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Adam Corn Jul 24, 2011

I'm a bit surprised by the lack of attention for this latest Distant Worlds album.  Granted there's a lot of rehashed material and those live versions generally don't measure up to the recordings on the previous two DW albums, but some of the new material is excellent.  The new Chocobo bit is short but fun, there's "Battle on the Big Bridge" and a full *orchestral* rendition of "Dancing Mad" (no Earthbound Papas silliness), and "Navigator's Glory" and "Answers" from FFXIV are the best brand-new orchestral FF I've heard in a long time.

Sucks to have to pay a premium for the included DVD though.  I wish they'd put the album on Bandcamp like they have the previous two.

Qui-Gon Joe Jul 24, 2011

Adam Corn wrote:

Sucks to have to pay a premium for the included DVD though.  I wish they'd put the album on Bandcamp like they have the previous two.

Well, the U.S. version on Amazon is only $29.99, so it's not a super awful premium or anything.  Dancing Mad was on the 2nd regular album too - is this version a lot better or something?

the_miker Jul 24, 2011

Qui-Gon Joe wrote:

Well, the U.S. version on Amazon is only $29.99

Any idea if the U.S. version has decent packaging compared to the Japanese release?  I actually didn't know about this set until now but it looks very interesting, especially the new material.  Cool idea too, being able to watch the concert on DVD and then have it on CD for easy listening when you're not in front of a TV.

LiquidAcid Jul 25, 2011

the_miker wrote:
Qui-Gon Joe wrote:

Well, the U.S. version on Amazon is only $29.99

Any idea if the U.S. version has decent packaging compared to the Japanese release?

I've seen both versions. Someone in the autographing line at Symphonic Odysseys had brought the AWR release and was complaining about how cheap it was build. When I looked at it, it was already nearly falling apart. One of my friends had the SQEX version and this one was displaying the qualities you usually expect from japanese releases.

Adam Corn Jul 25, 2011

Qui-Gon Joe wrote:

Dancing Mad was on the 2nd regular album too - is this version a lot better or something?

Well the Returning Home version is orchestral from start to finish, and does NOT have three or so minutes of badly designed synth and poorly implemented electric guitars that completely disrupt the flow of the album at the track's most climactic point, whereas the Distant Worlds 2 version does.  So yes, I would say the Returning Home version is a lot better. smile

I doubt many of you need this reminder but if you're considering getting the Japanese release be aware that the DVD is reportedly Region 2.

vgmusic Jul 25, 2011

Adam Corn wrote:

The new Chocobo bit is short but fun, there's "Battle on the Big Bridge" ...

... which is -.- how lame -.- only the version known from symphonic fantasies, played twice with bad transitions. ugh.

Tim JC Jul 25, 2011

When this rendition of "Dancing Mad" gets to the up-tempo part, I get shivers. The strings and brass definitely are superior to me over the electric organ or whatever else it replaces. I wish the organ solo preceding it was a little stronger though, like the fugues in Suikoden I and II sounded (although they weren't live).

Adam Corn Jul 25, 2011

vgmusic wrote:
Adam Corn wrote:

there's "Battle on the Big Bridge" ...

... which is -.- how lame -.- only the version known from symphonic fantasies, played twice with bad transitions. ugh.

Yeah I was surprised how similar the Returning Home version is to the Symphonic Fantasies one (the former's Arnie Roth and the latter's Thomas Boecker seem to be quite chummy so I assume the decision was mutual).

That said I definitely prefer the Returning Home version - I think the faster tempo and the more bombastic orchestral performance better capture the frantic quality of the piece.  The transitions aren't brilliant but I wouldn't say they're bad either.  Also in this case I prefer having the track solo as opposed to being part of a medley.

Zealboy Jul 25, 2011 (edited Jul 25, 2011)

Adam Corn wrote:
vgmusic wrote:
Adam Corn wrote:

there's "Battle on the Big Bridge" ...

... which is -.- how lame -.- only the version known from symphonic fantasies, played twice with bad transitions. ugh.

Yeah I was surprised how similar the Returning Home version is to the Symphonic Fantasies one (the former's Arnie Roth and the latter's Thomas Boecker seem to be quite chummy so I assume the decision was mutual).

That said I definitely prefer the Returning Home version - I think the faster tempo and the more bombastic orchestral performance better capture the frantic quality of the piece.  The transitions aren't brilliant but I wouldn't say they're bad either.  Also in this case I prefer having the track solo as opposed to being part of a medley.

I honestly didn't even realize they were pretty much the same version.  This is probably because I only listened to the Symphonic Fantasies FF track once.  That disc doesn't get much attention from me solely because of my general dislike of medleys that jump all over the place.  I only ever touch that CD for The Oracle part of the Secret of Mana track and for the awesome way that Frog, CT, and CC main themes were handled together.

Since I don't even have the memory of the FF track on Symphonic Fantasies, I really loved the Battle on the Big Bridge from Returning Home.
Returning Home ended up being a fantastic purchase for me, as it's overall at least solid from start to finish, and a nice chunk of disc 2 really shines.  I can't get enough of this version of Dancing Mad.  It's incredible, and I fully appreciate not having the Earthbound Papas in there.  I really dig the first 3 FF14 tracks (not that the last is bad, it's just not as interesting of a song to me).  The Battle on the Big Bridge is also probably my all time favorite version of that song.

I have not checked out the DVD at all yet.  I assume it's just the concert footage of some of the same tracks from the CDs themselves, yes?

Wanderer Jul 26, 2011

I enjoyed hearing the FFXIII tracks (even if I'm tiring of Benyamin Nuss). Most everything else is a rehash, although it's always nice to hear good performances of these pieces, after the Distant Worlds concert I attended where the musicians were going through the motions for their paycheck.

(I can't judge them too harshly because there are some gigs where I do the same thing...)

Adam Corn Jul 26, 2011

Granted I have never been a huge fan of FFXIII but I found those tracks to be the weakest of the album.  The producers did choose some of the better themes from the OST for the concert but the needed arrangement tweaks are minimal to the point of nonexistence and I found the performance and recording lifeless compared to both the OST and the concert's other selections.  (The difference in quality makes me suspect all the tracks but FFXIII's were recorded on the FFXIV performance's day).

I will say the original vocal arrangement "Fabula Nova Crystallis" is by far the best take on "The Sunleth Waterscape" I've heard though.

Wanderer Jul 26, 2011

Adam Corn wrote:

Granted I have never been a huge fan of FFXIII but I found those tracks to be the weakest of the album.  The producers did choose some of the better themes from the OST for the concert but the needed arrangement tweaks are minimal to the point of nonexistence and I found the performance and recording lifeless compared to both the OST and the concert's other selections.  (The difference in quality makes me suspect all the tracks but FFXIII's were recorded on the FFXIV performance's day).

I will say the original vocal arrangement "Fabula Nova Crystallis" is by far the best take on "The Sunleth Waterscape" I've heard though.

The recordings are definitely inferior to the OST but it's hard to blame anyone because the music is so difficult to perform (much harder than the rest of the stuff on this recording). For me, FFXIII is the best Final Fantasy soundtrack since VI but the music really resonates with me (as most of Hamauzu's work does).

(I think we can all pretty much agree the game was trash. tongue)

Like Cedille, I'd love to hear FFXII get the orchestral treatment. It's a sadly neglected score.

Adam Corn Dec 9, 2011

All the Distant Worlds albums are currently on sale.  At Amazon they're $11 each for Distant Worlds 1 and Distant Worlds 2 while the double-disc plus DVD Returning Home is $25.  The first two are also on sale at Bandcamp - $8 each for FLAC downloads.

For any who are starting from scratch, on a budget and not too picky about recording quality I'd recommend getting Returning Home and filling in the pieces from the other two albums as track-by-track downloads.  If high recording quality or CD format are a priority then DW2 > DW1, then either pay the slight premium for Returning Home or wait for a studio-recorded DW3 that has the new material.

Wanderer wrote:

Like Cedille, I'd love to hear FFXII get the orchestral treatment. It's a sadly neglected score.

Thirded.

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