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Adam Corn Nov 26, 2014 (edited Feb 12, 2015)

2015-02-12 Update: Final track list, streaming audio, and Bandcamp download link on STC's Distant Worlds III album page.

Distant Worlds III: More Music from Final Fantasy has been announced for Japanese release on Jan 21, 2015.  It's been four years since Distant Worlds II was released, and though we've seen the orchestral concert albums Distant Worlds: Returning Home and Distant Worlds: The Celebration as well as the part-new, part-compilation Final Fantasy Orchestral Album in that time, the product page states that this will be an all-new studio recording, performed by the FILMharmonic Orchestra in Prague and conducted by Arnie Roth.

Track List (subject to change and not in album order):
- FFVI: Character Medley
- FFVI: Ending Theme (short version)
- FFVIII: Balamb Garden
- FFIX: You're Not Alone
- FFIX: Rose of May
- FFIX: Hunter's Chance
- FFX: Song of Prayer ~ Farplane Sending
- FFXII: Kiss Me Goodbye
- FFXIII: Blinded by Light
- FFXIII: Fabula Nova Crystallis
- FFXIV: Answers
- FFXIV: Primal Judgment
- Chocobo Medley 2012
- Battle & Victory Fanfare Medley

Now let's hope for a U.S. / Bandcamp release like the first two Distant Worlds albums received.

Aran Nov 30, 2014

We've heard many of these before, but this is an interesting selection.

Adam Corn Dec 1, 2014

Some thoughts on the track selection...

- FFVI: Character Medley
- FFVI: Ending Theme (short version)

This could be either a really big deal or a really big disappointment.  If "short version" for "Ending Theme" means they keep the whole character medley segment, even a fairly simple orchestral arrangement would still be pretty fantastic.  If they chop it up and only include bits and pieces - big, big missed opportunity.

It's puzzling seeing an FFVI character medley as a separate track, when the ending theme is essentially a character medley itself.  And this comment regarding the Chicago Distant Worlds show says the character medley performed there wasn't much.  Still hoping for the best though.

- FFVIII: Balamb Garden

Sole flat-out disappointment of the track selection.  Stop milking the 15-year-old FFVIII Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec arrangements already.  Maybe it'll be a really nice performance at least.

- FFIX: You're Not Alone
- FFIX: Rose of May
- FFIX: Hunter's Chance

Really happy to see this.  "You're Not Alone" was along with FFV "Main Theme" was my favorite new arrangement of Distant Worlds: The Celebration, and the audience recording of "Rose of May" floating around YouTube shows promise as well.

- FFXII: Kiss Me Goodbye

Slight disappointment here as there are so many fantastic orchestral themes from FFXII that would sound even more fantastic live.

- FFXIV: Answers

We've heard the orchestral arrangement of this on Distant Worlds: Returning Home and DW: The Celebration, but this'll be the first studio recording so I'm super-excited.  If Susan Calloway can match her Returning Home performance it'll be something special.

- FFXIV: Primal Judgment

It's a shame they didn't chose "Navigator's Glory" over this one, it much better captures the fantastical quality of the series (both are arranged on DW: Returning Home).

- Battle & Victory Fanfare Medley

I haven't been overwhelmed by the battle medleys on DW: The Celebration and Final Fantasy Orchestral Album, but if they can improve the weak areas of the latter version it could be something to get excited about.

In any case, if they can nail "Answers" and the FFVI and FFIX tracks it'll be a pretty great album.

jayavictory Dec 3, 2014

I am certainly mixed on this track selection, but very excited to see more of FFVI & IX's soundtrack receive orchestral arrangements.  At least, if this doesn't pan out so well, Final Symphony's CD release is something to look forward to eventually as well.

Amazingu Dec 3, 2014

Adam Corn wrote:

- FFVI: Character Medley
- FFVI: Ending Theme (short version)

This could be either a really big deal or a really big disappointment.  If "short version" for "Ending Theme" means they keep the whole character medley segment, even a fairly simple orchestral arrangement would still be pretty fantastic.  If they chop it up and only include bits and pieces - big, big missed opportunity.

Seriously, even during that amateur orchestra performance a while ago, the Ending Theme was one of the biggest highlights of the show.

Don't lose to an amateur orchestra, Square.

Adam Corn Dec 12, 2014

Some live recordings floating around YouTube of the London Distant Worlds concert give an idea of what to expect on the upcoming Distant Worlds III album.

First the good news.  The arrangement of Final Fantasy IX "Hunter's Chance" is more elaborate than you might expect, which is a good thing, as a straight-up orchestral rendition of this theme wouldn't have much substance to it.  The arrangement of "Rose of May" seems mostly well done as well, and we already know from Distant Worlds: The Celebration that "You're Not Alone" is great, so things are looking good on the FFIX front.

And the bad news... it seems as feared they've really dropped the ball on the Final Fantasy VI arrangements.  The FFVI "Character Medley" includes only four themes - Terra, Kefka, Celes, and Locke - the Terra arrangement being a rehash of the existing Distant Worlds one, and the rest sounding pretty basic (though admittedly from a poor-quality recording).  And the separate "Ending Theme" arrangement, or "Balance is Restored" as it seems to be titled, is just the very end of the full ending theme, the part featuring Setzer's theme.

So while the FFIX material sounds promising, it looks like we won't be getting the full FFVI ending theme character medley that this would have been a perfect occasion for.

jayavictory Dec 13, 2014 (edited Dec 13, 2014)

All I want, all I really want, is for an album length symphonic rendition of the entire FFVI OSV arranged by either Jonne Valtonen or Shiro Hamaguchi. That would be the dream come true!

Adam Corn Jan 14, 2015 (edited Jan 27, 2015)

Final track list has been announced, which I've posted on the album page. It seems that Final Fantasy IX "Hunter's Chance" has been cut from the release, which is disappointing (unless it's an unlisted bonus track).

Adam Corn Feb 28, 2015 (edited Mar 3, 2015)

CD release March 6,  available for pre-order from Amazon. (Edit: Pre-order currently only for MP3 version.)

The currently available Bandcamp download is pretty expensive at $14.99, lossless or no. Hopefully they'll drop that price once the CD comes out.

Any thoughts on the album from those who have downloaded it already? In the interest of keeping things positive I'll save my early impressions for now.

rein Mar 1, 2015

That's the MP3 version, Adam.  The CD release isn't available to preorder from Amazon at this time.

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