It's been a bit since we featured some Kingdom Hearts, and newcomer Key Jay (Jamaal Ephriam) is here to change that with an epic symphonic/d'n'b hybrid arrangement, from the album Project Kingdom Thirteen (Part 1) - the artist writes:
"The track takes a more up-tempo approach to Roxas's theme, blending elements of both his calm and battle theme together while also introducing original brass and wind section arrangements where, traditionally, the song was mostly comprised of strings and piano. Rhythm also has more of a D&B feel to it as well. Structure-wise, theme C doesn't play till much later in the song (2:22 and then again at 3:45) rather than directly after the iconic theme B (0:32 a.k.a. F, A, E... etc.). I only vaguely touch on theme A in the beginning. Interestingly enough, the arrangement also takes some inspiration from PSO2 and FF13. ENJOY!"
Grand, bombastic orchestral bits pair with piano & more delicate interludes, while an unobtrusive EDM backbone powers everything along. The electronic drums & bass are definitely serviceable, but they mostly function as an engine for the myriad symphonic textures, which are rather superb - in addition to employing strong samples, the sequencing & dynamics are top-notch, making this (at least in my mind) an orchestral mix first, and an EDM mix second. And there ain't nothin wrong with that. Judges actually struggled with this one primarily due to source usage, and the original "glue" that holds things together being relatively extensive. I appreciated Emunator's perspective:
"Source usage seems to be the main point of contention with this vote, and I'm on the side of NutS here. While I don't disagree with Rexy's timestamp, I think it's important to view that in context of the arrangement and not just look at the percentage in a bubble. The usage of source is spread out throughout the entire track (rather than simply bookending long stretches of completely original music) and thus keeps Roxas theme at the forefront. Despite the ample original writing (which is incredibly well executed) it always comes back around. Ultimately, when taken as a whole, this feels like a remix of Roxas theme.
It takes a lot of skill to successfully execute a concept like this on a technical level. If any element here - the realism of the orchestral sequencing, the integration of the electronic percussion, or the overall mixdown - wasn't up to par, this remix would fall flat on its face. Instead, the end result is dynamic, beautiful, and full of memorable one-off moments that demand attention (some of my personal highlights were the initial breakbeat fill at :31, and the piano riff at 2:50 that sounds reminiscent of Clash on the Bridge from FFV.)"
DarkeSword adds simply:
"Otherwise the arrangement is very good. I think source usage is overt enough. Orchestra is well sequenced, big energy but also good dynamics."
Jamaal really did a fantastic job on the symphonic side of things, easily strong enough to stand on its own as a more traditional symphonic/cinematic piece. The beats & electronic flourishes keep the pulse and add variety & energy while not getting in the way of all those lovely woodwind, brass, & string parts. Emunator's right, it's not easy to execute this type of concept, since it requires wielding different toolkits/aesthetics and making them play nice together. Key Jay has done exactly that, making for a memorable, attention-getting, & exciting/enjoyable debut - enjoy!
on 2020-08-07 18:03:31
I love Kingdom Hearts as a series (it's been one of my favorites since 2004) and am happy to see more mixes from the series here (aside from KH1, it's shockingly under-represented). The original theme is one of the best melancholy battle themes out there and this remix certainly does it justice. It almost feels like a Limit Cut fight with Roxas could fit to this. The source is mostly easy to identify and the original material is great and blended masterfully. This is probably one of the better KH remixes on the site too, good job.
on 2020-07-28 13:03:28
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Sources Arranged (2 Songs, 2 Games)
- Primary Game:
Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix (Square
Music by Yoko Shimomura
- "The Other Promise"
- Additional Game:
Kingdom Hearts II (Square
Music by Hikaru Utada,Kaoru Wada,Nobuo Uematsu,Yoko Shimomura
- Time > 4/4 Time Signature
Time > Tempo: Fast
- 7,778,632 bytes
- Size: 7,778,632 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 76e9507b506e0912975ea4d6b66d0432
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