Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 2

 

Album Title:
Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 2
Record Label:
Basiscape
Catalog No.:
BSPE-1071
Release Date:
July 27, 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. 2 is the second 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 this volume, which focuses on the human areas of the game?

Body

Yoshimi Kudo opens up the album with “Caravan Trip -Nightscape-,” a night time rendition of “Caravan Trip,” which was featured on Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 1. Compared to the other version, it is more piano oriented with glockenspiel, fluttering woodwinds helping to prop up the first half while the latter half of the track incorporates strings and woodwinds into the melody, giving the overall tune a magical soundscape. Kudo is also responsible for a few area themes as well. “Foothills of Carvendel” has a typical Basiscape fantasy atmosphere with a beautiful woodwind melody and lovely strings work, resulting in a tune with a peaceful soundscape. “Folka Village,” on the other hand, is calm and relaxing with a blend of woodwinds and acoustic guitar, giving it a rustic, “small village” feel, that accentuates a very beautiful melody. “Eastern Part of Denon Hill -Nightscape-,” is Yoshimi Kudo’s arrangement of Kaneda’s composition. Harp and woodwinds alongside a stunning strings accompaniment and piano help bring a tranquil atmosphere to the original composition. Kudo’s other contributions include a battle theme, “The Method of Fighting,” done in his typical style, with a vibrant strings melody that is both invigorating and beautiful while the slower brass sections had more of a militaristic touch. Unlike some of the other battle themes on the first volume, this one flows pretty well. “Sailing to the City of Freedom -Human-” incorporates the main theme of the game. It’s a short orchestral tune with a magical atmosphere with some filmic piano that results in a beautiful mood setter. Kudo was also responsible for the vocal theme on this release, of which there is both a long and short version, “The Light for Valmuer Street.” Sung by Kaito Ishikawa, it has a bossa nova feel to it with acoustic guitar, bass, accordion, whistles, and woodwinds complementing some vocals that really help add to the atmosphere of the piece. The melody is superb and the vocalist really fits the style as well. The full version includes extended verses and some mini solos as well.

Kazuki Higashihara contributes a small amount to this release with only one original composition and one arrangement. His arrangement, “Foothills of Carvendel -Nightscape-,” features a mysterious atmosphere with a woodwinds dominated melody, industrial percussion, while still retaining the feelings of the day version. It’s quite a strong theme, helped, in part, to the strength of the original composition “Rasberg Mine,” on the other hand, features intricate rhythms and woodwinds. As the piece progresses, a beautiful strings and woodwind melody takes the fore. The end result is an interesting juxtaposition of sounds that help craft an air of mystery as well. It’s solid work overall. Masaharu Iwata also features in a minor role on the album, contributing a day and night theme of the same area. “Ratcliffe Main Road” is a mysterious strings and woodwind led piece that is ominous, tense, but beautiful and showcases an extremely strong melody. Its night counterpart, “Ratcliffe Main Road -Nightscape-,” keeps the mysterious nature of the day version intact, adds brass, sports a more woodwind oriented melody, while also featuring more percussion as well. It’s a version that complements the original composition quite well. Rikako Watanabe offers a single arrangement on the album, “Scott Battlefield -Nightscape-,” one of Azusa Chiba’s contributions. It is a more mysterious affair compared to the day version featuring piano, strings, woodwinds, and Irish flute. It’s an exquisite interpretation of the original and one I find superior. The playful pizzicato strings helps connect it to the day version as well.

Azusa Chiba contributes four pieces to this release. The first two, “Mauriana Region” and “Mauriana Region -Nightscape” are two of the highlights on the album. The former features bright woodwinds, acoustic guitar, and violin and has an overall Celtic inspired soundscape. Percussion adds a nice rhythmic element with a melody that shines due to its strength and implementation. The latter features a more subdued tone with the Celtic inspiration still present. Beautiful piano accompaniment with bass guitar helps support a woodwind and violin led melody. Both of these tunes are some of Chiba’s best. “Scott Battlefield” is a woodwind led piece with pizzicato strings and mallet percussion that help give it a somewhat playful tone while the piano featured in the piece adds a mysteriousness to the melody. While not her strongest on the album, it’s still rather enjoyable. Lastly, “Reuben” is another tune with a rustic feel. Acoustic guitar, flute, and accordion, alongside intricate percussion rhythms with castanets invoke a warm melody and a beautifully peaceful atmosphere. While Mitsuhiro Kaneda didn’t get to show his strengths on the first volume, he brings a wonderful array of tunes to this volume. “Eastern Part of Denon Hill” certainly gives off an opoona feel. Beautiful woodwinds, excellent percussion accompaniment, an exquisite brass melody in the B section gives an exotic and mesmerizing soundscape. “Imperial City Valmuer” has a regal air to it with its brass and strings led melodies. The atmosphere is beautiful and the melody is superb. It’s a simple, yet beautiful tune. His last two contributions are “Waterling Main Road” and “Waterling Main Road -Nightscape-.” The former is my favorite tune on this particular soundtrack with a rich, layered soundscape full of strings, piano, and woodwinds that give it a magical air. The melody itself is stunning and the beautiful solo instruments, particularly the strings and brass, only accentuate it further. The latter version is a more subdued sound with percussion used more sparsely. The melody, led by cello, and its strings/woodwind accompaniment paint a beautiful picture. While I prefer the day version, the night version certainly manages to capture the same feelings of the original.

Summary

The Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 2 is an excellent release and truly showcases the strengths of Basiscape in crafting a magical fantasy setting. The area themes, taking after other MMORPGs that feature unique music for day/night, are given different moods due to their instrumental changes that give each a new fresh coat of paint, even with the same instrument setups. There is an overall warmth and magic to this soundtrack and the vocal tune is certainly an improvement over the first volume’s representative tune. With six volumes to go, where else will Basiscape transport us and what types of soundscapes can we expect given the various game’s races that have yet to be depicted in musical form? I, for one, am certainly excited to find out.

Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 2 Don Kotowski

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

4.5


Posted on August 3, 2018 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 3, 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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