Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Place I'll Return to Someday: A Lost in the Music Editorial.

Back in 1999 during the dark days of the internet, my brother and I came across a video from the original GIA website. The video was the title video from an unknown Final Fantasy game (to us at the time) depicting various unconnected scenes displayed over a map of unknown names. At first we thought it was a remake of Final Fantasy IV, but a few weeks later a friend of mine told me it was the opening to Final Fantasy IX. Years later when I began acquiring the music, I finally learned the title of the song; The Place I'll Return to Someday, which becomes the central theme to the game itself.

So today On Lost in the Music, I will be talking about the title theme and it's variations within the game. 

A rather haunting and desolate theme, Oeilvert is the most subdued version of A Place I'll Return to Someday. During this part of the game, the true history of the world of Final Fantasy IX starts being shown, yet in the main part of the fortress, there is only images and pictographs for both the player and the characters to decipher. Of course there is no context and only mass speculation on the characters part.

Arguably the creepiest version of A Place I'll return to someday, A Transient Past plays when Zidane and his group are in the the Fortress of Oeilvert and the party starts learning about Terra. In what is easily one of the coolest parts of the game, the archives in Oelivert come alive and start explaining to Zidane (and the player) what Terra is and what exactly their plan is.

Interestingly enough, given the nature of the Terran civilization, the title A Transient Past is incredibly appropriate.

In what is my opinion the weakest songs of the group, Ipsen's Heritage is the third variation of A Place I'll Return to Someday. However, I will give the track credit as it does accurately portray the castle as the place itself seems to be taken out of the painting Relativity.

The song itself seems a bit like a chaotic mess with low vocal chanting mixed with near earsplitting loud whines. I can see why people might like the track, and I do appreciate that is does help set up Ipsen's Castle as an Escheresque nightmare.

When playing an RPG, there is no greater feeling when both you the player and the character finally piece together the plan of the villain and know how to stop him .The Four Medallions reflects that feeling of triumph. Zidane and his crew have visited every corner of Gaia and now they were looking to travel beyond their own world to what would be revealed is Zidane's home planet.

The last variation of the theme, Terra is a stark change from the original. Whereas A Place I'll Return to Someday had this feeling of warmth and love, Terra is cold, distant and soulless. It is the perfect song for this world. The music gives off an otherworldly feel to it and the only thing that connects it to the original song is the main part of the theme.

The theme of Terra could be seen as Kuja's version of the main track as it reflects his cold nature. While he himself has a flair for the theatrics, he is still a cold individual while his counterpart Zidane is more warm loving, much like A Place I'll Return to Someday.

There are people who are not fond of the Final Fantasy IX soundtrack as they feel Uematsu reused music the music too much. I can understand that complaint, but I don't agree with it. Each variation of the main title track has its own purpose and while they are not incredibly unique, each song is important in their own way.

This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.

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