Tag Archives: Kazuki Yanagawa

The Music of Atelier, Vol. 8: Atelier Meruru – The Apprentice of Arland

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After the rather melancholy tone of Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland’s soundtrack, Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland returns to a rather more joyful feel.

There’s a sense of adventure to the music, for sure, since Meruru’s quest takes her quite far afield from her home town, but there’s also a sense of triumph; of overcoming odds. Meruru’s story, particularly in its latter hours, is one of triumph over adversity, and of growth. Not just personal growth, either; also the literal, measurable growth of the kingdom of Arls as a direct result of Meruru’s efforts.

This time around, Ken Nakagawa is joined by frequent collaborators Kazuki Yanagawa and Daisuke Achiwa for a solid and diverse soundtrack that is one of the catchiest in the series. Turn up the volume and let’s listen to some selected highlights.

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The Music of Atelier, Vol. 7: Atelier Totori – The Adventurer of Arland

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Despite being a direct sequel to Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland, Atelier Totori has a markedly different atmosphere to it.

This is put across in a variety of different ways. The main protagonist is a much quieter, gentler sort of person than the rather noisy Rorona; the overall narrative is melancholy in contrast to the relative “franticness” of Rorona’s tale; and this change in mood is very much reflected by the soundtrack.

Once again primarily composed by Ken Nakagawa, with additional contributions from Kazuki Yanagawa, the score to Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland brings back some classic themes as well as introducing a variety of new ones. We’ve already heard several variations on “Following the Footsteps” when we looked at the game’s worldbuilding… so let’s pick out a few more favourites and have a listen!

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The MoeGamer Awards: Most Eclectic Soundtrack

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of made-up prizes that give me an excuse to celebrate games, concepts and communities I’ve particularly appreciated over the course of 2017. Find out more and suggest some categories here!

Music is a massively important part of the modern gaming experience. As technology has improved, particularly in the storage department, we’ve seen a notable shift away from game systems synthesising music in real time using built-in sound chips — a process that often produced a distinctive and instantly recognisable sound unique to each platform — and towards more traditionally recorded music.

While this does diminish each modern platform’s individuality in terms of the distinctive timbres of their games’ soundtracks, it does leave composers free to let their imaginations run wild and express themselves — and for us as listeners to focus on the compositions themselves rather than admire how the musicians got around technical limitations. Today’s award celebrates a delightfully eclectic and enjoyable soundtrack that blends a variety of styles together into one coherent whole; the kind of soundtrack that simply wouldn’t have been possible back in the eras of chiptunes or synthesised MIDI music.

And the winner is…

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Nights of Azure: Sights and Sounds

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As we’ve discussed over the course of the last few articles, Gust’s Nights of Azure has a very strong sense of its own identity, both as an individual work and as part of its developer’s catalogue.

Every aspect of the game as a whole contributes to this coherent identity: its distinctly operatic, tragic Gothic narrative; its blend of action RPG gameplay with monster-raising and character customisation; its small cast of distinctive, memorable characters.

Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic, however, is its overall aesthetic. While, at times, drawing inspiration from other, similar works, there’s no denying that Nights of Azure takes ownership of its own identity to create a highly distinctive work that stands out even amid the rest of Gust’s back catalogue.

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