Archive for the ‘RW Music’ Category

Aerith’s Theme (Final Fantasy VII)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Who spells it Aeris anyway?

Well, I did up until now. However, Crisis Core has officially retconned her name completely, and I can no longer live in denial that my original translation name is the correct one. Which sucks. But let’s move on, because her theme is honestly one of my favourite pieces of videogame music ever. I love it. It’s beautiful, and it speaks volumes about her character.

We usually avoid covering tracks like this. It’s risky. If you bugger it up, it’s going to be collossal, and people are going to think you’re absolutely terrible. This time, I’m pretty glad we decided to bite the bullet and arrange this piece. And arrange is the word – this track features more predominant keyboard and synthesiser work than in any other Red Wings arrangement. I wanted to capture the feel and sound of the orchestra version of the piece, and then mix it with the acoustic guitar style of the Crisis Core version.

The result is the louder, more emotional parts of the piece being carried by the strings & woodwind (helped along by electric guitar, with the acoustic guitar strumming along in the background, and playing the lead line in the verse. The original is by Nobuo Uematsu and from Final Fantasy VII. But you likely already know that.

Did you know?
In Final Fantasy VII, Aerith actually has lines of dialogue after her death, suggesting that at one point in the game she was either meant to die later on, be ressurrected, or not die at all. Via use of a gameshark or PC mod to re-insert her back into the party after her death, you can view these lines.

The Decisive Battle Scene (Final Fantasy VI)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

It was quite recently that we noticed we’d produced nearly 20 tracks (we haven’t yet released them all!) and a grand total of none of them were Final Fantasy battle themes. Considering the scope these pieces have to be awesome on guitar, our love for the Final Fantasy series and simply how many there are, this was a shocking and unacceptable fact. So we decided to change this.

We started out with our intent as purely covering The Decisive Battle, but there was a feeling amongst the band that The Decisive Battle is a track that is covered an awful lot by rock groups, and we should try something different. A long version of decisive with many solos and original sections – tried and tested. A short mini-version? Also tried. We ended up merging Decisive with a more ignored track, “Battle Scene (VI)” and wound up with this, The Decisive Battle Scene. There are still some solo sections, of course.

Another favourite of many fans, Nobuo Uematsu‘s Final Fantasy VI score is argued to be one of his best. We love them all too much to judge, but we’re happy to say that The Decisive Battle is definitely, definitely one of our most loved Boss Battle themes. The rest of the OST rules, though, and expect to see more FF6 in the future…

-Alex

Did you know?
Final Fantasy VI hasn’t actually ever had a really successful release in our home country – the SNES original never made it over, the PS1 port was arguably painful to play, and the GBA version was released several years after the GBA had faded from stores, and never even ranked on the charts.

Gerudo Valley (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is arguably one of, if not the greatest game of all time. I admit it’s not my personal favourite, but the magazine scores and critic rating state one thing – it’s definitely one of the best overall. It’s near perfect.

Featuring a soundtrack by the legendary Koji Kondo, arguably one of the biggest names in videogame music, the game features pieces both old and new to the Zelda series, and truly showcases a new direction for the Zelda series overall, both musically and in gameplay, reimagining the SNES gameplay into a more action-packed 3D world. The music reflects this, of course.

One of our favourite pieces of music in the game is the theme tune to “Gerudo Valley”, the desert locale that is home to a society made up entirely of women but for the one man born every 100 years.. (how does that work, really?) It so happens the only man to come out of the place in 100 years is the rather evil Ganondorf, who leaves his home to serve the king of Hyrule with an eye at taking over. All in all, this track was a pleasure to arrange and record.. and there’s more Zelda coming soon.

-Alex

Did you know?
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time may be considered the pinnacle of the series, but actually does not feature the main Zelda music theme. After fan dismay at this, the theme returned in the following game, Majora’s Mask.

Go K.K. Rider! (Animal Crossing)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

With the Smash Bros Dojo regularly updating every day with new information on the levels, characters and hidden goodies in the upcoming titles, I was very, very excited. I fucking love Smash Bros. When the site updated one day with a sample of some music from the game – a high quality remix of the tune “Go K.K. Rider!” from Animal Crossing, I knew we had to do it, as a tribute to both the original and the Smash Bros version.

In the game, K.K. is a singing dog who appears at the Animal Crossing town train station and busks for a bit of your money. He performs a number of songs. The dog is based on the composer of the game, Kazumi Totaka. This version is a very simple cover, with a minimal synth (a small backing melody) and mostly just rock instruments. It’s length shows what it was intended to be – fun, fast, and simple.

Animal Crossing has some fantastic music, and something remains a thought in my mind is a possibility of a mini-EP covering most or all of KK’s tunes from the game. All are incredibly well composed caricatures of the genres they’re meant to represent, and they’d be a pretty fun selection of tracks to cover. Maybe someday.

-Alex

Did you know?
K.K. is not only based on the game’s real composer, but actually named after him, too. In Japan, Totaka’s nickname was Totakeke – pronounced Tota-Kay-Kay, and this was the name of the busking dog. In the English release, this was translated to K.K.

Wilderness (Golden Axe)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Another suggestion of Lloyd’s, Wilderness came to exist after several hours playing the Xbox 360 Arcade re-release of Golden Axe, originally released in Arcades, later ported to the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. After growing up in the Mega Drive loving UK, memories of games like Golden Axe and Streets of Rage (more from that one later) are very much burned into the minds of all three of us.

Wilderness, being the first level in the game, is particularly memorable. Another heavy piece, this one is very strange in that it features no synthesised parts whatsoever. Which meant I only had to drum, so I’m quite happy. It was a chance to get in some heavy sounding distortion, and double bass pedal action on the drums.

Later on, the piece moves into slightly different territory, with a small poke at one of the most memorable pieces in the game, “Thief,” a tune to kick little creatures with sacks to. The original composers of this game are somewhat hazy, but our research suggests it is either Naofumi Hataya (幡谷尚史) or Tatsuyuki Maeda (前田龍之). Or both.

-Alex

Did you know?
None of the members of The Red Wings own an actual Golden Axe cart – all three own it, but on one of Sega’s “Mega Games” compilation carts.

Ken’s Theme (Street Fighter II)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Ken’s Theme is yet another very important track to us as a band, as it represents several firsts. Ken’s Theme was the first time the band ventured outside of the comfort zone of the Final Fantasy series. Despite being inspired by The Black Mages, we couldn’t let ourselves be contained in one series. It was time to break out, and one of Lloyd’s favourite games of all time beckoned!

Suggested and persistantly suggested until my prototype midi was complete for the track, Lloyd wanted to do a heavy rock version of Ken’s Theme. This, too, was another first – all of our previous tracks were of a melodic rock style, while this piece took a distinctly heavy stance. I can say this midi was a pain in the ass to sequence, but it paid off in the end, giving The Red Wings their first heavy arrangement and their first outright guitar solo.

Taken from Alph Lyla and Yoko Shimomura‘s famous Street Fighter II soundtrack, after a significantly difficult arrangement period, recording came together rather easily, with the totally accidental addition of a saxophone to the background of the track adding the finishing touches. Sometimes accidents are a blessing!

-Alex

Did you know?
Nobody in our circle of friends can play Street Fighter II properly, and most just choose E-Honda and spam that fast punch move. Lloyd, however, can actually play properly. Give me Smash Bros any day.

Valley of the Fallen Star (Final Fantasy VII)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

This particular track is from one of the most famous videogame soundtracks of all time, yet again from the legendary Nobuo Uematsu and the Final Fantasy Series. As with “You’re Not Alone!”, Valley of the Fallen Star has something of a history with The Red Wings, and has been recorded a whopping three times. This time is final. We swear.

As it is, we are very, very happy with what we came out with. This remake was more of a test-bed for our new synth technology than anything, and this latest version includes a piano introduction, full strings, and is actually two pieces in one – this track is actually a slight medley (in the loosest terms) of “Great Warrior” and “Cosmo Canyon” from the Final Fantasy VII soundtrack.

Despite this being one of my earliest efforts with synth, keyboards and all that jazz, we’re still pretty proud of this particular mix. This piece is one of my personal favourites from Final Fantasy VII, too, so I’m glad we didn’t screw it up.

-Alex

Did you know?
This track includes several themes from Final Fantasy VII – the theme of party member Red-XIII, his father Seto, and his hometown, Cosmo Canyon. The game actually features three versions of what is essentially the same piece for each character/location, slightly edited. This arrangement attempts to capture parts of all three.

You’re Not Alone! (Final Fantasy IX)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Here’s a bit of Red Wings history for you – it all began with this particular piece. Back in 2006 when all three of us were a part of the Bad Religion/Anti Flag styled punk five-piece “The Last Stand”, I discovered Nobuo Uematsu’s The Black Mages, and wasted absolutely no time in showing the other guys my amazing discovery.

What a band! We were inspired. And, for nothing more than our own enjoyment, we then decided to begin arranging and recording some videogame covers. We had a bit of a debate about what track to choose, and I put forward this one. It was and still is one of the few things I (Alex) can play on guitar. Our initial recording was bad. Really bad.

Fast forward several years, and after successfully recording a few other tracks with an eye at properly releasing them, we decided to go back and rerecord this epic tune which is undoubtedly one of the highlights of Nobuo Uematsu‘s epic Final Fantasy IX soundtrack. Combining orchestra parts not dissimilar to those in the game with Red Wings guitar, this is still one of my favourites.

-Alex

Did you know?
Nobuo Uematsu travelled to Europe for inspiration for his medieval-styled FF9 soundtrack. Uematsu has confirmed in two interviews that FF9 is in fact his favourite FF soundtrack.