Tag Archives: JRPG

CARAVAN STORIES Original Soundtrack Vol.2 (BSPE-1072)

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.

Review: I am Setsuna Original Soundtrack

There’s been a lot of talk of Chrono series influences on Square Enix’s new RPG, I am Setsuna. That immediately had me interested in the game and its soundtrack, and upon learning that that the score would be recorded almost entirely on solo piano, my anticipation grew. The score features two discs of piano performances that touch on all the RPG trappings, including a bass-heavy and dangerous battle theme (“Deadly gamble”) and frightening dungeon theme (“Dark caves”) to the cute and whimsical “The warmth of life” and beautiful and serene ballad, “Hidden intentions.”

I was surprised at times just how versatile I am Setsuna is despite relying on a single instrument. I really love “No turning back” with its upbeat action and distinctly Asian vibe, “March of the brave” and its semi-serious approach that’s both playful and determined, the reflective and somber “Regal ruins,” the rapid staccato notes of “Endless crusade,” the mysterious “A secret passage,” the rambunctious “Rare,” and probably my favorite track on the album, “Silent snow,” which features twinkling piano notes that descend in a sorrowful fashion with just a tinge of beauty. I’ve noted that the soundtrack is “mainly” piano several times now, and that’s because tracks like the tense and lightning-fast “Relentless advance,” the energetic and wondrous “A fantastic encounter,” the determined “Out of time,” and the explosive “Hidden danger” also add in bass and percussion to great effect (you really notice the additions when none of the other tracks feature them). There’s also a little chiptune surprise in “Dreamer’s conclave” tucked away at the end of the album that is quite a treat.

In all, I really enjoyed my time with the I am Setsuna soundtrack. It offers icy atmospheres and beautiful ballads, perfect for a game that takes place in the snow, and does a lot with a single instrument. Grab it on CD Japan if you’re interested in giving it a listen.

DRUAGA ONLINE -THE STORY OF AON- SOUNDTRACK (SRIN-1121)

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.

Check out SuperSweep’s soundtrack sampler on YouTube and pick out the soundtrack on CD Japan if you’re interested.

Review: KINGDOM HEARTS -HD 1.5 ReMIX- Original Soundtrack

While I’ll admit I never really delved into the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack, I was as excited as anyone for this HD 1.5 ReMIX version. Upgraded sounds, live recordings, and more abound, and what better way to revisit Yoko Shimomura’s beloved classic than with a new coat of paint that has pleased event hardcore fans. For me, hearing these melodies for the first time, I finally understand why this music is so special to so many people.

“Dearly Beloved,” the iconic theme of the series, is presented in all its simplistic beauty here. I love the orchestral rendition of the vocal theme, “Hikaru,” and the funky remix with amazing production values and fantastic bass line. Some of my favorites from the score include the dark and ominous “Dive Into The Heart,” the upbeat tropical tune, “Destiny Island,” the tropical rock with woodwinds in “Bustin Up on the Beach,” and the infectiously happy “Mickey Mouse Club.” Kairi’s themes are probably my favorites on the entire album, in all of their various renditions, and I love the killer bass and percussion in “Night of Fate,” the dreamy and jazzy “Traverse Town,” the energetic “To Our Surprise,” the regal and triumphant “Olympus Colliseum,” and the exotic “Holy Bananas!” The second disc features some amazing themes as well with the bubbly and cute “O-Rama,” the desert-themed “A Day in Agrabah,” the sweet piano and strings of “Friends in my Heart,” the angelic “Never Land Sky,” the gothic orchestral “Forze de Male,” foreboding “End of the World,” and all the amazing classical arrangements that come in at the end. Finally, “Lord of the Castle” offers a decisive and epic final adventure while “Musique pour la tristesse de Xion” gets heart wrenching strings and piano. We get romance with “At Dusk, I Will Think of You…” and tragedy in “Vector to the Heavens.”

I have to say this is the definitive version of the soundtrack for anyone out there who, like me, hadn’t heard it all the way through. Those people are likely pretty rare at this point. But I suggest grabbing it on CD Japan if you’d like. We’ll also take a look at 2.5 in the coming weeks, which is even more amazing!

Review: The Witch and the Hundred Knight

Nippon Ichi Software’s Tenpei Sato returns with another zany RPG score in line with a lot of his past works. This time, we get a playfully dark atmosphere with a strong western vibe that goes quite well together. There are two discs to dig into if you managed to pick up the limited edition, and a single disc sampler if you grab the standard edition on the NISA store.

What drew my attention to the score initially was a contribution by NieR vocalist Emi Evans. Does her track and the rest make for a memorable experience? Read more below. Continue reading Review: The Witch and the Hundred Knight