"Blue Fields." Who could forget this memorable melody sparking you to action as you first exit Balamb Garden with Squall & co.? This is one of those songs that is permanently etched into my brain due to the countless hours spent grinding on the world map. This whole soundtrack is one of Uematsu's best IMO, but I always liked the sense of mystery and comfort in the repetition of the notes this particular song evoked. I figured the best way to get it out of my head would be to create my own unique interpretation.
I present to you "Wanderlust." This is a wistful piano-centric orchestral arrangement I composed of the song "Blue Fields" from Final Fantasy 8, originally written by my favorite composer Nobuo Uematsu. "Blue Fields" can be heard anytime you are traversing about the world map, and is instantly recognizable, catchy, and just gets you in the mood to jaunt about, explore and adventure around the captivating world of FF8. The version used in the game is much more up-tempo and has a march-like cadence to it.
For my re-interpretation, I wanted to keep with the piano theme, and slow it down into a plodding, gently developing, brooding, contemplative, and introspective piece. To do this, I first recorded the piano part with light reverb.
After that, I duplicated the piano part so it plays twice in succession, as the song itself is fairly short, and I wanted enough time to experiment with it. I wanted to have 2 different variations of the theme to keep it evolving, so for the first part, I focused on orchestral arrangements with countermelodies and soft ambiance. For the second playthrough, I stripped down some of the ambiance and created a 2nd piano part using a mellow grand piano preset on my Kawai ES7 digital piano and added delay and reverb effects. I then just improvised for about 2 hours with the song on a never-ending loop until I came up with something I liked as an accompaniment melody and laid that track down, which I think added a very ethereal, dreamy quality. I purposely didn't follow the exact melody of the song for the second half with the improvised piano, and made it a bit more discordant and harsh.
The song features 44 tracks, including 4 piano live recordings, violins, ambient textures, pizzicato-style strings overlaid on the left hand of the piano to give it that poppy, airy sound like it has in the game... and mostly floaty soundscapes I created messing around with synths and using the wonderful creation engine that is Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2. I impressed myself with my efficiency and somehow recorded, mixed, and mastered this entire song in 3 sessions over 2 days (pretty long 6-8 hour sessions though), a minor miracle for someone who usually agonizes and obsesses over every small detail of the song.
Piano Collections features 8 tracks. Please give it a listen! Starting in January, I will be working on my first original solo album which will infuse piano, chill hop, electronic, and ambient.
As always, thanks for listening. Tell your friends! Hope you enjoy!"
A very deliberate, Zen pacing makes this one for deep contemplation on a rainy day; I'm a big fan of the "solo instrument with minimal accompaniment" approach, and while the piano definitely leads, here, the intoxicating background swirls around & provides both motion and space. Liontamer writes:
"Nice slowdown of the theme with a more pensive style. An arrangement doesn't have to be overcomplicated to work, and I'm fine with a flatter dynamic curve as long as there are dynamic things going on within that narrower range, which this has, IMO.
By 1:12 in, it did drag on first blush if you focus on the main pattern, but other smaller details were going on from the very beginning. At 2:03 with another section of the theme, you hear more pronounced inclusion of gentle SFX, padding, and ornamentation, which helped spice things up along with some part doubling; good subtle stuff there."
My thoughts precisely; this isn't overly elaborate, but every last ingredient has been weighed & measured and everything fits together quite well. Accompaniment is subtle but discernible & transforming, and the overall atmosphere envelops & calms the listener. As Larry wrote, "pensive" is absolutely the right word - beautiful work from Zack!
on 2019-02-15 21:29:36
I really liked this one. I liked the original theme, too, but this made it feel even more relaxed and thoughtful. Bravo!
on 2019-02-15 14:37:27
Oh yes. I always liked how the first few seconds of the source sound open, pure, and calm, and I love how this mix takes that starter vibe and just rolls with it. No hurry - just plenty of reflection while smelling the roses and feeling the light breeze on my skin and being at peace.
The piano also reminds me of the opening to Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind. I can see those giants walking across the burning wasteland right now...
on 2019-02-15 01:39:28
Talk about a song whose depth is greater than its surface!! I really like how the song establishes the melody before letting it become the throughline and quietly bringing your attention to the creative and thoughtful ambience. Give this until 2:15 at least and just listen to what's going around the main chord walk - the more I listened the more I was impressed. Bonus points for the perfect introspective feel; it's like I'm sitting in a high tower on a rainy day, looking out the window. Evocative piece!
on 2019-02-13 19:14:10
Can't review this without comparing it to the same song on the FFVIII piano collections. This is a bit slower than I'd like but I guess it's a bit romantic because of that so if that's your thing, maybe you'd prefer this to the piano collection version
on 2019-02-12 12:49:08
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