Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 7

 

 

Album Title:
Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 7
Record Label:
Basiscape Records
Catalog No.:
BSPE-1077
Release Date:
December 28, 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. 7 is the seventh of eight planned releases that will span through January 2019. Featuring the music from Basiscape veterans Yoshimi Kudo and Mitsuhiro Kaneda,  in addition to relative newcomers, Kazuki Higashihara, who shares the majority of the composition duty with Yoshimi Kudo, and Rikako Watanabe, what type of sound can be heard on this volume, which focuses on the lizard areas of the game?

Body

The album opens with Higashihara’s “Hugo Cauldron,” an tense orchestral tune with lots of metallic percussion and drums, with a haunting, dark, and ominous sound to it, but with a hint of exoticism, that accompanies a beautiful melody and starts things off strong. One of Higashihara’s battle themes, “Burning Blade,” has a heroic sound with a strings and brass focus with tense sections, but doesn’t live up to some of the stronger compositions on the album. Speaking of which, “Scales of Sandstone,” another action oriented piece, has a sitar, or similar instrumentation, giving an exotic flair to the tune while also incorporating some Japanese instrumentation, making for a fun tune with a great melody and, at times, tense moments. Less successful is “Bloody Memory,” a contemplative harp and strings piece with a dark and sinister sound, but comes off as rather cliche.

There are also a few more battle themes Higashihara is responsible for. The first is a trio, “Power Struggle -Equilibrium-,” “Power Struggle -Inferiority-,” and “Power Struggle -Superiority-.” In the “Equilibrium” version, the result is a dark orchestral piece with frenetic strings and distorted electronic accompaniment. It’s a very tense and dramatic tune, balancing the aspect of advantage/disadvantage. The “Inferiority” and “Superiority” versions keep the same framework as “Equilibrium” in play but the former is a bit less tense and has a more industrial feel to it while the latter is faster paced and really gives a sense of strength. The other two action oriented themes, “Battle with Head of Warrior” and “Hero’s Trial” are both very Basiscape in their approach. The former is dramatic and tense and has a particularly beautiful strings melody that helps carry the piece while the latter is, aptly, heroic in nature with a sweeping sound in the strings work. Both pieces are nice, but also sound like they’ve been done before.

The other main contributor to this volume is Yoshimi Kudo. Responsible for two area themes, “Bunwaii Desert” and “Kinsfolk Fractured Zone,” each brings with it some defining features of the lizard areas, much like earlier volumes had specific instrumentation related to the various races of the game. “Bunwaii Desert” features a pulsing electronic beat underneath a blend of fantasy orchestra mixed with Middle Eastern instrumentation, giving it a somewhat cliched approach, although not stereotypically so,  but the catchy melody and airy flute found within. Its night counterpart, “Bunwaii Desert -Night Watch-,” features a slower tempo and retains the electronic component of the day version. The atmosphere is much more dramatic in this rendition with a woodwind and plucked strings, giving it a very tense feeling. However, the addition of distorted vocals gives a very alien-like feel. “Kinsfolk Fractured Zone” is an upbeat tune with a fast electronic beat over a strings focused melody. It’s an invigorating tune with fantastic energy and feels like it comes straight from Raiden V. The “Night Watch” version is more dramatic, due to its slower tempo and more sinister feel.

“Lloyd=Hann” is another tune that incorporates this sense of electronic and orchestral fusion with a woodwind focused orchestral tune full of drama. It’s a powerful piece and although the addition of bagpipes is a very strange choice, it works very well within the composition itself. Kudo was also responsible for a battle theme, “Invaders of Chaos.” It’s a frenetic, strings-driven piece with distorted electronics but it has a very typical Basiscape sound and doesn’t particularly stand out. Rikako Watanabe and Mitsuhiro Kaneda also each contribute an action oriented theme around the theme of chaos as well. Watanabe’s “Voracity of Chaos,” is a chaotic strings and woodwinds piece atop distorted electronica. It’s an intense tune with a wonderful melody and the addition of slap bass and mallet percussion, in addition to some Japanese instrumentation, makes for an exciting listen. Kaneda’s “Tyrant of Chaos” keeps the same basic influence as Watanabe’s tune, orchestra over electronic distortion, resulting in an ominous sound with tense strings, powerful brass, and a frenetic sound. The end result is also quite enjoyable.

Kudo’s music for a Halloween themed event, however, is perhaps some of his best work on this particular volume. “Caravan Trip -Festival of the Dead-” opens with a brief nod to the main theme with a slightly mischievous sound before moving into a more dramatic and mischievous sound with choir and strings. However, once the male operatic vocals come in, the piece truly shines with its wonderful melody and classical air. In some ways, it is reminiscent of Tenpei Sato and his approach to his Disgaea music. Two other related themes, “Mansion from the Depths” and “Dance of the Dead Kings,” keep this feeling. With “Mansion of the Depths,” a mysterious and mischievous tune, complete with more operatic vocals, gives way to a waltz-y sound with ghostly synths, classically inspired strings, and a wonderful melody with an exquisite piano section that provides a softer image to the piece. “Dance of the Dead Kings,” presumably a battle theme of sorts, is a memorable tune that features dramatic choir and organ alongside choir and orchestra with the return of operatic vocals. The end result is intense and excellent. Lastly, the album ends with another event theme, “Caravan Trip -New Year-,” a rendition full of Japanese aesthetic in terms of instrumentation and atmosphere. The end result is quite beautiful with its bright and uplifting woodwinds.

Summary

The Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 7 is another great entry in the series of soundtracks being released dedicated to the music of Caravan Stories. The lizard related themes are quite thrilling overall and help give a new identity to the game’s atmosphere with the addition of more, in the case of this fantasy world, alien like sounds such as electronic distortion. While Higashihara and Kudo helped to define the lizard area of the games, the major battle themes for the game come off as a bit less inspired than many of the more regularly used battle themes heard throughout the various soundtracks. However, the holiday event themes are quite strong and help balance things out in the end. Fans of the series so far will certainly find music to enjoy on this entry.

Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 7 Don Kotowski

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

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Posted on January 24, 2019 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on January 24, 2019.

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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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