Project Majestic Mix -A Tribute to Nobuo Uematsu- Gold Edition
Project Majestic Mix -A Tribute to Nobuo Uematsu- Gold Edition
May 9, 2002
Buy Used Copy
Who likes remixes of Nobuo Uematsu’s music? Well, here’s a bunch more for you. Project Majestic Mix -A Tribute to Nobuo Uematsu- is an album full of remixes created by various individuals at OverClocked ReMix, VGMix and other mixing sites. The remixes are mainly dedicated to the Final Fantasy series, though there are a couple of dedications to Nobuo Uematsu’s guest compositions on the Front Mission and Chrono series too. Due to KFSS’ crazy marketing approaches, the album was released in a double disc ‘Gold Edition’ and a single disc ‘Silver Edition’, the former obviously featuring more remixes and a higher pricetag. However, most of the bonuses remixes in the ‘Gold Edition’ reviewed here are actually disappointing and superfluous…
The first disc of the album is common to both editions of A Tribute to Nobuo Uematsu with a few modifications here and there. It is by far the best disc on the album and features a number of excellent interpretations. One of the first highlights is the remix of the original Final Fantasy‘s overworld theme by JAXX. Quite contrary to the humble chiptune original, this track quickly developments into a rock piece featuring high-pitched distorted guitars and pronounced drum lines. It catches the peaceful type of music preferred by JAXX while still including that rock element and enhancing the original. Good stuff.
There are plenty of excellent battle theme remixes on the original disc. “Battle with Gilgamesh” is a stunning piece of remixing which definitely makes it one of the best on the album easily. Remixed by Chris Tilton (now a pro), it’s a very upbeat version of the original, but gets just the right feelings across and even manages to integrate a rock organ. “The Man with the Machine Gun” meanwhile offers that anthemic electronic remix of Laguna’s battle theme everyone has long desired. Jan van Valburg is clear familiar with the mainstream sounds used in European clubs back in the day. Granted, it gets a little repetitive, but it’s got a cool beat. The collaborative arrangement of “You’re Not Alone” meanwhile is probably my very favourite on the album. It’s interesting that it adheres exactly to the structure of the original, but enhances every section with contrasting guitar sounds and epic melodic renditions.
Later in the first disc is a pretty good version of Final Fantasy VII‘s “Anxious Heart” by Jan Van Valburg and Stephen Kennedy. It starts with a soft vocal interpretation of the theme and then transitions into a surprisingly upbeat main part from 0:59. At 2:07, the first part of the melody comes in with a little electric guitar passage as a cool add-on, before there is further development thereafter. I must say the best part is after 4:32 when there is an awesome electric guitar solo in conjunction with the melody. The last track on disc one is a “Prelude” remix, arranged by Sean Stone, from the previous track. It starts off tamely like the original with a little beat added in, but soon enough explodes into a series of electric guitar melodies and solos. Only fan arrangers would dare to offer such a radical interpretation of such a traditional tune.
The second disc of the album is exclusive to the limited ‘Gold Edition’ of the album. However, the remixes on the first disc — also featured on the regular ‘Gold Edition’ of the album — are actually far better and there is quite a bit of disappointing material here. “Balamb GARDEN”, for instance, is a decent remix overall but lacks the depth of other remixes. There is pleasant interplay between the acoustic guitar accompaniment and male voice interpreting the main theme, adding a bit of timbral richness not present in the original. However, the result doesn’t quite capture the freshness of the original and is a little too depressing overall. There are plenty of other somewhat disappointing tracks on the disc, though not of them are bad, merely inferior to their originals.
Probably Stephen Kennedy’s best solo arrangement, “Compression of Time” is my favourite track on disc two. Gregorian chants replace the synthesized saxophone motif of the original and the result sounds ten times better. As the remix develops, there is bittersweet interplay between a clean violin interpreting the melody and the backing chants, before everything fades off into surreal nothingness. Moving on to the “One Winged Angel” remix by Randy Brown, it’s a fascinating take on the original due to its use of high-pitched horror strings. These elements, while still obviously synthesized, are a little higher quality than those of other string samples elsewhere on the album. It all adds to the strange and horrifying effect.
There are also some tracks on the second disc that have been remixed more than once. The album opens with an interpretation of “Forever Rachel” using orchestrated instruments and military ipercussion. The remix is rather bland at the introduction and rather anticlimactic at the conclusion, but is still a decent interpretation by Tilton. The sentimental piece is revisited once more at the end of the album — following a giant interpretation of Final Fantasy VI‘s ending theme — in an entirely different trance remix. The way the acoustic original melody are mixed with the generic trance beats is very predictable and uninspiring here. However, the remix is still quite uplifting in places and, even with its lengthy track time, not a complete waste of time.
In summary, Project Majestic Mix -A Tribute to Nobuo Uematsu- is a highly ambitious and mostly accomplished collaborative project from the remix community. Though there is quite a bit of inconsistency in the quality of the remixes, both in terms of intricacy and implementation, there are plenty of very diverse and fresh interpretations to counterbalance this. That said, it may be better to stick to the single disc ‘Silver Edition’ rather than the double disc ‘Gold Edition’. The former retailed for ten dollars less in its original print and, while no longer officially available, can be found at eBay for reasonable prices. The second disc has its moments, but everything in its sounds rushed barring “Compression of Time”, so it is safely skippable. Regardless, one version of the album is a must-buy.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Kie. Last modified on August 1, 2012.