Nobuo Month 5/6

21.       Demons Invasion – Lost Odyssey                                        
    Boomp3.com

Sept. 21st

A very subtle piece of work. If you listen well enough, you can manage to hear some shuffling in the background. As useless as that might sound, it actually helps me enjoy it a little bit better. If I recall correctly, this song mostly plays in the background of some A Thousand Years of Dreams stories, which to those who don’t know are ten minute text only stories that pop up throughout the game. Depending on how you are, that might sound interesting or lame to you. They are possibly the most moving pieces of dialogue I’ve encountered. Somehow within minutes, you’re engrossed in a story that’s got you by an emotional necktie – these stories usually accomplish what full, 300+ paged books try to do. What really pushes these is the supporting music such as this piece. I’ll make sure to show you guys a story later in this weeks post.



22.       The Man with the Machine Gun – Final Fantasy VIII                                                                                                                                                 Boomp3.com

Sept. 22nd

Ahhh, one of the most memorable songs from FF8 for me. For some odd reason, I don’t really remember too much of the game itself, but the music still comes through just fine. To be honest, I can’t find much to write about for this song. It’s a heroic, techno-fantasy fight song that’s really cool sounding, and I find myself walking around all day whistling it.




23.       The Place I’ll Return to Someday – Final Fantasy IX                                                                                          Boomp3.com

Sept. 23rd

The start of a refreshing adventure. I got decently far into Final Fantasy IX, but me and a friend could never find Kuja’s hideout and never knew about pulling an internet on it. Although the story wasn’t quite top notch from my perspective, the pacing was pretty much spot on. I really enjoyed the characters, music, and gameplay – the game was a lot of fun. The theme reminds me of the good time I experienced with it, and it makes me want to go back and play through it again. Me and jimb0 talk about how music can always bring back nostalgic feelings from past games, and it’s totally true. If only there was more time in a day.



24.       Judgment Day – Final Fantasy VII                                                                                                                   Boomp3.com

Sept. 24th

This song totally has that “end of the game” tone written all over it. It reminds me of how much hard work and effort it takes to beat an epic RPG. This is definitely the type of song that plays when there’s no return, and when that point in a long game comes, the music alongside of it needs to be as epic and even more encouraging. I love how the beat involving the anvil in the background is just the right volume – not overly exaggerent, but just right.




25.       Parting Forever – Lost Odyssey                                                                                                                     Boomp3.com

Sept. 25th

There’s only one way I can explain this. Please take the time to read one of my favorite stories from Lost Odyssey’s Thousand Years of Dreams. Recommended in full screen.

  

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Totally been sick lately. Got home last night after an eleven hour shift and pretty much passed out on my bed the second I walked in the door. With that said, sorry about the lateness.

As always, credit goes out to Nobuo Uematsu, along with other like-minded composers such as Junya Nakano and Masashi Hamauzu, who've not only received help from a legendary musician, but contributed their fair share of what you've listened to today. The glue of which holds the music and context together is also credited to masterminds such as Hironobu Sakaguchi, Yoshinori Kitase, and Kazushige Nojima. Final thanks goes to Square-Enix for placing these amazing guys in their well-deserved spotlight!
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Nobuo Month 4/6


16.       Main Theme Final Fantasy VII ~Live~                                                                                                                                                                    Boomp3.com


Sept. 16th

Last week I mentioned the soul of the composer being found in a main theme – there’s no difference here. Damn this song is beautiful. It completely captures the “world slowly falling apart” undertone, but it reminds you that you’re the hero to save it. When a song does that, you know it’s more than instruments making music, it’s emotion. Which is the key reason why Nobuo is my favorite composer of ever (even past Rush, my #1 band), he can make me believe so passionately about what he does: make me think music about the way I do. This theme is a fine definition of his best – not necessarily musically, but passionately.



17.       Theme of SethLost Odyssey                                                                                                                  Boomp3.com

Sept. 17th

Amazing. People who’ve beat Lost Odyssey will completely understand and know why this song is so important. For those who won’t get around to it, this is the last song you finally hear after fifty or more hours of playing the game, which the last thirty minutes completely destroys all other games for best ending of all-time. Really, it’s that amazing – I’m pretty sure that I could not stop getting caught up in myself – this song definitely tied the knot.




18.       Mambo De ChocoboFinal Fantasy                                                                                                         Boomp3.com

Sept. 18th

Yeah, that’s right. There had to a chocobo theme in here somewhere. I find it slightly humorous how no Final Fantasy takes place on the same land or timeline (aside from FF XII), however you still have a slight theme to it with various things such as chocobos. The theme is as memorable as ever, and I think it’s made a fine print in gaming music history itself. The hardest part was how many versions of the theme I had to decide from, and while there are technically better types out there, this one strikes the characteristics of a chocobo. Wark!



19.       Terra’s ThemeFinal Fantasy VI                                                                                                                Boomp3.com

Sept. 19th

Probably one of the most memorable melody’s of the franchise if you’re a Final Fantasy VI fan. It has no big build-ups, no crashes, no snaps, no real lift off, yet it remains to have that epic adventure feeling behind it. Amazing where a man can take such a simple melody – it practically is the game’s main theme. I’m personally finally just getting around to the game myself, and I’ll say from what I’ve experienced the song has some big shoes to fill and thus far it’s done more than a fine job.


20.       Roar of the Departed SoulsLost Odyssey

   Boomp3.com

Sept. 20th

This one’s definitely an awesome progressive heavy rock song. I’m sure this one will please the fans of Nobuo’s non-classical side. Either way, this song is an absolute rollercoaster that has a ride to the top and a big, fast drop after that. Down the line you’ll hear something I’ve pretty sure that’s never been done in music history: An [what I assume is] an italian rap with african tribes shouting in the background. As crazy as it sounds, it’s somehow really awesome with the guitar riff in the background. Supposedly Nobuo composed the Lost Odyssey soundtrack while in Italy, and he wanted to somehow show a side of it within the music, so why not have it as the final boss fight? – that’s pretty cool.

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As always, credit goes out to Nobuo Uematsu, along with other like-minded composers such as Junya Nakano and Masashi Hamauzu, who've not only received help from a legendary musician, but contributed their fair share of what you've listened to today. The glue of which holds the  music and context together is also credited to masterminds such as Hironobu Sakaguchi, Yoshinori Kitase, and Kazushige Nojima. Final thanks goes to Square-Enix for placing these amazing guys in their well-deserved spotlight!

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Nobuo Month 3/6

11.       Zeromus – The Black Mages (Final Fantasy IV)                                                                                                                 Boomp3.com

Sept. 11th

This song in particular has such a great feeling to it. It starts out a tad grungy, then goes straight into this freeform rock. I often talk about how Uematsu was limited and when you hear a more recent version it’s easy to see how it was meant to be. This song has heavy regards to the same thing – seriously, go find the original and you can instantly realize what he was going for.


12.       A Return, Indeed... (Piano) – Lost Odyssey                                                                           Boomp3.com


Sept. 12th

Piano works aren’t only amazing when their well-written, but mainly when they’re amazing when their story is. That’s how I’ve always listened to instrumentals in general; a book that requires ears. Down the line in this song, there’s a beautiful build-up, and it wraps up with an amazing, light melody. Pieces such as these make me wish I could play piano so bad, despite that’s something generic to say.

I’ve always been able to compose this stuff in my head, but never form it together and convert it into real-life. It makes me realize how much time musicians in general spend with their equipment to get so used to it that they are able to skillfully transfer what’s in their head through their instrument. Not only that, but to do it so well that you’re regarded higher than other people who’ve worked so hard to be great at the same task. I think Nobuo has always been one of those people – it definitely shows.


13.       People of the North Pole – Final Fantasy X                                                                                               
   Boomp3.com


Sept. 13th

I don’t think any song in the world gives me as many chills as this one does. I remember falling in love with this one the second I ran into it during FFX – I had one of those “sit on the screen and don’t move” moments.  It felt amazingly fitting for the scenario, and it built up Khimari’s background enough to basically make this his theme. Instead of going on about how much I love this song, I’ll end what I think by saying that it earns my personal gold medal for best song of the album. - Amazing, really.


14.       Main Theme – Lost Odyssey                                                                                                     Boomp3.com


Sept. 14th

If you were ever looking for a sample of the soul from a game’s composer, it’d be found in the main theme of the title. I imagine that writing a theme is hard work – you have to be sure that it’s not generic, yet have a familiar tone to keep it memorable. I think the snare drum sets the seriousness, but when the vocals break in, it comes back to fantasy. It blends back and forth, but damn does it sound good.



15.       The Birth of a God – Final Fantasy VII                                                                                     Boomp3.com


Sept 15th.

Truly energitic. This song really, really made the fight against Bizzaro Sephiroth intense. I know a lot of people never found the fight to be hard, but being a little kid and not having the best materia yet being level 99 (which makes Sephiroth the hardest he can be) put me in one of the toughest fights I’ve been in. Despite I was in the fight for over many months not knowing about gold chocobos or Knights of the Round, the music never got old to me and always built the fight up to be a fun challenge. So private thanks to Nobuo for making something so tedious to be entertaining.

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I apologize for the lateness. I've been working my ass off as always and haven't had the time to keep up with the month. On top of that, I like play games, so a bit of my time has gone towards Rock Band 2 and WAR. *Two songs weren't playing correctly. They are now fixed. Thanks for the patience.

As always, credit goes out to Nobuo Uematsu, along with other like-minded composers such as Junya Nakano and Masashi Hamauzu, who've not only received help from a legendary musician, but contributed their fair share of what you've listened to today. The glue of which holds the music and context together is also credited to masterminds such as Hironobu Sakaguchi, Yoshinori Kitase, and Kazushige Nojima. Final thanks goes to Square-Enix for placing these amazing guys in their well-deserved spotlight!

4 Comments

Nobuo Month 2/6 (Now Better Looking)


6. Auron's Theme - Final Fantasy X                                                                                                             Boomp3.com

Sept. 6th

Every character theme Nobuo has composed has always done one thing exactly right: match the suit. Here, I picture experience, leadership, and classyness, which is how Auron exactly is. It’s an interesting mix of instruments as well: a drumkit, piano, chorus, acoustic guitar and a synthisizer which probably has a better name. To think this piece was created with only that and a mixer (read: effects) or two is pretty ear catching. Certainly one of the most catchy themes ever!




7.       Battle with the DemonsLost Odyssey                                                                                             Boomp3.com

 

Sept. 7th

This would be the first song that totally sold me on Lost Odyssey’s soundtrack. It plays during your first boss encounter and damn does it feel so empowering. The combination of trumpets and electric guitar boasting the mini build-ups into one big explosion of amazement is positively skin shuddering. I’m sure people might go, “Nobuo mixing classical and guitar, no wai!?”, but the man knows when to use it right. I can’t say enough that I feel as if this is Nobuo’s best soundtrack, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m not alone. All of his work on this album is truly amazing, and hopefully it’ll get more people to check out his latest.


8.    Besaid IslandFinal Fantasy X                                                                                                          Boomp3.com


Sept. 8th

Smooth, charming, and catchy. Damn, what an amazing collaboration of simply-used instruments. It’s totally relaxing and is one of those songs that makes you look down and think. Once the snare drum kicks in, it snaps into that catchy, almost unforgettable blend with the piano melody. Perhaps I have writers block today, but I don’t know what else to say about it – I guess it is what it is: Peaceful.



9.       Cid’s ThemeFinal Fantasy VII                                                                                                          Boomp3.com

Sept. 9th

Ahhh, another one of Nobuo’s character theme’s completely fitting the suit of the character. The snare drum compliments the militaristic attitude of Cid, but the trumpet reflects his dreams. I personally really enjoyed the background story of the character’s long life dream of reaching space never being reached. As cruel as that sounds, it was the first moment in a game that had any value of morals to me – how important it is to try your hardest to reach a goal, despite it may be too out-of-hand for anyone. And I think that’s what the song mostly represents to me: importance. With that sappy stuff aside, the song probably doesn’t favor to anyone out of context. But who hasn’t playing VII by now?


10.       The Extreme  Final Fantasy VIII                                                                                                     Boomp3.com

Sept. 10th

I’ll be honest that I’ve never given FF8 a fair share of my time. So for people who have, I can only imagine this song is twice as good when put into context. I can feel the epicness in this weird jazzy style, and I really, really like it. The opening for one has a pretty cool arrangement, and I’m still arguing with myself on whether or not that’s Vincent’s theme. Once the actual piece kicks in though, it’s all downhill from there into what sounds like a battle of keyboards. It, such as most of Final Fantasy VIII’s music, overcomes the barrier of MIDI-sounding of the Playstation. Pretty awesome song to close out this week’s update!


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Unfortunately I was very rushed with this week's update with work and all. I ditched Keypoints for the time being due to the fact that I can't find an mp3 embed site that includes a timer on the interface. That would be the reason this week looks a lot shorter. Feel free to offer a site and/or throw your opinion on a song in a comment below!

As always, credit goes out to Nobuo Uematsu, along with other like-minded composers such as Junya Nakano and Masashi Hamauzu, who've not only received help from a legendary musician but contributed their fair share of what you've listened to today. The glue of which holds the music and context together is also credited to masterminds such as Hironobu Sakaguchi,Yoshinori Kitase, and Kazushige Nojima. Final thanks goes to Square-Enix for placing these amazing guys in their well-deserved spotlight!

5 Comments

Nobuo Month: 1/6

I guess I should start off by saying that I’m a big music guy. Who isn’t by now? I love bands from many genres, since all it takes is some damn good writing to have my feet and hands tapping along. Like games, I listen to music objectively, so no bullshit like Fallout Boy, My Chemical Romance or Soulja Boy has ever touched my likings (or have walked within miles of my radius). I’m into music that is good, not what just sounds good, and believe me when I say there is a difference. With that stuff out of the way, we’re brought to Nobuo Month; a poor excuse for writing more, while a great excuse for enjoying some of the best video game music around.

Approximately two weeks ago, I realized that I haven’t been writing nearly at all anymore. I wanted to get back into a practice without taking much of my time. At the time of thought, Uematsu was pumping through my headphones, and an idea sparked: Nobuo Month. Over the last two weeks I’ve struggled [and barely] finished my personal list of thirty songs from Nobuo Uematsu, and boy was it tough. The list will be slowly completed as I listen to one song everyday. I figured that the time and space would be plenty of room to work with, but I wound up having to throw out many songs that I love. So feel free to play along with me offering criticism on certain songs using the embedded MP3 players, and have fun listening to some truly inspiring music!

1.                                FF7 Opening/Bombing RunFinal Fantasy VII

Sept. 1st

When I was first thought about what songs should be on my thirty song set list, I immediately knew which song would open up for the first update – with all of the amazing tracks out there by Nobuo, that’s a hard thing to be certain about. I actually really, really wanted to use this orchestrated version, but the original had better quality available for the volume level. After hearing actual instruments being played, the original feels a bit restricted. Overall, it’s a piece that opens up beautifully and is definitely one of the best introductions to a game I’ve personally witnessed. It’s build-up is barely subtle enough to not be overwhelming, but you still get that snap into the secret agent-like melody. I also have a problem accurately fitting this song into a genre since it includes so many different type of odd sounds, but it gets your blood pumping as your sprinting out of the Mako Reactor.

Keypoints:

                     :40-1:09  |  Awesome way to kick off the song.

                  2:03-2:10  |  Cool bridge, can’t even begin to think of what the instruments were labled as.

  3:22-3:35  |  If game music didn’t have to loop, this would of been a badass ending.



A Mighty Enemy Appears!Lost Odyssey

Sept. 2nd


What a great way to kick off something from Nobuo’s latest project, Lost Odyssey. The entire album is personally one of my favorites, and this track shows promise for more coming up from this title. The song in particular throws a rush right from the get-go and never lets up – best thing is that it’s purely classical! Obviously, Uematsu is commonly known for blending electrical guitar with his regular stringed instruments, but it’s refreshing to get a break from that. Not much else to say on this one other than to just take a listen!

Keypoints:

                 :06-:13   |  What an amazing little build-up. Can’t stop tapping fingers afterwards.

             1:44-2:06  |  Christmas! Which leads to awesome snare/trumpet trade-offs.

       2:16-And On   |  : O

3.       Epsylon RangeLost Odyssey

Sept. 3rd

A cool, jazzy song to chill out to. Yet again peaking top quality from the Lost Odyssey soundtrack, this song for some reason brings me back to Nobuo’s roots. When the drum beat kicks in later in the track, I can’t help but feel slightly nostalgic. It’s one of those feelings that I can’t quite pin down, but it’s definitely there. During Lost Odyssey, I experienced that a lot, and I think it plays a role of why I love the soundtrack so much (thanks James for gifting it to me, as I’ve wanted it for a long time). The song comes off rather short, but it sounds great on an endless loop. Sit back, relax and let it hit the heart.

Keypoints:

                   :36-:48  |   What a sweet, jazz-like guitar melody that’s easy to enjoy.

4.       ChallengeFinal Fantasy X

Sept. 4th

Seymour. Yeah, that Guado with the crazy blue hair; that’s all this song reminds me of. Probably because the fight with him in this song (Seymour Flux) took me too many tries. This piece has a lot of feeling behind it: intense; badass; surprise; anxiety; jazzy; alarming. I could fit as many adjectives into that as I want and I’m sure it wouldn’t cover the wide span of different levels it covers. No matter how many times I’ve thrown this song on a play list, the build-up always bursts into awesomeness. From there, it continues that interesting mix of ambiance that is totally aggressive. As much as I’d think this song would get repetitive and tiring, it plays an important role in the game, along with many others.

Keypoints:

                     1:03-1:33  |  Insert sunglasses onto facial area.

                     2:17-2:30  |   Man, that little freeform break is sweet! Wish it would carry the song out.

5.       Clash on the Big BridgeFinal Fantasy V (Black Mages)

Sept. 5th

Wow. The latter half of this song absolutely blows me way – talk about great writing. Certain re-compositions such as this one makes you realize how limited software was back then. If that’s not clear enough: I’m pretty sure this song shows where Nobuo’s mind has always been, even if the equipment was available at hand was not. Nostalgic melodies, guitar solos, synth solo; they’ve certainly tied the knot on this one. Probably the most important part is the spacing. There’s no rushing at all, you’re easily introduced into each bit of the song. I’ve personally never been completely sold by The Black Mages (despite my love for Nobuo), but I can’t say enough that they hit the nail on the head for this piece.

Keypoints:

                    :42-:55  | Ahh, the classic Gilgamesh lick.

               1:50-2:15  | Definitely some awesome keyboard’s going on – sweet bass solo!

               2:16-3:25  | Freakin’ sweet, can’t get enough of it.

As always, credit goes out to Nobuo Uematsu, along with other like-minded composers such as Junya Nakano and Masashi Hamauzu, who've not only received help from a legendary musician, but contributed their fair share of what you've listened to today. The glue of which holds the music and context together is also credited to masterminds such as Hironobu Sakaguchi, Yoshinori Kitase, and Kazushige Nojima. Final thanks goes to Square-Enix for placing these amazing guys in their well-deserved spotlight!

Please PM me with any bugs, glitches or structure mishaps you feel like reporting. This is a big blog and Giantbomb is still a new site. Please note that Boommp3's streaming isn't always running as well as it should be, so yes I am aware of the embed's not playing sometimes. If you've recently updated Firefox, make sure you've rebooted since then -- it may be the source of any problems.

Stayed tuned on Sept. 10th for the next update.

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Now I can stop staying up late

I just filled in the 30 slot of my list and I’m feeling pretty complete about it.

This shameless plug is bigger than his list!
I've made various changes trying to slim down certain games and introduce a few oldies  certain games. I’m sure I’ll have one or two obvious songs that I’ll remember that aren’t on the list after this is all over, but I think I can say I’m happy. What amazes me most is the fact that I ran into so much trouble despite I have freakin’ thirty songs to pick from! About five minutes ago I was pretty much ready to flip a coin between two songs looking for the last spot. It’s been fun just to make the list, hopefully it’ll be just as interesting to listen and (I wouldn’t call it critique) give thought on this blog here. Of course, I’ll make sure you guys will be able to listen along with me via embedded mp3.

                                              Sept. 5th!

3 Comments

Quick Update on Nobuo Month

Holy shit.

Picking thirty songs isn't the hard part. Debating which amazing, beautiful songs to throw out is. I'm going through my entire library with only a few spots on my list almost crying over the fact that I'm so limited on room. I'll try not to spoil anything, but I'm trying my best to exclude overplayed songs that everyone is a bit tired of hearing. So yeah, don't expect Those Who Fight Further to be on the list. There'll be plenty of what you know, and what you don't -- should be exciting to watch it unfold.

Nobuo Month starts on Sept. 1st, and the first update will be Sept 5th, so keep an eye out. - With that said, I'll try to squeeze in a request if I can. So feel pitch any songs at me and I'll see what I can do if it's not on the list (which if it does make it on the list, I'll give courtesy to whoever pointed it out). Right now I have only a few spots left on my list and I haven't gone through Nobuo's older stuff.

This is difficult, but fun at the same time.

4 Comments

Another Blog Featuring Rush & Some News


I know a few people miss me just a little bit. No? - Really? Damn. Well, I'll be back in the gaming world soon enough. I've only been playing a little bit of Rock Band and Warhammer Online (beta, yay NDA being lifted!) each week, and prior to that was my worst month of gaming ever with only a slight amount of Company of Heroes and freakin' online poker. I'm totally pumped up for Warhammer Online as it's handsdown the best MMO I've played thus far, and that's coming from a guy who devoted eight years of Everquest in his life. I just payed off the rest of Rock Band 2 and am planning to have my fair share of fun with the game. The features look to be promising and the set list is awesome on the classic rock side of things. However, I will be ditching the equipment and just getting the game by itself, but maybe I'll pick up the drums later down the road or just go all out and jump on the ION drumkit.

Speaking of Rock Band, one of Rush's best albums ever released, "Moving Pictures" will be coming out tomorrow. Of course I'll be all over that, and the song I'm most excited about is one that's recently grown on me a bunch.


  


While we're on the topic of music, I've been trying to get some writing time in every now and then. So I thought of something just to type about, while not being to heavy. Over the next month I'll be listening to one song by Nobuo Uematsu, my (and many others) favorite composer of all time, every day. Since I listen to so much of him, this will actually be a cut back. However, I'll be documenting the entire list of songs. I'll just go ahead and paste in a small portion I've already put down, of course cutting down the juicy (read: sappy) stuff:

"Today is August 19, and over the next week, I’m going to be picking thirty songs to listen to -- one each day for next month. Making the list will be very hard, but it also gives me a lot of room to easily fit stuff in. However, the order I put them in will be really, really tough. Could you pick the first or  final song? Not only that, but I’ll be slapping a paragraph or two on each song with my thoughts on composition, and composer. I won’t write much on making the list, since you’ll see it develop as you read."

So every five days or so I'll dump what I've put down on my e-paper, along with music clips (also read: YouTube or somethin') here on this blog. I'm already behind on making my list, so I should probably go work on that now before time catches up.

.... or I could play some more Warhammer ...
Edit: Sorry about the mess here, was trying various mp3 embedding sites to see which work best. Used this blog as a testing ground and because Giantbomb is still in early stages, it's a bit buggy and won't let me delete the ODEO players. I'm not going to delete the blog (I had to do that once before on another one) so they're stuck here.
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