Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 3
Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 3
August 31, 2018
Buy at iTunes
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. 3 is the third 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 newcomer, Kazuki Higashihara, what type of sound can be heard on this volume, which focuses on the orc areas of the game?
The album opens with Yoshimi Kudo’s “War Drum in Stormy Weather,” a tune that certainly helps capture the atmosphere of the music of the album, on the whole. Deep brass hits, a tense strings accompaniment, and a strong percussive focus gives way for a cinematic sound that screams war. While not the strongest tune on the album, it makes up for in atmosphere. Kudo’s only other contribution is the orc version of “Sailing to the City of Freedom -Orc-.” Pounding percussion, brass, and strings help bring a new sound to the main theme and it certainly ties in the percussion focus prevalent on the album while also sporting some beautifully soft sections, particularly with the woodwinds.
Much of the album is also supported by minor contributions from Azusa Chiba, Masaharu Iwata, and Kazuki Higashihara. Chiba’s primary contribution is the vocal theme, present in the short and full versions, as well as a third rendition. “Oh, A World Nearby?” helps establish the sound and melody, with its folksy acoustic guitar, bass, and piano. The vocals, by Moe Toyota, are sung in a more kawaii style that may not be for everyone. However, the melody itself is quite catchy and beautiful. “A World Nearby,” which is the vocal theme proper, utilizes the same style of vocals, opening with a more Celtic vibe with its woodwind usage. The overall sound is quite magical and this rendition is certainly more upbeat and playful. The full version expands upon this further with additional verses and instrumentation. Overall, the song itself is quite catchy with the vocals, while fitting, potentially being more divisive.
Masaharu Iwata, much like on Vol. 2, provides both a day and night rendition of an area theme. “Kuaranii Cascades” has a cinematic sound with a strings/brass focus amidst a variety of percussion elements. The overall melody is quite strong with a heroic flair and a flowing and adventurous tone that provides an invigorating element to the tune. “Kuaranii Cascades -Nightscape-” slows the tempo down. Retaining the variety of percussion elements and adventurous tone, both serve as a nice counter to the more subdued melody, focusing on strings and bells, with woodwinds in the B section, which is perhaps the highlight of the tune itself. Kazuki Higashihara’s “D’orkhirii Mine” is another percussion heavy tune with some exotic instrumentation, brass, and strings. The rhythms are quite interesting and the interplay between the strings, woodwinds, and brass in the melody is done fairly well. The percussion itself is quite varied, perhaps taking cues from other Basiscape works. It’s fairly enchanting, but I wouldn’t consider it one of the strongest tunes on the album. “Audience” blends militaristic percussion with regal brass and strings, giving it a stately feeling, but it doesn’t particularly stand out while “Blue Warrior,” with its deep brass hits, war drums, and atmosphere of power all help amplify the valiant strings melody.
The main star of the album, though, is Mitsuhiro Kaneda, responsible for most of the soundtrack pertaining to the orc areas of the game. split between what seem to be cinematic tunes, a battle theme, and a plethora of area themes. “Disturbance,” with its urgent strings amidst war drums and other percussion instruments and a spattering of Celtic inspired woodwinds provides a fantastic atmosphere while “Deep Grief” features somber strings over war drums, giving it a dark cinematic flair that, while not standing out melodically, does have a nice atmosphere. Two areas also has a very atmospheric approach, “The White Execution Pit” and “Pyramid of the Moon.” The former, with its combination of horror-esque strings implementation and brass give it a dark and mysterious sound that is accentuated by a haunting melody while the latter has an otherworldly feel to it with its bell tolls, dulcimer/acoustic guitar and their overall implementation. The sole battle theme on this release, “Muddy Warrior,” really exemplifies Kaneda’s unique approach to music. Starting off with infectiously catchy war drum rhythms alongside delicate woodwinds and strings, it exudes a sense of power and really helps get the battle going. As it progresses, the tempo is slower, focusing on brass atop the war drumming. It’s an extremely powerful tune that, at times, has the melodic and accompanying tempos clashing in the tune, but the end result is quite hypnotic.
When it comes to the area themes, Kaneda offers a diverse array of music that is mostly successful. “Garduhom Woodland” has a rustic, almost Renaissance like feel full of deep brass hits, war drums, various other percussion elements, typically providing a softer sound, airy woodwinds, and a strings section that provides a bit of tension and a somewhat somber sound. The melody itself is quite beautiful. “Fort Dogaa” certainly gives off an exotic air with its plethora of percussive elements, woodwinds, strings, and brass. The end result has a very mystic sound to it, while also providing a dark and imposing feel to it, thanks to the brass. Of note is the strings work in the tune, which provides a nice element of beauty to the piece. “Western Dogaa” is perhaps my favorite of the Kaneda tunes on the album. The airy woodwinds amidst the war drum percussion give a wonderful sense of wilderness and the combination of the woodwinds and acoustic guitar provide an evocative and rustic feel that is supported by an equally excellent melody. “Western Dogaa -Nightscape-” is a wholly different piece. Whereas the daytime version was airy and bright, the night version is tense and ominous, as if the wilderness could strike at any moment. The percussion elements are definitely amplified in the night version with the strings and woodwinds providing a beautiful and magical feel to the melody. The sense of adventure is still there, but it is much more cautious in approach.
“Cliffs of Urhuban” give off the most orc-like soundscape on the album. Pounding war drums amidst beautiful, yet tense strings, are joined by powerful male choir and a strong brass melody as the tune progresses. The end result is a tune that is powerful and stately. On the other hand, “Cliffs of Urhuban -Nightscape-” provides a darker atmosphere, full of tension. Cello and war drums help accentuate the male choir, which is more effective at this slower tempo, giving the feeling that war is imminent while still retaining a sense of beauty, particularly in the strings, that the day version exuded. If there is one area that Kaneda falters at, it is the “Urdon Fungal Jungle.” It has a much different soundscape than much of the other area themes. Odd percussion rhythms meet playful woodwind and strings all amidst otherworldly synthesizers, giving it an alien-like vibe. It’s an experimental tune, certainly, that reminds me, in some ways, of opoona, but the end result isn’t as successful in this case. “Urdon Fungal Jungle -Nightscape-” also incorporates these alien-like synths and percussion. The tune itself is more peaceful in nature, thanks to its woodwinds, chimes, glockenspiel, and the quirkiness, while still present, is reined in a bit. The end result is a more successful tune.
The Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 3 is another strong entry in the Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack series. Although it does portray orcs like many other games/films, with a heavy focus on war drums, other various percussion, and brass, Kaneda, alongside his co-composers, were able to craft a soundtrack that, while not reaching the heights of Vol. 2, manages to capture the spirit of the orc successfully with a blend of cinematic, battle, and area themes that boast strong melodies, on the whole, and sound relatively cohesive, even if some are a bit more cliche in approach. With the next volume being dedicated to dwarven areas, I wonder which composer will stand center stage.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on September 11, 2018 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on September 11, 2018.