Military Tune The Album
Military Tune The Album
Square Enix Music
October 1, 2014
Buy at CDJapan
Military Tune The Album is an official Square Enix remix album, containing house remixes of tracks from various Square and Square Enix games done by a number of different artists and DJs. Many of the tracks feel less like remixes of the original tracks, but rather more like new songs that heavily sample those original tracks. Although a number of digital EPs were released prior to the album with remixes in the same style as those of the album, most of those tracks do not appear here on this album.
The album begins with a remix of Chrono Trigger’s “Yearnings of the Wind”. Although house tracks are by nature repetitive with slow builds, right fro the bat this first remix takes that idea a bit far. It takes a full three minutes before anything remotely melodic appears, and nothing that comes before it (beats, bassline, various effects) is remotely attention grabbing. But even that first melodic figure (taken from the end of the original melody) isn’t even a very good one, and it becomes grating quickly. The original melody goes finally make a full appearance a minute later, but it sounds unremarkable here, and then it is gone. Another disappointing remix is Hardfloor’s “Town 01” from Front Mission Alternative. It’s not as energetic or fun as the original, and the track never brings anything worthwhile to the forefront, laying a solid groundwork but never building anything on it.
Other tracks fare much better, like the remixes of Hiroki Kikuta’s Secret of Mana tracks. Two of these, remixed by The KAH, had previously appeared in slightly longer forms on the Military Tune Memories of Mana EP. Their “Fear of the Heavens” remix is quite good, with a neat alternation between triplet and quadruplet figures, and a focus on the original’s melody. Thomas Schumacher also remixes this track later on, taking a bit grittier of a sound. It gets a great new bassline, and it’s great when the melody comes in later on, which Schumacher lets waver a bit in contrast to the rigid accompaniment. I wish it could have been more melodically focused, but it’s still fine otherwise. The KAH’s “The Oracle” remix is unfortunately a bit of a disappointment, as it underuses samples from the fantastic original track, which was already built on sampling. It’s not so bad a track on its own, with a good build to a frantic segment later on, but I can’t hear it without thinking about what the track could have been.
Masashi Hamauzu’s Sigma Harmonics also gets a bit of treatment here with two remixes by Tatsuya Yamashita. “Hope Giving ‘Dance of the Dog’s Howl’” has some female vocal samples throughout, and many flashes of the original. It comes out as a pretty decent track, and Hamauzu’s original instrumentation works well in this context, even sounding pretty interesting at times. “Guidance to the Ultimate ‘Dance of the Moon Spirit’” is similarly strong, and I like the warmer, more mellow feel that the song has in this arrangement.
Noriko Matsueda’s Racing Lagoon also gets representation with two tracks here. The first is “Aoi Kawashima”, which is one of the busier remixes on the album with a lot of prominent synth lines and a few other bits. It’s a fun, lighter feeling track, and I enjoyed hearing it being put together and taken apart throughout its runtime. “TUNESHOP” remixed by Ryoh Mitomi is one of my favourites of the album, with a more subdued feel to its proceedings, having a softer sound but one that nonetheless still comes with a strong groove, and more variation than the other tracks melodically. It’s also great just to see Matsueda’s score get attention, and the tracks here do justice.
The ending three tracks of the album are also quite good. Mijk van Dijk’s remix of Hamauzu’s “SHINTO SHRINE” from Tobal No.1, makes good use of the original’s samples, crafting a unique and funky track that is one of the more intriguing offerings of the album. Elements like the chimes and the vocal sample provide a nice contrast to the bass, and it does quite a lot over its length. Takuya Yamashita also remixes “Route B Staff Roll” from Drag-on Dragoon, which is an interesting choice, given that the original score takes a lot of house influences but sends them through an insanity filter. Here Yamashita takes the string samples and puts them offbeat in contrast to the original, and interestingly pairs them with a vaguely exotic rhythm. When the vocal comes in later, it is completely out of time with the rest of the song, but it suits the track well, resulting in a track that is grounded in the original but feels very fresh. The album closes with “Valiant Dreamer” from Musashiden II Blademaster, ending things on a light note. It’s a bit busier than the original which works in its favour, though even with its shorter running time compared to the rest of the album, it does come across as a bit repetitive.
Military Tune The Album is a decent remix album that gives attention to some lesser scores but mostly just samples the originals rather than giving them full attention. Unlike many other Square Enix remix albums, this one is quite cohesive, each taking up the house electronic style, but this won’t be for everyone. It can easily come across as repetitive or too far removed from the originals. But for those who really enjoy house music this album should be enjoyable enough, and it works nicely as background music for various activities. Few tracks are particularly notable though, and these can be picked off singly from iTunes in most regions.
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Posted on January 27, 2016 by Christopher Huynh. Last modified on January 27, 2016.