199 words about Balance and Ruin
Rhapsody in Chocobo
Terra. Kefka. “Bad Octopus.” If these names mean anything to you, we are kin. I’d otherwise nudge you in a roundabout way toward the great apocalypse-straddling classic of the Super Nintendo, Final Fantasy VI, better known for promotional reasons as Final Fantasy 3 to American kids like myself when it was released in the mid-’90s. This steampunk-addled collision of gear-churning technological bravo and left-field mysticism is famous for many reasons, but from a pure craft standpoint, it may be best known as a highwater mark for perennial Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, who said of finishing the game’s soundtrack that he could “could quit doing game music with no regrets.” Balance and Ruin may not be the first covers compilation to pay tribute to the music of FF6, but it’s likely the most eclectic, sporting everything from Dixieland to ethereal vaporwave and booming dubstep. Full of playful intertextual refrains (Chocobo techno, anyone?) and a humbling amount of sheer musical talent, this six-hour compilation would be worth the price of admission (free) just for its centerpiece accomplishment, a nine-minute staging of the game’s famous opera sequence in the spirit of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It’s as nerdy — and glorious — as it sounds.