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Game Review: VOICES Music from Final Fantasy

 

01-04-16 07:13 PM
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VOICES Music from Final Fantasy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-GMGot_6h8&index=40&list=PLC23CB375AC7B5195

Just when you thought everything had been done to honor Final Fantasy they find a new way to improve it: voices! This album contains tracks which, for the most part, contain voices from a choir (even where the original track did not have voices) that add an astounding touch of emotions to the original track. Here is my review of the album, directed by Arnie Roth.

1- Prelude

When describing the intro of the track on the SNES I referred it as a “harp”. Well, it really is a harp! It’s played very skilfully and slowly by the player. Get your tissues ready when the voices kick in because you will need them. Damn, I’m wetting my keyboard just by writing this text! A Youtube commenter once said, “This is the theme that should play at the gates of heaven.” It gets even more beautiful when the rest of the orchestra enter in the second part of the choir loop. It finished nicely with a loud trumpet solo.

2- Liberi Fatali

How could they not do this one! It sounds even better than the original one, which was already awesome when it first came out in 1999. The light show is a little annoying, but who cares? The voices are awesome, the orchestration is perfect and Roth is very “into it.”

3- Fisherman's Horizon

I never cared for that track when I played the game. However, the orchestration and choir improve it so much. The musical arrangements are much better and relaxing, while the voices make the theme sound even grander (especially in the second part of the track when the music gets louder). At times it even reminds me of Christmas music for some reason – not that it’s a bad thing.

4- Hymn of the Fayth

A very nice a caepella track. It starts with the males singing (their voices are nicely deep), and then the females start singing too. It was much better than the Final Fantasy X version.

5- Suteki da ne

Once again, another version that’s infinitely superior to the original and that will make you cry. The theme is introduced better with a piano rather than a violin, and Rikki’s voice carries so much more emotion than in the game. Her emotions are even more obvious when you watch her sing; she uses a lot of her hands and almost looks like she will cry at times when she closes her eyes. Of course, the musical arrangements help carrying her emotions even better; the orchestra bursts with cheerful notes after the first verse, while Rikki’s last repetition of the chorus is done with an epic orchestration. Suteki da ne (isn’t it wonderful)?

6- Final Fantasy Doo Wop Medley

Japan’s answer to Rock-a-pella. They “play” the Moggle theme from Final Fantasy V, the village theme from FF IV (?), the victory fanfare on the kazoo, the battle theme and other tracks I could not quite identify. They are talented, no doubt about that, but I did not find their performance interesting. I generally skip it.

7- A Place to Call Home" ~ "Melodies of Life

Final Fantasy IX was, to me, the worst game of the series until X. Even the soundtrack was rather unmemorable. Nevertheless, the arrangements are beautiful and the singer has a beautiful voice (in Japanese AND in English), although she is not as emotional as Rikki. I found the “Christmas” bells strange, but the track is overall excellent.

8- Final Fantasy

Thanks to real instruments, the theme finally gets the orchestration it deserves. It flows much better than in FF VIII and the trumpets are much softer. A masterpiece.

9- Prima Vista Orchestra

It’s another FF IX track so I can not compare it to the original. However the track in itself sounds good. It has a touch of light-heartedness I like, and it does not last for too long.

10-The Promised Land

I only watched Advent Children once or twice so I can not compare to the original. It starts with the choir (a caepalla), and they almost sound like a medieval choir. It sounds good in itself, but strange in an RPG environment.

11- Memoro de la Ŝtono" ~ "Distant Worlds

Another game I have not played. It is basically the previous track (with Latin chanting) accompanied by the orchestra. It sounds much better and quite epic that way. There is even another singer in the second part of the track. She sings very well (in English!) and shows better emotion than the Melody of Life singer. She is even accompanied by the full choir at one point; it sounds as powerful as Carmina Burana for me.

12- Eyes on Me

An unusual piece, where the singer also plays the piano. But despite the originality, this track is, simply put, terrible. Her voice is nowhere near Faye Wong’s (in pitch and emotions), the piano does not carry the same emotions as the violin in FF VIII and the tempo is too quick – she does not detach the words like Wong. Skip this track in a hurry.

13- Kiss Me Good-Bye

As if it were not enough, she comes back from this track. I never heard the original so I can not compare. It does sound beautiful, and this time the orchestra plays making the track sound less empty. The singer also seems to put in more emotions (maybe too much at times, when she moves). Much better than Eyes on Me.

14- Opera Maria and Draco

The “famous” opera now comes to life! The orchestration is the exact replica and is played very nicely. The flutes and clarinets before “Draco” starts singing are nice and quiet. Speaking of him, his voice is just what was needed: right tone, tempo and “deepness.”  The orchestration after his short song sound very epic, although the flutes right after sound a little too slow.

Unfortunately, Maria’s entrance spoils things a little. Is it just me or there are no sopranos in Japan? Her voice is both “too deep” and sounds like she is trying to swallow something (or is she drowning?). There exists another version of the opera with a soprano (her pitch is much higher) that sounds infinitely better. Plus this version is much shorter than the original.

The waltz improves things a little, although it is looped shorter than the original (it would have been good to have the orchestra going louder). The sequence after is too slow to be epic (including after the singers’ sequence), but fortunately the opera singers (even Maria!) carry the emotion of the moment very well.

Finally they do not even have the fighting sequence against Ultros. So I unfortunately recommend skipping this track.

15- Swing de Chocobo

The Final Fantasy X version with real instruments. This track has become legendary because the crowd clapping is completely out of synch from the orchestra. So if you forget the crowd your ears will be very pleased with these arrangements. After two loops (the core of which is played both by a piccolo and a muted trumpet), the “extension” sounds even jazzier especially when the trumpet plays – the walking bass in the background helps a lot too. And if you want to know how fun the track is, you have to watch Roth; he is grinning all through the track and moves to the music. Another masterpiece.

16- Advent: One-Winged Angel

However talented Uematsu is – he is actually playing himself – I have to say that this version of the track with “The Black Mages” is NOT the best one around. Electric guitars just sound too weird, and the choir sings in Japanese (?) instead of Latin, making the song sound less than epic. However, the “rock extension” in the middle sounds very interesting. It is very upbeat and quick, and the choir singing in Japanese actually sounds good. But in my book it is NOT good enough to be played twice in a row (for the Encore).

Final diagnosis: This album is definitely worth your time and money. Despite a few weaknesses, the orchestration is wonderful and the voices (choir and singers) add an incredible touch to already excellent compositions.

VOICES Music from Final Fantasy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-GMGot_6h8&index=40&list=PLC23CB375AC7B5195

Just when you thought everything had been done to honor Final Fantasy they find a new way to improve it: voices! This album contains tracks which, for the most part, contain voices from a choir (even where the original track did not have voices) that add an astounding touch of emotions to the original track. Here is my review of the album, directed by Arnie Roth.

1- Prelude

When describing the intro of the track on the SNES I referred it as a “harp”. Well, it really is a harp! It’s played very skilfully and slowly by the player. Get your tissues ready when the voices kick in because you will need them. Damn, I’m wetting my keyboard just by writing this text! A Youtube commenter once said, “This is the theme that should play at the gates of heaven.” It gets even more beautiful when the rest of the orchestra enter in the second part of the choir loop. It finished nicely with a loud trumpet solo.

2- Liberi Fatali

How could they not do this one! It sounds even better than the original one, which was already awesome when it first came out in 1999. The light show is a little annoying, but who cares? The voices are awesome, the orchestration is perfect and Roth is very “into it.”

3- Fisherman's Horizon

I never cared for that track when I played the game. However, the orchestration and choir improve it so much. The musical arrangements are much better and relaxing, while the voices make the theme sound even grander (especially in the second part of the track when the music gets louder). At times it even reminds me of Christmas music for some reason – not that it’s a bad thing.

4- Hymn of the Fayth

A very nice a caepella track. It starts with the males singing (their voices are nicely deep), and then the females start singing too. It was much better than the Final Fantasy X version.

5- Suteki da ne

Once again, another version that’s infinitely superior to the original and that will make you cry. The theme is introduced better with a piano rather than a violin, and Rikki’s voice carries so much more emotion than in the game. Her emotions are even more obvious when you watch her sing; she uses a lot of her hands and almost looks like she will cry at times when she closes her eyes. Of course, the musical arrangements help carrying her emotions even better; the orchestra bursts with cheerful notes after the first verse, while Rikki’s last repetition of the chorus is done with an epic orchestration. Suteki da ne (isn’t it wonderful)?

6- Final Fantasy Doo Wop Medley

Japan’s answer to Rock-a-pella. They “play” the Moggle theme from Final Fantasy V, the village theme from FF IV (?), the victory fanfare on the kazoo, the battle theme and other tracks I could not quite identify. They are talented, no doubt about that, but I did not find their performance interesting. I generally skip it.

7- A Place to Call Home" ~ "Melodies of Life

Final Fantasy IX was, to me, the worst game of the series until X. Even the soundtrack was rather unmemorable. Nevertheless, the arrangements are beautiful and the singer has a beautiful voice (in Japanese AND in English), although she is not as emotional as Rikki. I found the “Christmas” bells strange, but the track is overall excellent.

8- Final Fantasy

Thanks to real instruments, the theme finally gets the orchestration it deserves. It flows much better than in FF VIII and the trumpets are much softer. A masterpiece.

9- Prima Vista Orchestra

It’s another FF IX track so I can not compare it to the original. However the track in itself sounds good. It has a touch of light-heartedness I like, and it does not last for too long.

10-The Promised Land

I only watched Advent Children once or twice so I can not compare to the original. It starts with the choir (a caepalla), and they almost sound like a medieval choir. It sounds good in itself, but strange in an RPG environment.

11- Memoro de la Ŝtono" ~ "Distant Worlds

Another game I have not played. It is basically the previous track (with Latin chanting) accompanied by the orchestra. It sounds much better and quite epic that way. There is even another singer in the second part of the track. She sings very well (in English!) and shows better emotion than the Melody of Life singer. She is even accompanied by the full choir at one point; it sounds as powerful as Carmina Burana for me.

12- Eyes on Me

An unusual piece, where the singer also plays the piano. But despite the originality, this track is, simply put, terrible. Her voice is nowhere near Faye Wong’s (in pitch and emotions), the piano does not carry the same emotions as the violin in FF VIII and the tempo is too quick – she does not detach the words like Wong. Skip this track in a hurry.

13- Kiss Me Good-Bye

As if it were not enough, she comes back from this track. I never heard the original so I can not compare. It does sound beautiful, and this time the orchestra plays making the track sound less empty. The singer also seems to put in more emotions (maybe too much at times, when she moves). Much better than Eyes on Me.

14- Opera Maria and Draco

The “famous” opera now comes to life! The orchestration is the exact replica and is played very nicely. The flutes and clarinets before “Draco” starts singing are nice and quiet. Speaking of him, his voice is just what was needed: right tone, tempo and “deepness.”  The orchestration after his short song sound very epic, although the flutes right after sound a little too slow.

Unfortunately, Maria’s entrance spoils things a little. Is it just me or there are no sopranos in Japan? Her voice is both “too deep” and sounds like she is trying to swallow something (or is she drowning?). There exists another version of the opera with a soprano (her pitch is much higher) that sounds infinitely better. Plus this version is much shorter than the original.

The waltz improves things a little, although it is looped shorter than the original (it would have been good to have the orchestra going louder). The sequence after is too slow to be epic (including after the singers’ sequence), but fortunately the opera singers (even Maria!) carry the emotion of the moment very well.

Finally they do not even have the fighting sequence against Ultros. So I unfortunately recommend skipping this track.

15- Swing de Chocobo

The Final Fantasy X version with real instruments. This track has become legendary because the crowd clapping is completely out of synch from the orchestra. So if you forget the crowd your ears will be very pleased with these arrangements. After two loops (the core of which is played both by a piccolo and a muted trumpet), the “extension” sounds even jazzier especially when the trumpet plays – the walking bass in the background helps a lot too. And if you want to know how fun the track is, you have to watch Roth; he is grinning all through the track and moves to the music. Another masterpiece.

16- Advent: One-Winged Angel

However talented Uematsu is – he is actually playing himself – I have to say that this version of the track with “The Black Mages” is NOT the best one around. Electric guitars just sound too weird, and the choir sings in Japanese (?) instead of Latin, making the song sound less than epic. However, the “rock extension” in the middle sounds very interesting. It is very upbeat and quick, and the choir singing in Japanese actually sounds good. But in my book it is NOT good enough to be played twice in a row (for the Encore).

Final diagnosis: This album is definitely worth your time and money. Despite a few weaknesses, the orchestration is wonderful and the voices (choir and singers) add an incredible touch to already excellent compositions.

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