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.
Final Fantasy is 30 years old! Square Enix celebrated the year in style with a number of Final Fantasy soundtrack releases, but one of the promotional items they put out was this composer’s selection disc featuring picks from Final Fantasy composers past and present. The greatest thing about this release is that the commentary from each composer is provided in both English and Japanese, which is a nice touch.
Nobuo Uematsu leads the way with his sweeping piano and string ballad from Final Fantasy X, “Zanarkand.” Junya Nakano picks one of my favorite tracks from Final Fantasy X, the lullaby-esque “Yuna’s Decision.” Naoshi Mizuta is a hero among men for picking my favorite Final Fantasy composition, the whimsical “Troian Beauty” from Final Fantasy IV. Kumi Tanioka goes with the adventurous main theme from Final Fantasy IV, and has a nice story about watching her siblings play through the game to go with it. Hitoshi Sakimoto goes for the original “Final Fantasy” theme that started it all, and from the original Final Fantasy, no less. Masashi Hamauzu’s pick is the dreamy and healing “Sulyaa Springs” from Final Fantasy XIII, one of my personal favorites as well. Masayoshi Soken picks the epic “Torn from the Heavens” from Final Fantasy XIV, which incorporates the series prelude in a clever way. Finally, Yoko Shimomura offers up “APOCALYPSIS NOCTIS,” the bombastic orchestral battle theme from Final Fantasy XV.
I love this album solely to get a sense of the musical tastes of each of these composers who I’ve enjoyed so much over the years. The commentary is the star, here, though, so if you can get your hands on one of these discs, go for it!
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!
Theatrhythm is one of the most exciting things to happen to Final Fantasy or rhythm games in the past several years. It was the sort of idea that I could imagine throwing around with friends and never expecting to be made, but here it is. I loved Theatrhythm, and even dabbled in some DLC on my mobile phone, so I was again surprised and excited to see that it had done well enough to warrant a sequel of sorts.
Curtain Call brings more of the same, or rather, a whole lot more. There are some great additions to the music roster, which boasts over 210 songs, and a lot more to see and do, so check out my brief review below. Continue reading Review: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call and Remix Selections
It’s E3 week, and we thought it would be a good time to announce the launch of Scarlet Moon Artists, an artist group dedicated to providing studios both big and small with top music talent from around the globe. Included are:
Vince DiCola & Kenny Meriedeth (Rocky IV, Saturday Morning RPG, Transformers: The Movie)
Shinji Hosoe (Mega Man Network Transmission, Ridge Racer series, Tekken Tag Tournament 2)
Hiroki Kikuta (Koudelka, Secret of Mana, Soul Calibur V)
Osamu Kubota (Beatmania, Granado Espada)
Justin Lassen (Herbert the Misanthropic Fly, Otomedius Excellent, Synaethesia)
Goomin Nam (Bar Oasis series, Monarch: Heroes of a New Age, TalesWeaver)
Dale North (Dragon Fantasy Book II, OverClocked ReMix contributions, Silent Horror)
Jinbae Park (PangYa Portable, Ragnarok Online, Ridge Racer 7)
Hitoshi Sakimoto (Final Fantasy XII, Gradius V, Valkyria Chronicles series)
If you want any of these musicians working on your upcoming game, contact us via the contact form on the Scarlet Moon Artists website!