Remix Default


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Review by · May 18, 2014

Bravely Default released last year to widespread critical acclaim, and one of the game’s most praised aspects was its over-the-top, rock orchestra soundtrack. Our own Stephen Meyerink adored it, and so did I, even if I was a bit less enamored with the game itself. Four of the most memorable and catchy tracks on the album were the character themes — one for Agnes, Tiz, Ringabel, and Edea — so I was delighted when I received news of a character-centric remix EP by way of the venerable Dj CUTMAN. Remix Default infuses these four tracks with a retro-inspired, dance-ready chiptune flavor that tickles my musical taste buds in all the right ways.

“Beneath a Hollow Moon (Agnes)” begins with a Game Boy-sampled melody that is quickly joined by a heavy percussion backbeat. Its slower tempo and consistent rhythm evoke Agnes’s always-marching-forward mentality, although it is the least dynamic of the album’s four tracks. “You Are My Hope (Tiz)” utilizes the popular Amen Break to drive its faster tempo forward, and the main chip melody — which once resembled a frantic Riverdance — is layered against energetic chanting of “go! go! go!” A couple of syncopated sections change up the flow of the song nicely, too, helping to avoid repetition.

“Love’s Vagrant (Ringabel)” takes the opposite approach regarding repetition; it uses cascading notes to create a temporary sense of incompleteness, then throws down everything it has at once. In a sense, the music almost flirts with the listener, just like Ringabel might flirt with a lady, although I admit that I could be extrapolating based on my knowledge of his character. Finally, my favorite track on both the original album and this EP, “Baby Bird (Edea)” is suitably bright, dancey, and charismatic. The original saxophone melody sounds great in chiptune form, and the hip-hop percussion harmony had me bobbing my head in time with the beat. Ever see “Clueless?” Imagine Brittany Murphy’s character doing her “rollin’ with the homies” hand motion, and you’ll have a good mental image of how I dance to this song. (For the other two RPG-loving Clueless fans out there who might read this review: you are kindred spirits. I value and cherish you.)

Remix Default is a satisfying dose of chippy goodness for fans of retro VGM, although you will benefit from familiarity with its source material. Its release came as a welcome surprise and has kicked my summer off on the right note(s).

Dat Edea remix. Seriously.

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Derek Heemsbergen

Derek Heemsbergen

For over nine years (2010-2019), Derek was a major part of RPGFan. While he was foremost one of our star reviewers, he went on to take part in features, co-host – and then host – many episodes of Random Encounter, and grew to be one of the most respected and beloved RPGFan team members. He has since moved on to professional localization work. Ganbatte, Derek!