Tag Archives: Celtic

Review: Grimms Notes Original Soundtrack

This one’s surely a pleasant surprise. Square Enix publishes a lot of game music for their mobile titles that don’t make it out of Japan, and sometimes there’s some excellent music found within. The Grimms Notes soundtrack by Taketeru Sunamori and Miyako Matsuoka is a perfect example. There are strong Celtic influences throughout with all the JRPG staples, and it’s certainly worth the time to check it out.

The opening theme is magical and mysterious with descending harp and a lute, setting the tone for the rest of the score. There’s a woodwind and tambourine-heavy folk tune, uplifting harmonica in one track, warm and beautiful harmonies in another. There are exotic woodwinds, Latin-flavored guitars, a triumphant and adventurous march, tropical steel drums, and a mixture of contemplative, somber, and epic tunes towards the end. The star of the show, however, is the version of the main theme with Japanese female vocals. There’s something unsettling about the track, like some ancient lullaby with seemingly sweet lyrics that hide danger within, but it’s absolutely gorgeous.

The unfortunate news is that I can only find it on sale on the Square Enix Japan store. I hope it turns up elsewhere, because the soundtrack is a hidden gem!

Review: TREE of SAVIOR ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK Vol.1

As a huge fan of SoundTeMP’s work on Ragnarok Online and the varied contributors to Granado Espada, I’ve had my eye on Tree of Savior for a long time. From IMC Games, it’s been touted as the spiritual successor to Ragnarok Onliine, which is apparent in the visual presentation and the musical talent assembled for the game. It features audio lead Sevin (S.F.A) along with new contributions from SoundTeMP and Questrosound (aka Nikacha, formerly of SoundTeMP), and artist Kevin. In all, the music is amazingly well-produced, and I’d describe it as a happy medium between the poppy sound of Ragnarok Online and the classical/trance sounds of Granado Espada. There are many great moments throughout, and I’m definitely curious to hear this music in the context of the game.

It all starts with the Celtic-inspired main theme, “Tree of Savior,” which also gets a piano and live version on the album. Some of my favorite contributions include S.F.A’s “Due Solo” which combines orchestral and electronic elements into a classy and somewhat desperate soundscape, Questrosound’s “Forest of Shadows” with its dangerously dark strings and funky bass line, and SoundTeMP’s “Red and the Sun” with its gothic rock elements that makes it feel like a poppy version of Castlevania. There’s also Questrosound’s “Moonlight Walk” with its huge strings and brass that make it epic yet cool, SoundTeMP’s “Topaz” with its slow somber take on trance (one of my favorites on the album), and S.F.A’s “Pristinee” that stands out for its melancholy female vocals added to an electronic backing. SoundTeMP’s interestingly-named “Woman Peeling Potatoes” is the most metal of the tracks, with a great galloping rhythm, and their nine-minute-long “Angelus” features spooky electronics and piano. Finally, S.F.A’s grungy rock “Tori March” closes out with attitude.

Many of the other tracks here are equally brilliant, but I don’t want to spoil all of it. The set spans two discs, containing 33 tracks, and comes housed in a nice DVD-sized package with a magnetic latch to keep it closed. Unfortunately it’s only been distributed as a promotional item at events in Korea, but I imagine the music will make its way out into the world someday, and given that this is Volume 1, I’m sure there will be more. In the meantime, head over to the SoundCloud channels for both DESTRUCTOID and GamesRadar for some exclusive samples.

Chrono Trigger & Chrono Cross Arrangement Album Vinyl Unboxing

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!

Review: To Far Away Times: Chrono Trigger & Chrono Cross Arrangement Album

This album has been a long time in the making. Over the years I’ve talked to Yasunori Mitsuda about his progress, and it always seemed to be right around the corner. It attained something of a myth-like status, as fans started thinking it’d never see the light of day, but it’s finally here.

It’s hard to live up to nearly ten years (or more?) of hype, but I think Chrono fans will be pleased not only with the music, but also the presentation and Mitsuda’s attempt to tie together Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross musically. The offerings are actually somewhat eclectic in presentation with a heavy emphasis on orchestral arrangement and vocals throughout, which may initially put some people off, but I can promise you that all the performances are top notch.

Plants vs. Zombies composer Laura Shigihara, who I imagine was invited to participate because her brilliant and beautiful arrangement of “Corridors of Time” on YouTube (which is recorded with glorious orchestra and live instruments on this album), is also featured on “Schala’s Theme,” for which she sings in a made up language that fits the vibe of the piece perfectly, and “On the Other Side,” a heartwarming take on the “Crono & Marle” theme. In contrast to Shigihara’s sweet and lighthearted voice, vocalist Sarah Alainn offers a heavier ballad-based style with both “Raidcal Dreamers” and “To Far Away Times,” the latter of which reminds me a bit of the Xenogears vocal theme, “SMALL OF TWO PIECES.”

Other tracks include a rather ambient Celtic take on “Marbule,” a lush and gorgeous “Wind Scene” (easily my favorite track on the album), a warm and lovely “The Bend of Time” (which has been released elsewhere in the past), a melancholy strings version of “The Frozen Flame,” and a surprising performance of “Time’s Scar” that gets an ascending guitar riff that sounds a lot like the iconic “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin. This is certainly my favorite version of “Time’s Scar.”

The music is fantastic and encompasses a lot of different ideas and styles, and the artwork and presentation in a slim cardboard case is all spot on. Any and all Chrono music fans will appreciate this album.

Grab it on CD Japan if you’re interested.

Review: Arcadia no Aoki Miko ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

We unfortunately don’t see a lot of mobile games that are coming out in Japan. One such game from Square Enix, Arcadia no Aoki Miko, remains a mystery to me, but Square Enix has released a soundtrack album featuring music by Naoshi Mizuta, and I think RPG fans may be surprised by what they hear.

Check out some impressions if this somewhat brief album below. Continue reading Review: Arcadia no Aoki Miko ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK