Ys -The Oath in Felghana- J.D.K. Special
Ys -The Oath in Felghana- J.D.K. Special
April 22, 2010
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Ever generous and ever musically obsessed, Nihon Falcom bundled two albums in the PSP port of Ys: The Oath in Felghana in 2010. One of these was the arranged album Ys -The Oath in Felghana- J.D.K. Special. While Nihon Falcom’s old ‘J.D.K. Special’ albums were little more than resynthings, this release is actually a full-blown arranged album. It features rich orchestrations, vocal performances, and, of course, appearances from reformed J.D.K. Band. Time for a closer look…
Several tracks on the Ys -The Oath in Felghana- J.D.K. Special are orchestrations are familiar themes from the remake. Yukihiro Jindo’s orchestral offerings here are much more impressive than those on the wildly inconsistent Ys -The Oath in Felghana- Super Arrange Version. “Prelude to the Adventure” inspires just the right emotions at the start of this musical adventure. The arrangement focuses on the pensive motif featured in the original that is passed through a succession of orchestral forces. Though the focal material is intrinsically simple, Jindo ensures a rich dramatic arch is built up as the melody is gradually liberated. The orchestra is entirely synthesised on both of these tracks, but nevertheless feature the top-notch samples that have featured in Falcom’s latest soundtracks, and are passionately topped off by Masaru Teramae’s guitar performance.
There are two actually renditions of “The Boy Who had Wings”, the theme of the protagonist Adol Christin, featured here. The initial arrangement featured at the start of the album is a delightful rich militaristic orchestration; it has plenty of oomph in its march-like main sections, but still reflects the sensitivity of the character during the interludes. There is also an adaptation of the track for the demo movie used in the PSP remake. Though quite short, it nevertheless reflects the ‘new Falcom’ sound well, transitioning from its epic orchestra and choral introduction into an action-packed segment; Jindo once again lets violinist Akiko Nagano take the melody and punctuates it with rocking guitars and electronic beats. Despite its slightly awkward positioning, the final result is highly refreshing and enpowering, both within the game and as a stand-alone listen outside it.
There is plenty of stylistic diversity featured elsewhere on the album. “Pulsing Toward Ruin” and “Descendant of Genos” provide the main dose of rock on the album. Both are certainly highly derivative stylistically, but with their rousing violin and guitar melodies, not to mention superb development, most won’t care. They’re certainly among the best variations upon a familiar approach. Those looking for something more original will be pleased by the third track, a radical transformation of “Chop!!” into a bebop pseudo-improvisation led by xylophone and saxophone. It’s a fantastic arrangement and would have been even more interesting if more live instruments were used. Finally, the ethereal new age take on “A Premonition =Styx=” breathes new life into a once stale theme and provides an enlightening interlude during the album.
Moving to the end of the album, the arrangement of “Wanderers from Ys” showcases Nihon Falcom at its most gushing. Expect tear jerking violin solos, lavish romantic piano chords, and colourful supporting orchestrations. It’s certainly melodramatic, but it’s still spectacularly done and one of the major highlights of the album. The album closes with the exclusive vocal theme “The Oath” sung by Kanako Kotera. Though still not always to my personal tastes, Falcom’s vocal themes have improved a great deal over the years and this is a fine example. With charismatic vocals, tasteful acoustic backing, and even an extended acoustic guitar solo, it is a well-rounded and fulfilling theme. It fully reflects the world-changing scenarios and love stories that gamers experienced on Ys: The Oath in Felghana. Overall, a fantastic way to close an already excellent album.
Ys -The Oath in Felghana- J.D.K. Special provides a dose of the Falcom Sound Team J.D.K. at its most exuberant. Much of the content of the album will be familiar, whether the regularly arranged melodies from Ys III or the familiar approaches to rock, orchestral, vocal, arrangement. Yet what is offered is top-notch in terms of both the rich intricate arrangements and their realistic hybridised implementation. This album is a delightful bonus with the game and will be enjoyed by all fans of the music of ‘new Falcom’.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.