Basiscape’s epic CARAVAN STORIES continues with Volume 4, this time dedicated to the dwarves. As such, expect lots of warmer sounds and reverberating cavern-esque soundscapes compared to past volumes. It begins with prancing bagpipes and mechanical clicks and whirs in “Baldu Pipe Town,” the soothing and mysterious woodwinds and piano of “Billibino Pumpland -Nightscape-,” and the energetic galloping battle tune with chugging bass and fluttering woodwinds in “Dynamic Ingenuity.” There’s ominous and dank with glitchy xylophone in “Arlosa Mine,” an explosive orchestral battle track with “Duel Battle -PV Version-,” a twangy Western vibe in “Start of Hunting Season,” and folksy fiddle, bass, and hand percussion in “Mad Cow Brewery.” The vocal theme comes as a full on death metal track with chugging guitars, explosive bass drum, and screaming vocals titled “Markings of a Lifetime,” which comes as quite a surprise. The album closes with the adventurous “Ghelbours Foothills” and its spookier nighttime counterpart, and the CARAVAN STORIES main theme with added mischief in the rolling guitars and strailing strings.
Basiscape’s massive score to the mobile RPG Caravan Stories continues into Volume 3, which focuses on the orcs. You’ll find lots of tribal percussion, big brass, sweeping strings, and ominous soundscapes throughout, starting with the exotic and swaying “Garhudom Woodland,” and healing and folksy “Western Dogaa,” and the galloping Panzer Dragoon-esque “Muddy Warrior.” There’s the customary vocal pop song, “Oh, A World Nearby?,” the unsettling and buzzing “Fort Dogaa,” the regal “Audience,” and the rolling marimba and flying strings of “Kuaranii Cascades.” The angelic pads and layered shamisen of “Pyramid of the Moon” exude mystery, the droning pads and quirky electronic sounds of “Urdon Fungal Jungle” are ominous and foreign, and the spooky voices and rattling in the distance in “Deep Grief” are unsettling. It all ends with the grandiose Sakimoto-esque main theme with huge strings, brass, and percussion.
Basiscape has reawakened with eight volumes of music from the mobile/PC MMORPG CARVAN STORIES set to release between now and the beginning of 2019. The first volume established a whimsical fantasy atmosphere, and Vol. 2 continues on with music focused on the human areas of the game.
It all begins with a reprise of the lovely main theme with “Caravan Trip -Nightscape-,” a sweet and angelic spin with piano, bells, and woodwinds. There’s the energetic and uplifting battle theme, “The Method of Fighting,” the dreamy guitars, tribal percussion, layered brass, and soothing wildness of “Eastern Part of Denon Hill,” and the epic and grandiose “Mauriana Region” with romantic string work and folksy banjo (there’s also a twinkly sleep version). “The Light for Valmuer Street” comes as a male vocal ballad with a Spanish flair, “Waterling Main Road” sways in a grand and contemplative manner with snapping percussion, and “Scott Battlefield” is both mysterious and determined with pizzicato strings and competing time signatures. Rounding out the album is the bubbly and folksy “Reuben” with acoustic guitar, hand percussion, and Celtic instruments.
Grab CARAVAN STORIES Original Soundtrack Vol. 2 on Amazon to get the latest goodness from Basiscape.
It’s been some time since Hitoshi Sakimoto’s Basiscape Records released anything, but that drought has just come to an end. The Basiscape team has scored the massive anime MMORPG Caravan Stories for PC and mobile, and will be releasing the soundtrack over eight separate volumes between now and January 2019. The first volume includes over an hour of music and is available in digital and physical formats.
Fans will enjoy the folksy and playful fantasy style of the score, particularly the opening “Iyarr Ancestral Song” with its melancholy woodwinds, acoustic guitar, and female vocals. There’s an energetic battle theme that has a lot of fun with the classic JRPG formula in the equally-fun titled “Outpouring of Armaments,” a trippy and cool fanfare with “Victory in Battle,” and the playful and Sakimoto-esque “Iyarr’s Narrator.” Rounding out the album are the grandiose strings and percussion in typical Sakimoto fashion with “Caravan Stories” and a lovely upbeat pop ballad including vocals with “Longing.”
There’s great music to be had by the Basiscape team with seven more volumes to come. Grab Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 on iTunes.
While Druaga Online -The Story of Aon- was never released outside of Japan, I think a lot of RPG fans can get behind an arcade-based RPG with online four player co-op. What drew my attention to the soundtrack was the eclectic combination of composers, which includes SuperSweep’s Ayako Sasao, StudioMINSTREL’s Hiroto Saito, and Bandai Namco composers Junko Ozawa and Hiroyuki Kawada. True to the eclectic nature of the team, the soundtrack offers upbeat orchestral, electronic, and rock in adventurous fantasy fashion.
Listeners will enjoy the infectious synth pop castle theme as well as the main character themes, which include playfully epic rock (“Gilgamesh”), bubbly electonics (“Ki”), and even industrial (“Xeovalga”). The map themes will also stand out with the exotic woodwinds of “Windy Prairie,” the grand orchestral stylings of “Hanging Gardens,” and the funky Castlevania-esque “Floating Island,” which even sports bagpipes at one point. Rounding out the two-disc collection are the gloriously defaint “Heavenly Palace,” the explosive final battle theme, and the triumphant and rustic ending theme complete with harpsichord.
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!
Last week we looked at Kenji Ito’s battle themes from the Million Arthur series. I referred to producer Hyadain’s original soundtrack, which we’ll take a look at now. The mysterious Hyadain had made a name for himself in the doujin scene producing excellent music and arrangements, and was later revealed to be artist Kenichi Maeyamada. His production values come through strongly in this album, featuring a blend of pop, rock, and fantasy goodness.
The first track, “Faction Selection” starts right in with some wonderfully produced J-rock and a descending bell tone melody that offers something unique. “Footsteps to Fortune” is a laid back overworld-esque theme that starts off strictly fantasy before introducing electronic elements and percussion to lend the track a cool edge. “Round Table Congregation,” one of my favorite tracks, opts for intense militaristic electronics, percussion, and strings, while “Welcome Back, Lord Arthur!” is a super cute and upbeat pop tune with Rhodes and strings that sounds like it ought to have vocals. I also love the octave-jumping bass in “Faerie Sighted!,” the ominous dungeon-sounding theme, “Wait, Could it be?,” the dark and sinister “D-O-U-B-T,” the regal and beautiful “God Save the King” with its melancholy harpsichord, swelling strings, and bell tolls, and the silly “Pumpkin Soup” with wood block and chip tones. “Sadness Shall Someday Fade” is the obligatory sad theme, “Morgan Fay” offers catchy gothic rock, and “Won’t Say Goodbye” is a glitchy upbeat electronic outro that ends on a positive note.
Hyadain didn’t disappoint, and I’d love to hear more collaborations between the artist and Square Enix in the future. If you want to pick up the soundtrack, it’s available on CD Japan.
While I’ve never had the pleasure of playing Lord of Vermilion, I have been on top of their multiple soundtrack releases. The series itself is interesting in that it’s an arcade card-based title with some beautiful artwork from a number of contributing artists, and likewise, the music has been handled by a number of composers, with Nobuo Uematsu on the first game, Hitoshi Sakimoto and Basiscape on the second, and now electronic artist Tachytelic on the third.
I can’t say I know a whole lot about Tachytelic, but if you’re a fan of electronic music, dubstep, and electronic-orchestral hybrids, this album may be for you. The opening theme is the original by Uematsu redone with a trip-hop drum beat, exotic vocals, and dubstep stylings. A few of my favorites include “Elder Tower” which combines dubstep elements and epic fantasy orchestral with a cool ascending brass and string melody, “Red String Break,” which sports ominous pads and break beats on top of some lovely string work, and the trailer-esque “Over the Pride,” with its slow build and intense climax. “ANGER Z E N N O” is a heavy drum ‘n’ bass track with angry flaring synth lines that almost sound like guttural speech, “Tentacle Dread Hot Beat” (probably my favorite track) with its epic descending string line, and the cinematic tracks that include the emotional “Tear,” the spooky “Another Space,” and “Worry.” There are two ending themes that combine electronic and orchestral elements. I love the choral elements in “Red Flamers” and the killer bass and piano work in “Wind to Wind.”
In all, the Lord of Vermilion III OST offers a new sound that makes a great addition to the eclectic franchise. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Tachytelic in the future. You can grab the album from CD Japan if you’re interested.
The Bravely Default soundtrack was widely acclaimed. It featured rock artist REVO providing some fantastic themes that earned the score a lot of praise in 2014. With Bravely Second on the horizon, Square Enix is going big once again with the soundtrack, this time by hiring ryo, the producer of one of my personal favorite acts in Japan, supercell, to score the game.
Can lightning strike twice? Does ryo have it it takes to give JRPG music fans what they so desire? Continue reading Review: Bravely Second End Layer Original Soundtrack
As mentioned, this arrangement album is one not to be missed. Containing alternate versions of many of the tracks from the Original Soundtrack, there are also all-new arrangements created by Goomin Nam including a moving Korean vocal version of “Forgotten Archduchess,” pop ballad covers by Goomin Nam of “Peaceful Macdallena” and by Dale North of “Seaside Village,” a dark take on “Wandering Woods” by Joshua Morse, and a beautiful piano and saxophone improvisation by Norihiko Hibino and AYAKI (GENTLE LOVE).
The album features 15 tracks, including variations, arrangements, and a bonus trailer from the game’s announcement.
A limited-print physical version is available on Bandcamp, while the two albums are being bundled together at a discounted price exclusively on Loudr. You can also pick it up on iTunes and Amazon MP3.
Hear a sample and view the beautiful physical packaging along with album credits below. Continue reading Monarch: Heroes of a New Age Arrangements & Variations (SMRC-1002)