If you're a fan of OC ReMix, then you probably know all about this album. If not, then you should probably check out their site. OC ReMix is a community of video game music fans who arrange, interpret, record and mix their favorite video game music in MP3 format. They have almost 1,500 remixes, from a very wide spectrum of games and platforms.
Last month, they released Final Fantasy 7: Voices of the Lifestream, an entire album devoted to the legendary game, which has some of the most memorable video game music ever. As with everything that comes from OC ReMix, the album is completely free. It contains 45 arrangements arranged by over 40 different artists. It covers all genres of music, including rock, jazz, classical, techno and much more. Some tracks even include recorded vocals!
This thing is a masterpiece. It represents the spirit of the game music community, and how far it has come in the past few years in terms of the passion, creativity, devotion and popularity. When I first began listening to this album, I could not get rid of the chills. The nostalgia factor in this album is high, be warned.
The first thing that struck me about this album is the sheer quality of all the tracks. You can tell that countless hours went into it (a year and a half to be exact). The remixes are the best of the best, handpicked just for this album. The polish and the attention to detail on all of them are outstanding. But what I really love about it, is that all of the arrangements are unique to the point where with some of them, you can almost consider them brand new songs. That's what arrangement is all about, adding your own creativity to an existing piece so that it portrays your individual interpretation of the song. And Voices of the Lifestream does that so well.
I love how how well "real" instruments were used in this album. One track for example, "Daydreaming Again" and "Sleep My Sephy," were purely an acoustic guitar duet and I thought they were fantastic. Electric guitar was also used well. There are some killer solos in tracks such as "Lunatic Moon" and "Too Much Fighting." Many tracks also incorporate human voice very well, which I found to be a pleasant surprise.
The album is divided into 4 discs. Crisis, Dirge, Advent and Order. The exact meaning of these titles is unknown to me, other than the fact that 3 of them are named for recent spin-offs of Final Fantasy 7.
1. Deliverance of the Heart (Heart of Anxiety)
2. Every Story Begins with a Name (Opening - Bombing Mission)
3. No Such Thing As the Promised Land (Mako Reactor)
4. Materia Junkie (Under the Rotting Pizza ~ The Oppressed)
5. Full Frontal Assault (Let the Battles Begin!)
6. Too Much Fighting (Fanfare)
7. Damn Those Turks! (Turk's Theme)
8. Adrenalyne Kyck (Hurry!)
9. Nomura Limit (Fight On!)
10. Son of Chaos (Shinra Company)
11. Lunatic Moon (Red XIII's Theme ~ Cosmo Canyon)
12. motor crazycycle (Crazy Motorcycle)
Favorite track: Lunatic Moon
Least favorite track: Materia Junkie
1. Short Skirt's (Tifa's Theme)
2. Valse Aeris (Flowers Blooming in the Church ~ Aerith's Theme)
3. Embraced Empathy (Dear to the Heart)
4. Serenity (Main Theme of FINAL FANTASY VII)
5. A Life Without Parole (Desert Wasteland)
6. Scenes from a Memory (On That Day, Five Years Ago...)
7. Golden Fields (Farm Boy)
8. Crystal Sermon (The Prelude)
9. Chasing the Storm (In Search of the Man in Black)
10. Sephiroth's Wake (Trail of Blood)
11. JENOVA Celestial (J-E-N-O-V-A)
12. Mark of the Beatsmith (Mark of a Traitor)
Favorite track: Serenity
Least favorite track: Embraced Empathy
1. Suco de Melancia (Costa del Sol)
2. Stone Eyes (The Great Warrior)
3. Daydreaming Again (Words Drowned by Fireworks)
4. Alien Exploration (Gold Saucer ~ Cid's Theme)
5. Golden Feathers (Racing Chocobos - Place Your Bets!)
6. Midnight at Club Corel (Mining Town)
7. Ahead On Our Rave (On Our Way)
8. Kweh! (Electric de Chocobo)
9. The Crossroads (Cid's Theme)
10. Fading Entity (Listen to the Cries of the Planet)
11. Frozen Landscape (Buried in Snow)
Favorite track: Daydreaming Again
Least favorite track: Golden Feathers
1. Sleep, My Sephy (Judgement Day)
2. Collision (The North Cave)
3. Airships Make Me Happy (The Highwind Takes to the Skies)
4. Hydrophone Breakdown (Secret of the Deep Sea)
5. Omnislash (Hurry Up!)
6. Rare Square (Countdown)
7. Jenova Returns (J-E-N-O-V-A ~ Jenova Complete)
8. Beginning of the End (Birth of a God)
9. Black Wing Metamorphosis (One-Winged Angel)
10. The Golden Ivories of Gaia (Various Themes)
Favorite track: Hydrophone Breakdown
Least favorite track: Rare Square
This album brought back so many fond memories. I don't like to give ratings when I do reviews, but just know that this is a damn good album that any Final Fantasy fan can appreciate. If you're a video game music geek like me, there's nothing more you could ask for.
One thing I did not particularly enjoy were the vocals on some of the tracks. Some of them, such as "The Crossroads" had vocals that I felt didn't fit in well with the arrangement and lessened the quality a little bit. However on "Deliverance of the Heart" I felt the vocals were spot on and they made the arrangement much better. I also felt that the track selection for this album is great, but there are some I wish were included. "Descendant of Shinobi", "The Nightmare's Beginning" and "On the Other Side of the Mountain" to name a few. Nonetheless, 45 solid tracks of video game music glory. You can only hope that OC ReMix decides to do something so amazing again.