Stella Deus BGM ReArrange Album
Stella Deus BGM ReArrange Album
December 1, 2004
Buy Used Copy
Arranged albums featuring Hitoshi Sakimoto and collaborators’ original works are an interesting bunch. Ogre Battle‘s ‘inspired by’ effort raised a few eyebrows, White Melodies of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was more muzak than music, and Sword Maniac, and Sword Maniac was a misleading hotchpotch of inaccessible styles. The Stella Deus BGM ReArrange Album adds little order to the chaos, featuring five arrangers doing a mixture of piano, electronic, jazz, and orchestral arrangements and medleys of Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata’s material from Stella Deus. The album was a promotional release, but became available for sale at VGM World and its initial sales were principally given to help Boxing Day 2004’s tsunami relief efforts.
The opener to the album is a solo piano arrangement of the Original Soundtrack’s vocal theme, “Holy Spirit (Spirit’s Theme),” arranged by musical polyglot Kenichi Koyano. The decision to arrange such a complex track was dangerous in itself, but perhaps more surprising is the arrangement’s apparent simplicity. It continually emphasises the melody and the accompaniment comprises of mere diatonic arpeggios and chords. The magical nature of the melody and the fluidity of the accompaniment makes this sustainable, however, and the arrangement therefore glides elegantly in its simplicity. “Ancient Dream” is just as good as his first arrangement, but features other instruments alongside the piano as a support. It brings out the most of “Religious Group’s Theme” and “Disciple of Darkness” with various intricate additions.
Iwami’s contributions are probably the weakest on the album, but are still worth a listen. “Earth Activity” is an arrangement of “Everyday” from the Original Soundtrack. It is an electronic arrangement that opens with synth chords, which are later reinforced by a drum kit beat and a distinctive oboe melody. Though it develops well up until the three minute mark, it is needlessly extended after this and nothing original is added afterwards. Later, he offers a rather creative arrangement of “March of the Heroes” in “Civil Water”. The whole track basically uses the same motif over and over again, but passes it through different instruments. The timbres are strange and include a drum kit and accordion, but all the instruments are stylishly integrated nonetheless, although the development is somewhat lacking.
“Ancient Wind” is Iwata’s arrangement of “Four Great Spirits,” “Tutorial,” and “Powerful Theme” from the Original Soundtrack. A creative timbre is produced through the combination of brass and strings, which certainly does the arrangement a lot of good. The thing that I love about this track is how it just keeps on moving, and even the ending doesn’t sound final. Iwata knows how to perfectly transition from one section to another, and he prominently uses contrasts in dynamics to magnify this. As well as this, he uses a unique mix-and-match technique that hasn’t failed him yet. With “Sky Ray”, “Name Entry,” “Alchemy (Man’s Theme),” and “World Map” join together in bliss in this arrangement by Sakimoto. The track is easily the best on the album and shows how versatile Sakimoto is with various instruments, especially the piano, an instrument he does not use enough.
Kaneda’s “Light Atlas” is principally a solo piano arrangement of “Disciple of Light”, but integrates fragments of “World Map,” “Bright Atmosphere,” and “Prince of a Ruined Country” too. Though it develops very well with the introduction of several new sections, the melody sometimes dawdles and the track ends with a series of chords that seem inappropriate for the rest of the piece. Though the run up to the last chord is fine, the last chord itself is pathetic and uninspiring, letting an otherwise fine arrangement down. More impressive is the closing “Planet She”, a superb piano arrangement of “Heroine’s Theme. My favourite part has to be the wonderful chords around the 1:19 section that give the piece such a beautiful effect that could only be brought out properly by a piano.
This album is one of the best arranged albums that I have listened to for a long time. The album has been made by five capable arrangers, and each of them asserts a strong musicianship through each of their tracks. It provides a unique and personal insight into the originals.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Dave Valentine. Last modified on August 1, 2012.