SPIRA: Music from Final Fantasy X

As has been a continuing tradition of Materia Collective, the group has released another arrangement album based around one of the Final Fantasy soundtracks. This time around the focus is on the music of Final Fantasy X, from composers Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, and Junya Nakano. This double album is titled SPIRA: Music from Final Fantasy X. The albums are organized as two mixes called Zanarkand Mix and Besaid Mix.

Like many of the previous Materia Collective releases, the albums consist of covers, remixes, and arrangements from a large group of artists and musicians. The Zanarkand Mix primarily features electronic, synth, and rock arrangements, while the Besaid Mix is mostly comprised of acoustic covers. There are a few exceptions to this rule, primarily to avoid too many iterations of the same theme showing up on either album. For this project I produced two arrangements and contributed my vocal talents to a number of other artists’ tracks.

 

The first track I took on for the project was “Besaid.” The original track and its remastered counterpart are both relaxing and tranquil pieces, so I decided to go in an ambient electronic direction with my arrangement. All of the instruments are either electronic in nature or are acoustic in origin with some type of processing applied. The wave sound effects that bookend the arrangement are from field recordings that I took last summer on the coast of Maine.

 

The second arrangement I produced was “Movement in Green.” The piece was a last minute entry from me, so I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to work on it. Despite the limited time, I think the track came out well and I accomplished what I was aiming for overall. The track takes heavy influence from the work of Joe Hisaishi, particularly his work on the film score to Spirited Away. Like many composers, I’m a huge fan of his music, so it was a fun challenge to emulate his style in this piece.

As I mentioned, I also contributed backing vocals to other artists’ tracks for this project. This included John Robert Matz’s two tracks “Out of the Frying Pan (And Into the Spaghetti),” an arrangement done in the style of a spaghetti western score, and “Bemknesyka (The Trials),” a Red Army Choir-inspired version of “The Trials” sung in the Al Bhed language from the game.

I also participated in some backing vocals for Jordan Chin’s “This is Our Story” an arrangement of “This is Your Story.”

Last, but not least, I participated in a Bwak Choir arrangement by Bonnie Bogovich of “Bravely Forward” titled “Bravely Bwakking Forward.” The track features the largest ensemble for a Bwak Choir arrangement as of this writing.

The SPIRA: Music from Final Fantasy X albums Zanarkand Mix and Besaid Mix are available on multiple services including Spotify, iTunes, and Bandcamp. The albums boast a large range of styles from some very talented people. If you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy X soundtrack definitely check these albums out.

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Brain + Brawn Is Out Now!

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I’m happy to announce that one of the games that I’ve created audio and music for has received a release for iOS on the App Store. The game is titled Brain + Brawn and was developed by Rohit Crasta and David Wallin.

Brain + Brawn is a space themed puzzle game where you guide two robots through a spaceship to reach their color coded goals on each level. You move the robots by swiping the screen to switch the gravity in the spaceship, causing everything on screen to move in the chosen direction. The robots, named Brainy + Brawny, have different abilities for solving puzzles. For example, the smaller robot Brainy is capable of turning on switches and passing through tight passageways, while the larger robot Brawny can crush aliens and smash through certain blocks.

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I composed two pieces of music for the game. One is calming electronic music box like melody for the menu area. The other track is a more energetic synth piece that is heard while you play the main game. I’ll be putting up an official soundtrack soon, with some extra piano arrangement versions of the tracks. (Update! The official soundtrack is now out on my Bandcamp page!)

 

In addition to the music, I created the game’s sound effects. The sounds are all designed to have a musical quality. For example the sounds for Brainy activating the switches are tones in the same key of the music. The developers wanted to have sounds that matched and blended well with the music, so it was an interesting challenge to create a seamless audio experience between the music and the sound effects.

Brain + Brawn is currently available on iOS through the App Store for $1.99 USD. Definitely check it out if you’re a fan of puzzle games. I’ll update when the game is released on more platforms.

A New Year and Some New Plans

Well that was an interesting and busy 5 months. Things in my life have finally slowed down enough that I’ve been able to come back and write a few posts for my poor neglected website. It turns out that working a 40-50 hour day job, remodeling/setting up a studio space, writing news stories and reviews for the Original Sound Version gaming site, and attending conventions doesn’t leave a person with a lot of spare time. But I am finally back. A little tired out, but back.

One of the big things that happened recently involves my work on the Original Sound Version (OSV) site. I had known that this was in the cards for a while, but part of the plan with bringing me on the site was not just that I would be writing for it, I would also eventually be helping run the site. So starting this past January, fellow contributing writer Brenna Wilkes and I became the Co-Managing Editors of Original Sound Version. The original founders of the site have moved on to bigger and better things and they felt confident enough in Brenna and I that they have handed control of the site over to us. I’m honored and humbled to have been given the chance to do this and I hope to continue making OSV a great site to go to for game music reviews and news.

My full-time day job, which was seasonal, has finally ended, so now I’m able to focus on my music and working on OSV. For now, I’ll be focusing my music efforts on expanding and building my portfolio. Even though I didn’t have time to compose over the past several months, I continued to come up with ideas and tried to jot a lot of them down. The lack of original music that I currently have up on this site has been gnawing at me all winter and it’s the first major thing I want to tackle. So with a larger chunk of my time free, I’m going to go into full music production mode. I have some ideas for what I want to do, so hopefully I’ll have some more stuff coming to this site in the near future.

I will try to keep posting on this site when I get the chance. I said that last time of course, but at least I know now that I’ll have some actual time to do it. No more of this once every 5 months nonsense. As I said in my last post, anything involving game coverage that I do is going to be on Original Sound Version, so this site is really being transitioned into a blog/site for my music projects. Be sure to check out some of the stuff we’re doing over at OSV. For now, I’m going to get back to composing and I’ll hopefully have something more to tell you in the next few weeks.