I've given the first Act a listen, and so far, it's a pretty enjoyable affair -- and this is spoken as someone who's generally indifferent toward FFIV. Most of the remixes are good, though there's a few stumbles here and there. Let's take a few of these in turn.
Medford kicks things off with the quality opening Full Courage. Solid orchestrations play up a lovingly epic medley of The Red Wings and the Main Theme of FFIV. They couldn't have picked a better piece to set the thematic mood for the rest of the score.
audio fidelity's rendition of Kingdom of Baron in The Might of Baron makes for a great second track, very much keeping in spirit to the structured feel of the game and OSV. Electric guitar riffs laced into the orchestral backdrop results in an energetically refreshing take on the theme; brass and bell gongs are particularly impressive, and I love that oh-so-subtle hint of "Welcome To Our Town!" The Main Theme locked in at the end makes for one sweet-ass finale.
I've really grown to love Another Soundscape's work, especially since his awesome "The World Warriors" Staff Roll in last year's Super Street Fighter II HD Remix. In Ana(pro)logue, he puts his unique arranging traits toward another historic VGM melody, the Prologue - Final Fantasy. I'm gonna go with pep-funk for the description of this one, and it's quite an innovative take on a theme that's been heard countless times before. As usual, Mattias takes some note-bending liberties, which gives the song a spiffy spin. I only wished he'd retained the second half of the original melody; it's sorely missed.
John Revoredo's The Flying Machine is akin to a memorably pivotal standout cue on a movie score. Terrific start with Into The Darkness immediately bursts into an apex-worthy Main Theme -- and it's here where the symphonics truly soar.
Mazedude's Read The Sines takes its time getting going, gently acclimating you to the inviting sound palette. It floats with a dream-like quality, while being distinctly electronic-chip based. Once the melody of "Welcome To Our Town!" comes in, you're pretty much under its peacefully immersive spell. Big points for originality here.
Rydia is one of those FFIV pieces I always relish to hear, so with all due respect to Cyril The Wolf, you'll forgive me if I'm a tad more critical and judgmental. Emerald Beauty is a nice piece from the offset, though there are slithers of unbalance that forces a stumble in a couple of places. The acoustics and bass guitars are fluid, but the brass instruments (particularly the sax) for both lead and counter melodies sound less than ideal. To me, it's lackluster, and the improvisation gets a little too busy for its own good. Rydia has always functioned best as a simple song, so while I admire the attempt to flesh it out, the end result comes up a little flat.
RDX Necklace from Newman and audio fidelity is also a moderate letdown. It's a shame that the menacingly catchy melody of the original Ring of Bomb becomes so diminished under the wave of grunge and electronica.
Tweek does something rather interesting with his take on Battle 1 with Of Fiend and Man. He actually utilizes very, very little of the original melody, while at the same hearkens back to a feel and tonality closer to FF1's Battle 1. Purists are going to scoff at the lack of the original melody, but the hard-hitting rush of this energetic track makes this one hard to resist nonetheless.