Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack Plus
Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack Plus
DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (2nd Edition)
December 6, 2000; October 20, 2004
Buy at CDJapan
Final Fantasy IX is the first Final Fantasy game which holds more than four discs worth of music. To contain all of the music, a separate disc had to be released: the Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack Plus Unlike the four disc Original Soundtrack, Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack Plus mainly holds music from the game’s FMV’s. However, it also holds more than that. With Final Fantasy IX being a tribute to the rest of the Final Fantasies, a few ‘easter eggs’ were put in; and some dealt with music. By finding, recieving, and going to certain places with key items, music from previous Final Fantasy games could be heard (such as the tracks “Kuja 5” and “Doga and Une”). These special tracks are dealt with on the Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack Plus album. Also present are some interesting arrangements of “The Place I’ll Return to Someday,” and it caps off with an arrangement of “Melodies of Life.” Unfortunately for the soundtrack, Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack Plus can be divided into a multitude of categories. While many of these pieces are decent tracks, some are rather repulsive and should not have seen the light of day. For the most part, the first twenty-nine tracks can be considered surprisingly good. Each of these tracks have a feeling of a full orchestra, and there extensive depth is present.
“The Origin of Kuja” and “The Play Begins ~ Brahne Appears” are extremely well-developed. “The Origin of Kuja” uses extensive use of percussion as a basis for the main orchestra melody of Melodies of Life. Accented chords only help to make this piece rather enjoyable to listen to, as does the fragmented arrangement of Melodies of Life. “The Play Beings” marks another attempt by Uematsu to mimic an earlier classical composer. Instead of mimicing Carl Off’s “Carmina Burana,” Uematsu chooses to imitate Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from the Peer Gynt suite, Movement Four. However, instead of making the piece heavy and troll-like like the original, Uematsu chooses to arrange this piece in a rather happy, bouncy format. “The Play Begins” has a rather comedic feel, and it does an effective job of portraying the light-hearted Tantalus troupe. The rest of the twenty-seven pieces in between “Origin of Kuja” and “The Play Begins” all have the same characteristics as listed above: all are full of excitement, enjoyable to listen to, and full orchestration. In all, these twenty-nine pieces are some of the best written, ever. However, not everything is great about the first twenty-nine tracks. Since many of these pieces are part of FMV’s, there tends to be no resolution to the piece. All of the first twenty-nine tracks end on a suspended chord, which, although it works effectively within the game, as a stand-alone it leaves an unresolved feeling. Also, none of the FMV tracks are above 1:20, with many not even breaking the 40 second mark. It is a shame, since many of these pieces could be great works if they were simply continued, but, alas, there can not be too many 4 minute+ long FMV’s. However, it does make for an interesting variety with tracks changing every minute!
Aside from the first half of the soundtrack, the rest varies greatly in style. Unfortunately, many of these are arrangements which simply didn’t work out too well, most specifically tracks 36-38. Each of these are arrangements of “The Place I’ll Return to Someday” — and all sound like alternate versions for “Oeilvert” from the Original Soundtrack. While all three of these tracks are rather annoying at first listen-to, they do have a tendency to grown on ones musical tastes. Each had a style which fits the title; for instance, “Organum” is a heavy organ version of the theme. Other arrangements which just didn’t work out well are “Kuja’s Theme ~ Millenium Version.” In its simplest state, this piece is simply a mix of “Kuja’s Theme” and the percussion part of “Wicked Melody” into one. It isn’t necessarily the greatest idea ever, but it works, kind of. Piano and the accompanying percussion do not agree well with each other, yet it is kind of catchy to listen to. “Dodkade 5” is the most interesting piece on the track; it sounds like a ‘hurry’ theme, similar to “Mystery Sword” from the Original Soundtrack. This piece is not necessarily bad, and the extensive use of a low bass line makes this piece turn out to be more interesting than it really ought to be. While each of these pieces are not exactly pieces to be put highly on a playlist, none of them are horribly bad. Each are merely great variations from what is normally expected from a Final Fantasy soundtrack.
Despite having some pieces of questionable likeability, there are some arrangements which are simply nice. “Rufus’s Welcoming Ceremony ~ Millenium Edition” is a remix of “Rufus’s Welcoming Ceremony” from the Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack, which is played in an ATE. While this ‘newer’ version seems to have been just an upgrade in midi sound for the original, this upgrade has given “Rufus’s Welcoming Ceremony” a much more open, atmospheric sound. Instead of becoming a heavy march, it is much lighter in style, and it seems to suit the theme better than the original Final Fantasy VII version. “Daughter of Madain Sari” is another attempt at crushing two pieces into one. This time, it is “Eiko’s Theme” and “Crossing Those Hills ~ Melodies of Life” (also known as the overworld theme.) Unlike the millenium version of “Kuja’s Theme,” this mix actually works — and it works well. The accompaniment from “Eiko’s Theme” fits the overworld theme well, until the melody from “Eiko’s Theme” enters. No dissonance ever happens, although the effectiveness of having two melodies running at the same time with no harmony can be questioned.
The Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack Plus is a greatly mixed bag. There truly is something for everyone, even the fans who like to do remixes. The first twenty-nine pieces simply make this soundtrack worth buying, but the subsequent pieces only make this soundtrack better. Capping off with “Melodies of Life ~ Silent Mix” is a great way to end this soundtrack, as the clear, tranquil feeling left after listening leaves a warm, wholesome feeling. Despite having its shortcomings, the strengths clearly outweigh the strange pieces. None of these pieces are bad, one just needs to give them a chance to grow and be listened to a few times.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Tetra. Last modified on August 1, 2012.