SQ Chips

SQ Chips. Front. Click to zoom.
SQ Chips
Front
Composed by Hiroki Kikuta / Hitoshi Sakimoto / Kenichiro Fukui / Kenji Ito / Masashi Hamauzu / Masayoshi Soken / Nobuo Uematsu / Tsuyoshi Sekito / Yasunori Mitsuda
Arranged by (S_S) / 164 / Another Infinity / DJ OMKT & MJ / Hidekazu Tanaka / Hige Driver / Mitsuto Suzuki / muZik / Q/11A E07 / Sexy Synthesizer / Shisotex / the3rdmimi / Yoshino Yoshikawa
Published by Square Enix
Catalog number SQEX-10248
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 1 CD - 18 tracks
Release date September 21, 2011
Duration 01:18:27
Genres
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Overview

SQ Chips is the latest in a line of albums featuring tributes to Square Enix's most popular game music by artists across the industry. In contrast to other albums that featured live performances or electronic remixes, SQ Chips takes a reductive approach by focusing on contemporary chiptunes. But that does not mean that this album is simplistic or consistent throughout. By the contrary, it features the most creative and accomplished arrangements in the entire SQ series so far...

Body

Indeed, while many arrangemnets here are technologically more humble than their originals, they are almost always as accomplished. Hidekazu Tanaka ensures Final Fantasy XIII's "Blinded by Light" is no less catchy and dazzling than its lavishly produced original. After all, Masashi Hamauzu's melodies and rhythms remain firmly intact and the samples chosen are expressive ones. Some might find the beats at the 1:30 mark too poppy for their tastes, but they bring a cutesy charm to the original regardless, while the retro sound effects are also amusing and thankfully sparing addition here. "Near the Water" from the grand orchestral soundtrack to Final Fantasy XII also receives an unexpected 8-bit treatment. Mitsuto Suzuki still recaptures Hitoshi Sakimoto's musical personality with his numerous timbral variations and clever use of counterpoint, demonstrating chiptune tracks need not be linear.

Newcomers to the chiptune scene might debate the point of arranging tracks from already primitive games like Final Fantasy III and Seiken Densetsu. However, the chiptunes used here are much more expressive than the cold and screechy sound chips of the NES and Game Boy. Hige Driver punctuates these elements in such an alluring way throughout Final Fantasy III's "Battle 2" and the frantic polyrhythms that result are incredible. Later in the album, Sexy-Synthesizer expands on the once underwhelming final battle theme from Seiken Densetsu using wavering leads and danceable beats. What's more, neither arrangement loops like their original counterparts — whereas "Battle 2" grows more intense and hybridised during its three minute duration, "Final Battle" unexpectedly incorporates a slow and spiritual interlude featuring fan favourite "Mana Palace".

One of the most expressive arrangements on the entire album is Final Fantasy VI's "Terra". Experienced album producer 303soundworks hybridises humble 8-bit motifs with fantasy orchestration and electronic beats to yield a wonderful soundscape. A particularly inspired moment is at the 2:00, where the forces dissipate to leave only a soft piano performance and a chiptune rendition of the prelude. For me, this remix captures the personality of Terra better than Jeremy Soule, Shiro Hamaguchi, and even Nobuo Uematsu ever did: mystical, fragile, and determined. muZik's approach to hybridised soundscaping isn't quite as elegant on Final Fantasy XI's "Ronfaure". Nevertheless, the in-house unit does an incredible job capturing the ethereal, wandering mood of the original while offering a fresh new perspective on it. Who would have thought an acoustic score would receive such an accomplished treatment?

A few arrangements aren't quite as creative as the rest. (S_S)'s "Meridian Dance" is little more than an 8-bit reduction of a 16-bit original — complete with loop and fadeout — though remains an enjoyable listen thanks to the lyricism of Hiroki Kikuta's original. Much the same applies to the arranger's treatment of the already chiptuned theme from the lesser-known Nanashi no Game. The interpretation of "Eyes on Me" is also a lowpoint here, but for almost the opposite reason; while the melody suited Faye Wong's voice, it simply sounds clumsy and contrived in this chiptune remix. However, it's debatable whether this is due to limitations of the original or Another Infinity's approach. While hardly a definitive miss, Final Fantasy III's airship remix isn't recommended for the faint-hearted either with its hardcore beats and tribal voice samples. It brings some diversity to the album, but is something of a 'love or hate' affair.

Among other jewels on the album are a number of inspired medleys. the3rdmini commemorates Kenichiro Fukui's exploration of the techno genre with a medley dedicated to the otherwise unrelated shooters Einhünder and Project Sylpheed. While this medley isn't as catchy as other tracks, its more ambient and rhythmical quality supplements the diversity of the album. Back in 16-bit RPG territory, DJ OMKT lines up the character themes from Chrono Trigger in his second tribute to the game. Whether portraying Marle, Frog, Magus, or Robo, the arranger manages to preserve the quality of the original melodies, while ensuring the track develops in a natural way. Even more nostalgic is the ten minute medley dedicated to ending themes of Final Fantasy's SNES era, culminating in a rendition of the series' main theme that is as reflective and fantastical as its orchestral renditions. Bravo!

Summary

Talk about going round full circle! SQ Chips is a wonderful way for Square Enix to homage where they begun, while reflecting how much they have expanded and experimented over the years. With a few exceptions, the arrangements on this album manage to preserve the melodies, characters, and charms of the original despite the transition to chiptunes. What's more, most of them inspire new feelings from the listener and feature such creative choices that they will dazzle laymen and artists alike. Following a mixed bag of SQ tributes, there is plenty of room for Square Enix to expand on their chiptune activities following this success and hopefully a sequel will be considered for the future.



Album
9/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Chris Greening

8 bit-style arrange album for Square Enix's old and new games.

Original Music Composed by
Nobuo Uematsu, Hiroki Kikuta, Kenji Ito, Yasunori Mitsuda, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Masashi Hamauzu, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Kenichiro Fukui, Masayoshi Soken

Game SE Coordinators: Tomohiro Yajima, Keiji Kawamori

01
Composed by Yasunori Mitsuda
Arranged by DJ OMKT & MJ

02
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged by Hige Driver

03
Composed by Masashi Hamauzu
Arranged by Hidekazu Tanaka (MONACA)

04
Composed by Yasunori Mitsuda
Arranged by SEXY-SYNTHESIZER

05
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged by Shisotex

06
Composed by Hiroki Kikuta
Arranged by (S_S)

07
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged by 203soundworks

08
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged by Yoshino Yoshikawa (芳川よしの) / Vocal: Kariso (カリソ)

09
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged by muZik

10
Composed by Kenichiro Fukui
Arranged by the3rdmimi

11
Composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto
Arranged by Mitsuto Suzuki

12
Composed by Kenji Ito
Arranged by Hige Driver

13
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged by Another Infinity

14
Composed by Tsuyoshi Sekito
Arranged by Q/11A E07

15
Composed by Masayoshi Soken
Arranged by (S_S)

16
Composed by Kenji Ito
Arranged by SEXY-SYNTHESIZER

17
Composed by Yasunori Mitsuda
Arranged by DJ OMKT & MJ

18
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged by SEXY-SYNTHESIZER

Все сэмплы SQ Chips2

Square Enix обновила сайт альбома SQ Chips2. Теперь у нас есть сэмплы всех треков. Новый релиз является сиквелом SQ Chips 2011 года и предлагает ровно то же самое — чиптюн-аранжировки на темы из видеоигр. Как и вся серия SQ, этот диск «на любителя». Список представленных игр:... Expand

 11.07.2012    1477
Album was composed by Hiroki Kikuta / Hitoshi Sakimoto / Kenichiro Fukui / Kenji Ito / Masashi Hamauzu / Masayoshi Soken / Nobuo Uematsu / Tsuyoshi Sekito / Yasunori Mitsuda and was released on September 21, 2011. Soundtrack consists of 18 tracks tracks with duration over more than hour. Album was released by Square Enix.

CD 1

1
Chrono Trigger "Chrono Trigger" / DJ OMKT & MJ
02:38
2
Final Fantasy III "Battle 2" / Hige Driver
03:17
3
Final Fantasy XIII "Blinded by Light" / Hidekazu Tanaka(MONACA)
03:15
4
Xenogears "The Wind Calls to Shevat in the Blue Sky" / SEXY-SYNTHESIZER
05:51
5
Final Fantasy III "Sailing Enterprise ~ The Invincible" / Shisotex
03:57
6
Seiken Densetsu 2 "Meridian Festival" / (S_S)
03:58
7
Final Fantasy VI "Terra's Theme" / 203soundworks
03:21
8
Final Fantasy VII "Aerith's Theme" / Yoshino Yoshikawa
06:06
9
Final Fantasy XI "Ronfaure" / muZik
03:41
10
Einhänder & Project Sylpheed Medley / the3rdmimi
03:13
11
Final Fantasy XII "Near the Water" / Mitsuto Suzuki
02:10
12
SaGa 2 Hihou Densetsu Medley / Hige Driver
04:32
13
Final Fantasy VIII "Eyes On Me" / Another Infinity
04:01
14
Brave Fencer Musashi "Skullpion" / Q/11A E07
03:07
15
Nanashi no Game "Nameless Theme" / (S_S)
04:49
16
Final Fantasy Gaiden: Seiken Densetsu "Final Battle ~ Mana Palace" / SEXY-SYNTHESIZER
04:30
17
Chrono Trigger "Character Medley" / DJ OMKT & MJ
06:22
18
Final Fantasy IV - V - VI "Ending Medley" / SEXY-SYNTHESIZER
09:39
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