Alundra 2 Original Soundtrack
Alundra 2 Original Soundtrack
SPE Visual Works
December 18, 1999
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Alundra 2 was the considerably less successful sequel to Alundra, released for the PlayStation in 1999. Though the developer of the game changed, Kohei Tanaka nevertheless returned to offer a rich orchestral score styled in a similar manner to the first. The resultant soundtrack is certainly one of the most colourful and intricate of its generation…
Alundra 2 places a somewhat stronger focus on vocal themes than its predecessor. As ever, Kohei Tanaka produces somewhat derivative but entirely derivative efforts. The opening theme “Carry On Everyday” has an upbeat pop sound that seems fitting for the start of an adventure. The full version is actually exclusive to a special single, but it’s not particularly worth your time. Naturally, the ending theme “I’m Home” takes a more contemplative approach and is written in the style of a ballad. In both cases, vocalist Saeko Chiba offers accessible and emotional performances.
Given the less serious nature of Alundra 2, the music generally has a lighter sound too. This is particularly exemplfied by “3 Members of the Zukkoke Pirates”, which blends pretentious classical orchestration with frivolous phrasing to hilarious effect. “Monomoke Forest”, “Vanilla Capital”, and “Island of Paradise” also manage to be bouncy while still being sophisticated, like good scherzos should be; “Island of Paradise” is especially beautiful and really reflects Tanaka’s decades of experience as a composer. Of course, listeners can always rely on RPG staples such as “Quiet Town” to provide some beautiful moments.
That said, Alundra 2 can be rather dramatic in places. There are plenty of short cinematic cues, many of which make bold statements with booming orchestration, for example “Shock! A Demon Evolves Before Us”, “Count Destoll Nijadoll”, and “Villager’s Tragedy”. Coming from the anime school of composition, listeners can always rely on Tanaka for some melodrama and, indeed, he provides it in bucketloads here. Nevertheless, such intricate cinematic underscore was relatively rare for RPGs back in the 1990s and the implementation is also of exceptionally high quality for the PlayStation.
Rounding off the album are a series of action themes. These themes generally stand up well against their predecessor, but tend to be more intricate and refined. The duo of final battle themes, “Confrontation with Demon Destoll” and “Ultimate Form of the Mephisto Machine”, are especially excellent. The former takes a gothic approach, featuring Baroque-styled string passagework against harpsichord continuo, while the latter goes one step further with its organ lead and abstract accompaniment. It gives rise to a perfectly pleasant if very typical orchestral ending theme, “Hope for the Future”, and the aforementioned ballad.
It is a myth that Alundra 2 is inferior to Alundra, at least musically. Once again, Kohei Tanaka offers some very emotional and intricate orchestrations in a range of styles and moods, taking a somewhat lighter approach than the predecessor. There is a considerable enhancement of production values and a greater focus on cinematic tracks. But otherwise, unlike the game itself, the Alundra 2 soundtrack stays true to the concept and quality of its predecessor.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Charles Szczygiel. Last modified on January 18, 2016.