Posted 2023-05-11, evaluated by Chimpazilla

This bonus disc business on Final Fantasy VIII: SeeDs of Pandora, it's mostly ZackParrish's fault! And he had a pretty handy partner in crime when it came to SeeDs of Pandora usurping the crown for OCR album with the most tracks: LUCAS GUIMARAES, DAMMIT! This guy, I've only known him briefly, and I can already tell you people two things: 1) he's a fun personality and 2) he's a shit-disturber. :-P He helped on a whopping five out of 11 tracks on the Ragnarok bonus disc, and, look what he's gone and done now, Lucas and his cohorts are responsible for reimagining Uematsu's A-tier "Man with the Machine Gun" for string quartet!

A big welcome to sheabutter herself, Shea's Violin, making a quick OCR double-up on featured mixposts via some buttery violin! We get a lot of artists who approach (or stay away from) OCR out of trepidation and reputation, because we're known for a tough acceptance bar and a demand for interpretation of themes over ultra-straightforward covers, so it's always important for us to highlight that there have always been numerous ways for arrangers to hold fast to the VGM melodies we know and love, all while giving them a distinctly personalized flavor. Lucas went above and beyond on that score, and elaborated on how this Laguna tribute track team was quickly assembled and deployed:

"When I initially signed up for this album, there were barely any tracks left. I took what I could. So with the bonus disc emerging to life, I knew that I had to go big or go home: I wanted to take on one of my most beloved songs from the whole OST: "Man with the Machine Gun".

I had the idea of a string quartet. I knew there would be some challenges in this. First, string quartets are hard to do and this would be my first (serious) attempt at one. I also knew that covering such an iconic theme with a new take wouldn't prove easy. I grabbed Shea's Violin, Andrew Steffen from ETHEReal String Orchestra, and Chromatic Apparatus, three of the best string players I know. I looked for feedback on string writing wherever I could, spent a while making the recordings line up (probably to the point of diminishing returns) and more."

From hearing a variety of his works as a judge, one of Lucas's qualities (both a blessing and a curse) is that he's remarkably and blissfully unafraid to try things out. Some experiments have fallen flat, and some have borne amazing fruit. Take a guess what this one is... :-) Learning by doing, making mistakes, and adjusting after feedback accelerates your growth much, much faster than book learnin', theorizing, and analysis paralysis, so kudos to him for the experimentation. Like so many novel tracks from this album -- case in point, we just posted the ranchera valseada piece, "Concédeme Un Momento" -- this one also occupies a unique space as far as FF8 arrangement go. Album co-director Jorito handled the mixing for "Song of the Desperado", desperate to heap credit where it was due onto Lucas and team:

"I ended up mixing this track for Lucas, which mostly meant placing the stems in a space and throwing some decent reverbs on it. Lucas did all the hard work on it. As the only string quartet piece on the album (and one of the very few on OCR in general), this definitely stands out in a good way. Arrangement-wise, I like how it keeps on changing and evolving and uses a lot of different playing styles. And having all the parts played by good performers is definitely a boon!"

Y'all ever see Taylor Blake's viral videos for "Emmanuel, don't do it!" where she lovingly yells at her emu? I literally did that twice while listening to this piece: once at the layered strings handling the melody at 1:48 and AGAIN at the plucks at 3:01. I was yelling things like "YOOOOO, you can't DO that, that's too good" at these straight-up gorgeous moments of musicianship. These folks need to stop! They're liable to put someone in the hospital with a case of uncontrollable smiles. These performers -- Shea, Andrew, and Eric -- are the chef's kiss here, so it's a pleasure to have Shea & Andrew in for their sophomore appearances and Chromatic Apparatus stack mixpost credits like Infinity Stones, all while putting their beautiful stamps on a Final Fantasy franchise classic. :-D People, what does a brother have to do to make ya get the full album? Did you know there's tango in here? Pop? Spaghetti Western? Experimental stuff? Stay tuned, because we're happy to keep planting more "SeeDs" from Final Fantasy VIII: SeeDs of Pandora! ;-)



Latest 3 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2023-05-17 00:59:02

The whole album is filled with so many certified bangers, this one included. I love how many musical styles are represented how unique so many of the tracks are. Anyone can go to youtube and find a million piano/guitar/etc covers of FF songs but this album has found a way to stand out from the pack.

on 2023-05-12 09:36:22

Love that PIZZICATO BREAKDOWN at 3'01"!! I feel like one should be able to walk into any crowded room, in almost any context, and yell "PIZZICATO BREAKDOWN!!" and random folks should pull string instruments out from under tables or wherever and there should be an impromptu pizzicato jam. I am told that in the 1920s people would just shout "CHARLESTON!!" and then everyone would, you know, do the Charleston... so I don't really think this is too much to ask.

Great mix; the "machine gun" in the title often seems to push arrangers towards texturally aggressive electronic/metal treatments, but a good string quartet can conjure quite a bit of suspense, energy, excitement through notes the performance of said notes, and this was that. Smart, but also successful!

on 2023-05-08 11:41:04

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Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Final Fantasy VIII (Square , 1999, PS1)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
"The Man with the Machine Gun"

Tags (12)

Arrangement > Quartet
Origin > Collaboration
Production > Live Instruments

File Information

7,347,598 bytes
album cover
Published 2023-05-08
By OverClocked ReMix


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