Rainbow Moon Melodies
Rainbow Moon Melodies
September 3, 2012
Buy at Official Site
Rafael Dyll is mainly known for his work on retro action games such as Gunlord, Last Hope, and Söldner-X. However, his latest work Rainbow Moon provided him with novel ground to explore. A strategy RPG from eastasiasoft, the game won considerable praise on its release for PlayStation Network. How does the soundtrack album stand up?
The album opens up with “Rainbow Moon – Main Title,” a stunning composition full of emotion. In addition to offering a memorable melody to define the soundtrack by, Dyll incorporates a vibrant mishmash of styles. The delicate piano, rustic guitar, whimsical woodwinds, powerful chorus, and solemn strings come together to create a organic scene and romantic mood. However, the 8-bit chiptune and soft electronic accompaniment bring both a retro as well as ethereal touch that really highlights Rafael Dyll’s more futuristic stylings in past soundtracks. It’s rare to find so many elements in one piece, but they’re integrate beautifully. The track, alongside “Once Upon a Time”, really helps sum up the overarching styles heard on the soundtrack.
“A New World” really gives off the idea of setting off on a new journey. It’s playful, uplifting, and in many ways, reminds me of the wonderful world map themes of the early Suikoden games. From the chirping bird sound effects to the soothing piano lines, not to mention the militaristic strings, it’s a wonderful tune that succeeds in capturing the excitement of going on a new adventure. Presumably another travelling theme, “The Four Seas” carries with it another adventurous and militaristic tone that combines more crystalline and mysterious passages, particularly in the accompaniment. It’s a very powerful tune that reminds me of Hitoshi Sakimoto at times, especially in the brass passages. “Mondlicht” is another charming piece of music. It definitely features a more classical air to it, focusing on a waltz tempo. The piano passage is inviting and magical, yet slightly ominous, giving off a feeling of suspense. This would definitely fit right in with the Kingdom Hearts series.
“Mysterious Caverns” features a very dark atmosphere and is quite beautiful. The haunting choral tones, moody string writing, and piano passages really bring this to life; though something of a cliché, I find the dripping water sound effects help to accentuate this dank, almost, desolate tone. “The Sands Below, Legends Above” is one of the more ethnically charged pieces, giving off that quintessential feeling of an arid desert full of danger. Ominous choral tones blend wonderfully with exotic percussion and tense woodwind passages to create an extremely intriguing atmosphere. “Of Hills and Meadows” also features a hazy tone, but is suitably more uplifting, in thanks to the heavy focus on woodwinds. A strength of this composition is definitely its more tribal percussion accompaniment. “Frozen Artifacts” similarly features an ominous atmosphere that is accentuated by crystalline piano and synthesizer passages, while “Spirit of Ruins” entices towards the climax with its mysterious but climactic mood.
When I hear “Crossing Blades,” one of the game’s many battle tracks, I instantly hear a fusion of Rafael Dyll’s more action-oriented sound mixed with sweeping orchestral passages. It combines a reprise of the main theme with various organic, electronic, and percussive elements that work together to create a very motivating battle theme. In many ways, this theme reminds me of Noriyuki Iwadare’s Grandia themes in terms of progression. “Ambush” and “No Sound of Reason” maintain the sound and melodies of the previous track, while adding some electric guitar into the mix. Both are full of energy, but “No Sound of Reason” is a much more energetic and fulfilling listen as it really encapsulates that rock sound of many early RPGs. “Conflicting Strategies” is another winner of a battle theme. Featuring sweeping orchestral works, some really retro-inspired rhythms, and electric guitar mastery, it’s like a fusion of Hitoshi Sakimoto and Noriyuki Iwadare. The heroic brass creates a great motivating energy while the softer passages help bring down the tension a bit.
Among other action themes, “Engarde” and “Relic Hunting” both give off a strong ethnic vibe. While they’re not the most intense themes, they incorporate some exotic synthesizers to create an adventurous atmosphere. Those looking for intensity need to look no further than the next track, “Moonday Struggle.” Opening up with a powerful electric guitar passage, it quickly moves into this energetic, uptempo piece featuring frenetic strings, sinister brass, and mysterious piano. It really manages to create this dark energy, particularly when it comes to the slower sections of the piece. This is another track I feel would work in the Kingdom Hearts universe. “Lunar Encounter” is this intriguing blend of sounds that remind me of the Gust Sound Team as well as Noriyuki Iwadare. The big brass sound works really well to create a different atmosphere than a lot of the other battle themes on the album.
Lastly, “Line of Defense,” presumably the final battle theme, is an intense orchestral theme that oozes dark and sinister. Powerful percussion dominates the track while the beautiful strings and brass melodies really create a driving force that exudes the epic conclusion to your journey. The album ends with the “Credits” theme, Rafael Dyll’s most beautiful composition to date. The tone of the track is one of a journey ending. There is a lot going on in this track, from the wonderful orchestral harmonies to the uplifting synthesizer and piano passages. What I find particularly moving about this piece of music is how he layers additional components throughout its duration, finally climaxing with the addition of some choral tones that really tie it in with the main theme’s various sound components. My only complaint is how short it is. I’d love to hear an even longer version.
Rainbow Moon Melodies is a departure from the typical Rafael Dyll sound that I have come to known. The variety of the soundscapes and the strength of the melodies ensures a rich listening experience. Clearly inspired by his love of classic Japanese RPGs, he creates a soundtrack that is very much a tribute to the classics, while at the same time providing his personal touches as well. This is well worth a purchase for any fan of classic RPG sounds and for the asking price — physical or digital — you are definitely getting your money’s worth
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.