Air Original Compilation Album -Ornithopter-

airarr Album Title:
Air Original Compilation Album -Ornithopter-
Record Label:
Visual Arts
Catalog No.:
KYCD-0303
Release Date:
July 28, 2000
Purchase:
Buy Used Copy

Overview

The soundtrack for Key’s visual novel Air was made only a year after Kanon, but was a massive improvement both musically and technically. In fact, many have described it as the best bishoujo soundtrack of all time. The first edition of the game emphasised the excellence of the soundtrack by incorporating the Air Original Compilation Album -Ornithopter-. This release featured the three full-length theme songs from the title and seven instrumental arrangements of major themes.

Body

The album showcases its diversity right away with an experimental techno remix of “Ladybug”. Arranger Kazuya Takase retains the catchy nature of the original, while adding plenty of bouncy beats and oriental touches. It’s impressive how he managed to transform a short but sweet original into a constantly entertaining five minute remix. An even bigger transformation is “Nocturne”, which segues from its reflective piano-based origins into an anthemic trance remix with some evocative interludes. Also wonderful is the old-school remix of “Rainbows”, clearly inspired by classic Dragon Quest with its warm nostalgic melody and gorgeous chiptune sounds. It’s a wonderful reimagining of the original.

While quite an audacious album, there are some more typical acoustic remixes similar to those on Kanon‘s albums. “Summer Lights” is more conventional than the original, with its sonorous strings focus, but still retains its airy yet intimate sounds. “Twin Stars” stays consistently close to its original — with soft piano melodies and atmospheric synth overlays — but nevertheless expands on it with elaborate developments and richer synth. Another major highlight is “Splashing Water”, an upbeat hyper-catchy, and not too stereotypical pop instrumental. It’s almost impossible to frown to this one!

The full versions of the game’s three theme songs — sung by Lia in her professional debut — are also excellent additions. The upbeat opening theme “The Bird’s Song” sets the scene beautifully with a hybrid of acoustic instrumentation and electronic beats. Lia captures all the lyricism of the melody and lures players into the experience. Opening a capella and retaining a strong vocal focus throughout, “Blue Skies” really reflects the beautiful tones of Lia’s semi-operatic voice. The slow spiritual aura of this one makes it something special. “Farewell Song” is a fine closer to the album, a rollercoaster filled with memorable melodies and featuring upbeat and reflective moments.

Summary

Ornithopter is an excellent adaptation of an equally good soundtrack. Like with the Kanon tributes, the arrangers maintained the melodic focus and emotional potency of the originals. But they also took the major leaps to ensure that every single track was a substantial stand-alone highlight. There is a tonne of diversity here and, though the album shifts quite erratically in mood and genre, the final product definitely gets to the heart of what Air is. The inclusion of the top-notch vocal themes is a wonderful bonus.

Air Original Compilation Album -Ornithopter- Chris Greening

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

4.5


Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on January 18, 2016.


About the Author

Chris Greening

I've contributed to websites related to game audio since 2002. In this time, I've reviewed over a thousand albums and interviewed hundreds of musicians across the world. As the founder and webmaster of VGMO -Video Game Music Online-, I hope to create a cutting-edge, journalistic resource for all those soundtrack enthusiasts out there. In the process, I would love to further cultivate my passion for music, writing, and generally building things. Please enjoy the site and don't hesitate to say hello!



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