Grandia II Original Soundtracks -Povo-
Grandia II Original Soundtracks -Povo-
Two Five Records
October 13, 2000
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The Grandia II soundtracks are split into two volumes: the first is Deus, the second is Povo. This album, therefore, does not contain all the music from Grandia II and instead only contains about half of the pieces from the entire soundtrack. As such the tracks from the game are split, fairly haphazardly, among the two albums. Both albums are fairly similar in terms of content and quantity, and each may be categorized in similar manners. In order to gain a full understanding of the music, it would be necessary to read both reviews.
The tracks on Grandia II Original Soundtracks: Povo, like the first volume, may be divided into four different categories, organized by intent: situation specific pieces, locale themes, dungeon / ‘hostile area’ / crisis music, and battle related music.
Of the 24 pieces on the Povo album, the greater bulk of them – fourteen in total – are situation specific. Though many are rearrangements of the same melodies, these fourteen tracks feature a broad spectrum of emotions and intents, ranging from the despairing and reflective tones of “Elegy” to the playful mischievousness and capricious evil of “Moon of Valmar” to the hopeful and wholesome sounds of “Traditional Song – The Villagers’ Chorus.” Though some pieces – “Evil Root of Destruction” for example – simply aren’t listening music, there are no bad pieces in this set. Indeed, most of them are examples of the ever present blight of the video game soundtrack: that this excellent music was created for scenarios, not for listening music.
Specific, memorable exceptions to this rule are “Moon of Valmar,” “Despair and Hope,” and “Awakening Ryudo – Prayer of the People.” Not a notable piece for inherent beauty and suppleness, “Moon of Valmar” is memorable because it captures a relatively rare emotion in the video game form: playful and innocent wickedness. The piece is indeed music with dark, almost cruel, overtones, but its over the top bass line and pace make it near playful, and not to be taken overly seriously. The track is not necessarily remarkable for beauty or grace, but instead for its unique nature. “Despair and Hope”, one of the tracks which features multiple arrangements on the album, is a piece which sounds exactly like its titled; it is the dark brooding music of the game, but features hope as well. The composition is pretty: performed only with the violin as melody and piano as support, and the piece has two prevailing moods: despair and hope. The first half of the piece is devoted to a brooding, almost pitiful sorrow, while the second half takes a major turn and allows for the possibility of happiness. It is a quite nice composition balanced nicely and suitably perfectly.
“Awakening Ryudo – Prayer of the People,” the final most memorable track of the specific situation pieces – perhaps the most memorable of the entire album – is an arranged version of the same theme used elsewhere: “Traditional Song.” That which sets “Awakening Ryudo” apart is not as much its melody, which is enjoyable, but its performance, which in turn sets the quality of the piece. The melody of “Traditional Song” is simple and trite: a peaceful song, intended to be sung by but homey a plebeian bunch. “Awakening Ryudo” begins with a solo woman’s voice clearly and elegantly singing “Traditional Song,” joined in with immediately by that same plebian bunch that sings the original song. The final result, then, is fundamentally a lead then a follow – leader as priestess, followers as the devout and earnest common folk. The effect is a nice one, and it renders the piece fairly memorable and enjoyable.
There are only four locale themes on the Povo album: “Cyrum Kingdom – Prosperity and Freedom,” “LIVE! LIVE!! LIVE!!!,” “Cyrum Castle,” and “The Town of Nanan – Overwhelming Nature.” As with the first half of the Grandia II soundtrack, every single one of these town themes is an absolute delight: whimsical, perfectly attuned to the desired effect per locale, and deep. However, not a single one of these pieces were designed as listening music, and as such, not a single one is particularly memorable or noteworthy as such. Suffice to say that all are enjoyable, though none are worth purposely seeking. It is another example of excellent soundtrack material, but a weak stand alone album content.
There are only three dungeon / ‘hostile area’ / crisis music pieces on Povo. These are: “Have Faith in Yourself,” “That Which Hides in Darkness (Mix Version),” and “Collapse.” The second two are obnoxious and unmemorable respectively. “Have Faith in Yourself,” however, is another exceedingly peculiar piece on this album. Much like the ridiculously irreverent incongruous and delightful “Come On, Let’s Travel” of the first disc, “Have Faith in Yourself” is a bouncy, comedic, and jovial piece used, oddly, as hostile area music. The piece is quite enjoyable: it’s upbeat, uplifting, and catchy. It is unusual as well in that it sounds attuned to lyrics.
Finally, the Povo album features a number of battle-related themes – three of them, in fact: “FIGHT!! Ver. 3,” “Heh, They Didn’t Even Get to Fight Back,” and “FIGHT!! Ver. 4 – Final Battle.” “They Didn’t Even Get to Fight Back” is the battle won fanfare of the game, and “Fight!! Ver. 4” is enjoyable but typical final boss battle music. “FIGHT!! Ver. 3,” however, is grand. Beginning as typical boss battle fare with tense strings and mediocre percussion, it immediately after becomes bizarre and enthusiastic. Its melody is carried by a bouncy synth sound of a sort. Like many of the pieces on this album, the melody and its instrumentation are irreverent and fun – that bouncy synth sound meanders capriciously about all throughout the piece, careless, it seems, of the somber boss battle. It suggests individualistic, flippant, enthusiastic action.
Grandia II Original Soundtracks: Povo is the second half of the fairly well designed Grandia II game soundtrack. Having established this, it is important to understand that, like the first half of the soundtrack, this recognition does not render Povo an excellent album of listening music. In fact, distinct from a specific audience, this album would be mostly dull and laborious. As with the first volume, this album is recommended to those particular fond of the game, and to whom it will mean much to remember and reminisce upon the situations that occurred with the accompanying music, found on this disc.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Caleb Rose. Last modified on August 1, 2012.