For ease of reference, the OST reviews from Tuesday Rumble have been gathered together and reproduced here- and time, I may also edit them a bit. Use it to help decide on your anime-related listening.
.hack//games perfect collection
Unfortunately, the US release of the .hack game OSTs is a ‘digest’ version, so for completists, only the Japanese version will do. What this does mean is that you get every possible remix imaginable, and even an entire bonus CD of the in-game sound effects (entirely negligible unless you have a hankering to listen to a grunty belching). Nonetheless, based on the actual musical content, this is one of the better game soundtracks out there; it may be filler, but it’s also filler done so well that it actually becomes very good.
Since .hack strays away from the classic RPG style, it isn’t as constrained to the usual required set of themes as the other game soundtracks mentioned here. Instead, the synth-heavy tracks take on a more mystical and ethereal feel (except for a few weaker ‘cheerful marching’ style tracks) that naturally evolve across the CD from the root town themes, through field and dungeon to boss battles and dramatic cut scenes. With the soundtrack arranged in such a progression, however, everything blends together into an atmospheric whole, so it’s hard to point to a handful of single tracks as standing above the rest.
The side effect of this is that there are sections where you’ll find yourself listening to more, and more, and more of the same, such as the Eight Phases, eight consecutive remixes of the same theme. The more you listen, however, the more you’ll become attuned to the subtle differences between each remix, making the weaker sections less of a slog.
Notable tracks: Delta Server Mac Anu, Loop 1-4, Aura’s Theme
.hack//SIGN OST 1
Yuki Kajiura is well known for her skilful blending of orchestrals and synth, and nowhere is her skill more evident than in the music of .hack//SIGN and Liminality. This, the first of CDs, is arguably the best of the quartet, a collection of atmospheric vocal and instrumental pieces that capture the perfectly capture mystery of The World. Even after almost two years of regularly listening to it, it remains my favourite anime OST.
Notable tracks: Yasashii Yoake (ED), The World, Key of the Twilight, Obsession (OP)
.hack//SIGN OST 2
Living up to the first SIGN OST was never going to be an easy task, and it has to be admitted that this CD is the weaker of the two, sticking a little too closely to Kajiura’s standard themes. Nonetheless, there are some strong tracks here that offer the powerful blend of intense action and lingering melancholy first glimpsed in OST 1; in fact, the haunting ‘To Nowhere’ and fast-paced ‘In the Land of Twilight, Under the Moon’ are so good that all the other tracks are merely a bonus.
Notable tracks: Open Your Heart, In the Land of Twilight Under the Moon, Useless Chatting, To Nowhere.
Air TV CD I-II
Air is set during the summer and the music perfectly reflects this; a mix of piano and synth that captures the laidback mood of the season and blends it with more mysterious and melancholic elements. Admittedly, there are a lot of visual novel style filler tracks, but its power to evoke the strong emotions of the series works in its favour.
Notable tracks: Tori no Uta, Natsukage, Kannagi, Giniro, Aozora, Hane, Farewell Song
Arc Twilight of the Spirits
The game may be nothing special but the soundtrack nonetheless manages to hold its own, and unlike most game OSTs, each track tries to build on a theme rather than just looping it several times. Since several different composers worked on it there’s a wide range of styles, from guitar-led battle tracks, to military style brass themes, and other game staples such as ‘quiet village’. Unfortunately, the CD misses out a number of important pieces such as Bebedora’s theme and Darc’s random battle music; there are fan ripped versions of some of these but it is disappointing that they weren’t included on the official OST.
Notable tracks: Moonlight, Ordeal, Spirit Guidance, Fierce Battle
Asatte no Houkou
Mitsumune Shinkichi is often quoted for his work on Rozen Maiden, but he does an equally good job with Asatte no Houkou, offering a soundtrack that blends the light, breezy feel of summer with more poignant and melancholy elements. From skilled piano themes covering a range of emotions, to his trademark wind synths, each track may be short, but overall it builds a quietly magical atmosphere with some memorable highlights.
Notable tracks: Kumikyoku, Hikari no Kisetsu (TV size), Magokoro, Negai Ishi, Gikochinai Fun’iki, Sabishisa, Totsuzen no Wakare, Kokuhaku, Summer Fantasy I
Ali Project are often accused of being a one-trick pony, but this opportunity to provide the music for an entire series proved that when they want to, they can actually compose different themes. Although their gothic and borderline discordant style permeates the entire OST, there is still plenty of variety packed in, from fast and energetic tracks that wouldn’t be out of place in a platform or action game, to slower and more melancholy themes. The only real weak piece on the whole CD is the vocal track “MOTHER”, an almost painful slow and dull theme that lasts for over five minutes.
Notable tracks: Gesshoku Grand Guignol, Reinforcement of Happiness, Babylon Café, Death Becoming Unavailable, Taming the Young Woman, Puppeteer, Trompe-l’oeil labyrinth, The Season of Hell, Mirai no Eve
Azumanga Daioh OST 1
Imagine that you were walking in a park one lazy Sunday afternoon and happened to hear a brass and percussion band idly practising- that’s exactly the feel evoked by the Azumanga OST. Laid back and with an odd predilection for flute synth, the soundtrack offers catchy themes at best, and saccharine elevator music at worst. Luckily the majority of tracks fall into the 0:40-1:30 range but even so, it all begins to blur together into a repetitive mass by the end.
Notable tracks: Soramimi Keiki, Yasumi jikan desuka, Nandaka, Sanpo Desu, Raspberry Heaven
Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto OST 1
As befits a series set in the Bakumatsu era, the first of Iroha’s two OSTs encapsulates the period feel with its style and instrumentation, but manages to largely avoid those droning themes we tend to associate with Japanese festivals and theatre. Instead, despite an extensive reliance on the series’ prime theme, it manages to create a atmospheric set of tracks with just the right flavour. I’d certainly rate it far above similar OSTs such as SaiMono for its ability to hold worth even outside of the context of the series.
Notable tracks: Shizuku, Doukoku no Haguruma, Shinen no Kousaku, Shannai Kurabu, Shinnen
Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto OST 2
A series second OST always has a hard job in following the first, but Iroha does a good job, offering a solid soundtrack that pretty much equals the first. With its period flavour and mix of atmospheric action tracks and slower pieces, Iroha continues to evoke the best of other soundtracks such as the Uta game and SaiMono, whilst standing above both those examples. There’s still the obligatory remix of the main theme, but if you enjoyed the first OST, the second is required listening.
Notable tracks: Kumikyoku Irohanihoheto ~Soutetsu~Youjirou~Kakunojou, Kouya Ruten TV Size, Yami no Kodou, Tsurugi no Sadame, Houkai
At its best, Susumu Hirasawa’s distinctive electronic themes are compulsive listening, and for the most part, the Berserk OST is able to achieve this level. The simple yet energetic themes capture a mix of action, mystery and emotion, combining seemingly discordant elements into a strong whole. The Engrish lyrics for the OP and ED do leave a lot to be desired, however.
Notable tracks: Behelit, Forces, Tell Me Why
OST spotlight: Chrono Cross
Yasunori Mitsuda brings the full extent of his skills to bear on this outstanding game OST. Although it encompasses a variety of styles, Celtic-based themes are the most predominant, with notable tracks including Time’s Scar, Dream of the Shore Bordering Another World, The Brink of Death, Gale and Radical Dreamers. One of the best game soundtracks available.
Yasunori Mitsuda’s work on this may not be up to the level of his Chrono Cross OST, but this soundtrack is one of the worthier ones from the SNES era. Its 16-bit origins translate to a lot of synth and a heavily electronic feel but the majority of the soundtrack is solid enough, with a sprinkling of more memorable themes. The slower, more poignant and mystical tracks are probably the strongest, with the comical and military style themes coming off as weaker. Expect a fair amount of remix, however.
Notable tracks: Memories of Green, Wind Scene, Secret of the Forest, Battle, The Brink of Time, Time Circuits, Chrono and Marle ~Far Off Promise~, World Revolution, To Far Away Times
Tenpei Sato helps to make Disgaea what it is with his excellent soundtrack, a collection of energetic and slightly offbeat themes, from orchestral marches to an understated lullaby with just the right touch of evil. Not every track hits the mark, with Mid-Boss’s operatic stylings overstaying their welcome, but overall this soundtrack is as quirky, catchy and addictive as the game itself.
Notable tracks: Laharl-sama no Sanbika, Hell’s Whisper, Mischievous Demon’s Footfall, Hysteric Kingdom, A Dark Race Becomes Magnificent, Witch Hunting, Beautiful Round Dance, Tomo Yo, Akai Tsuki, Running Fire, Planet X
El Cazador de la Bruja OST 1
Yuki Kajiura’s latest work retains her usual style of lilting melodies, Celtic themes and a few faster paced action pieces, but this time round it just doesn’t have the same impact. It’s not so much that we’ve heard a lot of it before, but that the more original parts aren’t up to the level of Kajiura’s comfort zone tracks. The harmonica led Central American style themes may suit the setting of the series, but it sadly evokes the dry, dusty cactus-filled deserts that dominate this monotonously dull series. Kajiura fans will want it nonetheless, but I just can’t put it in the .hack/Tsubasa/Madlax/Noir bracket.
Notable tracks: Nadie, Hit it and Run!, El Cazador, Forest
Using Yuki Kajiura’s work on what is basically a straightforward action series may seem like an odd choice, but nonetheless the results speak for themselves. Kajiura applies her usual blend of orchestral and synth to good effect, producing what is effectively a videogame soundtrack with a slightly Celtic feel. Unlike her more melancholy work on other series, EG offers a somewhat more cheerful and upbeat selection- creating a whole that is consistent with Kajiura’s usual style but by no means tedious or repetitive.
Notable tracks: Forever…, Ningen no Dougu, Kaishuu Meirei, Bijo to Yajuu, Hyouteki Lock-On!!, Doukei no Hadou, Chotto Mattero, Fuuin
As excellent as the series it accompanies, the Fantastic Children OST uses haunting piano and cello themes alongside some Celtic-style tracks to weave a melancholy and poignant atmosphere. Even if you haven’t watched the series yet (and if you haven’t, why not?), this OST is a must-listen.
Notable tracks: Voyage (Cello version), Befort no Kodomo-tachi, Helga, Helga no Zensei, Helga (Cello version), Sentou, Mizu no Madoromi
Final Fantasy VI
A staple from the days when simple, electronic and looping were the best a console could manage, this OST isn’t particularly spectacular; tracks are simplistic synth efforts with little variation and limited instrumentation. In all fairness, though, this is from an era when soundtracks weren’t expected to be up to much; it does the job in-game but hardly inspires one to rush out and order the CD.
Notable tracks: Battle Theme, Techno de Chocobo
Final Fantasy VII
Although this is styled along the same lines as the FF6 OST, the move to Playstation sees the music taken to the next level with some slightly more complex themes. As is often the case, the energetic battle music and poignant slower themes are the most memorable, whilst the military style tracks are the weakest. It’s somewhat rough around the edges, and can’t really match up to the later FF OSTs, but amidst some of the more pedestrian looping themes, a rare gem emerges. You’ll probably want to pick and choose your favourites instead of listening to the whole thing over and over.
Notable tracks: Prelude, Fighting, Flowers Blooming in the Church, Still More Fighting, Electric de Chocobo, J-E-N-O-V-A, Aeris’ theme, Jenova Absolute
Final Fantasy VIII
Another step up from the preceding Final Fantasy OST, FF8 starts well enough with some memorable themes, but unfortunately becomes distinctly average by the end of its four disc selection. Several tracks appear to have a slightly different arrangement than their in-game versions, making them more suited for listening to outside the context of the game; all of them are synth heavy, however, although with more complex instrumentation than FF6-7. Looping is less of an issue here, although in its place the key themes are remixed many times.
Notable tracks: Liberi Fatali, Balamb Garden, Blue Fields, Don’t Be Afraid, The Landing, Force Your Way, The Man With the Machine Gun, The Extreme
Final Fantasy IX
Finaly Fantasy music continues to evolve in this OST, which adopts a more Celtic and medieval feel than the last couple of offerings in the series. Although the synths are still ever-present, there are some strong piano themes and distinctive mystical tracks mixed in amongst the obligatory filler. Unfortunately, a few potentially worthy themes are diminished by being looped too many times.
Notable tracks: Feel My Blade, Vamo alla Flamenco, Awakened Forest, Battle 1, Kuja’s Theme, Eternal Harvest, Loss of Me, Protecting My Devotion, Terra, Bran Bal the Soulless Village, You’re Not Alone, Dark Messenger
Final Fantasy X
Nobuo Uematsu is joined by two other composers on this soundtrack, resulting in a score that is ‘the same but different’ as compared to its predecessors- the FF feel remains, but now there is a higher proportion of bold brass-led themes, and even an attempt at heavy metal. It is in the more introspective pieces that the OST does its best, however, with some simple yet memorable piano pieces standing out from the crowd. A fitting soundtrack to mark how FFX made the transition to a new console whilst retaining links to what had come before.
Notable tracks: To Zanarkand, Normal Battle, Summoned, Silence Before the Storm, The Splendid Performance, Brass de Chocobo, Attack, Path of Repentance, Suteki da ne, Decisive Battle, Ending Theme
Final Fantasy X-2
FFX-2 opens with a melodic piano piece, but if that gets your hopes up for the rest of the OST, then unfortunately they are going to be sorely dashed. Whilst there are a handful of worthy tracks mixed in amongst the dross, most of what is on offer are either simplistic electronic mixes that sound like the background arrangement for a superior signature theme that doesn’t actually exist, or a marginally worthy piece denied all worth by endless looping.
Notable tracks: Eternity ~Memory of Lightwave~, I’ll Give You Something Hot, Sphere Hunter, Under Bevelle, Eternity ~Band Member Performance~
Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex OST 2
Yoko Kanno showcases her talent at jazz composition in this soundtrack, my favourite of all the SAC OSTs to be released so far. Whilst not every track is on the mark (one in particular consists of what sounds like bees buzzing an anthem), when the powerful strains of origa’s Rise or one of the many other powerful vocal themes are reached, all weaknesses can be forgiven.
Notable tracks: Rise, I Can’t Be Cool, Psychedelic Soul, What’s it For, Living Inside the Shell
Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex Be Human
Stand Alone Complex is known for its excellent music, but this CD takes a rather unique approach by focusing on so-called “Tachikoma themes”, such as those from Tachikoma Days. As well as a predominance of beeps, dial tones and the like, the CD covers a wide variety of tracks, from pseudo-classical to samba carnival and even a theme that wouldn’t sound out of place as Bleach OP. The result is a somewhat quirky mixed bag that can be rather hit-and-miss, but which will still be a necessary purchase for SAC and Yoko Kanno fans.
Notable tracks: Be Human, Trip City, Rocky wa Dokko?, Spotter
Heat Guy J
Heat Guy J is an odd soundtrack indeed, combining elements I usually wouldn’t have time for, such as looping and often random electronic themes, bagpipes and the dreaded J-rock to make something that actually has some catchy themes. I have to admit that there are stretches where you’ll just blank out and not really listen to it, but the sheer energy with which its quirky and often discordant themes are presented is enough to make it extremely catchy in places. One to at least try out, even if it doesn’t really suit your tastes, not to mention oddly reminiscent of the Noir and RahXephon music at times.
Notable tracks: Tribe, Rainbow Gate Park, Backstreet Guys, Black Box
Kurau Phantom Memory OST1- Indigo
Kurau has secured itself a place as one of my favourite anime series, and this excellent soundtrack played no small part in that. A selection of strong and themes with a distinctive sci-fi feel, Kurau takes everything that is good about anime and game soundtracks, whilst drawing from none of the bad. Tracks cover a range of styles, from the light-hearted to the melancholic, but rarely falter in delivering on quality.
Notable tracks: Natsukashii Umi, Daily Life, Lilipri Layli, Trouble, Lonely Freedom, Moonlight
Kurau Phantom Memory OST2: Crimson
Whilst it can be hardly denied that the second Kurau OST contains some remix, the quality does not suffer for it. There are times when the slower themes run the risk of blending into the background, but give them your full attention and the quality of composition really begins to stand out, ensuring that this is another blend of beautiful and haunting music that stands proudly alongside the first OST.
Notable tracks: The Power, Moonlight ~Essence~, Tomorrow’s Treasures, Drag Racer, Daily Life ~Heartfelt~, Moonlight ~Farewell~
Last Exile OST 1
Dolce Triade and Hitomi Kuroishi come together to create this strong orchestral soundtrack, which has its flaws, but still contains enough strengths to merit investigation. Whilst it falls down on its brass led military themes and slow vocal numbers, this OST also includes some well composed pieces that perfectly capture the sensation of both making a living on the surface and flying against the wind in a tiny vanship.
Notable tracks: Cloud Age Symphony, Flyin’ to Fly, Over the Sky
Madlax OST 1
Say what you like about Madlax the anime (as I intend to in an upcoming rant), but rest assured that regardless of its other issues, the music is top quality. Yuki Kajiura lends her distinctive style to the series, creating a compelling mix that perfectly complements the series- from fast-paced battles in the jungles of Gazth-Sonika to eerie and mysterious themes that characterise the unfolding mystery, in many ways, the music tells the story of the series far better than the actual writers do.
Notable tracks: Galza, Nowhere, A Pursuit, Margaret, Hitomi no Kakera TV Edit
Madlax OST 2
Those familiar with Yuki Kajiura’s work will recognise all the themes on this OST, which combines strains of her work on Madlax CD1 with the likes of Noir and .hack. That being said, if you can get past the degree of remix, this is actually quite a worthy compilation of tracks, featuring energetic restylings of Madlax’s key themes, and quietly poignant piano pieces.
Notable tracks: We are One, Open Your Box, Fall on You, Saints, People are People, She’s Gotta Go, Madlax
Makai Kingdom was bereft of the input of composer Tenpei Sato, but whilst this makes it weaker than the average NIS game soundtrack, it isn’t as bad as everyone makes out. Admittedly, there’s a lot of looping and stretches of filler tracks, but nonetheless the music manages to retain that quirky Netherworld atmosphere, and it even tosses in some catchy action themes along the way. It’s perfect music for easy background listening- not worthy of the bulk of your attention, but a nice accompaniment to whatever work you may be doing at the time.
Notable tracks: The Devil’s Entrance, Darkness Darkness, Alexander the God of Destruction, Makai Fusion, Quiet Tension
Noir was my very first exposure to the music of Yuki Kajiura, and from the first minute I heard the haunting melodies of the series, I knew that I had to have the CD (naturally resulting in my buying the expensive Japanese version some months before Geneon inevitably released a cheaper US version). Although it doesn’t quite make it up there with the Madlax and .hack//SIGN OSTs, this CD still manages to offer a powerful selection of music, from fast paced action and tense jungle themes to haunting melodies and strong choral pieces. Whether you’re already a fan of Yuki Kajiura or just want to sample her work, this is a good place to start.
Notable tracks: Les Soldats, Canta Per Me, Melodie, Salva Nos
The first Noir OST was always going to be a hard act to follow, and unfortunately, although it is solid enough, this CD just can’t live up to its predecessor. The range of tracks is geared towards quieter and scene setting themes that capture the flavours of a range of different countries across Europe and Asia, and whilst it can all get a little too slow and laboured at times, it is worth the price of admission just for the eerily haunting strains of “Salva Nos II”, an impressive reworking of the series’ ‘action theme’ into something very different but equally worthy. Equally deserving of note is the fact that Yuki Kajiura proves with her Colosseum theme that bagpipes can actually be used in a worthwhile fashion.
Notable tracks: Secret Game, Salva Nos II, Maze, Killing
Now and Then, Here and There
A lesser known name among OSTs, NTHT may not be among the big hitters when it comes to music, but it still makes a surprisingly worthy effort. Akin to a collection of “tracks each anime series should have”, the OST encompasses a wide range of tunes, from sharp, fast-paced electronic themes to slower, haunting piano pieces. The twenty minute opening track and the looping nature of the other themes may cause your attention to wander during some sections, but in general this is a solid attention to any OST lover’s collection.
Notable tracks: Decadence, Run Up, Tumbling, Here and There (OP).
As the bonus disc that comes with the Phantom Brave game, this short CD isn’t one I would have bought on its own was it not provided. That’s not to say it is bad; in fact, the melodic orchestral blend of lilting themes often reaches quite a high standard for game music- it may not be able to challenge the greats, but it is still worthy on its own merit at times. Unfortunately, it isn’t really consistent, with some of the slower vocal ballads feeling more dull and interminable than engaging.
Notable tracks: Thinking of You, Grand Melody, Game Braker, Strange Wind, Sorrow
Sousei no Aquarion OST 1
Yoko Kanno is certainly one of the most well known names as far as anime music goes, but when it comes to praising her work, the Aquarion soundtrack has yet to receive the attention it deserves. Although this OST is more skewed towards the classical side of her work, Kanno’s skill is still very much in evidence, proving that classical-style anime music does not have to be dull, repetitive or restricted to piano and strings. Alongside the slower and more grandiose themes, there is a healthy mix of catchy faster-paced tracks that carry the listener along for the ride. A strong offering, and one that is highly recommended to anyone who listens to anime music, however infrequently.
Notable tracks: Sousei no Aquarion (onii-sama to), Macho Battle, Max Bomber Girl, Michelle, Kikaitenshi Aquarion, Brown Horses, Dragon Reika, Pride~journey of grief, Omna Magni
Sousei no Aquarion OST 2
Last week I talked about the first Aquarion soundtrack, and if that sounded good to you, you’ll be pleased to know that this CD offers more of the same. As to be expected, there is a degree of remix, but aside from a slightly higher proportion of slower songs, this maintains the standard set by OST1 and even throws in a few more must-listen tracks. An essential purchase or acquisition for all Yoko Kanno fans.
Notable tracks: Go Tight, Cyberfolk Music, Dribble Dribble, Nike 15sai, Genesis of Aquarion
I acquired this OST simply so that I could use the opening theme for my Fantasy Legend Adventure RPG, but when I came to listen to it, I was surprised to find out that it was actually quite worthy. Instead of the simplistic and repetitive tunes I was expecting to hear, the OST contains themes which are…well, simplistic and repetitive, but also incredibly catchy. It can’t be denied that there are more than a few filler tracks, but there are also some nice orchestral and folk themes.
Texhnolyze- Music, Only Music, But Music
Although I only bought this CD for the full OP and initially didn’t care much for the rest, repeated listening has given me a renewed appreciation for it. From simple guitar themes and lengthy industrial pieces to sedate piano music, the OST offers a variety of themes, all of which become oddly catchy the more you listen to them. A bit of an acquired taste, but it is worth sticking with.
Utawarerumono Game OST
My desire for this OST arose from just one track- the opening theme, “A Song Given Voice”. From the moment I heard it on the anime trailer, I fell in love with the song, a melodic wind and percussion piece that perfectly captures the action and fantasy that should be in True Uta. In comparison, the rest of the OST is a mix of slow lullabies, standard battle music and that cheerfully repetitive style of track that seems obligatory for visual novels; even though it isn’t great, it is oddly catchy.
Vampire Princess Miyu TV OST
Kenji Kawai has racked up an impressive list of music credits, but the only other OST of his that I’ve listened to outside the context of the series is Fate/Stay Night, and apart from a couple of good tracks, it was none too impressive. Fortunately, Vampire Princess Miyu is ‘Fate done right’, managing to achieve ‘atmopheric and haunting’ rather than ‘tiresomely repetition’.
Victorian Romance Emma- Silhouette of a Breeze
As befits a series set in Victorian England, the Emma OST opts for a classical style, using simple yet memorable arrangements of piano and strings, as well as some remix recorder versions. Memorable tracks include Silhouette of a Breeze, The Season and Emma.
Victorian Romance Emma Second Act- Memories
If you liked the first Emma OST, then this one is a must, offering as it does more of the same. With its range of melodic piano and beautiful folk and Celtic style themes, Emma is always easy on the ears, and even the tendency to remix the main themes cannot detract from its quality.
Notable tracks: Silhouette of a Breeze (Celtic version), Curiosity, Rondo of Lilybell (Harpsichord version), Molders, Rondo of Lilybell
The magic of Windy Tales can be instantly invoked by the power of this soundtrack alone, a collection of gentle piano, wind and synth that stands just as well on its own as in the context of the series. Admittedly, at times, it threatens to become a little too much like filler ‘muzak’, but overall the OST remains on just the right side of good, proving easy on the ears rather than dull or grating.
Notable tracks: Kaze no Hajimari, Kaze no Keiji, Kazaetachi no Kyuusoku, Kazetachi no Fuan, Kaze to Humming, Tsumetai Minamikaze, Fuujin no Ibuki, Koi Natsukaze ni Notte, Yuuhi no Iro Dake
Wolf’s Rain OST2
It may seem odd to review the second OST before saying anything about the first, but such is the power of this CD. Although I once scorned it for being too full of remix and not as memorable as the first OST, repeated listening has tipped the balance so much that I now actually prefer this one. From its powerful opening track, Wolf’s Rain OST keeps up the emotional pace with sweeping drama, tense synths and the occasional melancholy piece. Not every track is gold, but with each re-listen, the overall standard improves.
Notable tracks: Heaven’s Not Enough, Shiro Long Tails, Mouth on Fire, Escape, Tell Me What the Rain Knows, Cloud Nine
Yasunori Mitsuda lends his not-inconsiderable skills to another worthy soundtrack, and whilst this one may not have the impact of Chrono Cross and Xenosaga, it somehow encapsulates everything you want and expect from an RPG soundtrack. There are energetic battle tracks, gentle village themes, and hints of the best styles used in other games- all together, an interesting package for game music and Mitsuda fans.
Notable tracks: Bonds of Sea and Fire, Emotions, Forest of the Black Moon, Fuse+, Leftovers of the Dreams of the Stars, Invasion, The Blue Traveller, Omen, Awakening.
Marking a change from Yasunori Mitsuda’s usual heavily Celtic themes, Xenosaga retains the essence of his style whilst producing something more grandiose and sweeping- worthy of the space epic that this first game promised to us. Admittedly, the first couple of times I listened to this I did not it find it particularly worthy, but over time it has begun to grow on me, capturing as it does a range of emotions from quiet reflection and the eeriness of the unknown to intense clashes against the majestic backdrop of space.
Notable tracks: Prologue, Battle, Rising Emotions, Battling KOS-MOS, Life or Death, Breaking Spaceship Pursuit, Durandal, Invasion Inside and Enemy Ship, Warmth, Insecurity, Beach of Nothingness, Panic, Omega, Last Battle