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.