In addition to the Final Fantasy VIII picture vinyl release that came courtesy of Square Enix last month, the highly-acclaimed To Far Away Times: Chrono Trigger & Chrono Cross Arrangement Album also was given a limited run vinyl release. You can read our thoughts on the music itself here, but we thought it would be worth creating an unboxing video to show off the artwork and packaging design.
Enjoy “Schala’s Theme” featuring the voice of Laura Shigihara in the background. It unfortunately looks as though the vinyl release has sold out nearly everywhere, but if you hit up the Square Enix EU store, they have TWO copies left in stock. Grab them while you can!
Noisycroak, the Japanese sound studio headed by Hideki Sakamoto, has always done great work. In fact, we wrote about their live band, TEKARU, just some months ago. What caught my attention with their latest release, however, was the collaboration of a number of prominent composers for Kakuriyo no Mon, a very cute web-based MMORPG with ancient Japanese influences. While Masakatsu Tamura is responsible for most of the shamisen and shakuhachi-heavy soundtrack that offers soothing soundscapes along with traditional Japanese and rock blends, tracks by Saori Kobayashi, Hiroki Kikuta, Yoshitaka Hirota, Masaharu Iwata, Kumi Tanioka, Kenji Ito, Yoko Shimomura and others are also featured.
Kenji Ito is strong on the rock front, of course, while Saori Kobayashi delivers her signature sound in a track that’s decisive and cool. Tanioka channels tension, Hirota goes for exotic and dangerous, and Iwata goes for ethereal and horrific. Sakamoto himself steps in with a militaristic number, while composers I wasn’t too familiar with, including Takatsugu Wakabayashi and Rei Ishizuka, both offer explosive fusions of rock and traditional Japanese instruments that are impressive to behold.
While the soundtrack is only available on iTunes Japan at this time, I’m hoping it gets a worldwide release so fans of these composers can get in on the action as well.
Square Enix has released a selection of Final Fantasy VIII music on two picture vinyls. They’re quite gorgeous, so we thought it would be great to show them to you. While the two vinyls don’t contain the soundtrack in its entirety, most key tracks are here, including the whimsical overworld theme, “Blue Fields,” the energetic battle theme, “Don’t Be Afraid” (one of my personal favorites of the entire series), the electronic-tinged boss battle theme, “Force Your Way,” the soothing guitar track, “Breezy,” the Triple Triad theme, “Shuffle or Boogie,” Laguna’s battle theme, “The Man With The Machine Gun,” the ominous “Premonition,” what I consider to be one of Uematsu’s finest compositions, “Fisherman’s Horizon,” and the final battle theme, “The Extreme,” among others.
I thought it would be nice to include a taste of the elusive Final Fantasy VIII Chips album from 2012, which you can hear in the background.
The vinyls are available directly from the Square Enix shop in Japan and Europe, but can be imported from CD Japan from outside of those regions.
There are many fans of Vanillaware’s gorgeous fantasy beat-’em-up, Dragon’s Crown. Scarlet Moon Artists composer and Basiscape head Hitoshi Sakimoto scored the game in its entirety, drawing on classic fantasy inspirations to weave together melodies that are strong yet deceptively simple. Dragon’s Crown wasn’t trying to break new ground, but rather reaching back into the heart of the fantasy genre, and this powerful soundtrack follows suit. Anyone’s who played the game will love the masculine “Dragon’s Haven Inn” with its exotic instrumentation, the whimsical and enchanting “City Street,” the somber and healing “Canaan Temple,” and the angelic “World Map.” Those who are more into action will enjoy the foreboding and epic “Castle of the Dead: Catacombs,” the powerful and adventurous “Mage Tower,” and the dangerous and swashbuckling “Ghost Ship Cove.” There are also two piano arrangements tucked away at the tail end of the three-disc set for both “City Street” and “World Map.”
After loving the soundtrack in-game, many fans have been wondering if an album would ever be released, and it’s now available courtesy of Basiscape Records on both CD Japan (physical) and iTunes worldwide. The physical package includes several wonderful (and provocative!) pieces of art throughout. Pick it up today!