't give him a final WAV until a year later, after I had gotten some better drum VSTs and, what the hell, bought a baritone saxophone, which you can hear debut (nobody has heard me play one before this) in here. Live flute and trumpet and saxes! And don't give me shit about there not being enough trumpet. The title was just too cool to pass up."
Not a whizz-bang, in-your-face, aggressive way to open the floodgates, perhaps, but a highly musical, tasteful, and impeccably mixed & performed arrangement that sets the tone: the FF9 soundtrack is DEEP, and we're only getting started :) The lazy, too-cool-for-school brush + upright bass skeleton of this cut is fleshed out with spiraling, slick sax & piano solo work. Director Fishy writes:
""Esto Gaza" is just calling out for some classy jazz with a soft "j," and XPRTNovice is one classy guy. It's got it all: chill vibes, tickled ivory, and a seriously smooth sax solo. Joe is a very multi-talented guy instrumentally and this really shows it."
Yes it does; it also makes me sadface that I attempted jazz for my own contribution to the album, with nothing but fakey-sounds, but it takes all kinds, and (masochist that I am) I actually like the uncanny valley sound that samples can bring to the table... sometimes. At any rate, none of that here: this is the CANNY valley, and you'll feel like you've walked right into the bar in Casablanca or the film noir setting of your choice. Play it again, Joe? Sounds about right... great stuff from the singular & unflappable XPRTNovice, & a great way to introduce you to the wonderful world of Worlds Apart!!
on 2017-08-02 02:00:40
So smooth and soothing, this is the kind of jazzy sound that you can let soak it and chill to. Production sounds so clear and the amount of depth I can hear in the bass is pretty cool. I feel like I need to crawl into the corner of a dimly lit smokey parlor with a cup of coffee and just relax while listening to this one. Definitely jazzy as fuck, Joe. Well done.
on 2015-12-14 02:53:08
Very jazzy, it could fit a spy/detective movie. The brass is super smooth, and the later vibes fit perfectly too. The execution is excellent, and the production is top notch as well. I only saw it was from Joe/XPRTNovice until the middle of track, and it makes perfect sense -- dude's got some REAL talent for arranging. I liked a lot this one.
on 2015-12-03 14:01:22
Such smooth jazz tracks have always been a great pleasure for me. You just lay down on your sofa, close your eyes and the music completly embraces you. Some killer drumwork + some killer sax playing + no less killer piano accompaniment = such awesomeness. Mad props, Joe!
on 2015-10-07 10:58:04
Was gonna download the full album (I haven't been more excited for a new album in years!) but I haven't the time to get all that awesomeness at once. I still really had to take a listen, and wow this track is lovely! The jazz genre has always been one of my favorites. So full of life and culture and this is just the perfect listen for a good chill out session. One of my favorite submissions of the year
on 2015-09-16 16:49:18
WOW, at 0:45 or so. Don't leave this listen until at least 1:30, where the weaving brass is saucy and smooth. It's not even my style and I find myself blown away at the way the bass and the horns work on what is an eminently recognizable melody - it's simultaneously not changed and an entire different song all at the same time. That point, I think, is what really shows how quality this mix is. Well done.
...Man, who knew that Esto Gaza had a jazz club?!?
on 2015-09-10 01:13:13
I found this to be an arrangement where you were very much in control, and this is some excellent execution.
on 2015-09-09 18:36:50
I can only second what's already been said, it's smooth, classy and laid-back and does its job perfectly. The execution is, in my honest opinion, flawless. I swear I'll be listening to this as winter nights darken, sipping fine whiskey by the hearth.
on 2015-09-09 18:01:32
Yeah, very tasteful, authentic jazz. Bravo sir!
on 2015-09-09 00:03:39
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