Game Music

Soundtrack of the Month 01/2009: King’s Field original besttrack

January 5, 2009 | | 6 Comments Share thison Facebook Soundtrack of the Month 01/2009: King’s Field original besttrackon Twitter

Oops, off to a bad start for the New Year. Completely forgot about Soundtrack of the Month! Well, sorry to those of you who expect consistency out of a group of unorganized slackers. I figured I’d pull out one of my favorite albums this month, and it’s an obscure one. Interestingly, I’ve always been a fan of this cult hit series, and when a soundtrack was released, I was unable to import it because I didn’t have a credit card (I was 16 years old)! Fortunately, Carl Larson came to my rescue and bought it for me after I mailed him cash. Good times!

So, the music. Koji Endo at Soundkids is credited as the composer, and he’s even still around as a jazz guitarist and film composer. You’d never know it, as the music for King’s Field is all new age and Baroque in approach, but it’s damn good. Another interesting story is that this is the first album I ever reviewed! If you’re feeling particularly bored, you can head over to Chudah’s Corner and read my first review which won me second place in a review-writing contest.

But if you have to pick one, I recommend reading my new-and-improved Soundtrack of the Month write-up after the jump!

Three games in one. The disc features music from King’s Field (not released in the US), King’s Field II (released as King’s Field in the US), and King’s Field III (King’s Field II in the US). While I never had the opportunity to play the first game in the series, as one of the first games on the PlayStation, the music is killer. “Prologue” opens with harpsichord and well-placed orchestral hits that give the piece a distinct Baroque feel. From here we get into the meat of King’s Field with “1F BGM1” (please excuse the stupid track titles). The desolate sound of a lone bassy pad with an occasional hit from a distorted and filtered drum are unsettling right from the start, which really sets the tone for the game and the series as a whole. “2F BGM1” plods along at a crawling pace with awesome flared out 80s snare drums and a 3/4 organ backing that makes for an even darker atmosphere. The last track I’ll mention from the first game is “4F BGM1” with it chaotic and seemingly random progression. Fat slap bass acts as the stabilizing force against the wandering, fast-paced lead, making for a bizarre listening experience.

Moving on to material I’m more familiar with, King’s Field II starts with another Baroque composition titled “Opening Movie.” “West Coast” is a very nostalgic track for me because it’s the music you hear in the opening area of the game, and for anyone who’s played King’s Field as one of the launch titles on the PlayStation in the US, you likely died constantly and spent a lot of time in this area. “Passage for a Monk,” on the other hand, is an interesting gothic techno track with a steady bassdrum and an epic choir pad that slowly builds upwards. “Castle Remains” provides a ghostly ambiance with pads and a guttural bassline that really works with the image of an abandoned castle. Injecting a bit of beauty, “Epilogue ~ Staff Roll” features an only an ounce of hope, while retaining a melancholy tone that defines the series.

King’s Field III kicks off with “Opening Movie –Beta Version-“ which I guess is supposed to be a bonus, but is actually a poorly mixed version of the original brooding track that started the game off on a note of suspense. “Quest” is the piece featured in the opening area of the game, and sports a constant harpsichord melody in the background while xylophone and choir pads voice a catchy melody. This is one of the “besttracks” the series has to offer. Another favorite is “Forest of Aude ~ Ralugo,” which features belltones and this filtered, twittering lead with flange and phaser effects that create a unique and insteresting sound. My absolute favorite track (and one I’ve been trying to remix for years) is “Castle of Verdite 1F.” An airy belltone is repeated with each measure while choir pads and military percussion give the piece an epic flair that is appropriate as the hero makes his way into the final stronghold of the enemy. “Staff Roll” provides a similarly bittersweet experience to the King’s Field II track, featuring a beautiful progression mired in despair.

So that’s it. Great atmosphere, just like the games. The packaging is pretty cool too, with some killer artwork on the back cover. The booklet clearly indicates which game each track is from and even lists the release dates and prices of the three King’s Field titles. Now we just need them to release an official soundtrack for King’s Field IV (King’s Field: The Ancient City in the US) which had some of the best music the series has had to offer, and get working on a new King’s Field title! Wishful thinking, I know, but I do love this series.

Has anyone out there even played these games, much less had the patience to enjoy them? Do you wish FROM SOFTWARE would get around to making a new entry?

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