Final Fantasy: Random Encounter
Final Fantasy: Random Encounter
June 18, 2012
Download at OverClocked ReMix
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Final Fantasy, OverClocked ReMix released a free remix album, Final Fantasy: Random Encounter. The album boasts two discs worth of content dedicated largely to high octane metal and rock remixes of the first Final Fantasy score composed by Nobuo Uematsu, re-imaged by talented members of the community led by Brandon Strader. Given the premise of the project there aren’t a whole ton of surprises, but nevertheless OverClocked ReMix has delivered an enjoyable revisit to the memorable Final Fantasy score. The album is principally formed by rock and metal remixes, covering nearly every theme of the game (including themes that one would not expect to lend to the style at all). In terms of sound, they are generally well produced and mastered, only perhaps suffering with some weaker synths here and there.
The first disc of the album opens appropriately with the nostalgic “The First Story”, a lengthy mix by BONKERS with great synth work, effective tempo shifts, and some great solo improvisation on the legendary “Prelude” theme. The grit is upped on the heavier “The Beginning of a Legacy (Battle Scene)” by the Dual Dragons with Strader which has a fantastic and dramatic opening. It’s also not very straightforward with its source melody, making it a refreshing and interesting take. Other highlights from the first disc include the dual-guitar shreds of “The Power of Cornelia (Cornelia Castle)” by Knight of the Round, and the multifaceted, ever-shifting rock remix “Roaming…Please Wait (Main Theme, Gurgu Volcano)” also by BONKERS. The second disc starts with the stunning “Sentient Machines (Floating Castle)” by mithius with Strader, which expertly weaves in acoustic elements, creepy chimes, and an ominous choir in with its prog base. Also noteworthy is the uplifting “If I Could Sail the Word (Ship)” by TheoConfidor with Eric Golub which features a bright violin solo, and the mad “Fierce Fairground Fight (Shop, Floating Castle, Menu)” by blackguitar with seamlessly goes between its three themes.
Aside from the rock and metal offerings, the album has a few electronic offerings scattered about which are quite good, and not simply because they stand out from the rest of the album. “Just Passin’ Through (Town)” by Benjamin Briggs has some delightful chiptune elements over well-paced ambient backing, while “The Crumbling Facade (The Ruined Castle)” by Strader featuring halc also throws in some acoustic elements to the mix. Both tracks do a great job at balancing their contrasting elements, and have a unique, pleasant atmosphere. “Onward” is a light electronic comedy track with Josh Whelchel and Ryan C. Connelly that might not fit everyone’s humour, but it certainly has some fun turns. It would be nicer if the lead vocals didn’t double up with the synths most times, but other than that it is fairly solid, having a strong instrumental with good variation. Later there is the completely oddball “Epic Win (Battle Scene, Victory Theme, Main Theme)” by Sir Jordanius which has weird katamari-esque chorus vocals accompanied by some light accompaniment. It might have you scratch your head on the first few listens, but once you’re used to the strangeness of it you might find yourself howling along in victory as well.
The album has several other offerings. Strader contributes “Earthrise (Church, Main Theme)”, which features a small band ensemble and light arrangement. It is a fairly straightforward take on the theme, not being meditative or elaborative, but rather more like a relaxing jam session. He also does “Omerta” which is an slower paced, tribal rendition of “Battle Scene”. The melody does great in hands of guitar and woodwind, while the exotic percussion adds a lot of flavour to the work. “Gurgling Desert Pond (Gurgu Volcano)” by blackguitar is a wild-west influenced rock piece with some interesting keyboard work. The combination doesn’t sound like it should work at times, but somehow it does. It can be a bit jarring beside the bulk of the album, but it’s still enjoyable stuff on its own. It’s also worth it to check out “The Last Story (Ending Theme)” by Knight of the Round with Strader for anyone ever wanted to know how screaming metal vocals would contrast (hilariously and awesomely) with pleasant Final Fantasy melodies. Some of the other tracks can be a bit more generic in their offerings, but they are still mostly polished and deliver on their stylistic promise.
Final Fantasy: Random Encounter is another solid OverClocked ReMix album, with plenty of well made rock and metal covers of the iconic first Final Fantasy score. That sound may not be entirely suited to everyone’s tastes, but there is quite a bit of variation and novelty within the styles across the album so that a few tracks will likely stand out. Aside from those there are a few tracks with completely different electronic and acoustic styles that are also enjoyable and unique. Like OverClocked ReMix’s other albums, this one is available as a free download through their website. Those who backed the Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin Kickstarter were also eligible to receive a physical copy of this album. For the most part the album is nostalgic fun and full of energy, and at no monetary cost it is certainly worth checking out.
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Posted on October 22, 2014 by Christopher Huynh. Last modified on October 22, 2014.