Zodiac: Final Fantasy Tactics Remixed

zodiac-final-fantasy-tactics

One of the groups that I’ve recently been involved with is a music arrangement group called Materia Collective. The collective comprises of musicians, composers, and arrangers who come together to create albums that cover the music of various game titles. A majority of these albums focus on a single game soundtrack like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture or Undertale. Other arrange albums have a wider range like Mobius, which covers music from multiple Sonic the Hedgehog games or charity albums like Multiplayer III: Wave, which emphasized water themed game music to tie in with the water charity the album raises money for.

This year I had the opportunity to arrange two tracks for Materia’s latest Final Fantasy arrangement album Zodiac: Final Fantasy Tactics Remixed. The album focusses on the music of the first Final Fantasy Tactics game written by Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata.

Like many of the previous Materia Collective albums, there’s a wide variety of styles present in the arrangement of the tracks. Everything from rock, jazz, classical, to synth genres are represented on this album, so there’s bound to be something from the 60+ arrangers that speaks to you no matter what your music tastes.

I arranged two tracks for this album. The first was a piano arrangement of the battle theme “Antipyretic.” I’ve always enjoyed the official Final Fantasy Piano Collections arrangements and I wanted to do something similar for one of the pieces from Final Fantasy Tactics.

 

The second arrangement I created was a synth/orchestral hybrid version of “Requiem.” The original track is calming and tranquil, so a synth hybrid sound seemed like a natural fit. This track was recently nominated for an award at the Game Audio Network Guild’s Remix Competition at MAGFest 2017. While it didn’t win in the end, it was an honor just to have the piece considered in the first place.

 

In addition to my arranging work, I contributed a few vocals on the track “The Bwak Choir Cadets” as part of The Bwak Choir. The Bwak Choir is a “Muppet-style chicken chorus” and is the brainchild of Materia Collective member Bonnie Bogovich. The first Materia Collective album Materia: Final Fantasy VII Remixed featured an arrangement of “Waltz de Chocobo” from the group and there was even a music video.

For the Zodiac album, Bonnie arranged the track “Cadets” to be sung (clucked?) by the Bwak Choir. Contributing to the Bwak Choir for the first time was a fun change of pace from the other work I was doing for the album, and listening to the finished product is something that will always make me smile.

 

The Zodiac: Final Fantasy Remixed album has a ton of great music covers from some incredibly talented artists. If you are a fan of the original soundtrack or a game music fan in general, you’ll want to check this one out. You can find the album on BandcampiTunes, Google Play, and Spotify. You can also find out more about Materia Collective and the various albums that the group has released on the Materia Collective home page.

Multiplayer III: Waves

multiplayer-iii-waves

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to contribute a game music arrangement to an album created by the Multiplayer Charity. This group comprises of musicians, mixers, composers, and arrangers who come together every year to produce a charity album. This year’s album Multiplayer III: Waves was created to raise money for Water.org.

Since this year’s chosen charity is an organization dedicated to providing clean water, all of the game tracks being covered in this album are water themed. The source material for the project comes from a variety of games including Chrono Trigger, Banjo Kazzoie, Sonic Adventure, and Assassin’s Creed. Like many of the other Multiplayer Charity and Materia Collective albums, the music genres represented are quite eclectic. These genres include ambient synth remixes, energetic rock and metal covers, and relaxing acoustic arrangements.

The piece that I selected to arrange for the album was the track “Submerged” from the game Earthworm Jim. The track, originally composed by Tommy Tallarico, serves as the background music for the game’s underwater levels “Down The Tubes” and “Tube Race.” Earthworm Jim was a game that I really enjoyed playing back in the Genesis and Super Nintendo era, so this was a fun opportunity to revisit that game’s soundtrack.

 

The original “Submerged” track has a natural upbeat bass groove throughout its run, so arranging it as a rock track seemed like a natural fit. The original version also reminded me of the scores from spy movies like Mission Impossible, so I ended up featuring the flute quite a bit for this arrangement.

A lot of great game music is represented on the Multiplayer III: Waves album, so definitely check it out if you’re a fan of the genre. There are some incredibly talented musicians featured on this album, and it was an honor to be able to contribute to the album and raise money for a good cause. All of the profits from Multiplayer III: Waves goes to the Water.org charity. You can get check out the the entire album on BandcampiTunes, and Spotify.

GDC and PAX East 2015

One of the goals I’ve set for myself has been to get out to more of the big video game industry events. I started going to conventions with PAX East back in 2012. I went there as a regular attendee and I ended up having a blast. PAX East is an event that I make sure to get out to every year and this year will be no different. It’s close enough to where I live that I can get out and meet people without having to spend too much money on travel. Since that first trip to PAX East, I’ve been making an effort to go out to more local gatherings for game development and networking. One of my much bigger goals has been to get out to the Game Developers Conference, or GDC.

GDC is one of the major conferences to go to for game industry networking. Unfortunately for me, it’s an event that’s held out on the west coast and it’s been too far for me to travel there from New England. However, this past year I managed to save enough money to finally go and check this convention out. So I’m happy to report that this year I will be going to my first Game Developers Conference. I’m not entirely sure what to expect, but I’m looking forward to meeting people and having a good time.

For better or worse, I won’t be able to attend the entire GDC event. It so happens that PAX East 2015 is being held on the same weekend that GDC ends. So yes, I’m going out to GDC for the week and then heading straight back to Boston for PAX East for the weekend. This will no doubt be incredibly exhausting, but I’m still really looking forward to it. I’m hoping to make some new connections and catch up with some of my friends that are attending these events. It’s going to be a wild week, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty to share when I come back. If you happen to be going to GDC and/or PAX East, be sure to say “Hi” if you see me.