My favorite parts of soundtracks tend to be the weirder ones, the more ambient ones, often with more angular melodies and ambiguous tonality. It’s probably partially overexposure to all the memorable, romantic melodies that get played more often, but there also tends to be a sense of freedom among the experimental tracks, yet they usually still fit their scenes so well because they seem to convey an atmosphere more than the more outwardly melodic tracks. “Mako Reactor” fits that bill perfectly. It’s one of the first tracks in the game, and it definitely sets the mood for Shinra being this oppressive, fascistic corporation. I sought to maintain that mood and the spirit of the original, going for something that sounded “industrial” in the most literal sense, like it was recorded using the insides of an ungodly, planet-killing reactor. I recently graduated from Western Washington University, so I used some gear from their band room (piano, chimes, glockenspiel, snare drum, bass drums, marimba, tam-tam) to make most of what you hear. My wife Elie kindly lent her talents as a clarinetist playing the main theme. The recorders at the end might be a naive, innocent sense of hope that Shinra could somehow be stopped, or perhaps a sense of hopelessness from the meager souls of the slums or Cosmo Canyon. Or it might have just happened to be another instrument that I could play that I thought would make an interesting, ambiguous coda to close the arrangement on.