Ace Combat Zero -The Belkan War- Original Soundtrack

Ace Combat Zero -The Belkan War- Original Soundtrack Album Title: Ace Combat Zero -The Belkan War- Original Soundtrack
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: KICA-1398/9
Release Date: May 31, 2006
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Keiki Kobayashi – Music Director

Just before production on Ace Combat Zero started in earnest, director Itomi approached me informally to ask “could you possibly do the background music in a flamenco style?” Of course, I was hesitant at first. Flamenco music in aerial battles? Would it really fit? But after some thought, I responded quickly. “It might work. The flamenco idea. Let’s go for it.” To fight in the hottest new planes against a backdrop of flamenco — it’s a really odd combination.

The concept for Zero was to have one-on-one dogfights. They are riding in these sleek fighter planes, but they are humans, full of life. Not a one of them doesn’t get fired up going into battle. I sincerely believed that if that were the case, then this would work. Also, one of the authors told me “These people have hearts all burning for peace, even in the midst of battle. I would like for you to express that in music.” No one could possibly overlook a chance to create with such interesting themes. It is also true that I came to desire the same things. So that was how my work on Zero began, and it turned out to be a lot more difficult than I had anticipated.

For me, it was most difficult to work with the understanding that Zero would be released in the capital of flamenco, Spain. I absolutely did not want the music to be laughable to people over there. If this Japanese game, Zero, did not pull their heartstrings at all, not even a little, then we have no future. It would have to have authority, no, it would need to dominate in both name and reality. As it turned out, there were problems in development, and I felt sometimes that I would never get a chance to eat a full meal; at the beginning of development I had to work at full capacity much more than I had suspected. And because I was fired up about the project, I had to put in all of my effort.

The music for the last screen, “Zero,” was actually created for a pre-release version of the game. It was with this piece that the core of what would become Ace Combat Zero‘s music was formed. That core is the female vocal past the one minute mark. Everyone has a different conception of what peace is, but they are all fighting for just that reason; I tried to depict that contradiction in this, the theme of Zero. The portion from just before the two minute mark portrays the yearning for merciless battle even while soaring through the open sky. Then the battle itself is depicted. And then, from about three minutes onward, it is 15 years later; in other words, it bridges the gap into Ace Combat 5. I had wanted to try a larger-scale piece. There is also a theme from the music from the opening screen “Glacial Skies,” that is used throughout the score as well. I wish nothing more than that all of you who listen to this score enjoy it and fly through the skies of Ace Combat in your thoughts.

Here at the end, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to everyone at the studio who helped out with the chorus and vocal recordings and the ending piece, and the guitarist Goto-san, with whom I bonded one day in the studio over canned goods. Thank you all very much. Let’s all meet again in another “sky”.

Tetsukazu Nakanishi – Sound Director

So, the Ace Combat series has progressed on to the PlayStation 2. The machines called next-generation have appeared, and the generational shift is already beginning. Ace Combat Zero may come to be seen as a summation of the PS2 era.

Most likely, those of you who are listening to this soundtrack have already played the game (those who haven’t yet, hurry up!) (laughs). In here are the diverse dramas that you felt in the game. But there are many instances in which, unlike commercial albums or pieces compiled for dramatic effect, game music simply does not come together dramatically. Games are a dramatic whole, making use of story, visuals, sound, and so forth together. These various elements are intertwined in a complex manner, and through that, something that has the power to move people is created. Although game music is nothing more than one of those elements, there are times when it has the most prominent effect. You could say that that is what makes game music interesting. I am glad that those elements can be reconstructed into a soundtrack that reaches people in this way. It would be an honor for us as composers, surpassing our intentions, if listeners enjoy and reinterpret these pieces.

If you think about it, I have been involved in the Ace Combat series since the second instalment, and in that time, game systems have evolved, technology has evolved, sound technology has evolved… I have experienced all of this evolution, and the sheer amount of it has been enjoyable. I want to go, alongside these unstoppable evolutions, into the next sky. Surely, at this moment, this game, Zero, is at the forefront.

Junichi Nakatsuru – Composer

When I was told that “the music is going to be flamenco this time,” my eyes went wide open in spite of myself. Hello, this is Nakatsuru. I am continuing my participation in this series from Ace Combat 5.

All of the plans I had been nurturing beforehand about how to develop and move forward with the knowledge and reflections I had gained from Ace Combat 5 were shot down in spectacular fashion (laughs), and I started anew from “Flamenco? What on earth?” When people normally think of flamenco, the image that comes to mind is a woman with a rose in her mouth and a fluttering skirt tapping her feet to the sound of clapping.” Well, I had the same image. Would that work with scenes of fighter jets fighting? Well, it was a new discovery for me as well. The flamenco guitar is featured throughout, and getting a number of ideas from the guitarist, we aimed for the pathos inherent in true flamenco guitar to give this new Ace Combat game a new feel. Please, immerse yourself in the sounds that linger after the battle has ended.

Hiroshi Okubo – Composer

Hello, this is Okubo, who composed some of the music for this game. I composed for the scene in the first half with the reconnaissance force going towards the special operations zone, and two pieces for the scene from the second half when a large fighter, like the “Arkbird” from the previous game, the “Hresvelgr,” appears.

Of course, the one that left the strongest impression was the “Hresvelgr” scene. Although it is a large fighter like the “Arkbird” from the previous game, the impression is very different — somewhat industrial, heavy and ominous. How should I express this ominous machine? While I was wondering this, I happened to come across an instrument at the instrument fair (a trade fair for musical instruments) that I really liked the sound of. So I decided “this is it,” and I tried out this snare drum used in Celtic music. It’s the one pounding out the rhythm from 45 seconds on. I think it works, but I was a little nervous, so how was it? Please listen to it again within the game’s context, okay?

Translated by Ben Schweitzer. Edited by Ben Schweitzer and Chris Greening.

Posted on November 10, 2011 by Ben Schweitzer. Last modified on March 8, 2014.

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