We posted the track list for Square Enix’s latest sampler disc from TGS, Square Enix Music Sampler CD Vol . 4 a couple weeks ago. We now have the disc in-hand, and thought we’d tell you our impressions of what Square Enix has to offer for the rest of 2009 and beyond.
There’s a lot of great stuff here, from Four Warriors of Light, to a sample from Love SQ, to music from Final Fantasy XIII. It’s a generous tease, but it still leaves me wanting some of these releases more sooner than later.
Hit the jump to find out which samples have me really excited in our review of the Sampler CD Vol. 4.
The collection opens with a bonus track of sorts, “TGS 2007 Trailer” from Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess. This track apparently didn’t make it on to the official soundtrack disc, or into the game itself, so it’s definitely a nice treat for fans as the game was released some time ago. It’s a pretty epic theme that makes use of mostly orchestral elements with some groovy synth bass that adds a nice synthetic touch to the piece. It’s unfortunately pretty short at just over 2 minutes, but again, it’s a nice gesture from Square Enix.
One of the biggest surprises here is the track from Four Warriors of Light -Final Fantasy Gaiden-, which is being scored by Naoshi Mizuta. A lot of people give this man a really hard time, but this track is absolutely wonderful. It combines fancy orchestral elements with retro chip sounds to create a lovely combination. The chip instruments sound somewhat organ-esque, and the regal melody reminds me a lot of “Royal Palace Consultation” from Genso Suikoden, which is high praise coming from me. I’m definitely looking forward to what Mizuta does with the rest of this score.
Next up is the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers. Tim was impressed with this game and the soundtrack at E3, but what we have here is a medley that zips through a number of tracks from the game in just under 2 minutes. Nothing jumps out as me as particularly catchy, but expect a varied style this time around, as it sounds like there’s boingy country goodness, epic orchestral, and classic rock here.
One of the samples I was looking forward to the most was the track from Love SQ, which is a 10-track arrangement album featuring a number of arrangers tackling some of Squaresoft’s most beloved franchises. The sample here comes courtesy of PE’Z, and is a nice cover of the Final Fantasy “Main Theme.” It mixes samba and jazz elements, sounding super upbeat with some swinging piano and a powerful brass section that gives the melody some oomph. If they made the much-overplayed “Main Theme” sound good, I can’t wait to hear what else they have in store for us on Love SQ.
Another mystery has been Square Enix’s upcoming album that’s supposed to feature music from The World Ends With You. The sample here is arranged by choBIT and is titled “C+D,” likely for “Calling” and “Deja Vu,” both of which are covered here. They sound more electronic and dreamy compared to their original versions, and the healthy dose of autotune on the vocals actually works out quite nicely. I particularly like the autotune on the high-pitched chorus section harmonies in “Deja Vu.” I hope we find out more about this project in the coming months.
Getting near the end, Square Enix gives us a sample of the Piano Collections Kingdom Hearts 2nd Album titled “Sinister Sundown (Take 0).” I’ve said in the past that I don’t really know the music of the Kingdom Heart series, but this arrangement is quite nice although it’s only about 2 minutes long.
The last track is another short one, but it’s also one of the best. “Flash” is the battle theme from Final Fantasy XIII, and I know that people generally love battle themes from the Final Fantasy series. We talked about this track briefly in Shota’s review of the Final Fantasy XIII demo, but it sounds as though Hamauzu has modified the track a bit, adding in a heavier and more rocking intro before digging into the orchestral and piano-based theme that we heard in the demo several months ago. There’s also an extended section at the end that features sweep strings and an epic ending, which I take it isn’t actually in the version that’s in the game. It’s really an emotional battle theme, however, and I like it a lot.
Well, it’s way too short at only 16 minutes, but that’s all they gave us this year. I’m quite impressed by the collection of tunes they’ve laid out on this disc this year, and am looking forward to a number of their upcoming releases. Also of note is the fact that they decided to print a cardboard sleeve for this year’s sampler, complete with the track listing and artist information. It’s a rare treat to get some older unreleased music in the case of the FFXI track, and I’m sure fans will love having the FFXIII battle theme so far ahead of the game’s release. Square Enix did a great job this year, and I hope it pays off with increased sales of the albums featured here.
Were you surprised by anything that made its way on to this disc? Is there an album that you’re particularly interested in and want to hear more about?Crystal Chronicles, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy XIII, Four Warriors of Light, Kingdom Hearts, Love SQ, Sampler, Samples, Square Enix, TGS 2009, The World Ends With You