Game Music, Reviews


June 8, 2018 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook BRA★BRA FINAL FANTASY VII BRASS de BRAVO (Review)on Twitter

Since 2015, Nobuo Uematsu has been heavily involved in the recently incepted FINAL FANTASY BRASS de BRAVO concert. Just recently, news has it that the music to the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE will be supervised by the man himself and performed by the same orchestra for this album (the Siena Wind Orchestra, a professional brass band that represents Japan).
So, in many ways, this album could be a taste of things to come – or even the newly recorded music itself?

In any case, I’d best get into the details!

If you’re a Final Fantasy fan and you haven’t heard of the electric FINAL FANTASY BRASS de BRAVO concert, then… I wouldn’t put it past you.

Let’s be real, Final Fantasy music concerts happen quite often now – don’t they? The most popular is Distant Worlds, touring the world since 2007! The reason why Distant Worlds is so popular is because the concert travels all across the world and performs some of the most famous Final Fantasy tracks.

How BRASS de BRAVO differs is that the concert itself is much more laid-back, with frequent intermissions with Uematsu. Jayson Napolitano’s (Scarlet Moon Records) blog post on the previous album explains what the concert is like in more detail.

Square Enix Music Blog, showcasing FINAL FANTASY BRASS de BRAVO footage:

Now, let’s get onto the music! Personally, I’ve never been a big Nobuo Uematsu fan (I have just said the most controversial statement ever). Because I started with FINAL FANTASY XIII (and enjoyed it!), I am more of a Masashi Hamauzu fan and I tend to enjoy works of lesser known artists. However, I will not let my personal opinion of Uematsu get in the way of the obvious quality of this music, I tell you that!

Also, despite Uematsu’s memorable melodies, I always found myself staying away from older Final Fantasy soundtracks, namely FINAL FANTASY VII, because the sound quality was terrible. It’s all bleeps and bloops and FF7’s sound quality on the PlayStation 1, ended up being worse than the SNES, which Uematsu perfected with FF6.
The only work I like from Uematsu is Lost Odyssey, which is by far the greatest work he’s done outside of Final Fantasy. This is why the FINAL FANTASY concerts are a great chance to redeem the music of Uematsu with fully-orchestrated performances, and what a redemption BRA★BRA FINAL FANTASY VII BRASS de BRAVO is. It’s not as professional and classical as Distant Worlds, instead its more on the playful side – switching between moments of beauty, brilliance and brassiness!

Although FF7 music has been performed time and time again by Distant Worlds in the past, FINAL FANTASY VII BRASS de BRAVO comes replete with new arrangements specifically for the Siena Wind Orchestra. There are 6 arrangers for this album – 6 arrangers for a total of 12 tracks! Some of the names are familiar, such as Rika Ishige, who arranged “FINAL FANTASY IV: Battle with the Four Fiends” for Distant Worlds and Yohei Kobayashi, who arranged and performed a few tracks in Lightning Returns: FINAL FANTASY XIII.

As a whole, the album sounds close to the Distant Worlds arrangements, but ends up feeling fresh in a way. This is a good feeling; for music that you would’ve heard or seen time and time again, it is important to have variety. FINAL FANTASY VII BRASS de BRAVO doesn’t change the formula or nor does it try to, instead it ends up being coated with a new fresh of paint – breathing life into the compositions with brass-y and intimate performances; a sound that only the Siena Wind Orchestra can achieve. There isn’t much to talk about, because it’s nothing new! It’s just enjoyable for a Final Fantasy music fan to listen to.

Well, there’s one track that stands out and it’s “Rufus’s Welcoming Ceremony”. You guessed it, this track transitioned really well onto a brass-orchestra.
It’s not as silly as I thought it would be, especially comparing to previous BRASS de BRAVO concerts, but it would feel at home in the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE! It’s a little bit extended from the original, and feels x1000 less abrasive. Even a whistle is blown throughout the track!

“Rufus’s Welcoming Ceremony”:

It is for this reason, that I have great hope for the BRA★BRA FINAL FANTASY BRASS de BRAVO concert. Despite it being based in Japan for the time being, it looks like a great bundle of fun for everybody attending, and a great chance for Uematsu to kick back and let the arrangers and performers do the work. Uematsu has only overseen the production of the album, and – in the future – he will oversee the music for the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. For a man who has been overworked for nearly his entire career, he has great support behind him. I know he will do a good job, just like this album itself!

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