Ingmar -for the beginning-

Ingmar -for the beginning- Album Title:
Ingmar -for the beginning-
Record Label:
RD Record
Catalog No.:
RDCD-0008
Release Date:
March 21, 2003
Purchase:
Buy Used Copy

Overview

Ingmar -for the beginning- is a solo album composed by Noriyuki Iwadare. While he had often participated in non-game works before, this was his first major solo album. It features a mixture of vocal and instrumental music, with the vocals being sung by Kaori Kawasumi, who was the vocalist in Grandia III. Is it worth picking up, if you are a fan of the series?

Body

The album begins with “Nostalgia”. While it opens up with some playful, wandering vocals, it evolves into an instrumental piano composition. The melody is quite beautiful and, at times, haunting. As the name implies, it does seem to conjure up memories of the past. It’s a fantastic way to open up the album. “Departure” is another mostly instrumental composition that focuses on the acoustic guitar. It manages to give off an almost Latin flavor, but it’s a very sad composition. As it progresses, some more ethereal sounding synth is included in the background as well as some light vocal work that only helps add to this mysterious atmosphere the synth instills. “Reflection” is another piano composition and is bouncier than some of the other instrumental themes heard so far. At times, it definitely packs some deep emotion, but it can take some time to actually get moving. It does have a slightly mysterious nature as well, but does seem to rely on similar motifs throughout the entire piece.

“Passage ~ A Corridor~” is definitely a departure from a lot of the themes on the soundtrack. It features an industrial beat with a clear jazz influence. It also includes some spoken word and some light vocal work that gives it a bit of a smoky atmosphere. It’s definitely not my favorite theme on here, but it manages to digress from much of the sound of the album. “Sealed ~Sealed~” is another instrumental piece that is very poignant and filled with sadness. The string-led composition exudes a powerful atmosphere and a beautiful melody. There are some nice woodwind and chime accents, but the meat and strength of the track relies on the string work.

“Etude ~for the beginning~” features a mixture of sung vocals as well as semi-chanting vocals over an ethereal, yet subtly ethnic, soundscape. For the most part, it’s rather unmemorable, as most of the piece relies heavily on acoustic guitar and percussion to provide the support for the vocalist. However, I found the instrumental bridges that incorporated striking violin solos to be much more impressive. If only this was incorporated into the entire piece, rather than just the bridges. “Seashell Button ~Ballad of the Summer Solstice Festival~” definitely manages to exude a more medieval folk-influenced sound, but unfortunately, it suffers, although not as much, the same problem as “Etude ~for the beginning~”. The opening and bridges offer a much more exuberant soundscape that takes a backburner when Kaori Kawasumi starts to sing. While there are some improvements compared to “Etude,” it comes off as a flawed composition.

“Dance of Battle” is also a pretty interesting composition. It has a definite progressive nature to it, through the use of its electronic undertones and the powerful synth keyboard work. Combine this with the piano and the drum work and that gives a semi-progressive rock sound. I think the addition of the strings help set it apart a bit, but the vocalist is a bit overbearing on this theme. It also manages to incorporate these elements into the entire song, so it doesn’t come off as focusing too much on instrumentals and vocal themes at separate times. While I won’t mention the rest of the themes, there are a few ballads and some Latin inspired pieces and they manage to hold up with the rest of the album.

Summary

Should you pick up Ingmar -for the beginning-? That depends on your tastes. The vocalist isn’t too much of a hindrance to the album, but the compositions, at times, have trouble incorporating solid instrumental support for the vocalist, making some of them seem a bit less developed than others. There are some interesting sounds on here, ranging from piano compositions to more industrial jazz sounds, but you’ll come out remembering mainly ballads and folk sounds. In the end, it’s a decent effort, but one that I think is potentially skippable.

Ingmar -for the beginning- Don Kotowski

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

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


About the Author

Don Kotowski

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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