Kanon Arrange Best Album -Recollections-

Kanon Arrange Best Album -Recollections- Album Title:
Kanon Arrange Best Album -Recollections-
Record Label:
Key Sounds Label
Catalog No.:
KSLA-0003
Release Date:
December 29, 2001
Purchase:
Buy Used Copy

Overview

Kanon Arrange Best Album -Recollections- is a reflection album for the visual novel Kanon, released tw years after the game. The majority of the material is sourced from the previously released arranged album and vocal single for the title. However, it features three exclusive arrangements, including a vocal performance. In many ways, it is the definitive album release dedicated to Kanon.

Body

The majority of the album features music originally featured in Kanon Original Arrange Album -Anemoscope-. For example, “Pure Snows” makes a welcome return as the atmospheric opener on the album. When originally creating this arrangement, arranger Magome Togoshi retained a focus on melancholy piano improvisations above new age synth sounds. Yet by drawing out the melody and gently developing the track, he produces much richer images than the original and genuinely touches listener’s hearts. “Frozen Soil Plateau” and “Newborn Wind” also sounds somewhat more polished and expressive than their originals in the reprised arrangement here, placing the focus on howling synthesizers and soft strings retrospectively. All these arrangements are extremely simple, which will be a turn-off to some. Yet they’re also so emotionally guided that they will inspire plenty of ‘awws’ from the target audience.

Of course, Kanon is principally an upbeat soundtrack and several reprises reflects this. For example, “The Fox and the Grapes” makes a potentially welcome return with its pop-flavoured melodies and compelling rhythms. The tear jerking piano-infused original “The Day She Waited for the Wind” is also reimagined with pop-flavoured beat and catchy string overlays. “Sunny Street” is also a decent listen, despite sounding a little too similar to muzak for my tastes. Such tracks certainly won’t appeal to all given their cheesy stylings and outdated stylings. However, they should still appeal to a wide audience, given they’re quite faithful to the originals and written in the lines of old-school game music by Falcom and co. Perhaps controversially, fan favourites “Girl of Snow” and “The Other Side of a Smile” weren’t included on this arranged album.

The album also compiles three instrumental arrangements from the vocal single for the game. Expanding greatly on the original, “Morning Glow” evolves from its pensive piano opening into a radiant synth-heavy piece that captures the magic of love. It will be too melodramatic for some, but a perfect arrangement for the sentimentalists out there. The equally subdued “Winter Fireworks” and “Little Fragments” also evolve through an emotionally-guided arch. However, they also have an ephemeral and minimalistic quality throughout. These additions definitely bias the album more towards sombre than upbeat soundtracks, unlike the main soundtrack and previous arranged album. However, the more reflective focus will suit those looking for a nostalgic experience.

There are also three exclusive arrangements on the album. The most notable of these is the acoustic version of the vocal theme “Last Regrets”. This rendition is vastly superior to the original, despite technically taking a reductive approach. Lia draws so much emotional out of the melody compared to the original singer, while the piano backing is elaborate and beautiful. While the ending theme sadly wasn’t treated in the same way, Key did offer acoustic arrangements of “The Girls’ Opinions” and “Afterglow”, two underlooked gems on the main soundtrack. The leads of both tracks are genuinely heartrending, though the beats — for better or worse — ensure they still retain that poppy balladic feel. While fine arrangements, the album may have benefited from some deviations in style and mood here.

Summary

For those that played the game, Kanon Arrange Best Album -Recollections- is bound to be a nostalgic experience. It packs plenty of emotion into its arrangements and features most of the important themes from the soundtrack. While largely a compilation of existing arrangements, the new tracks — especially the vocal arrangement — are worthwhile. While the best Kanon release available, note that it skews the focus of the soundtrack from upbeat to sombre. This is a reflection album, after all.

Kanon Arrange Best Album -Recollections- 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

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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