Nobuo Uematsu's work on the Final Fantasy series represents some of the most iconic music in all of gaming's history.
While Koji Kondo's compositions for Nintendo franchises such as Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda are perhaps more well-known and/or instantly recognizable, Uematsu's work brought an unprecedented sense of drama and occasion to the games in which it was heard -- and helped show cynics that game music was most certainly a lot more than bleeps, bloops and simple hooks.
One of Uematsu's finest works to date remains the soundtrack to Final Fantasy VI, last of the series to hit the Super NES. While the synthesized instruments may sound a little dated today, the quality of the compositions still shines as brightly as it did when it first wowed everyone back in 1994. (Now don't you feel old?)
The quality of Final Fantasy VI's music is such that it's been a popular choice for artists over at video game remix community OverClocked ReMix over the years. A couple of days ago, the community put the finishing touches on Balance and Ruin, a 74-track Final Fantasy VI remix album, and released it to the public. For free.
Here's a preview:
Balance and Ruin is OC ReMix's 40th full-scale album project. It was funded through a Kickstarter campaign late last year, which successfully raised over $150,000. The money has been put towards producing a 5-disc physical release of the album as well as hiring live musicians -- including the 120-piece Slovak National Symphony Orchestra -- and paying royalties to Square Enix, developer and publisher of the Final Fantasy series.
Lest you're unfamiliar with OC ReMix as a whole, this is a community that takes the production of video game remixes very seriously, not a bunch of amateurs putting bad drum samples over game soundtracks on YouTube. Contributors to the album include Danny Baranowsky (Super Meat Boy), Jake Kaufman (Double Dragon Neon), Will Roget II (Star Wars: The Old Republic) and Steffan Andrews (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic)
Balance and Ruin is OC ReMix's most ambitious project to date, and everyone responsible hopes that the additional time, effort and funding shows in the final product.
"Our goal with Balance and Ruin was to pay tribute to Mr. Uematsu's incredible work; a score that is often considered the greatest in the Final Fantasy canon," said album director Andrew "zircon" Aversa. "But thanks to the Kickstarter, we were truly able to raise the bar. The sheer sope of this album is bigger than anything we've done before, and I believe it will set a new standard for all fan arrangement projects to come."
Further details on the album -- including links to download a 3.16GB torrent (including lossless FLAC files) or a 631MB zip file (MP3 files only) -- can be found on the official site. I know what I'm listening to while I do the rest of today's articles, then.