August 27, 1989
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Valis II, also known as Syd of Valis overseas, is the accompanying soundtrack to an action platformer released on the PC-8801. Tenpei Sato and Shinobu Ogawa composed the majority of the release, with Masahiro Kajiwara and the mysterious Jizou Kurabo (aka The Guardian Deity of Children Club) each compose two pieces.
Shinobu Ogawa’s works on here are rather entertaining. “Sacred Sacrifice,” featured twice on the soundtrack, is a very upbeat and energetic theme with moments of calm. The instrumentation is fantastic among both versions; however, in the arranged version, there is a much better execution of the musical ideas. Both versions are quite good though. Another upbeat and energetic piece is “Constellation of the Mirage.” It has an overall bubbly sound, with a focus on bells. It’s a nice little composition, even if it is really short.
Aside from these pieces, most of Ogawa’s contributions tend to be mellower or suspenseful. Examples of this include “Pavane,” a really calm and peaceful theme that uses a focus on woodwinds to convey this image. It also gets an arrangement. The original version of “White Day of Sadness… Yuko” is rather upbeat and happy with a nice synth bass line and piano line. However, I find the arranged version to be vastly superior. Featuring spoken word, it just creates a very magical feeling. In addition, the happy and upbeat melody is replaced with a more somber melody.
To start, Tenpei Sato’s first composition, “Reiko in Light,” is a very mystical track with a hint of Asian influence despite its focus on bells. It’s not the greatest composition, but it does give a nice atmosphere to the album. Sato also has a fair share of upbeat compositions as well. To forget to mention “Rock’n Roll Cinderella,” Sato’s best composition on this album, would be a travesty. As the name implies, there is definitely a focus on the rock aspect of the track, however, that isn’t what makes the track great. The nice fusion of instruments, including electric guitar and a harpsichord-like instrument create a really contrasting atmosphere that teeters between frenzied and mysterious.
“Pearl Monto Wink,” following suit with many of the other upbeat tracks, has a very rhythmic bass line and a fantastic melody. It reminds me a lot of Yuzo Koshiro’s The Scheme works. Lastly, I’ll mention “White Message ~ Reiko’s Theme.” Balance between the more upbeat sections and the mellow sections is done quite well and I find that, despite the bass line being a bit repetitive, the overall track is enjoyable. It also features an arrangement on the soundtrack as well. Aside from some instrument upgrades and changes, there isn’t too much different between this one. I will mention that the electric guitar is really nice in this piece though.
Kajiwara’s best contribution is definitely “Against Black Shadow ~ Aura of An Evil Spirit.” In my opinion, this is definitely the best track on the entire album. It’s a really nice action packed track that just seems to hypnotize me as I listen. I love the melody line and its focus on short repetitive bursts of note sequences. As the track progresses, the entire melody focus changes, in what I suspect is the “Wave Motion of Demon” section. Many of the techniques are kept the same, however, there is a much darker atmosphere heard within this last section. Sadly, his other track, “Sentimental Soldier,” is rather forgettable.
As for The Guardian Deity of Children Club, “Number 1,” ironically, is their best piece. Clocking in with the longest time — reaching nearly seven minutes — this track is another action paced themes with areas of mystery and calmness. The focus on the piano for the melody is a really nice piece that sets it apart from the other action themes on the album. Unlike Kajiwara, the other contribution “Shiver Queen,” while not the greatest track, deserves a mention. It’s a very peaceful composition focusing on violin, woodwinds, and the harp.
Overall, this album is pretty decent. Each composer has their strengths and weaknesses. While Tenpei Sato doesn’t display his strongest effort here, many of his compositions are enjoyable. The surprises come from the “guest” composers, Kajiwara and Guardian Deity of Children Club, who both provide some of the best tracks on the album. Ogawa also as a few nice ones and his arrangements are really nice. This album is definitely worth checking out, but at the same time, there is a lot of filler, so it might be best to seek certain tracks.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.