Zwei!! Super Arrange Version
Zwei!! Super Arrange Version
December 19, 2002
Buy Used Copy
Falcom Sound Team J.D.K. is very well known for their rocking arrange albums to supplement the Ys and The Legend of Heroes series, so what happens when they decide to arrange their sole Celtic album? One would stand to believe this would stick out like a sore thumb, but it doesn’t do that at all. What we end up with here is an amazing display of just how diverse J.D.K. really is, and what we should look forward to in the future. Don’t take my word for it though, keep reading and I’ll be sure to explain the adventure you cannot miss!
If the first track “An Eternal Dream, Memories of the Heavens” is any indication on how the rest of this album will be, then this is going to be an amazing experience. A violin has taken over the intro melody, which adds to the ethereal sound of that section. The Celtic feel is kept in the next section, but the percussion has changed to more of a “march” sound. The violin then comes back to lead us into the string bass solo section. The odd thing is the bagpipe from the first one is missing minus a small peek in that harmony after the intro. Otherwise though, this track was an outstanding way to start the album, and immediately has me wanting more.
“Crop Caverns”, relatively calm acoustic cave theme, has been transformed into something that sounds like in belongs in an old Irish pub. The blaring bagpipes intermixed with the violins creates a picture of something I would not normally see as a dungeon theme. It actually works very well though! I am sometimes annoyed by the sound of bagpipes, but here their use is tasteful and I actually really enjoy the melodies they play. “Kenopi Volcano” probably made the biggest change from the original on this entire album. While the original piece somewhat focused on a tribal beat and melody, this one throws all of that out the window and takes a jazz approach. We get to hear it all too — swing percussion, wailing trumpets, piano solos, and an invigorating saxophone melody. Personally I feel a different approach could have done this one a bit better, but it is still a fine addition to an already superb album.
With “The Dark Temple Espina”, we get to take a little break from the Celtic nature and listen to a wonderful harp and violin recreation of the Espina theme. I have to say right now that the name is very misleading. There is nothing dark about this track at all. Well, at least this arrange version. The harp gives the track its glue, but the strings are what really send this track in the air. Close your eyes and absorb the melody — you will literally feel like you are floating. I have a thing for beauty in simplicity, and this track fits in that category so perfectly. “Apries Temple” has so many different layers and emotions it’s going to be a real challenge to describe. The intro begins with the piano and ambience, which is quickly layered with a bagpipe harmony. The track then rotates between the Celtic flute, bagpipe, and piano for the melody line. The bagpipe sections have a dark feel to them, while the piano just screams tranquility and hope. This is a pretty big change from the original, as that one was acoustic guitar and woodwind based, with no real shift in emotion. Anyway, this arrangement is probably one of my favorites on here and I urge everyone to listen.
The authentic Celtic sound is back in “The Road of the Sleeping Dragon”, an amazing arrangement of one of the area themes of this game. The bagpipe, flute, and an accordion fill the bulk of this piece, taking you on yet another adventure through the grassy plains to the sleeping dragon (lame, I know). Those of you familiar with Kumi Tanoka’s Crystal Chronicles soundtrack should feel at home here, as it sounds like it could have came straight from that game. The tribal percussion fit it right in there. This isn’t my favorite arrangement here, but it is one well worth your time regardless. It is another track that deserves major points for originality. “Hippolyta Hill” is yet another track that is going to be really hard to describe, since it is just pouring with emotion without any complexity at all. It is basically an acoustic guitar duet. The melody of this piece is so calming that it almost makes you feel as though you are dreaming. It really isn’t a whole lot different from the original other than the live guitar work.
The original “The Illusionary World of Serpentina” was an extremely catchy woodwind and string led composition that boasted a fantastic melody and some magical rhythms. The arrangement, on the other hand, is quite crazy in comparison. Unlike the original, the arrangement opts for a very Spanish inspired style. From the cheering crowd reminiscent of something seen at a bullfight, to the flamenco guitar and violin led melody, it’s filled with so much energy. The tempo has been greatly increased to give it a more frenetic feel, but there are also times of slow tempos. The most impressive thing about this entire piece has to be the choice of instruments. The flamenco guitar just adds so much character, whether it is in the accompaniment or in the melody. It adds so much contrast to the violin and string sections that it really does steal the show. Everything in this piece works wonders and it’s an excellent transformation of an already excellent piece.
“Dapne Desert” actually fits the desert feel better than the original in every way. It has a strong Arabian feel to it, complete with a sitar harmony and everything! The strings do nothing more than back up the sitar, which is odd that the harmony is actually the prominent section of the piece. It may not come off that way, but just try to imagine the track without the sitar. It would destroy the whole feel. “The Floating Continent Arges” is an amazing experience too. It begins with a tribal flute solo and sounds of wind chimes in the background. After a bit, the percussion fades in and you are treated to the beautiful piano melody from the original track. What they do after this is kind of cool. Everything we just heard is layered together right before the loop of the track. This arrange version doesn’t loop though. It takes us to the ending the same way it introduced itself. The percussion fades out and adds back the bagpipe and wind chimes. This style was a huge experiment for J.D.K., but they pulled it off impeccably.
I was really looking forward to “The Demon King Vespar” when I first discovered it was on this album. It actually stays pretty close to the original as far as the structure is concerned. The only way I can describe it is it has a much more epic feel that the original. At one point, everything drops out and the bagpipe takes on the melody solo, while the rest of the harmony is layered back in one piece at a time until the track ends. For a final boss theme, this track has a lot of emotion. The original “A Song of Wind and Flowers” was a very beautiful piece with a woodwind lead and some nice percussion work in a very light jazz environment. The closing arrangement builds upon this. In a bossa nova style, the arrangement exceeds the original in every way imaginable. The melody shifts between saxophone, piano, and acoustic guitar while the percussion sets a nice pace and serves as an excellent and not too overpowering accompaniment. The way the various instruments mingle throughout the piece is also quite pleasant. There aren’t any strange transitions between instruments and they all work together like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s a nice way to end the album too. It isn’t too hardcore, nor is it too soft.
Like I said in several of the tracks, this album is an amazing experience. J.D.K. manages to take the originals, which were outstanding on their own, and make them even better. There is enough variety here to keep any fan coming back for months. This album falls into its genre very heavily. though, and won’t be for people who dislike the Celtic sound. This isn’t really the case with the original, but here it stands as a huge diversity setback. I still recommend it to everybody though. It is an incredibly moving experience and shouldn’t be missed by any JDK fan or fan of instrumental music in general.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Bryan Matheny. Last modified on August 1, 2012.