Emerald Dragon / All Sounds of
All Sounds of Emerald Dragon
May 25, 1992
Buy Used Copy
All Sounds of Emerald Dragon is the semi-arranged soundtrack to accompany the game of the same name. It’s a very uplifting soundtrack, composed primarily by Nobuhito Koise and arranged by Ikki Nakamura. At the same time, Tenpei Sato also composed and arranged four pieces to the soundtrack. In the end, how does each composer do? You’ll just have to read on to find out.
Tenpei Sato offers only four pieces to the soundtrack, but they are all extremely solid contributions. “Rock,” despite having a generic name, describes the style quite well. It’s classic Sato in rock form. Pumping energy and exhilaration into the track is the primary goal of this composition. The electric guitar work is fantastic and features a nice combination of melody-driven sequences and flashy guitar solos.
In addition to that piece, he contributes both town themes to the soundtrack. “Town 1” is a nice combination of a militaristic piece combined with a more robust and energetic counterpart. It’s quite bubbly at times, epic at others, but in the end, it doesn’t really sound like a town theme. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a good composition. It’s quite excellent! “Town 2” takes a more interesting approach. Combined in this town theme is the extremely bubbly tone of the xylophone. At the same time though, there is an air of sinisterness apparent with the violin driven section of the piece. Another interesting fusion, but it comes off quite nicely. The last piece, “Dawn,” seems to signify the start of a new day. Very mellow and poignant, this composition seems to float along. The focus of this piece is on the violin and piano, but the instrumental support, such as the harmony in the strings and synth chorals helps to create a very peaceful atmosphere.
Composer Nobuhito Koise and arranger Ikki Nakamura, on the other hand, create the remainder of the soundtrack. Their combinations are mainly uplifting and happy; however, when there is time for a darker atmosphere, they also deliver. Much of this soundtrack is divided into sections, so I’ll dive into those one at a time.
The soundtrack starts with a series of opening pieces. “Prelude” starts off with a rather dark, foreboding atmosphere with the inclusion of string suspensions. The futuristic progressive rock synth that plays the melody is an interesting choice of instrumentation, but it seems to accent the feeling of gloom present in the piece. “The Immortal” is a peaceful piece, but at the same time, there are twinges of sadness. I think the dramatic bell tolls and the woodwinds work wonderfully together in this piece. The “Main Theme” is perhaps the best of the opening sequences. The futuristic progressive rock synth is at work again and it meshes quite well with energetic bass line and the classical instrumentation used throughout the piece. It’s one of my favorites on the soundtrack. The other three opening sequences offer a bit of suspense and reminiscent melodies, but don’t really stick out as much.
The shop themes on this soundtrack seem to take a classical approach. “Shop 1” sounds like a dance. The instrumentation is rather simple, but at the same time, the overall feel of the piece seems to match the quaint setting of a town shop. The synth harmonies work with the melody to produce an eerily haunting effect. “Shop 2” also sounds like it could be danced to. The composition is more fleshed out than in “Shop 1” and offers a much more gratifying listen. The development and layering of the melody is excellent and the brass harmonies just accentuate the string based composition even more. “Shop 3” deviates from the other shop themes and has a slight Spanish flair to it. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as strong and the melody just seems to repeat itself.
Fortunately, the battle themes are quite nice. Although short, they get right to the point. “Battle 1” is an epic militaristic composition with a driving percussion and brass sections. The string work is a tad annoying and gets repetitive quickly, but the woodwind highlights seem to counteract it a bit. “Battle 2” is an odd choice of styles for a battle theme. Sounding more like a dungeon theme, it’s got a very rhythmic approach. I like the playful instrumentation and the choral work seems to come in at the right moments. Although it sounds nothing like a battle theme, it’s still quite fun. “Battle 3,” though, makes up for any lacking emphasis found in “Battle 2.” Sounding like a classic battle theme in all ways, it’s an energetic piece with tons of instrumental variety. The synth melody combines quite nicely with the percussion and the harmonies within the piece coincide quite nicely with the melody creating a very contrasting piece full of hope and sinisterness.
The ending theme for the soundtrack, “Ending,” is an extremely beautiful composition. It reminds me a lot of Iwadare’s work in the Lunar series. It’s got a stunning melody and the development of the brass just builds upon the initial framework set in place by the woodwinds. Throughout the piece, the melody shifts between various instruments, but the same message is portrayed throughout the piece. Evil has been defeated and we can all rejoice. Quite a happy ending if you ask me!
All Sounds of Emerald Dragon is one of those rare gems of the past. For the most part, it offers a bunch of quality themes. Although I’ve never heard of Ikki Nakamura before this, it does make me want to search for more of his works. He’s a competent arranger and uses Nobuhito Koise’s source material well. While Tenpei Sato’s contributions are short, they are all very impressive. This is definitely a soundtrack to search for and offers a very memorable experience.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.