Jam of the Day: A Violent Encounter ~Battle With the Colossus~ by Kow Otani (Wander and the Colossus Original Soundtrack: Roar of the Earth)
Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was first introduced to Kow Otani’s music in Gundam Wing and the 90’s Gamera movies. But it wasn’t until a decade later while hearing his Shadow of the Colossus score that I really took notice.
One of the things I love about the SotC soundtrack is that every Colossus has its own unique theme. I had a really hard time picking just one of them to share because they’re all so enjoyable. It was the bits of chorus sprinkled throughout that really sold me on choosing A Violent Encounter. This game could not have a more fitting soundtrack. I can’t wait to play the upcoming HD version.
Jam of the Day: Heavenly Flight by Koichi Sugiyama (Symphonic Suite Dragon Quest VIII Journey of the Cursed King)
One of the things that really sucked me into Dragon Quest VIII was the live orchestral performances recorded for the soundtrack. It wasn’t until later that I discovered the original Japanese version used sequenced music like the past games. I’m so grateful that they went the extra mile in bringing over an enhanced version for North America.
The orchestral score combined with the 1-to-1 scale world map gave Dragon Quest VIII an incredibly grandiose feeling. This melody appeared in the series before VIII, but flying through the sky with this rendition of the music in-game really left a memorable impression on me. I really hope they do an orchestral score in-game for Dragon Quest X.
Jam of the Day: Conflict~Escape Stage by Capcom Sound Team (Rockman X7 Original Soundtrack)
Mega Man X7 is a terrible game and you should not play it. HOWEVER… it has some really sweet music. The production values were really a step up from previous games resulting in higher quality drum tracks, some really great synthesizer work, and even a handful of rock tracks. Then X8 came along and brought the sound quality back down several notches.
The composition isn’t always typical X fare, but what’s there is really enjoyable. Far more enjoyable than the game it belongs to. It’s a shame this soundtrack doesn’t belong to a better game.
There are a lot of composers listed on the OST. The ones most likely to have worked on this particular song based on my research are Yuko Komiyama, Seiko Kobuchi, Akemi Kimura, Makoto Asai, Teruo Konishi, Shuichi Mizohata, and Takuya Miyawaki.
Jam of the Day: Earth - FM scene mix - by Zinger & Bacter (PSYVARIAR “THE MIX”)
Sometimes I take a chance on something I don’t know anything about and find a new gem. Psyvariar “The Mix” is one of those cases. I had never even heard of Psyvariar, but this arrange album is a great listen.
The album features a lot of 8bit sounds from artists like Saitone, Ryu Umemoto, hally, chibi-tech, Kplecraft, and in this case, Zinger & Bacter. But that isn’t the entire focus of the album. It actually bounces around a few genres, though sticking pretty close to an electronic feel. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Jam of the Day: Jr. by Yuki Kajiura (Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse ~Movie Scene Soundtrack~)
I’ve been listening to a lot of Xenosaga music today. All three episodes have phenomenal soundtracks. This arranged version of Yuki Kajiura’s “Jr.” features the vocal work of Margaret Dorn, Masayoshi Furukawa on guitar, Hitoshi Konno on violin, and percussion by Ikuo Kakehashi.
This is one of those tracks I can never listen to just once. Inevitably it gets set on “repeat” at least a few times whenever I rediscover it.
Jam of the Day: Wanderer on the Offensive (Live Edit) by B33J, Cerrax, Sixto Sounds, and nonsensicalexis (OverClocked ReMix)
I’ve had Shadow of the Colossus on the brain a lot lately since the new HD collection for PS3 was finally confirmed. I always enjoyed the epic feel of Kow Otani’s music during the battles with the colossi. The music felt as big as the creatures themselves.
“The Opened Way” is a song I’ve had stuck in my head more times than I can count. In this super collaboration, it’s combined seamlessly with “Counterattack” to make a truly excellent arrangement. You can download the track for free here.
Jam of the Day: When the Grief Let’s You Go by Yuki Kajiura (Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra Original Sound Best Track)
Without going into detail about my personal life, this is a pretty stressful week. I’m often helped to cope with stress by music. Yuki Kajiura’s “When the Grief Let’s You Go” is a cathartic piece. I was originally sad to see the Xenosaga sequels scored by someone other than Yasunori Mitsuda, but after hearing Kajiura’s work I think she’s done a fantastic job.
Jam of the Day: The Sanctuary of Zi’Tah by The Star Onions (THE STAR ONIONS FINAL FANTASY XI- Music from the Other Side of Vana’diel)
It’s not uncommon for Japanese game composers to form together into bands. We’ve seen it happen with The Black Mages, The S.S.T. Band, and jdk Band just to name a few. The Star Onions are a bit different, though.
In their first album, The Star Onions cover a variety of styles with each track. Part of this is probably due to the fact that each track is done by a different group or individual. In the case of “The Sanctuary of Zi’Tah”, the arrangement of Naoshi Mizuta’s original track is done solo by Masato Koda.
I’d recommend checking out the whole album. Familiar artists such as guitarist Tsuyoshi Sekito and even Kumi Tanioka (one of the composers of Final Fantasy XI) contribute their talent to make a really versatile album.
Jam of the Day: Burning Spirits by Kenji Ito and Tsuyoshi Sekito (Seiken Densetsu 4 Original Soundtrack -Sanctuary-)
The Mana series has had many composers, but Dawn of Mana (known as Seiken Densetsu 4 in Japan) went back to the original composer of the series, Kenji Ito. Of course, he didn’t do it all alone. In fact, Kenji’s fantasy-like sound on this OST is oddly paired with the heavy rock of Tsuyoshi Sekito.
Besides composing, Tsuyoshi is known for his work as one of the guitarists in The Black Mages, a Final Fantasy “cover” band. I put cover in quotes as Nobuo Uematsu himself (who scored most Final Fantasy music) is one of the band’s keyboardists.
While “Burning Spirits” was composed by Kenji Ito, it was arranged with the help of Tsuyoshi Sekito. There’s a great “back and forth” bridge section between Tsuyoshi on guitar and Kenichiro Fukui playing the synthesizers. The result is a neat sound that differs itself from the rest of the music found in the series.
Jam of the Day: Snake Eater by Norihiko Hibino (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Original Soundtrack)
I love Metal Gear Solid, but after I had played the second game, I figured the story and characters would never be as cool as the first again. Then came the third. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is the best in the series as far as I’m concerned. Taking away all the sci-fi nonsense of nanomachines and what not, you controlled the REAL Snake in the 60’s. The whole experience had an ultra classy “spy flick” feel to it, but with Hideo Kojima’s trademark insanity still in tact.
To go along with the 60’s spy movie feel, the game features a vocal theme song that is very much a spoof of the ones found in James Bond films. Norihiko Hibino, along with vocalist Cynthia Harrell, have crafted a priceless theme that always puts a smile on my face. Above, I’ve embedded the game’s intro sequence the music plays during, thus allowing you to see the visual Bond parody as well.