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Thread: Music of Nobuo Uematsu (1986-2017) — happy 60th birthday!

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Music of Nobuo Uematsu (1986-2017) — happy 60th birthday!

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    Happy 60th birthday, Nobuo Uematsu!
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    To celebrate the birthday of a legend,
    I wanted to share this 4-hour music compilation that took three years to finish.

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    The Story

    In early 2015 I started to gather all the Nobuo Uematsu music I could find. My goal was to create a 'best of' compilation with music from every single game Nobuo Uematsu has composed for, excluding Final Fantasy. Why did I not want FF? Because that music is very widely known and there are already several "Top XX Songs from Final Fantasy" videos on YouTube, so I felt there was no need for that.

    Beginning with Uematsu's early career of PC88, NES, FDS, MSX, GB and SNES games was easy. All of those soundtracks exist as game music file formats (s98, nsfe, kss, gbs, spc) and are readily available online. I simply downloaded them all, discovered old but amazing melodic Uematsu tunes, and thought this project was going to be a breeze.

    During 1997-2002, Uematsu exclusively composed for FF games... that is, until he revealed at Tokyo Game Show 2015 that he secretly composed the track "A Hole in Your Socks" for Moon: Remix RPG Adventure (released in 1997, nine months after FF VII) ([Hidden link. Register to see links.]). He came up with the chords and some melodies, and then asked help from Yasunori Mitsuda, who performed accordion, electric bass and percussion on the track ([Hidden link. Register to see links.]).

    Square merged with Enix in 2003 and the company relocated from Meguro to Yoyogi ([Hidden link. Register to see links.]). Uematsu didn't like the relocation, which is one of the reasons he quit in 2004 and started freelancing. That same year Hironobu Sakaguchi founded Mistwalker, and Uematsu composed for most of those games (Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, The Last Story, Terra Battle, etc.). As a freelancer he also continued composing for some Square Enix games (Hanjuku Hero, Lord of Vermillion, FF XIV and FF XV: Comrades).

    My project was thus far still quite easy, though time-consuming. All of these games are fairly well known and the fantastic community of FFShrine has provided soundtracks to most if not all Square, Square Enix and Mistwalker games that Uematsu composed for.

    But from 2012 onwards Uematsu started composing for many mobile games and other seemingly small titles. It's a nightmare to try to find or rip these soundtracks! I realized this project wasn't going to be such a breeze after all. During 2012-2017, Uematsu composed for 25 games! Twelve of these were mobile games, and I couldn't find the music to seven of them. Even if I could get my hands on an .apk file of a game, it seems like the music wasn't stored in the .apk file at all (according to my beginner ripping skills).

    In September 2018, Uematsu announced that he will take an indefinite break due to health concerns ([Hidden link. Register to see links.]). Upon reading about it, I decided to finally finish this project, because none of us live forever. I simply want to celebrate and thank people dear to me while they and I are still alive.


    The Results

    I found out that Nobuo Uematsu has composed for a total of 77 games (and also worked as music producer/director for a few more). Out of these, 15 games are Final Fantasy (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, Tactics Advance, XII, XIV, XV: Comrades). Uematsu has thus composed for 62 non-FF games, and since I couldn't find the soundtracks to 7 of these games, my music compilation totals at 55 games.

    I chose 1-4 tracks from the 55 games and put them all in chronological order. The compilation equals almost exactly 4 hours. One song had to be removed due to copyright issues ("Kaze ni Naru" from Jyuzaengi: Engetsu Sangokuden 2)


    How long did it take?

    I got a question via email asking how long it took me to put this together. Here is what I replied:

    "Gathering the box arts (and sometimes slightly retouching them) took maybe 5-15 mins per game, so that equals ~9 hours. After I had all the images and tracks organized neatly and chronologically into folders, it took maybe another ~9 hours of time to make the video (basically just dragging & dropping, applying fade-to-blacks, and editing the track name texts). Figuring out exact release dates for all games took probably another ~9 hours.

    But gathering all the music, figuring out which exact tracks Uematsu composed, listening to all of it, picking out potential tracks, trying out which tracks contribute to a nice overall flow for the playlist (instead of simply choosing the "best" tracks), trimming all tracks to 1-2 loops depending on the loop length... all of that took an ungodly amount of time, probably hundreds of hours. Thankfully the Japanese wikipedia article on Uematsu seems to be very comprehensive, so I just followed the list of games from there."



    Long live Uematsu!

    In January 2019, Uematsu made a comeback! He appeared at Tokyo Symphony Orchestra's concert dedicated to his music, talked on stage, and was interviewed by 4gamer.net ([Hidden link. Register to see links.]).

    He talks in the interview about going to the hospital for four months, but seems to now be recovered. He mentions having 20 years left and from now on wanting to create things for himself and not for the sake of others. The whole interview is pretty interesting, but unfortunately hasn't been translated to English. You can try going through it with [Hidden link. Register to see links.].

    I wish a healthy, happy and long life for the remainder of Nobuo Uematsu's years. Once again, happy birthday! Long live Uematsu!
    Last edited by DecisiveNick; 03-21-2019 at 09:18 AM.

  2. #2
    Guilty Gear Addict c4dude3's Avatar
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    thanks an absolute ton for sharing this legacy with us man. Uematsu is a legend

  3. #3
    Grand Shriner dekamaster2's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot!

  4. #4
    Enjoyer of the Northern Wind VyseLegend's Avatar
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    Nice work. For a 60 year old he sure seems worn down. His biologic age is prob at closer to 70s. But there is nobody who worked as hard as him in game music, a real legend. If he retires I wouldn't mind.

    Afureru otono naka tada hitotsu erande | Please, choose but one among this songful bounty
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  5. #5
    Onion Kid
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    amazing work! thank you!

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    Disgruntled Fish Deity Chronos X's Avatar
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    Thank you!
    My Threads

    Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance & Premodern/Early Baroque Music Thread

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  7. #7
    Heal the body, heal the heart... Enkidoh's Avatar
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    This was an amazing piece of work, but sadly some of his non-game compositions seem to be missing (as in, his self-published independent album Phantasmagoria - which actually contains the FF Prologue, thus making the main FF theme his signature tune, if not his magnum opus, and the four pop songs he composed for the soundtrack to the anime Ah! My Goddess ~ The Movie). Still, this is very well researched and extensive and a fitting tribute to probably the greatest video game music composer. Well done!
    enkffxisig-new-small

  8. #8
    Grand Shriner arthurgolden's Avatar
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    Cheers! This is a wonderful collection. For those worried about him, Nobuo posted the following message to Facebook. He seems to have had a good time on his birthday—seemingly too much of a good time.

    皆様、たくさんのお祝いメッセージありがとうございます。
    60歳になった日の朝4時にソファで酔いつぶれてるところを嫁に発見されました。60歳になって初めて口に した食物は吉野家の牛丼でした。その後東京タワーに上りました。今、顎関節症がひどく痛みます。そんな3月 21日でした。
    これからも精進します!

    An imperfect translation gleaned from Facebook, Google, and context clues:
    Thank you all for the many congratulations messages. My wife found me drunk on the couch at 4 am on the day I turned 60. My first meal as a 60 year old was a Yoshinoya beef bowl. After that, I went to Tokyo Tower. I now have severe pain from my temporomandibular arthritis. That was my 21st of March. I'm going to be a vegetarian!

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  9. #9
    Onion Kid
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    Good I got my soundtracks signed while I still could.
    I have a blog about pop music that sounds like famous game music. I'd be happy if you dropped by!
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  10. #10
    Grand Shriner PforPianist's Avatar
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    I had a bit of a squizz yesterday, what a diverse assortment of songs! I could hear lots of nods to final fantasy in them actually.
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