Game Music, Reviews

Sounding Very SQEXY: Square Enix Music Sampler CD 2011 Vol. 6 (Review)

October 5, 2011 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Sounding Very SQEXY: Square Enix Music Sampler CD 2011 Vol. 6 (Review)on Twitter

Okay, first they strayed from their SQ series naming conventions with SQ Chips, and now they’ve added the date to their title for this year’s TGS sampler CD. But anal rant aside, it’s that time of year again, and while we’ve posted about some of the surprises on the sampler, we now have it in-hand for a formal review.

While the tracks here are once again snippets of the full-length versions that will later be featured on their respective final releases, I think this disc gives fans a lot to look forward to over the next year.

Hit the jump for more.

The first track on the album comes from Final Fantasy Type-0, titled “Battle – Peaceful Fighting.” It’s a slow-paced, somewhat reflective battle theme of sorts, trotting along in a ‘90s alternative rock fashion, not too unlike some of the work Ishimoto did for Crisis Core. I can’t say it’s particularly memorable, but I do think it’s kind of funny that during out interview with Ishimoto-san in Japan, he was surprised that I said rock was his main style given what’s here.

Kenji Ito is next with a sample from Re:Birth/Seiken Densetsu titled “Battle 2 – Touched by Courage and Pride-.” The arrangement brings in rock percussion along with some beautiful violin and piano work, although the highlight is the dreamy acoustic guitar section that comes in towards the end. Even though I never got through the original Seiken Densetsu, this sample has me intrigued.

“Luck of the Mog” comes from the Final Fantasy XI –PLUS- CD, and as the title would suggest, this is a playful one combining chugging electric guitar with playful synths and reverberating belltones. It’s very Uematsu in style, and is probably one of my favorite samples featured here, coming as a huge surprise as I wasn’t really excited about this album.

Then it’s on to “Troian Beauty” by Schroeder-Headz, which will be featured in its entirety on Café SQ to be released in November. I gushed about the short 20-second sample heard on the official website yesterday, and now hearing a full 2:28 sample has me even more jazzed. And jazz is the style that would best describe the arrangement with its bouncing bassline and improvised piano work. It’s fantastic.

Chaos Rings Omega is an interesting inclusion given that it was released digitally back in May in Japan. Does this suggest a physical soundtrack release is on the way? Noriyasu Agematsu’s orchestral backing paired with Sarah Alainn’s beautiful vocal work is quite nice, and I wouldn’t mind hearing more like this.

Two of my most anticipated samples of the disc are from El Shaddai & The Astrals and Piano Collections Final Fantasy I II III. As for El Shaddai, some have said the soundtrack wasn’t overly memorable, but they’ve done a great job with this sample bringing out the main theme. For the Piano Collections CD, we get a taste of “The Rebel Army,” which is easily my favorite track from Final Fantasy II. The arrangement is elegant at times and triumphant at others, bringing a lot of pizazz to the simple composition. I can’t wait to hear more from this album.

Another one I was excited about was Theatrhythm, as we’ve been continuously told to “wait to hear more” about Theatrhythm since it was announced. What’s here is an electro/orchestral arrangement of “The Prelude,” that, while not overly extravagant, still leaves me with high expectations for the rest of the game’s music.

Bravely Default is probably the Square Enix project that got the most people talking out of TGS, and I loved not only the art work, but the streaming sample heard on the game’s website. What’s here is actually the debut trailer music, starting off with an adventurous Celtic-inspired theme before venturing into more emotional territory.

There are three tracks in all from Final Fantasy XIII-2, likely giving emphasis to the game as the soundtrack will be released this December. Both “A Song for Time” and “Missing Link” are melancholy instrumental pieces with an otherworldly female vocal accompaniment. Pads and filtered piano are added to each, lending a sort of new age sound that is both calming and beautiful. The soundtrack is definitely shaping up to be way tamer than Final Fantasy X-2. The final track is from the E3 2011 trailer, featuring Hamauzu’s signature violin and piano work throughout a variety of different styles. It’s a nice addition, although I would have liked to have heard that awesome hip-hop battle theme I loved from E3.

And there you have it. There’s a lot to look forward to this coming year, and with the NieR piano album and others in the works (and even more to celebrate Final Fantasy’s 25th anniversary), you can be there will be even more to look forward to.

Chime in and let us know which albums you are most looking forward to. Did any of the tracks on this sampler surprise you?

Tags: , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

« Next Post

Previous Post »

More like this Post