Tag Archives: Mitsuto Suzuki

Review: Mitsuto Suzuki’s New Unit mojera Releases Debut Album Overkill

We’re long-time fans of Mitsuto Suzuki, and particularly his solo works. Just as he’s completed his work on Final Fantasy VII Remake we get to hear the debut of mojera, a new unit comprised of Mizuto Suzuki and vocalist Non, who he’s collaborated with on the Final Fantasy Mobius soundtracks. This essentially acts as his long-awaited third solo album, following In My Own Backyard and Neurovision, and fans of those two efforts will feel right at home with mojera.

The album opens with the grungy rock and abstract electronics that we’ve come to know from Suzuki’s past solo works, weaving them into a dreamy and uplifting song accompanied by Non’s vocals. The titular track, “Overkill” is slow and contemplative before a super upbeat a pop-leaning chorus section begins with a bumping bassline and a sound highly reminiscent of the likes of Suzuki’s “New Bodhum” from Final Fantasy XIII-2, one of my favorite soundtracks. There’s the spacey electronics and heavily filtered vocals of “Pluto,” the droning and dreamy “Rain bringer” with pulsing synth notes that feel like raindrops, and “Mojera,” another standout with tweaky electronics in the vein of Katamari Damacy and clean acoustic guitar and vocals that are mega catchy… it’s unfortunate that this is the shortest track on the album as I found myself wanting more. “Master&Slave” slowly builds as an ominous electronic track with no vocals and feels like a sort of bad (but in a good way) trip in the midst of the largely dreamy and upbeat musical journey. “Prism” comes as a pumping dance tune that is chopped up and glitched out, whereas “Camouflage” is a gritty alternative rock/broody electronic track that would feel at home in Lightning Returns. Another highlight is “DJ non MachineLanguage,” a fun DJ dance floor track that Non, in a computerized voice, explains the various instruments being used and proceeds to cheer them on and scold them over the course of the tune before joining in to sing herself. “Many analog synthesizers are freaky, but Prophet 5 is a gentleman. But it’s actually badass because the sound is messed up with cross-modulation and noise.” That’s just a taste of her antics. “2019,” sports dreamy pads and sweet vocals for a nice easy closer.

There’s a free musical spirit within that blends styles which I thought was interesting given that Suzuki just collaborated at length with Masashi Hamauzu on Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Hamauzu’s unit, IMERUAT, is one of my favorites and has been covered extensively on our blog. With that, I hope we’ll see a lot more from mojera in the years to come.

Grab Overkill on iTunes or import the physical CD from CD Japan.

Review: Mobius Final Fantasy Original Soundtrack 2

If you enjoyed Mitsuto Suzuki’s Mobius Final Fantasy soundtrack, you should be ecstatic that Square Enix has released a massive second volume comprising three discs of all new music. Prepare yourself for more sweeping orchestral, abstract electronic wizardry, and killer vocal tunes with lots of Final Fantasy references tucked in for good measure.

I’ll start with the amazing “Capricious Cait Sith,” easily my favorite track on the album, which comes as a silly female vocal disco tune with a smooth and funky backing. Vocals are featured prominently throughout, including on the wonderful “Always There” with its ascending acoustic guitar, ethereal pads, and gentle male vocals and the cool RNB production, “Azure Memories,” which sports clean acoustic guitar and female vocals. Backing up, though, the album begins with the big orchestral sounds of “Ring of Braves” with rolling percussion and uplifting piano before diving in to the whimsical “Mogheim” with its lovely piano and Final Fantasy main theme references, the dance-y “Breaker’s Funk” with rhodes piano and funky bass synth, and “Meia’s Theme” with its cool blend of flamenco guitar and strings. There’s a beautiful Christmas version of “Sarah’s Theme” from Final Fantasy XIII-2, a Final Fantasy theme Christmas track titled “Hopebringer,” a rockin’ rendition of the Final Fantasy VII “Fanfare,” which is absolutely perfect, and the explosive metal “Bloodthirst” with powerful percussion and guitar shredding. “The Infinite Warrior” gives us upbeat rock in traditional Final Fantasy style with its bubbly approach and rock organ, and “Battle Princes,” a bumpin’ EDM track that transitions into uplifting piano and strings.

Spanning three discs, there’s a lot of music here to enjoy. I think I enjoyed Mobius Final Fantasy Original Soundtrack 2 even more than the original release. Grab it on CD Japan if you’re so inclined!

Review: MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY Original Soundtrack

Mitsuto Suzuki was known mainly as an audio programmer, solo artist, and arranger until he broke out into composing with The 3rd Birthday and later, Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns. We discussed his work on the SCHOOLGIRL STRIKERS last year. There’s been a lot of anticipation for his full-length score for MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY, and it’s finally here.

Fans of his work on Final Fantasy will be pleased. There’s a nice blend of atmospheric textures and orchestra. There are several Final Fantasy references as well, which are tastefully done. In fact, Suzuki provides some of the most refreshing takes on both the “Final Fantasy” theme and “The Prelude” by using fragments of the themes alongside his ethereal blend of choir and pads that makes for a wonderful listening experience. Chocobo makes an appearance with the vocaloid “Chocobattle!”, and there’s also a metal battle theme that heavily references “Battle Scene” from the original Final Fantasy (very cool!). Finally, there’s a new spin on the Final Fantasy VI battle theme with some metal layered over the top of the original recording.

His bombastic “Legend – Mobius Final Fantasy” blends filtered guitars and bombastic orchestra and choir into a powerful theme, while “Wol’s Theme – The Journey Begins,” is sweet and catchy. This theme is featured many times throughout the score to great effect, with relaxing, tropical, and the upbeat, funky, and pop-oriented main version being featured throughout. “Dancing Edge” is a super cool dubstep-infused track brimming with positive energy, “The Forsaken World” works in ethereal pads and piano/acoustic guitar in an unsettling combination, and “Attack Ignition” is a heavy dancefloor tune. “The Rune Crystal” layers pads and bells in a beautiful and otherworldly fashion, “Sarah’s Theme” brings in sweeping orchestra and choir, and “Lightway” introduces massive pads and a spacey melody. “Among the Musty” sports hauntingly beautiful guitar work, “Just Desserts – Second Helping” is a super energetic orchestral track featuring snippets of the Final Fantasy theme, and “Infinite Arena” is an upbeat rock track with that feels like Final Fantasy battle themes of old, while “Echo’s Theme” features mischievous chattering, a sweet and innocent piano melody, and la-la choir. Coming to the end, “The Last Stand” sports epic choir and orchestra and the sound of machinery chugging, “The Azure Witch” gets cool piano and pads with rapid piano playing, and the closing “Palamecia Breeze” brings in harp runs from “The Prelude” behind a beautiful piano and pads melody, and is absolutely gorgeous.

Fans of Mitsuto Suzuki should be pleased with more of his unique sound. The two-disc album is available on CD Japan.

Review: SQUARE ENIX MUSiC SAMPLER CD Vol.10

It’s that time of year again. Square Enix put out their annual sampler from Tokyo Game Show featuring goodies from their upcoming albums. They usually use these samplers as a vehicle to announce new albums and show off impending ones, but this year’s sampler features mainly material that we’ve known is coming. Also of note is the fact that the samples are all full-length tracks instead of the snippets that we’ve sometimes received in the past.

The disc opens with the ten-minute-long “Thunder Falls” from the Final Fantasy XIV: Before the Fall OST. It’s out now, and I highly recommend it (review here). There’s a lovely battle medley from Final Symphony II, featuring “Fierce Engagement” from Final Fantasy VI and a tease of “One-Winged Angel.” Imperial SaGa features Kenji Ito back in his orchestral element after so many rock excursions (Million Arthur, SaGa Battle). It’s fantastic and features a nice variation of the SaGa theme. We also get a taste of the upcoming Legend of Mana arrange album in the form of a wonderful jazz arrangement that is playful at times and beautiful at others. An arrangement from the highly-anticipated Chrono arrange album, “Dimension Break,” has been released before, but sounds as lovely as ever, there’s a new folky tune from Final Fantasy XI, an explosive orchestral/rock hybrid from Alice Order, Mitsuto Suzuki doing his thing on Mobius Final Fantasy that sounds reminiscent of Final Fantasy XIII, a live band track featuring Motoi Sakuraba with great solos, and a rock track of his from Star Ocean V that’s nice to hear after Sakuraba’s focus on styles other than synth rock in recent years.

In all, while there aren’t any surprises, this is a solid sampler that should have give fans a lot to look forward to. There’s something for everyone with Mana and Chrono arranges, a Final Fantasy spin-off, and a serious classical album coming soon. Stay tuned!

Review: Schoolgirl Strikers Original Soundtrack

What an unexpected surprise! Square Enix put out this unassuming soundtrack to their recent iOS/Android title, School Strikers, with music by Mitsuto Suzuki and Kengo Tokusashi. Upbeat melodies, great electronic atmospheres, and some great productive values all make this an enjoyable and surprising listening experience.

Let’s jump in! Continue reading Review: Schoolgirl Strikers Original Soundtrack

Review: LIGHTNING RETURNS:FINAL FANTASY XIII OST PLUS

I quite enjoyed the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII OST. While it didn’t feature the catchy pop music that made Final Fantasy XIII-2 so endearing, it did sport its own unique blend of electronic ambiance that provided for a great listen.

As has been customary for the Final Fantasy XIII soundtracks, Square Enix released an additional disc of trailer music, instrumental versions, cut tracks, and variations on themes presented on this PLUS album. Is it worth picking up?

Read our review below. Continue reading Review: LIGHTNING RETURNS:FINAL FANTASY XIII OST PLUS