The Granstream Saga Original Soundtrack

The Granstream Saga Original Soundtrack Album Title:
The Granstream Saga Original Soundtrack
Record Label:
First Smile Entertainment
Catalog No.:
FSCA-10029
Release Date:
January 21, 1998
Purchase:
Buy Used Copy

Overview

The Granstream Saga was a mediocre RPG developed by Quintet and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation. Its soundtrack proved somewhat better that the game itself, featuring a mixture of cinematic orchestral performances and synthetic background music.

Body

The soundtrack opens with six full orchestral tracks composed and conducted by the legendary Kohei Tanaka. The opening theme “Land of the Skies” creates a massive impact in the game with its ever-changing mood, transitioning through calm, action-packed, and brooding moments up to its uncertain conclusion. It was an excellent decision to outsource to Tanaka, as he ensures the underscore is exquisitely detailed and fluidly developed. The composition also greatly benefits from the weight of a session orchestra performance led by the ever-expressive Masatsugu Shinozaki Strings.

Looking at Kohei Tanaka’s other entries, “Wiseman’s Cave” and “Overcoming a Noble Sacrifice” are two shorter themes used during climactic FMVs. However, they are still impressive with their modernist orchestral scoring. The two ending themes capture both the turbulence of the game’s final scenes and the eventual victory and relief. They’re satisfying on a stand-alone listen too and somewhat refreshing with their orchestral rather than vocal focus. However, the overall soundtrack would have benefited were these tracks placed at the end of the release alongside the staff roll marches.

The background music for the title by Masanori Hikichi, Miyoko Kobayashi, and Takako Ochiai is largely competent. The trio reflect Tanaka’s influence of the soundtrack on tracks such as “Arona” and “Windy Town”, two classically-oriented pieces that present contrasting depictions of a town. The trio also show considerable maturity in ambient soundscaping and development on “The Wiseman’s Tomb”, “Orb Room”, and “Lava Cave”, which show considerable maturity in their soundscaping and development. However, they add world and contemporary music influences to depict specific details of these locations, while maintaining an overall acoustic focus.

There are also some clear influences from the composers’ works on old-school soundtracks such as Terranigma. The battle theme “Cut Your Way”, for instance, satisfies with its upbeat old-school rock vibe despite its premature loop. “Pulu Town – Bimu Town” meanwhile offers the sentimental acoustic tones most would expect from an RPG town theme, while “Floating Continent” creates a lovely fantasy sound with its synth vocals and gushing melodies. Offering the best of new and old, the composers return to the orchestral focus of the soundtrack for the two staff roll themes and reprise many delightful tracks in inspired medleys.

Summary

Accompanying a mediocre game and yielding an ugly cover, it’s likely that The Granstream Saga Original Soundtrack will have passed most people by. However, it’s quite a pleasing experience even independently of the game, combining rich modernist orchestrations with more old-school synthetic tracks. There are only a few spectacular themes here, but the rest of the music is entirely likeable.

The Granstream Saga Original Soundtrack Chris Greening

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

3.5


Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.


About the Author

Chris Greening

I've contributed to websites related to game audio since 2002. In this time, I've reviewed over a thousand albums and interviewed hundreds of musicians across the world. As the founder and webmaster of VGMO -Video Game Music Online-, I hope to create a cutting-edge, journalistic resource for all those soundtrack enthusiasts out there. In the process, I would love to further cultivate my passion for music, writing, and generally building things. Please enjoy the site and don't hesitate to say hello!



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