Fragile Moonlight Trax

Fragile Moonlight Trax Album Title:
Fragile Moonlight Trax
Record Label:
Namco Bandai
Catalog No.:
N/A
Release Date:
January 22, 2009
Purchase:
Buy Used Copy

Overview

Fragile Moonlight Trax is a promotional album that was recently released with the game Fragile: Farewell Ruins of the Moon. The game itself takes place in a post-apocalytpic world where many cities have been abandoned, most of the population has vanished, and dense fog covers the landscape. Riei Saito, who has done sound effects for other tri-Crescendo games, such as the Baten Kaitos series and Eternal Sonata, debuts as a composer for this game. How does her first effort turn out?

Body

Many of the pieces on this promotional album focus solely on the piano. On one hand, I think this is a very wise decision, as the use of a single instrument helps to reflect the reality of the world you explore and the utter bleakness you encounter in it. “The Girl with Silver Hair” serves as a character theme for Ren, a mysterious girl who can be found in ruins throughout the game. Her theme is a very mysterious and melancholy piano piece that is infused with loneliness and desolation. It’s quite fitting from what I gather, but the repetition of the piece does tend to get stagnant after a while. “Friend,” on the other hand, is a piano piece that has a more jovial and uplifting tone to it, yet at the same time, there seems to be this feeling of holding back. It makes me wonder if this friendship in game may be too good to be true. It’s still a very beautiful piece, which doesn’t get stale in its short duration, unlike “The Girl with Silver Hair”.

“Malicious Thoughts” is a very dark piece. The combination of piano, woodwinds, and violin helps craft a very somber atmosphere. However, I feel that the piano is probably a hindrance to the piece as a whole. While very effective at times, most of the track features a monotonous piano section that seems to somehow come to the forefront, even though it only serves as accompaniment to the more colorful instrument. A bit clichéd, but it does seem to fit the game’s description rather well. “Rejection” is one of the livelier pieces on the album. It’s an upbeat, yet dark, theme that combines piano and strings to create a chaotic atmosphere, yet also a subdued one. If it’s used as a battle theme, I see it working given the third person exploration of the game as it probably transitions quite well with the area music. It’s not a bad piece by any means, but it does lose a bit on a stand-alone basis.

The last piece I’ll mention is easily the best thing on the promotional album. “To All People” is an exquisite piece of music filled with a variety of emotions. It manages to capture the desolation of the gaming environment, while at the same time, signal a strong sense of determination the main character has in solving the mystery of the disappearance of most humanity. The piano melody is utterly lavish and, when combined with the accompaniment of the strings and woodwinds, a variety of moods are conveyed — at times sad, at others, playful. Heard in one of the first trailers, this piece really stood out for me. I really do hope there are a lot more pieces like this should an official release ever come to fruition.

Summary

Overall, I think Riei Saito’s first foray into game composition is rather good. While she may not have the experience of tri-Crescendo’s regular composer, Motoi Sakuraba, it is clear that she paid attention to the development of the game. The pieces resonate with the overall tone of the game, but they do tend to lose a bit out of context. She might be someone to keep an eye on. It’s clear to her that capturing the essence of the game is more important than composing music for the sheer need for it, even if that means alienating those who like to listen to game music on a standa-lone basis.

Fragile Moonlight Trax Don Kotowski

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

3.5


Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.


About the Author

Currently residing in New York, I spend my days working in antibody therapeutics 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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