Tales of Graces ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Tales of Graces ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK. Front (display). Click to zoom.
Tales of Graces ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
Front (display)
Composed by Hiroo Yamaguchi / Namco Tales Studio Ltd. / Shinji Tamura
Arranged by JUNKOO / Namco Tales Studio Ltd. / Shinji Tamura
Published by Avex Trax
Catalog number AVCD-38050~3
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 4 CD - 99 tracks
Release date February 10, 2010
Duration 03:51:01
Genres
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Overview

Tales of Graces is the 12th mothership title in the Tales series, released in Japan in December 2009 for the Wii console. The soundtrack is lead by veteran Motoi Sakuraba once again while co-composer Hibiki Aoyama (Tales of Vesperia / Hearts / VS) also returns to form the pact for the newest entry. Let's see if the duo can reach the limits it has achieved with Tales of Vesperia on the Wii.

Body

"I Want to Protect You ~White Wishes~ (Tales of Graces Version)" serves as theme song for the game. It is performed by the Korean singer Boa Kwon (known as BoA) while arranged by Hiroo Yamaguchi. I really like this song; it has this typical Tales J-Pop sound within while BoA's voice is very smooth and powerful at the same time. The full version with a bit of one minute more can be found on the official single. Like in the two previous instalments, the theme gets revamped as instrumental ending version with some absurd percussion in the background. It sounds like an amateurish MIDI work for me and it's definitely not the type of track you'd wish to hear compared to the excellent opener. There is also a fragile piano rendition of the theme song in "Unspoken Feelings" with soft strings in the backgroun. It is quite emotional and far more enjoyable than the ending version.

In terms of battle themes Motoi Sakuraba has again some good things to offer. There are plenty of battle tracks on this soundtrack and some of them are pretty diverse as well. The normal battle theme receives two arrangements, "Grasp it With All Your Might" and "Sword-Drawing! Grind!". The first version is popular with fans and is rather playful, since it serves as the children battle theme that plays during the prologue. The other arrangement is more generic with the chimes changed into distorted electric guitars. The overall melody isn't that bad and it's actually pretty catchy; however again, it's a typical and somewhat rejected way of composing a standard battle theme for the series. Another normal battle theme, "Impatient Sword", is one of those typical progressive rock tracks we have heard so often before and immediately screams Star Ocean.

"Scorching Brawl" and "Cold Wind Flash!" are two of the more interesting battle themes. The first has a typical desert feeling with sitar and rock organ, while the former has an very interesting rhythm paired with strong bass line and smooth piano harmonies within, giving it a feeling of cold and uneasiness. Both tracks rely on experimental developement instead of catchy melodies, which is a nice aspect to see from Sakuraba. "What Appeared in Eternity's End" has a Celtic atmosphere and is one the most playful battle themes from the series. It has similarities with Tales of Rebirth's "The Trial", which had the same thematic. As in Tales of the Abyss, a battle medley was created for some cameo battles. "Soul Evangelist" contains "Edge of an Oath" (Tales of the Abyss), "Battle Organization" (Tales of Rebirth), "Theme of Battle" (Tales of Destiny 2) and "Mysterious Arms Soma" (Tales of Hearts), but the overall quality of thematic and mixing leaves a lot the be desired compared to "Everlasting Fight".

For the boss themes Motoi Sakuraba used his orchestral abilites to create some pompous and climatic music. Again pretty routine, but there are nevertheless highlights among them. "Perplexed Sword" is inspired by Classical music, yet paired with intrusive percussion and militaristic brass and strings. The resulting heroic atmosphere reminds me quite a bit of Sakuraba's work on Baten Kaitos. My favorite battle theme, however, is "Mad Dance" from the fourth disc. At first I thought it would be another "Chaotic Dance" styled piece like from Baten Kaitos, but I was wrong — it's pure orchestral. The use of violin, frantic percussion, and female choir is simply breathtaking, as is the overall development of the piece. The same goes for the final boss theme "Life's Cry", a typical, but at the same time fascinating, piece of orchestral beauty. Just listen to the developement of the strings in this one! Those are pieces which truly state that Motoi Sakuraba doesn't need a live orchestra for his themes: he manipulates and arranges his synth so perfectly that it almost doesn't make sense if they're real instruments or not. Grandeur!

Motoi Sakuraba's remaining themes range from lighthearted and playful works like "A Town of Dancing Wind" and "Prosterity in the Lake Shore" over to more military and grandious works, heard in "Progress in the Same Number of Dreams" or "Royal Capital ~Majestic Grandeur~". The track "What Was Born Inside that Door" and "Crush that Steel!" are two particularly interesting compositions, where frantic beats are paired with dissonant melodies to create an experimental and surreal image. There are also plenty of orchestral tracks within the score which were written specifically for cutscenes. All of them fit perfectly in the context, but standalone they're not that interesting to mention.

Hibiki Aoyama's contributions rely on light-hearted and bouncy melodies with typical Tales sound, though he also contributes some ambient music for dungeons. "Invitation to a Voyage", "To the Fascinating Oceans" and "To a Sea of Dancing Snow" share the same melody, but each with a different style, from bouncy over to melancholy, yet are crafted in typical Tales manner. "A Village Vanished Beyond the Woodlands" develops an interesting and surprisingly sad atmosphere while only the title of "A Wharf Mixed with Men, Things and Sand" makes me laugh. "The Surpreme King's Cage" is a funky electronic composition fitting for a frantic mini game. Overall however, Aoyama has a lacklustre role here following his marvelous contributions on Tales of Vesperia.

Summary

Tales of Graces has one of the most classically-oriented soundtracks from the series, at least from Motoi Sakuraba's side. Tracks like "Prosterity in the Lake Shore", "Mad Dance", or "Life's Cry" shine with some excellent use of strings and overall orchestraton. Most of the tracks are orchestral instead of synthetic and also the theme is distinctly darker than in previous soundtracks; another sign of a mature progress in the musical history of the series. Hibiki Aoyama didn't create that impact he created with his debut project Tales of Vesperia, but nevertheless his contributions work well within the context. At first I was pretty sceptical, but after several listens the music grew on me. I wish I could say there where pieces which are simply "unforgettable" or "highlight of the series", but these couldn't be found here, sadly. Still, it's an decent yet generic soundtrack for a decent yet generic game.



Album
7/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Max Nevill

Composed & Arranged by  NAMCO TALES STUDIO LTD. [Motoi Sakuraba and Hibiki Aoyama from the staff roll (uncredited in the album)]

   excluding : Hiroo Yamaguchi [DISC1-01, DISC1-26 (uncredited), DISC4-17], JUNKOO [DISC1-01]

Info from the liner notes:
- Motoi Sakuraba: towns (ethnic), dungeons (synthy rhythms), battles (cute, ethnic, orchestral), movies, staff roll


[Original Soundtrack Staff]
A&R : Tetsuya Saito, Akira Saito (AEI)
A&R Desk : Etsuko Ito, Noe Ueda (AEI)
A&R Supervisor : Masatoshi Uchida (AEI)
Tie-up Coordinator : Kenichiro Kimura, Naohiro Yazaki (AEI)
Sales Promoter : Shunsuke Iwasaki (AMI)
Supervisor : Yoshihiro Seki (AEI)
Executive Producer : Masato "max" Matsuura (AGHD)

Mastering Engineer : Kazuya Sato, Masami Kanda
Mastering Studio : Memory-Tech

CD Art Direction : Akira Saito (AEI), Tsuyoshi Miura
CD Layout Design : Tsuyoshi Miura

Special Thanks : Shuji Ikegami**
                         Isao Kadowaki**
                         Ayumi Otsuki**
                         Takeshi Yokoyama**
                         Hiroshi Tamura**
                         Shoko Metoki*
                         Emao Naito*
                         Miyuki Kimijima*

*NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc.
**NAMCO TALES STUDIO LTD.

Mamoritai ~White Wishes~ (Tales of Graces Version)

Vocal : BoA
Lyric : MIZUE
Music : Hiroo Yamaguchi
Arrangement : JUNKOO
All Intruments & Programming : JUNKOO
Recorded by Satoru Sasamoto
Mixed by Naoki Yamada (I to'l Communications)
Produced by axev trax
Executive Producer : Masato "max" Matsuura (AGHD)
Album was composed by Hiroo Yamaguchi / Namco Tales Studio Ltd. / Shinji Tamura and was released on February 10, 2010. Soundtrack consists of 99 tracks tracks with duration over more than 3 hours. Album was released by Avex Trax.

CD 1

1
Mamoritai ~White Wishes~ (Tales of Graces Version)
02:19
2
Tales of Graces
01:02
3
Beyond the Sunlit Trees
02:19
4
Grasp it With All Your Might
02:16
5
Raise the Song of Victory!
00:52
6
Requiem of Decay
00:59
7
Is filled with flowers
00:16
8
Innocent eyes
00:28
9
Sophie
02:33
10
Refreshing Atmosphere
02:26
11
Progress with the Same Number of Dreams
02:48
12
A Town of Dancing Wind
02:58
13
The Children's Adventure
01:46
14
Heart Separation
01:55
15
Imminent Crisis
01:35
16
Oath
02:24
17
Invitation to a Voyage
02:21
18
Blown by the Sea Breeze
01:45
19
Royal Capital ~Majestic Grandeur~
02:54
20
Lying in the Darkness
02:17
21
Unrest
01:55
22
Unlucky Star
02:27
23
Different conflict
00:34
24
First benefited
00:42
25
Protects the hazard
00:48
26
Unspoken Feelings
03:09

CD 2

1
Sword-Drawing! Grind!
02:38
2
A Village Vanished Beyond the Woodlands
02:19
3
Those Standing in the Way
02:52
4
Reminiscence
02:28
5
Conflict
02:05
6
Over the Waterdrops
02:49
7
Arrival!
02:57
8
Perplexed Sword
02:49
9
Pascal's Theme
01:47
10
From the Faraway Distance Towards Here
02:09
11
Seeking Wisdom
01:56
12
Lively Lake Shore
02:56
13
Guidance to Victory
02:25
14
Fort of Breath
02:43
15
A Mansion of Stagnant Malice
03:03
16
Decisive Battle! Cheer Up
02:58
17
New king of the wind
01:15
18
The Mad King's Invasion
02:33
19
Second coming of that day
01:43
20
Moment of parting
00:15
21
Furious storm
00:53
22
Warm Feelings
02:37
23
A Wharf Mixed with Men, Things and Sand
02:52
24
Hot Sand and Heat Haze Myriad
03:02
25
Scorching Brawl
02:38
26
The Depths of Magic Science
03:04
27
Cavern of the Giant Beast
02:12
28
Dance of the Unified Water
03:16
29
The Land of a Single Sigh is Thirsty
02:40

CD 3

1
To the Fascinating Oceans
02:11
2
Look! The Sky is Crimson
02:22
3
To a Sea of Dancing Snow
03:04
4
Frozen Heel
02:51
5
Cold Wind Flash!
02:27
6
Drifting Town
02:32
7
A Fortress of Hundred Blacks
02:33
8
The Ends of the Faraway Memories
02:52
9
Taboo Heritage
02:43
10
A Crevasse Where Winter Has Started
02:43
11
Rejection cage
00:57
12
Countdown begins
00:40
13
Put the feelings into the sky
01:31
14
Endless Silence
02:57
15
What Appeared in Eternity's End
02:30
16
About the Sleep Stopping Progress
02:28
17
What Was Born Inside that Door
02:41
18
Lambda
02:19
19
Crush that Steel!
03:13
20
Struggle to regain
00:44
21
Tales Writing Club Start
01:46
22
Everybody's Playing Cat!
02:42
23
Adventure in the Shore
02:34
24
Kamenin Chief's Relaxation Diary
02:40
25
The Supreme King's Cage
03:03
26
Soul Evangelist
04:49

CD 4

1
Muddiness Confined in a Chest
03:14
2
The Corroder
02:55
3
Promised Battle
02:44
4
Twisted Smile
01:38
5
The Stage's Opening
02:15
6
Mad Dance
02:50
7
Pour in the debris
01:58
8
Earth-Piercing Sword
03:10
9
Impatient Sword
02:28
10
Connected Feelings
02:36
11
Shaking Heavens
02:43
12
Life's Cry
04:32
13
Towards Tomorrow
02:24
14
Dancing in the Wind
05:44
15
When the promised
01:23
16
Ride the wishes
00:40
17
Mamoritai ~White Wishes~ (Ending Version)
05:02
18
Forever forever
01:11
30.04.12
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