Rewrite Arrangement Album -Branch-
Rewrite Arrangement Album -Branch-
Key Sounds Label
December 29, 2011
Buy Used Copy
The Rewrite Arrangement Album -Branch- was recently released during Comic Market 81. While the limited edition of the game came with a diverse arrange album featuring a variety of artists, this arrange album featured a smaller selection from the original cast. It tackles some of the themes present on the old album as well as some new ones. How does this album compare?
The album opens and closes with Keiji Inai. The opening track is an arrangement of “Travel.” Similar to his “Daisy” arrangement, it takes a simple theme and transforms it into a stunning, romantic orchestral theme. The strings work is impeccable and really gives the melody a beautiful touch. While I don’t find it as successful as “Daisy,” it is still quite an amazing theme. His other arrangement is of “Reply.” While myu’s take was quite experimental, Inai’s interpretation is much more faithful to the sound of the original. Featuring yanaginagi on vocals, it’s an extremely romantic theme with a bit of pop ballad flair. The romantic strings work complements the vocalist’s exquisite voice and really highlights the melody quite well, providing some lovely harmonies.
MANYO also offers two vocal themes. The first, a take on “Fertilizer,” features mao on vocals and keeps the vibrant nature of the original intact, although changes the instrumentation into something more akin to pop music. The soft rock/pop ballad focus really works for the theme and while the vocalist isn’t as great of a singer as yanaginagi, her voice fits with the style of the arrangement. There are some exquisite piano harmonies and they really help contrast nicely with the soft rock and synthesizer tones of the melody. The second theme, “Orbita,” features Annabel on vocals and is an arrangement of “Potted One” from the original soundtrack. It features the same contemplative sound, although it’s a bit more ethereal in approach, offering some beautiful synthesizer accompaniments, intoxicating vocals from Annabel, and some wonderful acoustic guitar work. It’s a great interpretation of the original.
Maki Kirioka also returns to the album with two arrangements. The first, “Soft Windflower,” takes the original and gives it a bit of a pensive remake. The cello work is exquisite and gives the overall melody a bit of a reflective sound. In addition, the piano and acoustic guitar serves as a nice textural contrast to the theme, providing a much more upbeat and engaging sound. It’s a wonderful combination and is probably one of Maki Kirioka’s most accessible arrangements in recent years. Her second arrangement, “Little Forest,” is a reinterpretation of “Forest Depths” from the original and features yanaginagi on vocals. I really like how this version takes the original and turns it into a much more accessible theme. The focus on instrumentation is still cello, piano, and acoustic guitar, although some electric sitar work is thrown into the mix, particularly during the instrumental bridges. Overall, it ends up being quite accessible. The vocalist’s performance compared to “Reply” isn’t as good, mainly due to her singing in a higher octave, but it does contrast nicely with the deeper tones of the cello.
Lastly, Hideki Sakamoto offers two arrangements. The first is a vocal interpretation of “Scattered Blossoms” featuring mao on vocals, is much more in his style, focusing on romantic strings and piano work, with some electronic tones coming into the mix towards the end of the arrangement. Mao’s vocal style works very well with Sakamoto’s instrumentation, but I find the arrangement to be a bit lacking, compared to the original, or even the version on Soil. Lastly, “Ground ~ Radiance,” is an instrumental interpretation of those two themes from the original soundtrack. The “Ground” section retains its atmosphere, although focuses more on strings rather than choral and synthesizer tones. The “Radiance” section of the arrangement is quite heroic sounding in approach, featuring militaristic percussion and brass tones, although the synth does leave a bit to be desired. The woodwind and strings sections, however, salvage the remix providing a wonderful aura of freedom and romance.
In the end, the Rewrite Arrange Album -Branch- is not quite as successful as Soil. While many of the arrangements are well crafted, particularly Keiji Inai’s and Maki Kirioka’s, I think that Hideki Sakamoto struggles to provide a truly captivating experience, despite some elements in his arrangements that are truly quite stunning. There is also a stronger focus on vocal arrangements which may not appease those who aren’t a big fan of Japanese style vocals, but may work for long-term fans of Key’s works. Overall, it’s worth looking into, but I’d recommend Soil over this album, solely for the fact there is a more diverse array of musical styles.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.