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Final Fantasy: Random Encounter


Tracklist

Disc 1

01 The First Story (Prelude) 6:20
02 The Beginning of a Legacy (Battle Scene) 4:43
03 The Power of Cornelia (Cornelia Castle) 3:40
04 Requiem for a Dying World (Dead Music) 4:03
05 Onward (The Travelin' Song) [Town] 4:15
06 Earthrise (Church, Main Theme) 3:39
07 Epic Win (Battle Scene, Victory, Main Theme) 2:49
08 The Crawl (Dungeon) 3:23
09 Roaming... Please Wait (Main Theme, Gurgu Volcano) 5:41
10 Just Passing Through (Town) 3:50
11 The Crumbling Facade (The Ruined Castle) 3:31
Disc length 45:54
Disc 2

01 Sentient Machines (Floating Castle) 10:00
02 Secrets Abound (Matoya's Cave) 3:12
03 The White Rider (Airship) 3:30
04 Gurgling Desert Pond (Gurgu Volcano) 2:29
05 Omerta (Battle Scene) 4:19
06 If I Could Sail the World (Ship) 3:55
07 Dance of Descent (Underwater Temple, Gurgu Volcano, Chaos Temple, Menu Screen, Ending Theme, Main Theme, Town, Opening Theme, Save Music) 6:18
08 The Caerulean Ruins (Chaos Temple) 3:30
09 Fierce Fairground Fight (Shop, Floating Castle, Menu Screen) 5:43
10 The Last Story (Ending Theme) 3:29
Disc length 46:25

Album Stats

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Rated 3.56 by 8 people
Contained in 12 collections
Contained in 1 wish lists
Category
Game
Platforms represented
NES (Famicom), Nintendo Game Boy Advance

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Notes

Kickstarter backer reward for those who pledged at least 50 USD to the funding drive of Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin.

Notes from Parent Album:
Final Fantasy: Random Encounter
Comments from album director Brandon Strader and ReMixers
Album freely available at http://encounter.ocremix.org

Twenty-five years ago, two babies were born. One of them was Final Fantasy, which was released by Square in December 1987. The other baby was me, Brandon Strader, who, in the most metal of fashions, was not merely born, but sliced from my mother's womb. Both of these babies were intended to be the last. In the case of Final Fantasy, however, many more followed as a result of the massive success of the first game... but that's another story.

For the last two years, a group of brothers united in metal worked together to create the most brutal album to ever grace the halls of OverClocked ReMix. We are now honored to present Final Fantasy: Random Encounter on the 25th anniversary of Final Fantasy.

This album is the result of three things: 1) an immense love for Nobuo Uematsu and his work, 2) an immense love for metal, and 3) the kind of comraderie that only the most grim and frostbitten of metalheads will ever know. Words can't express the level of gratitude I have for everyone who helped this album become what it is today, and who continue to support the successive albums for Final Fantasy II and III. A huge thanks is owed to every musician who performed for this album in any way, Edward Dennis who created mind-blowingly good artwork for the album, Donald and The Shizz for hosting our project discussion during the development phases, and last but not least OverClocked ReMix and its staff for their hard work and for helping us release the album on OC ReMix.

We're very happy with this album, and I personally consider most of these remixes to be the definitive fan-remix versions of these classic songs. Random Encounter was given to Nobuo Uematsu as a gift at MAGFest X in 2012. To meet the man who composed the music of our childhood, and give him our tribute, was a great honor for all of us. We hope you enjoy Final Fantasy: Random Encounter, and await the sequel -- Final Fantasy II -- with bated breath.

- Brandon Strader

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1-01. BONKERS - "The First Story"
Source: "Prelude"

Brandon Strader: BONKERS surprised me with his overly heavy take on the "Prelude." He took a very broad idea and made something truly remarkable for the introduction of the album. He allowed me to name his song "The First Story," after Knight of the Round allowed me to name his song "The Last Story." Thanks, guys! The classy new solo sections he added for this final version show how great Nick is at arrangement and performance.

BONKERS: Oh, lord. I could talk about this song for hours. (Not that'd I'd want to.) There is so much that went in to making this song: First, the inspiration given to me by my ever gracious and incredibly patient director, Mr. Brandon Strader. His exact words were: "I was just thinking about the 'Prelude'... that old 'Prelude'... it's been done so many ways by so many people. I think the next logical step is to do the 'Prelude' in the style of 'End of Heartache' by Killswitch Engage, minus vocals. Tell me that wouldn't be simply awesome. If anyone thinks they can do this, let me know."

And that sparked immediate inspiration. Of course, I had no idea how long the road would be developing the song even when it ended up nothing like "End of Heartache" at all! The day-to-day discussions on The Shizz sparked new ideas and new things added into the song at somewhat random intervals. Quality of the track was so suspect the song was completely re-recorded about 4 times and completely done again from scratch 3 times over the course of the last year. (The current version, the one you are hearing, was completely remade from scratch over the course of a few weeks due to my last project file being unsalvageable.)

Initially, song structure was a no-brainer to figure out. It was fairly straightforward (which, in my book, is the farthest thing from an issue -- a lot of game music itself is just a few sections looped with variations and breaks here and there, anyway) and it stayed that way until this past month. I will admit I was not happy with the fact that the music was repetitive was a huge issue for submission, but I overcame that and the 2 new sections of music (both of which were inspired by various offical "Preludes," the Final Fantasy XIV prelude in particular, as well as well as making varitions based on physical limitation to certain instruments and for breaks from the standard pattern as well) added to the song (making the total length 6:20, YUCK) ended up being GORGEOUS and I love them and I hope the average listener does as well.

Techinically speaking, this song has been a nightmare as I previously indicate. I concede that I think my ONE single piece of audio equipment, a Line 6 GuitarPort, is partly to blame. The thing has issues out the wazoo, from randomly crashing ASIO drivers (during long work sessions on the song, making me lose sometimes 6+ hours of work) that require restarts to RANDOM HEAVILY DISTORTED AUDIO (Insert "FFFFFFFFFUuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu" here).

And this was an issue from the PC I initially started working on the song with: an LGA775 Pentium 4 Single-core CPU @ 3.2GHz with HT, 2.7GB of DDR1 RAM (all sticks but 2 were different speeds, YAY), EVGA 8600 GT bottlenecked by some cheap PSU Gateway put in the PC when it was bought in 2004 and a monitor using 1152 x 864 as a display resolution...

...to the PC I built this past January that I finished the song with: an LGA1366 Core i7-950 Quad-core CPU @ 4.2GHz, 6GB DDR3 RAM running at 1600MHz, EVGA GTX 460 and running a nice new monitor with a resolution of 1600 x 900. (Some will say this is a low resolution, but it is perfect for me. 16:9 aspect also allowed me to be able to see more tracks horizonitally).

Then there is REAPER, a dandy little DAW I've been running the Evaluation version of for 4 years. Much of my agony, despair, and joy on this song has come from this little piece of software. Why, even just 4 or 5 days ago, I had worked for 3 hours making changes to the song, when around 6 a.m. in the morning I decide, "HM, I DUN LIEK DIS TAKE" like normal, so I hit CRTL+Z to undo it and then I get a prompt from another VSTi sayin "LOL PHYSICAL MEMORY IS LOW, EVEN DO IT AINT, HIT TO CONTINUE LOADIN." I didn't think much of it, so I hit yes and it undoes... EVERYTHING from the past 3 hours. I PANIC for whatever reason and hit the SAVE BUTTON... Do you see what I did wrong?
I was quite very depressed about the matter, almost at the point of giving up and not finishing the song. I spent the next day self-loathing, of course, until I decided, "You know what, I'm tired of working on this! I want it to be done. SO IMMA GO AYA STYLE (Aya Hirano, the meaning being doing/putting something/on backwards, since I do all my work during the night instead of the day) ON THIS HOE."

The rest is history at this point. I'm very, very pleased with how it has turned out. Things have changed a LOT since the first version of the song finished about a year ago. But in the end, it was for the better and I've forced myself to learn and think of new ways of doing things because of people's criticisms (doesn't mean I liked having to do dem changes!). And for that I am ultimately, equally both grateful and jaded, LOL.

Also, for anyone who might be curious, here is the list of the VST software (one keyboard, bass and electric guitar) I used in making the final version of the song. (It also ended up being 36 tracks, some are muted and unused so the actual number is just slightly less.)

• Poulin HyBrit Full Stack
• LePou LeGion (from same maker as above)
• keFIR
• ReaComp
• ReaEQ
• ReaGate
• Voxengo SPAN
• Voxengo Analogflux Tapebus
• Voxengo Analogflux Chrous
• Voxengo Analogflux TapeDelay
• Recabinet 1/2
• free impulses from GuitarAmpModeling.com
• AmpliTube Metal
• Cockos REAPER
• Panipulator
• Ampeg SVX
• PSG (g200kg)
• PRO-53
• Kontakt 3
• Miroslav Philharmonik
• Minimoog V
• EZD Drummer w/DFH Expansion
• EWQLSO Gold
• SampleTank 2
• SynthFont
• T-RackS EQ 1.x
• T-RackS 3
• ST 2008
• Wavestation
• Legacy Cell
• ARP 2600 V 2
• VintageWarmer
• Suzuki SP-37
• Gibson Les Paul Smartwood Studio Series 2001
• Ibanez Soundgear GSR200

I hope you all enjoy the song, it was a real special experience working on this song for me. Cheers.

1-02. The Dual Dragons feat. Brandon Strader - "The Beginning of a Legacy"
Source: "Battle Scene"

Brandon Strader: The Dual Dragons were the first to turn in a finished song. Later on, they updated their song with more instrumentation, including importing some live bass from me and letting me master the track. They're both pretty cool guys; Dan in particular is quite hilarious. They continue to surprise me with the diversity of their music.

The Dual Dragons: The Dual Dragons: We've been big Nobuo and FF fans since the SNES era and we've played just about every game released. Making this battle track, which was one of his first battle tracks ever made, has been an honor. Remembering the day when a Black Mage pulled us into a black hole and threatened us, that if we didn't metalify his poser tune, he'd cast fire to burn our long hair off... The choice was then an easy one, and the tune was made. The mage has now got a big evil smile on his face and, as he casts fire on his next victim, he is banging to this tune.

We approached this tune with fresh minds, trying to step away from the cliche take on battle tracks... leaning more towards eerie prog metal vibes. Building danger throughout the battle instead of introducing a threat as constantly staying on the same level. Here, the battle starts off very focused, trying to control everything, then everything goes out of hand (due to party members dying, enemies having secret trump cards, etc.).

Anyways, enjoy!

1-03. Knight of the Round - "The Power of Cornelia"
Source: "Cornelia Castle"

Brandon Strader: I had actually found Justin Taylor through OverClocked ReMix, despite the fact that he was not a member of the site at the time. I found him when he mentioned his Final Fantasy metal band Knight of the Round in an OCR Facebook post, and discovered that his very heavy renditions of Final Fantasy themes were mind-blowing. It's a huge honor to have him on the album, and a heavier presence for OC ReMix. I hope to hear a lot more mixes from Justin on OC ReMix -- he's got a massive, unique sound that people will always be surprised by. /trollface

Knight of the Round: When I was first deciding what song to claim for this project, it only took me one listen through the OST to decide on "Cornelia Castle." I immediately thought to remix this into more of a power metal-based song.

I went for a more power metal approach for this remix, given that the source is super-duper epic. I couldn't resist adding a polyrhythmic breakdown to the end, however. :-D Remixing this song was pretty difficult, because the source is only 19 seconds long. Fortunately, the source has 2 melodies playing over each other, so I was able to break these up into 2 parts. For the rest of the song, I wrote some riffs using the same scale and/or chord structure.

Guitars were recorded with an 8-string guitar (tuned to dropped Eb) being played through an ENGL Fireball 60W head, into 2 VHT Fatbottom 4x12 cabinets (one with P50E's and one with V30's), mic'd with a Shure SM57 and an Audix i5, in addition to running a clean track through a Marshall amp sim in Line6 POD Farm. Bass was recorded direct through Line6 POD Farm. Drums were programmed via SD 2.0 through Sony Acid, then the snare and kick were replaced with Steven Slate Trigger. I used Izotope Ozone3 for mastering.

Hope you guys enjoy this!

1-04. Brandon Strader, Chernabogue - "Requiem for a Dying World"
Source: "Dead Music"

Brandon Strader: Chernabogue was recruited for the album at OC ReMix. He seems to be at the stage where he is learning new tricks, and refining his craft. He made an arrangement for "Dead Music" that was perfect. I dove at the opportunity to collab with him on it! I slowed it down a lot (emphasis: A LOT), slapped in a bunch of LASS, and recorded live guitars and bass. He did an incredible job on the arrangement. I often think of Ozzy's "Mr Crowley" when hearing this mix. Took a heck of a time to pass this song, my fault entirely.

Chernabogue: I joined the FF1 project, though I was not as good as other metalheads involved. I first wanted to do "Victory" fanfare, but it was already claimed, so I decided to do "Dead Music." The source is simple but very effective. An organ/guitar duet was a pretty obvious thing to do. I did all the arrangement and Brandon recorded the guitars and bass for the track. He opted for Mellotrons instead of organ, slowed down the track a bit and the result was incredible! The final recordings and production were done on New Year's Day (and according to him, M. Strader was drunk).

Brandon Strader: W-what? Noooo! I... I wasn't drunk! *shifty eyes* Also, hey, a Mellotron organ is still an organ. I took out all the Mellotrons and replaced them with scoring strings later, too. I'm funny like that.

1-05. Josh Whelchel feat. Ryan C. Connelly - "Onward (The Travelin' Song)"
Source: "Town"

Brandon Strader: I asked Josh to join the project fairly late, so he didn't have much time to make a song considering his schedule. But he worked very hard between September 2010 and April 2011 to finish this amazing track. With the help of classically trained vocalist Ryan C. Connelly, they put together a modern brutal metal anthem. The brutal grunts of "Gimme F" are classic. The beats are awesome, and the dialogue between the two artists is fun and whimsical.

Josh Whelchel: Final! Fantasy! Adventure! Chocobos! Towns! Travelers! Chests!

After Ryan and I got together for the NiGHTS project, it was apparent we needed to do more. So we did this. There are 14 F's by the way, if anyone was counting.

1-06. Brandon Strader - "Earthrise"
Sources: "Church" (Dawn of Souls), "Main Theme"

Brandon Strader: I really enjoyed making this song. I made it in about 4 or 5 hours after Benjamin "Birdo Egg Shooter" Briggs dropped "Church" because he didn't like it. Yeah, Benjamin "The Button" Briggs, or as djp nicely called him, BB, dropped "Church." This song wouldn't exist if he had finished. :3 It's a type of laid-back acoustic ballad that pushes forward with a type of subtle beauty that is unobtrusive... probably one of my favorite genres to work in.

As you may have seen in the album preview video on YouTube, Benjamin Briggs (then known as chthonic) produced a minute WIP of "Church" for the project. I really enjoyed his WIP and kept bugging him to finish it. He ultimately dropped the song, however, and picked up "Town" as a replacement. This made me very sad and I threatened him with the dissolvement of our friendship. I couldn't stay mad at him and he didn't care either way, so I instead decided to create my own take on the "Church" theme from Dawn of Souls, drawing from chthonic's WIP as some inital inspiration. There was also inspiration -- for the intro of the song and its title in particular -- from the band Camel, and their brilliant 1974 album, Mirage.

The song took about 5 hours from start to finish, not including tweaks and production fixes in the days that followed. I started with "Church," discovered that the first part of "Main Theme" used the same key progression (C Major, G Major, D Minor, A Minor) so I threw on "Main Theme" for the ending. It's a laid-back and heartwarming song, I think, especially with the later cameo of "Main Theme," and the ending nod to Dream Theater.

0:00-0:36 - Organ fade-in intro, the source melody begins to play with max reverb then fades in volume until the reverb lowers to a normal amount and the volume is normalized.
0:36-1:33 - Main melody/key progression from the source plays twice, second time with accompanying Mellotron choir (much love for the Mellotrons).
1:34-2:09 - The second part of the "Church" source, I had some trouble picking out the chords here, but you can hear the source prominently played on the piano. Much love for the Mellotron strings. <3
2:10-END - Song finishes off with the lead melody and chord progression from "Main Theme," and ends with solo piano/bass of "Main Theme," with a tiny nod towards Dream Theater in the final couple notes.

There's no "blistering solo section," but I really love this kind of laid-back bluesy vibe, and it's not meant to jump out and stab you in the face with its movements. I think it's very lovely, the middle section is a bit dark due to the chord changes, but I've always liked the darker parts, especially in ballads, to stir that type of emotion in people.

1-07. Sir Jordanius - "Epic Win"
Sources: "Battle Scene," "Victory," "Main Theme"

Brandon Strader: THIS GUY. Sir joined during the 11th hour and produced a song that is totally fitting of an 11th hour victory. It starts out with some hip a capella that layers up dramatically, tosses in some instrumentation that builds up into a bombastic explosion of prog that is befitting of the song's title, I think.

1-08. AMT - "The Crawl"
Source: "Dungeon"

Brandon Strader: I quickly became a fan of AMT after hearing some of his songs on OCR. I like how out of control they are. They pull heaviness and mood out of their chaos, which is perfect for "Dungeon." I love his bass performance, and the general tension that "The Crawl" builds throughout. I think he captured the theme perfectly. Certainly, AMT stands for A Master Tunesmith.

1-09. BONKERS - "Roaming... Please Wait"
Sources: "Main Theme," "Gurgu Volcano"

Brandon Strader: We had a lot of fun with this one. BONKERS tossed me a few WIPs, and I threw them back in his face saying "LESS CHIPTUNES!!" The final product is something that BONKERS can be proud of, and truly a highlight of the album. If we hadn't spoken on that one fateful night while I was watching "The Man with Two Brains," things could have turned out considerably less awesome than they did! I owe BONKERS a lot of thanks for helping me grow as a musician, too. Also gotta say, his solos on the original version were sweet, but the thing he did with the pitch pedal sim is amazing. Into the mud, scum queen!

BONKERS: This song was decisively a very difficult and eye-opening experience for me. For one, transforming the loveable very happy and adventureous melodies/feelings of the original song in to a hard rock/metal song without it changing those feelings. Metal songs, in general, are usually in just about any mode/key that is NOT a major key. The few, such as "Party Hard" by Andrew W.K., are condemed by the average metalhead as "LOL THIS ISN'T METAL" Even though by all means and purposes it sounds metal (production-wise), even if not to the average guy. (Disagree? Sue me. <(0.0<()

So you can imagine my agony whether to change the song into a minor without destroying the original melodic feelings/integrity of the song -- I had even had discussions with IBBAZ (a.k.a. Kidd Cabbage/Jon Peros) about changing it into a minor, which actually does happen in one section of the song ;) -- or find a way to turn it into major metal.

Originally, I was going to make an orchestral metal/just orchestral song. (If you visit the extra site Brandon Strader puts up, you can hear my early attempts at just such a thing.) I toiled for months slaving away trying to come up with ideas how to make it work. From scrapping sheet music over and over again, to long walks with my body on autopilot trying to figure it out. Soon after, I was shown some Children of Bodom songs by Strader; following this, the song became an attempt to start off as a CoB song that fakeout-ed into the main theme (another idea you can hear on the side site). This too was a BUST, as I could just not make it work and make sense. Then one day, whilst working on sheets, I had come up with extensions of the melody and played some guitar to it. ALL OF A SUDDEN, MY MIND WAS BLOWN. Every single line fell into place perfectly and it all worked and made sense. Writing the rest of the song was no problem as I could hear in my head all of the ideas clearly.

Though that is not to say it was without challenge. Without Brandon, who's to say how the song would've turned out. He challenged ideas that I thought were just fine, but in actuality, that I could not see, did not work. Such as an extended chiptune section, that was essentially the song evolving from NES to Genesis to SNES, and planned to, PSX; adding in new lines of music for each hardware's extended audio capabilities/channels; however each version did essentially sound similar to the original song and, as Brandon pointed out to me, it dragged on too long. Much to my own dismay, I hated the idea of getting rid of it and fought to argue against changing it. I eventually gave in of course, and looking back, for the better.

Where "Gurgu Volcano" came in was I believe the song hadn't been claimed yet and I voiced my opinion about probably being able to work it in my song somewhere as a break from the main theme. I came up with concept audio, then working it into the song in various stages/ideas until the current version, which was inspired by the Wild Arms arrangement album -rocking heart- (which is one of my favorite CDs of ALL TIME). I am personally extremely glad the way this section of music turned out. When I finished it, for the first time I was impressed with myself, and excited as well.

Technically (not going to say much about this, since it's exactly the same problems I went through with "Prelude," so go and read that if you are interested) and logistically, this song, just like the "Prelude," was a nightmare. This is where I went through trial and extreme error in coming up with ways of making the project file within the DAW coherent and understandable, as well as smart integration of automation envelopes, track grouping, sends/recieves, you name it. At the end of the day, the song ended up being with all tracks counting grouping/sends/recieves/etc./a few unused tracks, 63 tracks large (my average is probably between 30-45). Now that is, at least to me, an extremely large amount of stuff to manage and balance out. But I did. And I'm very pleased.

Anyways, overall, the general idea has been that this song was to be done in a way that has never been done before. I think that myself together with the other's working on this project as well as the judge's critcisms, have helped to make this possible. And, for that, I thank you all. It's been a long road for me personally from spending days thinking of ideas, to coming home from work during the Christmas 2010 season and doing nothing but working on the song, from going back to completely overhauling the song in various ways, to micro-managing the mastering process to make the song sound good.

I hope you all can enjoy the song in its entirety.

Also, for anyone who might curious, here is the list of the VST software (one, bass and electric guitar) I used in making the final version of the song.

• Poulin HyBrit Full Stack
• LePou LeGion (from same maker as above)
• keFIR
• ReaComp
• ReaEQ
• ReaGate
• Voxengo SPAN
• Voxengo Analogflux Tapebus
• Voxengo Analogflux Chrous
• Voxengo Analogflux TapeDelay
• Recabinet 1/2
• free impulses from GuitarAmpModeling.com
• AmpliTube Metal
• GearBox
• ABSYNTH 4
• CSR Hall
• CSR Inverse
• CamelPhat 3
• Classic Chorus
• Prophet V 2
• Albino 2
• Cockos REAPER
• Panipulator
• Ampeg SVX
• PRO-53
• Miroslav Philharmonik
• Minimoog V
• EZD Drummer w/DFH Expansion
• EWQLSO Gold
• SynthFont
• T-RackS EQ 1.x
• T-RackS 3
• Wavestation
• Legacy Cell
• Gibson Les Paul Smartwood Studio Series 2001
• Ibanez Soundgear GSR200

1-10. Benjamin Briggs - "Just Passing Through"
Source: "Town"

Brandon Strader: I like Ben's title to this song. It's his way of saying, "Oh, don't mind me, I'll be out of your way in a second." Clearly when people read that we've put together a metal tribute to Final Fantasy and see the name chthonic, they're going to be like, oh heck yea, some Taiwanese black metal is coming our way! Well, it may not be black metal, but Ben did a cool job of putting together a Town theme that will certainly appeal to a lot of folks at OCR who may be less excited about an all-metal album. You can still headbang to it.

Benjamin Briggs: Brandon Strader pestered me into doing this remix. The title is kind of a joke about how I thought I had a kidney stone. Remember, kids: if you don't drink enough water, you'll have to pass a Spiny through your pee-pee hole.

1-11. Brandon Strader feat. halc - "The Crumbling Facade"
Source: "The Ruined Castle" (Dawn of Souls)

Brandon Strader: I took halc's initial WIP and turned it into the song you hear. I added acoustic guitar and bass because I thought it would be interesting to see how it sounds with halc's sound. I wanted to make the song sound like something people could confuse as a full-on halc song. I didn't know if halc wanted credit on this because I took his short 40 second intro and went wild places with it, and didn't know if he would want "this stain on his permanent record" at OCR. He said he wants ReMixer credit though. Which is cool. Always good to know someone still wants to have their name next to yours and isn't disgusted by you. :o)

halc had originally signed on to do "Ruined Castle," and he produced about 50 or so seconds of a WIP which is still somewhat intact for the opening of "The Crumbling Facade." Unfortunately, his fancy computer broke and he was rendered unable to properly work on music. As a result of this unfortunate situation, I requested halc's FLP file for the song. I added a couple minutes within FL Studio 9 and primarily worked with the song in that DAW to stay true to halc's design, but I recorded the live instruments in Cubase 5. halc said that I took the song in a much different direction than he would have gone with it. I lost a lot of the stuff he had programmed in because I didn't have the same VSTs, and somehow knocked a thing out of tune at some point, but ended up replacing a few sounds with my own. I even sliced up my own drums and made some neat little glitchy bits in there. In the end, I changed and arranged the song a lot differently than halc would have done it, while trying to maintain somewhat of a halc-y sound. I don't know if I have succeeded, but I hope you all (including halc) enjoy the final product. halc added concisely, "Tuning and production is pretty clean. The arrangement is pretty better than I'd have done. Cool drums and stuff at the end too."

halc: this actually started as a solo mix, but after coming up with a solid minute worth of WIP, I hit a total brickwall and never managed to come up with anything else. Brandon offered to collab on the song, and this is what came to be. despite what you might think, some of the chippyness in this later half of the track was made by Brandon, and quite nicely at that. <obligatory>enjoy!</obligatory>

2-01. mithius feat. Brandon Strader - "Sentient Machines"
Source: "Floating Castle"

Brandon Strader: This song was a real t(h)reat, and the idea of people listening to it on the album gives me shivers. Leave it to the incredibly talented mithius to record classical and jazz fusion prog to blow everyone away. When I saw that he was trying to turn in such a big WIP when I was basically winding down and getting ready to turn the album in, I was like "meh," but then I actually listened to his tracks and was blown away. There's too much I could say about how awesome his song is. In the end, I played bass, programmed the drums pretty much uniquely for the entire song, made the acoustic intro/outro, and mixed and mastered it. Everything else was mithius, who sent me over 45 audio tracks and an equal amount of MIDI data to use for EWQLSO, RA, Choirs, and Colossus. It was the largest song I had worked on in quite a while and helped me transition over to my own original stuff of an even greater length in the future. A huge thanks to mithius for all of his help!

mithius: "Floating Castle," an epic melody from Final Fantasy I. The first draft I laid out was too complex and, in the end, I believe it did not capture what I wanted "Floating Castle" to be. After I sent it in as an update, Brandon brought me back to reality. The 2nd draft was composed from scratch and it contained bells, and these bells are like the machines ticking and working as some kind of harmonious structure trying to stop the heroes. But deciding to start the 2nd draft so late did not give us much time, but, by working together with Brandon's help, we managed to overcome the floating castle. Brandon was mega in this adventure, this was my first collaboration with other remixers and I hope to work on more collaborations in the future at some point. The original name "Floating Castle" itself conjures up many images, and I think we have given justice to the machines that live in the sky to the floating castles in all of our hopes and dreams.

2-02. Midgarian Sky - "Secrets Abound"
Source: "Matoya's Cave"

Brandon Strader: Midgarian Sky, or Jay Zaffos, is a friend of Justin Taylor from Knight of the Round. Another musician with a Myspace page and some very exquisite portrayals of Final Fantasy tunes. Jay is more of a clean tone person, producing some really beautiful songs with a clean sound. He does produce the heavy with his version of "Matoya's Cave," but there's a sweet little solo section with a very clean sound. He stays fairly true to the source material while weaving in his own original bits, including some drum programming that he did by hand, with individual WAVs... I feel bad that he had to do that and hope he finds a good drum VST soon. I wish great things for Midgarian Sky, another newcomer to OCR!

Midgarian Sky: Nobuo Uematsu's original compositions on the Final Fantasy series have been and still remain a huge influence on my original music style. I took the original arrangement of "Matoya's Cave" and meshed it with my original style, which consists of classical, rock, progressive rock, and metal. I stayed fairly close to the original composition throughout most of the track, aiming to mimic the sound of the orchestral instruments used with just my guitar, amp, and very few Boss Pedal effects. I added an interlude and solo section in the middle of the track to highlight my unique style of lead guitar work over a chord progression reminiscent of the original track.

2-03. Brandon Strader - "The White Rider"
Source: "Airship"

Brandon Strader: Coming up to meet us there is a filthy trooooooooooooooll.

I actually used the "updated" version of this song (GBA, PSX, etc.) as a reference. It's a little slower than the NES version, but I think I mainly focused on the melodies that were in the NES version. Hey, we used both versions of the soundtrack when making the album. :-)

If you had asked me in January 2010 (at the start of the FF1 project) which song I would end up doing, "Airship" wouldn't have been it. It wasn't even on my radar. I love every song from FF1 -except- for "Airship." At least, I used to dislike it. I made a mix for "Airship" that ended up being far too much like "dark pop," so I scrapped that and redid a new version of the song. The idea this time was to do something in the realm of power metal, though I don't think it actually came out that way. I wrote joke lyrics and did vocals, but they "made" the song so I just had to keep them. The first riff with the lead from the source sets the tone. In the following verse riff, the vocals sing the lead from the source. The chorus is original, but it doesn't linger on that for too long. "The White Rider" was a joy to make, and I hope it gives people a little chuckle -- while they bob their heads! The title is a tribute to the band Camel, with the excerpt titled "The White Rider" from their brilliant 1974 album, Mirage.

2-04. blackguitar - "Gurgling Desert Pond"
Source: "Gurgu Volcano"

Brandon Strader: When we were in a pickle and needed someone to cover "Gurgu Volcano" after the original remixer couldn't do it, I decided to ask blackguitar... just out of my own personal wish, deep within my soul, that he would do it. And he did! I was amazed, and I still am. This song sounds legit, and blackguitar's skills cannot be questioned. Totally wasn't what I was expecting at all, I thought it'd be metal -- but like I said... legit!

blackguitar: This is my second contribution to the project. An easy listening country-style arrangement that reminds me of maybe a dry desert or a hot volcano. It has been made in the nick of time, when this track did not seem to be claimed anymore. Hope you like it.

2-05. Brandon Strader - "Omerta"
Source: "Battle Scene"

Brandon Strader: Hi! This song was played in a swamp by Argonians.

This song is a bonus, as it wasn't really needed. The Dual Dragons did a fantastic job with "The Beginning of a Legacy," but there were some concerns that their song was a little on the liberal side... so I chose to make this acoustic version to reference the riffs a little more directly, and also because I just happened across some sweet riffs on the acoustic that fit for it. I had time, so I decided to lay it down.

There's a lot of ethnic percussion, including live bongo and tambourine, acoustic guitar, electric bass (as I unfortunately do not own an acoustic one), and shakuhachi. The non-live instruments were still played with a MIDI keyboard with consideration put in to playing them as realistically as you can do with a MIDI keyboard. I love making this style of music, because it comes fairly naturally for me.

I came up with the "lead" part, panned right, a few weeks before MAGFest and had fun playing it. I also came up with a really nice rhythm for that verse part that I really like. This mix is pretty much the spiritual successor to "Ethnic Rush," and I think that genre is something I may find myself revisiting a lot as I may have found my niche with remixes. I think this mix is an upgrade on that style on all fronts. The general guitar production is about the same, two rhythm tracks panned together... I actually put one left 30 and one left 40. And the lead panned right. There's the bass, which I recorded last, that always seems to be an afterthought for some reason, but those bass frequencies are nice to have, I think.

The ethnic drums is where it really goes above and beyond "Ethnic Rush." I made sure to play them in so that the volumes were much more realistic, as well as live bongo and tambourine... No cowbell this time as I thought that would be a bit too much. The ethnic drums can get very thick at times, at other times they're very sparse and let the instruments shine through more. I love how the song sounds when everything is banging out at once. I also slapped in some nice shakuhachi I think it's called, I'm not sure if it is the same flutey instrument as I had in "Ethnic Rush" that was really mechanical, but I actually learned how to RECORD EXPRESSION and it at least sounds more realistic this time, I'd go as far as to say it's not mechanical at all -- I don't know if it is convincingly real but it's a definite step up from the previous sound.

This write-up basically says how this song is the same genre but so much better than "Ethnic Rush," hahaha... well I hope you all like it and find it less stressful than "Ethnic Rush." Also, hopefully the presence of moar source and melodies to choose from adds to the bettersongness or diversity of it.

2-06. TheoConfidor feat. Eric Golub - "If I Could Sail the World"
Source: "Ship"

Brandon Strader: TheoConfidor produced one of the more abstractly artistic takes on the source in my opinion. When I listen to the portion with Eric Golub's violin, I think of that scene in Ferris Beuller's Day Off where they're just staring at the paintings. It's a very classy piece and a great addition to the album! Thank you for working so hard on it, Theo!

TheoConfidor: This song features live guitar and bass played by me, with Eric Golub playing the violin lead from 1:56-2:56.

2-07. Izkemia (Fernando Calvo, Claudio Lavín) feat. Brandon Strader - "Dance of Descent"
Sources: "Underwater Temple," "Gurgu Volcano," "Chaos Temple," "Menu Screen," "Ending Theme," "Main Theme," "Town," "Opening Theme," "Save Music"

Brandon Strader: I actually recorded guitars and bass for a version of this song, but it was beyond my skill level so it ended up being more like a demo. In comes Fernito from Izkemia on bass (he also arranged the song) and Claudio Lavín on guitars! They really tore this song UP with their instrumental skills and made it a song that is truly worthy of appreciation. Somehow, my brief orchestral intro remains...

Really great song from these fellas, and I owe OCR's Obtuse thanks for telling me about Izkemia as well. This song contains 9 sources, which is a lot.

Fernando of Izkemia: This is basically a prog metal medley of nine FF1 OST tracks. It was a big challenge for us to arrange this, as major scales are predominant in the original tracks, and we tend to avoid them in our compositions. Anyway, we think it came out decently. Recording this took lots of effort and time, but it was definitely worth it. The medley is rather conservative in terms of harmony, with some exceptions like, for example, a "jazzy" take on "Menu Screen," but we played quite a lot with time signatures, keeping very few of the originals. We really hope you guys like this!

I really want to thank Andrew Struve, a.k.a. Obtuse, for telling me about this project, Brandon Strader for making a kickass intro for the song and for his invaluable support, and my good friend Claudio Lavín, who recorded the guitars and made the solos. Without your help, this wouldn’t have been possible!

Fun fact: Neither I nor Claudio have EVER played FF1.

2-08. M-H - "The Caerulean Ruins"
Source: "Chaos Temple"

Brandon Strader: M-H is another one of those guys who finishes a song pretty fast, and blows you away with the results. It's no surprise why he is regularly duh-winning the Dwelling of Duels. This may possibly be the most epic rendition of "Chaos Temple" you will ever hear.

2-09. blackguitar - "Fierce Fairground Fight"
Sources: "Shop," "Floating Castle," "Menu Screen"

Brandon Strader: I was blown away by blackguitar's OCR debut, "Samus's Lonesome Waltz" from Super Metroid. So, I tracked him down and luckily he was interested in covering three tracks we needed. "Fierce Fairground Fight" is a truly masterful medley. It includes "Shop," "Floating Castle," and "Menu Screen." His ability to throw in legit metal riffs and leads while keeping smooth transitions and a consistent feel make this another highlight of the album.

blackguitar: When Brandon asked me to collaborate on his FF1 project, I was happy to help because I fell in love with the series' music nearly twenty years ago. To rework their musical roots means much to me. Since nearly all tracks were taken when I entered the project, I decided to make a medley from 3 remaining pieces that, in my opinion, fit perfectly together (with a little harmonic change here and there). The project goal was to recreate the music in a progressive rock/metal fashion, and a dark mood suited perfectly for me, so I modulated two songs to minor. The evil "Floating Castle" didn't need a change, it sounded genuine metal from the beginning. The funny "Shop" theme sounds like a fairground organ piece to me, thus, I chose that instrument and also named the whole remix "Fierce Fairground Fight." Hope you like it! Big credits go to Sascha Stange @ Razorblade Records. He mixed and mastered this and he did an incredible job. Thank you, man!

2-10. Knight of the Round feat. Brandon Strader - "The Last Story"
Source: "Ending Theme"

Brandon Strader: I asked Justin if we could name this "The Last Story" in tribute to Mistwalker's new game, which sold out in Japan -- or at least it was new at the time. I've heard it's like the start of Final Fantasy all over again under a new name. If that's the case, it is only fitting that we should pay tribute to that as well with this title. A huge thanks to Justin for making this song and letting me put my metal vocals on it, which will easily turn many OCR listeners away! They're my strongest metal vocal performance to date.

Yeah, yeah... I did some gratuitous metal vocals. I'm sorry, everyone. They sound pretty awesome though, I think. The lyrics are, again, written somewhat jokingly. The heroes save the world, and then, cursed by evil power from deep within the land, go on a brain-eating zombie rampage. And, because they're like level 70 at the time, nobody can withstand their brutal onslaught.

It was while recording this song's vocals that I really learned where my sound is and to be more comfortable with it. Justin worked really hard on this and finished it within a week or two. I'd say it is somewhat like the nega-version of Josh and Ryan's track. (Since "Town" and "Ending Theme" hold similar melodies.)

Knight of the Round: This "Ending Theme" remix was a very last minute thing for me. Brandon asked if I could crank it out in a week, so the next day I sat down and wrote the original arrangement in about 5 hours. After a few adjustments, and the addition of vocals (which I was against at first, but I'm glad I gave in to Brandon's request!), "Ending Theme" was done. This song was a little easier to remix, given the fact that the source for this track is 54 seconds, and split into 3 parts.