Game Music, Reviews

Korean MMOs, Dutch Composers? Granado Espada Official Soundtrack Volume 2 (Review)

September 18, 2008 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook Korean MMOs, Dutch Composers? Granado Espada Official Soundtrack Volume 2 (Review)on Twitter

The first volume of the soundtrack for Granado Espada (known in North America as “Sword of the New World: Granado Espada“) featured music from some well-known Korean and Japanese composers. This was no surprise, considering the game came from Korean developer IMC Games.

But now, the second volume of the soundtrack, which is being distributed only in a digital fashion via iTunes (courtesy of Streamline Sound), features music written primarily by techno/trance veterans in Europe. Notable composers include Jonas Steur (or “Estuera”) from Belgium and Finne Jager (or “Phynn”) from the Netherlands. What we have here, my friends, is a horse of a different color.

Read our detailed review after the jump.

Let’s start with the nitty-gritty details. Here’s the tracklist and composer breakdown.

(track # title / artist)
01 Red Shores / Estuera
02 Chapter 2 / Estuera
03 Travels / Estuera
04 Tales From the South / Estuera
05 Summer Queen / Starr
06 Static Bullet (Odyssee Remix) / D.J. Ton T.B.
07 Close Encounter / Phynn
08 Tempest / Phynn
09 Valle Ocultado / Cor Fijneman
10 Genuine Draft / Jochen Miller, Cor Fijneman
11 Mono Dura / Jochen Miller, Cor Fijneman
12 Touchdown / Mark Norman
13 7 Clouds / Estuera
14 Dream Machine (Orig.) / D.J. Ton T.B.
15 Senorita (Mr Sam Vision) / Mojado
16 In Your Eyes (Blue Mix) / Filterheadz pres. Orange 3

Though it only contains 16 tracks, this digital release actually spans 150 minutes, so we’re averaging almost 10 minutes per track. Such is to be expected from the ambient/trance/techno scene.

The album opens with four tracks from Estuera. These four tracks alone (and perhaps the fifth, “7 Clouds”) would have made for a fine album release on their own, spanning over 40 minutes of music. After listening to his tracks, he’s quickly became one of my favorite composers for this genre of music. You may remember another Online RPG that attempted this genre of music, but only with partial success: Phantasy Star Online. It seems to me that the Japanese composers who attempted techno-music stylings on PSO could only hope to emulate the originals. I hate to buy into the stereotype, but we all know the best techno comes out of Europe, right? Jonas Steur’s work certainly doesn’t hurt this argument, at any rate.

If I had to pick a favorite track among Steur’s compositions, it would be “Tales From the South.” This track holds true to the “techno” label, but incorporates a lot of ethnic instruments to express something that is more akin to “world music,” which certainly works in the world of Granado Espada.

Some of my all-time favorite tracks on the disc come from Cor Fijneman. Cor only did one track on his own (“Valle Ocultado”), but he collaborated with Jochen Miller on tracks 10 and 11. On track 11, “Mono Dura,” they aren’t afraid to go for a rougher, grainier sound. It’s almost industrial, but there’s some 8-bit waves in there as well. Contrast this with “Genuine Draft,” and you can hear two very different styles.

All in all, this is a LOT of music. I am tempted to say that quantity exceeds quality here, but this is a common complaint against techno music, and I’m not willing to “go there” with this one. If you enjoy this particular genre of music, you’re sure to enjoy this soundtrack. Just don’t think that you’ll like it based on your experiences with the four-disc Volume 1 soundtrack from last year, as that painted a very different soundscape. You can pick it up on iTunes if you’re interested.

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