Final Fantasy XII didn’t get a fair shake when it was first released. Yes, the development was quite an ordeal and the game took a few hits as a result, but Final Fantasy XII was a pioneer in many ways, including with its grandiose orchestral soundtrack by Hitoshi Sakimoto. With the HD remake, dubbed The Zodiac Age, the entire score was re-recorded with the Video Game Orchestra, bringing all the music to life with live performances in addition to new original tracks just for the re-release, totaling a massive 102 tracks and clocking in at nearly six hours. Fans of Final Fantasy and especially Final Fantasy XII will want to give it a listen, and those who pick up the limited edition version also get an arrangement album by the team at Basiscape.
Those who’ve never heard the soundtrack before are in for a real treat right out of the gate with Sakimoto’s signature spin on the Final Fantasy theme, followed by the explosive “Boss Battle” theme and the sweeping fan-favorites “The Dalmasca Eastersand” and “Giza Plains.” “On the Riverbank” is adventurous yet sweet, “Eruyt Village” is soothing and full of mystery with its strings and woodwinds. There are other Sakimoto takes on Final Fantasy classicss such as the chocobo and Gilgamesh’s themes, exotic woodwinds in the desert-esque “The Stilshrine of Miriam,” and tribal percussion and beautiful piano and choir in “The Salikawood.” Rounding out some key themes that listeners will want to check out are “The Final Act” with its tense and decisive sound reminiscent of Final Fantasy Tactics, “Struggle for Freedom,” a new piece that is absolutely terrifying, and “The Zodiac Age,” a lovely cinematic piece. And don’t forget the beautiful harp-laden “Game Over,” which you’ll be hearing a lot!
As mentioned, the limited edition comes with a CD of arrangements, which includes a music box/dance hybrid of “The Zodiac Age” by Sakimoto himself, exotic bagpipes and woodwinds on “The Dalmascan Eastersand,” and an excellent piano solo of “The Barheim Passage.”
The limited edition is still available on CD Japan and belongs in every Final Fantasy fan’s collection.
It’s been awhile since Hitoshi Sakimoto’s Basicape Records put out some music. The tail end of 2016 saw the release of the soundtrack to the PC game Oh! Samurai Girls! A Music Collection with the return of composer Azusa Chiba and Yoshimi Kudo to follow up 2012’s “S” collection. You’re in for an eclectic winter-flavored soundtrack with strong Japanese influences.
From the sweet and magical opener to the mix of upbeat and playful to funky and cool tracks that follow, there’s something here for everyone. There’s epic orchestra, tender ballads, swaggering jazz, ninja rock, and even an appearance by J.S. Bach with a Christmas version of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” There are breakbeats, lullabies, and crashing metal along with traditional Japanese instruments, exotic desert music, and even folk. The album closes it with a series of heavy metal tracks complete with chugging bass and wailing guitars.
The two-disc album can be picked up on CD Japan if you’re interested.
A lot of people had fun messing around with FINAL FANTASY Record Keeper, and I’m sure more than a few dug the arrangements featured throughout and wanted to get their hands on them. Well, Square Enix has you covered with this compilation album featuring a variety of talent mostly from outside Square Enix, who you can learn about on VGMdb.
The arrangements are fairly straightforward, with little twists to fit special holidays or combined into tidy medleys. “Mystic Mysidia -Halloween-,” for example, gives the mischievous tune some mysterious bells and defiant strings in A Nightmare Before Christmas fashion, while jingle bells join the Final Fantasy VII main theme and “Gold Saucer,” making for a jolly Christmas arrangement. “Eyes on Me,” “Celes,” and of course, “Theme of Love” combine for a perfect Valentine’s Day medley, and a lovely sleep-inducing Tanbata (Star Festival) medley features lots of harp and bells to capture that celestial atmosphere.
There are several one-off arrangements, including rockin’ versions of “Battle at the Big Bridge” and “Decisive Battle” from Final Fantasy VI (which features a few other songs as well), a dreamy trance version of “The Man With the Machine Gun,” a bubbly techno-flavored “Vana’diel March,” a wedding organ-infused “Prelude,” and a pumping electronic/rock version of “Blinded by Light” (one of the more complex arrangements by Monster Hunter/Dragon’s Dogma composer Tadayoshi Makino).
While there isn’t a whole lot to sink your teeth into, if you played with the app and want the music, it’s available at CD Japan.
Basiscape Records has released the soundtrack to the fifth game in the Metal Max series titled Metal Saga: The Ark of Wastes (Metal Saga: Kouya no Hakobune in Japan). The Android/iOS title once again features RPG combat on foot or via vehicles, and Basiscape composer Yoshimi Kudo (Tekken 6, Muramasa, Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir) provides an impressive metal-infused orchestral score. It’s always surprising just how well the team at Basiscape can incorporate Hitoshi Sakimoto’s signature sound into their work, so fans of his should also be pleased with this soundtrack.
The opening track, “Crack down!,” is pure metal with high productions values and English vocals. From there, “Mortal Engines” brings big brass and percussion to this upbeat Sakimoto-esque march, “Workaholics Jam” sports funky bass and rock organ, and “The Earth and the Wind” features a gritty Western sound with twangy electric guitar. Theres the playful “March of 65536 Steps” which incorporates Celtic instruments, “No Bullets, No Life” which is a cool spin on electronic-infused metal, and “Rhythm Show,” a loungy funk tune. There are ethereal pads in “Into the Silence,” drum ‘n’ bass in “On the Edge,” playful and silly dubstep in “Elegant Resuscitated Person’s Dance,” and industrial glitch rock in “Bolt and Nut Girl.” Finally, there’s the desperate “Moment of Truth,” the cheery electric pop tune, “Don’t Stop the Heartbeat,” the smooth electronic “Fragment 2 Fragment,” the explosive electronic “Giant Killer” with its massive choir and tension, and the upbeat and funky “Yesterday’s Friend is Today’s Enemy” with its lightning-fast rock.
In all, Metal Saga: The Ark of Wastes offers an eclectic mix of songs, but it’s all well produced and shows of Kudo’s versatility and talent. Pick it up at CD Japan if you’re interested.
Odin Sphere fans should rejoice. Not only is the game being released in HD remake form, but there’s new music written by Basiscape written specifically for the new version as well. Basiscape has released the two-disc soundtrack on Basiscape Records, available in physical CD format in Japan (see CD Japan) or digitally on iTunes International.
Fans of Hitoshi Sakimoto and Basiscape will find a lot to love. From the beautiful new version of the main theme complete with choir to tense Sakimoto-esque battle themes, a mysterious and serene forest theme, an oppressive lava area theme with clattering chimes, a mischievous forest kingdom, an otherworldly netherworld, and a soothing track to listen to while digging through the text archive, there’s something for every fantasy music lover. There’s playful and exotic, heroic and energetic, and bombastic and regal. Even flamenco and Celtic music make an appearance. In addition to the new tracks, there are also five arranged versions from the original score and this new material to enjoy.
Grab if it you’re an Odin Sphere or Basiscape fan!
Do you love Muramasa? The game is gorgeous, and the soundtrack by Basiscape has also received high praise. Muramasa has seen several album releases with a soundtrack and arrange album to date, but this latest collection from Basiscape Records brings together new music created for the PlayStation Vita port Muramasa Rebirth DLC packs, composed by the Basiscape team.
Fans of the original score should feel right at home. Lots of beautifully-layered Japanese instruments abounds, complete with rock and orchestral backings as appropriate. The opener, “Strike the Four Strings,” features studio head Hitoshi Sakimoto’s memorable theme and other standouts include the contemplative and sweeping “Mountains and Rivers,” the decisive orchestral piece “Perseverance,” and healing “High-Rise Buildings,” the lovely vocal theme with piano accompaniment titled “Rice Flower,” the gorgeously flowing strings of “Astonishing Sight,” the cool jazz fusion of “Solid Fortress,” the super serious espionage-esque “Pursuit,” the pop-tinged “External Traveller,” and the mischievous “Extraordinary Talent.”
While the physical two-disc set is available in Japan and is covered in artwork by Vanillaware, the album is available on the iTunes US store if you’re interested.
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!