Project Majestic Mix, an arranged album in dedication to famed Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, was a fan operation that began under the watch of Stephen Kennedy a four of years ago. Thousands of delays later, the album finally saw its release, and it was definitely worth the wait. The sixteen tracks on the Silver Edition soar from one end of the musical spectrum to the other, and each stand out as excellent arrangements of classic Uematsu compositions.
The album itself hails from a variety of artists all dedicating a specific Uematsu piece in honor of the great composer. Some tracks are recordings of live bands, others simply remixes on a synthesizer. No matter what, though, the arrangements are excellent. The album begins with the famous “Prelude” arranged in a somewhat simple manner with synthesizer effects. It never fails to capture the emotion of the simple piece, though, and delivers a foot-tapping bass line along with the various synthesizer instruments providing the melody. Also notable is the techno remix of Uematsu’s “Within the Giant”, a popular piece from Final Fantasy IV. The quality of the synthesizer instrumentation is excellent, and provides a catchy remix of an old favorite. Another techno piece is the ever-popular “Man with the Machine Gun”, widely hailed as one of Uematsu’s best pieces. Though the arrangement is very close to the original, the synthesizer effects are of much higher quality, and the bass line is extremely deep and pounding – my 12″ subwoofer was shaking the entire lower floor; bass has much more of a presence in this arrangement. A surprising techno remix is the Chrono Trigger classic “Sealed Door”, which puts the simple piano melody together with an ominous background melody and catchy techno beat. Another great remix is the Final Fantasy VII piece “Anxious Heart”, which mixes the classic strings riff with a pounding dance beat. The original piece captured a somewhat downtrodden feeling, and the remix, while adding the pulsating percussive beat and light electric guitar riffs, manages to keep the original spirit.
No, the entire album isn’t techno arrangements and remixes. There’s also a wonderful – I can’t stress how wonderful – live band arrangement of “Coast of the Sun,” the theme played in Final Fantasy VII’s lively coastal town, Costa del Sol. The OneUp Mushrooms make the piece sound like what it should have in game- a lively jazz song with that island feeling. The saxophone and trumpet are performed wonderfully – the song is relaxing and soothing, as the original piece was. Stephen Kennedy’s arrangement of “Cayenne” from Final Fantasy VI proves to be a powerful, emotional piece that is split into three parts. It begins softly with Cyan’s theme played on the piano, rises to its zenith in full synthesizer orchestration, and quietly returns to the simple melody once again on the piano. The theme was originally an amazing piece, and this arrangement is equally as impressive. One other notable piece is the remix of “You’re Not Alone!” from Final Fantasy IX. A simple percussive beat and bass line take second seat to the amazing sounds of an electric and acoustic guitar pounding out the catchy tune.
There are two reasons why any fan of game music should own this album without question. First off, it provides sixteen excellent arrangements of classic Uematsu pieces from Final Fantasy and his contributions to Gun Hazard (Front Mission) and Chrono Trigger. The songs are varied and are of the utmost quality in sound recording and instrumentation, especially for a fan-produced piece. Secondly, this soundtrack costs less than twenty dollars and is limited to 3,000 copies! Do not hesitate!