Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 1

Album Title:
Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 1
Record Label:
Basiscape
Catalog No.:
BSPE-1071
Release Date:
Jun 29, 2018
Purchase:
Buy at iTunes

Overview

Caravan Stories is a mobile/PC MMORPG released by Aiming in 2017 and features the talents at Basiscape helming the music. The Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 is the first of eight planned releases that will span through January 2019. Featuring the music from Basiscape veterans Yoshimi Kudo, Azusa Chiba, Mitsuhiro Kaneda, and Masaharu Iwata, in addition to relative newcomers, Kazuki Higashihara and Rikako Watanabe, what type of sound can be heard on the soundtrack release? While the other releases seemed to be themed around certain aspects of the game, this first volume seems to include a plethora of tunes, perhaps giving a more rounded musical glimpse into the world it accentuates.

Body

The album opens up with “Iyarr Ancestral Song (CM Version),” a Renaissance-y piece full of acoustic guitar, piano, and Irish flute, composed by Azusa Chiba. The vocals are reminiscent of Odin Sphere and the whole tune carries with it a mystical vibe. I presume that a full version will be released in one of the subsequent volumes as it is a beautiful and excellent tune. On this release, her other contributions include “Enigma Rips the Sky (PV Version),” a dramatic orchestral tune featuring piano and choir with electronic accompaniment, giving it a powerful sound. Given the title, I also presume the full version will be released in the future. “Impending Crisis” is a frenetic tune with strings and acoustic guitar that is quite tense and engaging. It, too, features electronic accompaniment and as the piece progresses, a beautiful and dark melody shines. Chiba is also responsible for the vocal tune featured on the album. Sung by Sarara Yashima, “Longing” comes in two varieties, a shortened version and a full version. It has a Celtic inspired sound, but the vocals themselves, while performed well, are definitely a select taste due to the kawaii nature of the vocalist. The full version expands upon the shortened version with additional verses. The end result is an upbeat tune with a nice atmosphere, but a potentially flawed vocalist.

Yoshimi Kudo is another major contributor to this particular volume. “Caravan Trip” is an exquisite tune with piano and woodwinds that gives off a magical quality to its melody and, in some ways, reminds me of opoona. On the darker spectrum is “Underworld Song,” a dark, intense, and atmospheric tune that is percussion heavy and relies on manipulated vocal samples. It certainly isn’t his strongest work on the album, but it does add a nice contrast to the more whimsical and fantasy-like quality of the soundtrack. Of course, he is also responsible for a couple battle themes. “Battle with Demon” is a dramatic tune featuring choir. The frenetic cello throughout really helps set the mood and helps craft a tense and menacing sound that is accentuated by light industrial/electronic tones. The tune itself is a bit disjointed and, at times, quite repetitive but the sections with a more melodic focus certainly shine brighter than the rest. His other tune, “Blasting Blade” has an Odin Sphere/Raiden V-like vibe that is certainly more focused than his other battle contribution. The heroic melody is wonderful and the piano and brass help to accentuate the overall atmosphere while the frenetic strings add tension into the mix. The main theme, “Caravan Stories,” features a fantastic melody that is woodwind focused, giving it an airy quality that is accompanied by some beautiful strings and brass harmonies. The end result is quite enjoyable and sports an adventurous tone at times.

Relative newcomer Kazuki Higashihara, whose previous credits include Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, offers a mix of mood setting tunes and battle themes. “Tension” features low brass, oboe, light electronica, and tense strings work giving it a fitting atmosphere for the name, but nothing quite exciting or gripping. “In Trials” is a rousing orchestral tune that is tense and militaristic in nature, focusing on brass and strings. The melody itself is quite nice, but it certainly carries with it a “Basiscape” sound and doesn’t particularly elicit a unique identity that other composers who have been at Basiscape have crafted over the years. “Gold Dungeon” is a strings and mallet percussion tune that gives off a nice dungeon aesthetic with a fairly memorable melody and is more akin to something that might be heard in a Dragon’s Crown game. His “Toasting Dance” is upbeat and jovial, highlighting a celebratory sound, but doesn’t quite stand up to the other tunes on the soundtrack. However, his “Battle at the Colosseum” is quite quirky and refreshing. It is a Celtic inspired tune with intricate percussion and bagpipes with a militaristic sound and engaging melody. It’s certainly his best contribution on this particular volume.

The other composers at Basiscape and guest composer Daisuke Yamaguchi all contribute a smaller amount of work. Daisuke Yamaguchi’s sole contribution is “Outpouring of Armaments,’ an orchestral battle theme with martial percussion, sweeping strings, and an engaging and wonderful melody. It’s certainly one of the highlights of the album. Rikako Watanabe provides a few tunes as well. “Check in at the Colosseum” is a short tune featuring percussion that is atmospheric and mysterious with hints of tension, but doesn’t particularly stand out. “Iyarr’s Narrator” is a whimsical tune full of woodwinds, strings, and piano, with a decent melody, but like Higashihara’s work, doesn’t quite provide any unique quality to it. However, her “Open the Map” is perhaps one of the best tunes on the soundtrack. It is upbeat and uplifting with an adventurous tone with a solo violin and engaging brass melody accompanied by some great piano elements. It’s a short tune, but, oh so sweet.

Masaharu Iwata’s contributions, “Entrust a Will” and “Polka” are quite different. The former features dulcimer and woodwinds alongside taiko drums, giving it a very Japanese instrument set, yet due to their execution, a very Western cinematic soundscape. The end result is mystical and results in a beautiful atmosphere. “Polka,” on the other hand, is a quirky tune with a playful, yet mysterious sound, but doesn’t particularly stand out. Sadly, Mitsuhiro Kaneda, on this soundtrack, is relegated to a shorter, less impactful role. He composes three themes related to battle, “Defeat in Battle,” “Victory in Battle,” and “Draw in Battle,” that all capture the atmosphere one might expect with a particular result in battle. The former features sorrowful strings, the middle features an uplifting fanfare followed by a calm, magical piano and acoustic guitar melody, while the latter is a short brass ditty that doesn’t particularly shine. Fortunately, his “Free City of Nero” is an absolute highlight of the album. It’s a Celtic inspired tune with a rustic and jovial sound. Bright strings and woodwind melodies accompany catchy piano chords and bass, giving the music a jazzy vibe that is full of musical dynamics.

Summary

In the end, the Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 offers a glimpse into the world of the MMORPG. Featuring a mix of town themes, battle themes, and event music it hints at a soundtrack that is certainly fantasy in style, keeping in line with some of Basiscape’s other contributions to the fantasy genre, such as Dragon’s Crown and Odin Sphere; however, each composer brings their own unique sound to it, for the most part, that has me excited for the rest of the volumes to come. Fans of Basiscape’s music should certainly look into the music and it is digitally released around the world so feel free to preview the soundtrack for yourself.

Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 Don Kotowski

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

3.5


Posted on August 2, 2018 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 2, 2018.

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About the Author

Currently residing in Philadelphia. I spend my days working in vaccine characterization and dedicate some of my spare time in the evening to the vast world of video game music, both reviewing soundtracks as well as maintaining relationships with composers overseas in Europe and in Japan.



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