MAJOR GEEK ALERT – I love video games. But, more importantly, I love Final Fantasy. More specifically, Final Fantasy VII. This is perhaps not the place to become all gooey eyed and nostalgic about the greatest game ever made (hands down), but one cannot just bypass the genius of Nobuo Uematsu – the composer and producer of the Final Fantasy music.
So, for the one man and his dog that are still reading this, let us delve into the freaking brilliant music that Nobuo Uematsu created for the series defining Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IV………
Beginning with Final Fantasy VII and its MIDI soundtrack, Crazy Motorcycle is a frantic and industrial tune, much like its title suggests, but is also oddly progressive.
An absolute masterclass in how a song can build and rise up the registers, Shinra Army Wages A Full-Scale Attack is full of pomp and brilliant martial ideas.
Being the music set to the final boss battle of the game, One Winged Angel is frightening and distinctly sounds much like a Stravinsky composition. Listen to the game’s MIDI version here, and the full blown Black Mages version with full orchestra here, where the massive crowd goes nuts. Below is the orchestra only version, still a treat.
By the next game in the series, Final Fantasy VIII, Nobuo Uematsu had upgraded his sound, predominantly using a synthesizer to compose the game’s music. The opening track of the game, Liberi Fatali, is an epic by all accounts. Choral chanting combined with frenetic orchestral playing, there is a wealth of detail to be admired, not least with the end crescendo beginning from 2.28.
A personal favourite of mine, Timber Owls is a short piece with multiple percussive ideas and fantastic string plucking, culminating in a bopping riff with tuba at 1.07.
Plumping four riffs atop of each other before the addition of a triangle(?!), The Mission has a sweet bass line from 1.13.
A game is usually incomplete without some catchy Spaghetti Western piano……..Slide Show Part 2 most likely knocked up in a matter of minutes too.
And last, but certainly not least, the music of Final Fantasy IX has been cited by Uematsu as his favourite work, composed with medieval leanings but retaining his own style. Hunter’s Chance is typical Uematsu – progressive, full of dirty synth lines and melodically complex.
A rather sickly sweet number, but I dare you not to appreciate the simple and smiley melody of Moogle’s Theme, complete with a brilliant turnaround.
And finally, another solo piano piece which is equally dreamy as it is dark, Kuja’s Theme rounds off this blog majestically.
The above is merely a tiny fraction taken from the body of music that Nobuo Uematsu produced for the three Final Fantasy games mentioned in this post. The quality of his compositions, as well as the imagination and creativity he clearly has in abundance, cannot be understated, even though most people might never ever think to listen to computer game music. I hope that curiosity might be aroused for anyone who reads this, for there is so much to admire.