Final Fantasy VII orchestral cover album – One-Winged Angel

Final Fantasy VII is one of my all time favourite games. It is one of those video games that truly manages to transcend the limitations of the technology and it’s normal “realm” and becomes something more than the sum of its parts. There is just so much everything that works so well together – the characters, the world, the storyline, the atmosphere and more importantly – the soundtrack. Nobuo Uematsu is a pure genius when it comes to composing evocative and inspiring soundtrack music and I think on Final Fantasy VII he truly managed to create something that he will never surpass really. His magnum opus.

And here we have another gem. Celestial Aeon Project comes and brings out six tunes from FFVII soundtrack that get “modern orchestral revamp”. Combining beautiful and ethereal female vocals, epic modern orchestral sounds and well executed reorchestration, this album is full of emotion and inspiration. One of the best video game music cover release I’ve heard.

What do you think? And what are your favourite tunes from Final Fantasy series?

RPG exploration music / D&D exploration music

I am an avid pen & paper gamer and I began my career back in the 80s with original Dungeons & Dragons boxes (1st edition) although I soon moved on to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (2nd edition) and especially Forgotten Realms setting. Those were the golden days of old school gaming when massive amount of fantasy novels were written by professional writers for Forgotten Realms trademark. Drizzt do’Urden and others became heroes that everyone in that generation knew and learned by heart.

Background music has always been an important part of my gaming life. I have found that good choice of background music really can emphasize the atmosphere and create a truly profound experience for the game. In a similar fashion as music works in movies / film industry, good music really makes the pen & paper role playing game experience “come to life”.

Celestial Aeon Project is my most important tool for this. It manages to bring tunes for any situation, but especially for exploration / on the road / traveling scenes. Here is one of my favourite background music collections from Celestial Aeon Project for this use:

If you like such artists as Adrian von Ziegler, Brunuhville or Peter Crowley, I am positive that you will fall in love with Celestial Aeon Project as well! Definitely recommended to check out the channel!


Instrumental celtic music for fantasy writing

Sometimes instrumental celtic music is just the right thing you will need to get inspiration when you are running to a writer’s block. Especially with fantasy genre, where the whole process revolves around fictional realms and magic. One excellent artist that manages to hit that sweet spot between epic and beauty is Celestial Aeon Project – celtic music / fantasy music project of finnish composer Matti Paalanen. Inspired by such artists as Adrian von Ziegler, Brunuhville and Peter Crowley, Celestial Aeon Project really focuses on those instrumental background music styles that range from mellow and ethereal to pompous and majestic.

Here is one of longer celtic music compilations on youtube that is a perfect example of what Celestial Aeon Project can create:

Let me know what you think about Celestial Aeon Project and if you have any other artist suggestions!

Best Celtic / Fantasy Music Artists

What are the best celtic / fantasy music artists currently active? Of course the concept of celtic music / fantasy music has to be understood more broadly than the purists think. The actual folk music is one thing, but nowadays when we use the term “celtic music” or “fantasy music” we usually mean the instrumental, cinematic new age or epic kind of sound that is heavily influenced and inspired by both the actual folk music but more importantly film music and soundtrack music in general. In my opinion the most interesting artists currently active are as follow:

Matti Paalanen – Matti’s celtic music / fantasy music channel on youtube

Matti is one of those artists that knows how to create interesting and emotional tunes with often simplistic and minimal structures. Especially his older music he published under Celestial Aeon Project name are often very retro sounding, but still manage to create feeling of dream, celtic fantasy and elven atmosphere. In the past few months he has begun to move more towards modern hybrid trailer music and more epic sound, but he still manages to hold onto that certain sense of “magic” in his tunes without sounding too similar to others.

Adrian von Ziegler – Adrian von Ziegler on youtube

Adrian has gained a massive following on his youtube channel and the reason is quite clear – he manages to dish out stable quality material years in years out. If Adrian publishes a tune, you have quite good sense of what you are going to hear. He manages to combine the best of both worlds when it comes to folk influences and modern soundtrack sound.

Antti Martikainen – Antti Martikainen on youtube

Antti has honed his skills when it comes to truly epic and majestic sound and he has definitely found his “style”. He manages to create truly massive and modern tunes that sometimes sound like Nightwish in a good way. If you are looking for that inspiration for a heroic feats, Martikainen will deliver!

Brunuhville – Brunuhville on youtube

Brunuhville is another big name that has really stable fan following. And no wonder – most of his tunes are made with meticulous accuracy and level of detail and his tools are top notch premium sound libraries that bring him up to almost Two Steps From Hell level of quality. He usually creates truly emotional and inspiring tunes with powerful feeling.

Peter Gundry – Peter on youtube

Peter resides in the more “dark” corner of this music genre. Most of his tunes are brooding and tension building, but still easily recognizable to dwell in the same realm as the other artists on this page. If you are not afraid of the dark, Peter’s music will offer memorable moments.

Dragonborn – Skyrim main theme goes ambient

Dragonborn – the epic main theme of the open world fantasy blockbuster game Skyrim is truly a monumental soundtrack tune. This time Matti went for completely ambient and decided to do a remake that truly brings the essence of the tune to the realm of ethereal beauty and silence. It is hard to believe that such music would be composed by anybody but a finnish person. It is pure scandinavic northern freezing beauty.

Epic fantasy music – Winds of Magic

Winds of magic is an epic instrumental fantasy themed tune that combines traditional epic sound with more mellow celtic elements. It is very “visual” tune that feeds the imagination! Matti told us that “I wanted to go for that distinct combination of epic and beauty as both are important. The end outcome is quite cinematic”.

If you are looking for that modern celtic music sound that meets epicness, check out Winds of Magic!

Interview with Matti Paalanen – celtic music composer from Finland

Matti Paalanen is a finnish composer who has produced celtic / fantasy / epic music in his home studio for 15 years. He published his music under creative commons non-commercial licence on Jamendo and his music is free to download / listen / share if the use is limited to personal use. He is also known for his project names Celestial Aeon Project, Project Divinity and Frozen Silence.

You can follow him on youtube on his channel Matti Paalanen – celtic music – epic music

Hello Matti and thank you for joining us!

Heya! Thanks for inviting me!

First of all, what have you been listening to lately?

Lately I have been mainly listening to ambient / chillout stuff from really talented composer Keith Kenniff. He is mainly known as Helios and Goldmund artist names. Both of the projects are just excellent. I seriously recommend to check him out. The other side of the coin is this progressive modern metal style also known as djent, sometimes I like to listen to more intense stuff as well. A few bands I have to point out are Disperse with genius Jakub Zytecki, Tesseract and Uneven Structure.

Wow, quite diverse stuff! I guess your musical taste varies quite a lot?

Yes you could say so. I mean if I look at my spotify playlists they can range from the most chill out ambient ever to the most hardcore metal ever. Electronic, celtic, anything goes. Only genre I listen really little is modern pop music. There are just so few tunes that offer inspiring and or interesting listening there. Everything is just soooo easy to predict and follows the same structures. Or it is so hectic and twitchy that it makes me nervous. I definitely know that producing good pop music requires talent and work but the genre itself just doesn’t interest me at all.

I think I understand what you mean. You produce quite a wide range of music as well. When I look at your Matti Paalanen artist profile on Jamendo, it seems that you have hundreds of tunes ranging from genre to genre?

Yes, my Matti Paalanen artist is the one I mainly use for royalty free stock music stuff. A few years ago I was wondering if there could be a way to use the internet more professionally as a musician and to gain some extra income and I decided to dabble around with stock music marketplaces such as AudioJungle and similar sites. I searched around a bit and decided that to make this work I have to go non-exclusive, produce high quality material as fast as possible and makes as broad portfolio as possible. After a few months I was producing 3-4 tunes a day and genres ranged from hip-hop to acapella. And it worked quite well. In just short amount of time I rose to the top 300 artists on AudioJungle and few other places as well. But yes, that stock music side of my music is really really heavily optimized for media company use.

Wow, sounds like you really have the knack for this kind of thing

You can say that yes, I think I have good balance between artistry and technological / methodological / analytical side of things. I’m a programmer as my daytime job so it is natural for me to pick up excel and see things through from technology / game point of view. When I compose I enter the other realm that is purely emotional. But it has helped a lot as I usually find fast the best ways to optimize the music sales and visibility.

What are your favourite genres to produce?

I have to say that fantasy music / celtic music / epic music has always been the genre combination I come back to. There is just something about whole this realm that doesn’t let go. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and this kind of music instantly takes me elsewhere you know. To realms that you need to go to get respite from the normal reality, hahah 🙂

I know indeed 🙂 What are your main influences / favourite artists in this genre?

I love many video game composers. Michael Hoenig’s work on Baldur’s Gate was stellra. Jeremy Soule has blown me away with his work on Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim. Hans Zimmer of course, then from celtic side of things I like Clannad, Enya, Mike Oldfield. Vangelis is pure genius as well. Two Steps From Hell is best epic I’ve ever known. There are many.

What are the main things you’d like to get better at when it comes to production?

Mixing and mastering definitely. It’s a bit embarassing really but I have zero knowledge when it comes to these things. If I could choose I’d just play the notes and then some magical system would do everything to make it sound just right. I don’t have interest in the engineering side of things at all. But still, I have to learn to do it at least in some form or the other.

I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it soon! Thank you for the interview and I hope we’ll hear new music from you soon!

Thank you, I believe you will 🙂