Kud Wafter Assorted Songs -Albina-
Kud Wafter Assorted Songs -Albina-
Key Sounds Label
KSLA-0066 (1st Edition); KSLA-0078 (2nd Edition)
December 29, 2010; December 29, 2011
Buy Used Copy
Several months after the release of Kuf Wafter, Key celebrated its music with an arranged album, entitled Albina -Assorted Kudwaf Songs-. It features instrumental and vocal arrangements in a range of styles, written by original composer Jyunichi Shimizu and performed by various artists. While initially an exclusive to fan festival Comiket 79, Key eventually made a wider commercial release available at the end of 2011, complete with two bonus tracks.
Jyunichi Shimizu introduces us to the album with an original composition, an ethereal piece blending piano with synthpads. While this track stimulates the senses, after the disappointing arranged albums for Little Busters!, it fortunately isn’t representative of the release as a whole. After all, the second track is a straightforward rendition of the peppy opening theme for the game, “One’s Future”. While the original had a unique charm, this version will be much more accessible to most audiences, given the girly vocals are toned down quite a bit. The title track thereafter is an unexpected remix of “Trampoline Girl”, transforming a charming synthy instrumental into a fully-fledged J-Pop song featuring the jubilant voice of Duca. Contrary to its ridiculous name, “Chicken Song” is filled with a melancholy; this adaptation of “Grief” is considerably enhanced by the innocent vocal and heartrending piano performances.
There are several noteworthy instrumental arrangements featured on the release. “August Wind” is an especially stylised version of “August Green” featuring exuberant alto saxophone performances and jazz piano underlay; it injects plenty of life into the original, while maintaining its laidback tone. Driven by Takashi Hirata’s acoustic guitar performance, “Path on the Hill” captures the special quality of Key’s tracks: warm, lucid, and bittersweet. “Sunday Morning Sunlight” features a very different guitar performances, shifting from a rustic acoustic into a wailing electric. Key also put their budget to good use on “Hill of Falling Stars”, bringing in several traditional Japanese instrumentalists to give a unique scenic quality to the rendition. It’s easily the most complex and creative arrangement here.
The original version of the album closes with a solo piano rendition of the vocal theme “Hoshizora”. Those purchasing the wider release of the album will receive two bonus songs, a recording of “Stardust” (aka “Hoshikuzu”) performed by Haruka Shimotsuki and a rendition of “Adagio for Summer Wind” featuring voice actress Miyako Suzuta. The former is actually a hidden track at the end of the original album, following nearly twenty minutes of blank space, but is much more accessible in the full version. While better than nothing, the latter isn’t isn’t much of a bonus either. Though Suzuta does a good job, there’s a superior rendition of the piece (entitled “Fragment”) elsewhere on the album, featuring more fragile vocals and piano underlay.
Kud Wafter‘s arranged album largely does the game justice. By allowing original composer Shimizu to revisit his tunes, Key ensured most arrangements stayed true to the melodies and tone of the game. Nevertheless, there is plenty of creativity featured across the album and the arrangements that added vocals and Japanese instrumentals are particularly good. Kud Wafter fans should certainly give the newly released commercial edition a try.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.