Genso Suikoden Tierkreis Extra Soundtrack
At the end of January 2009, Norikazu Miura stated in his official blog that there would be a Suikoden Tiekreis Extra Soundtrack, which would contain an arranged disc as well as two discs with music not included in the previous set. One month after the stand-alone release of the original soundtrack, it finally appeared on the Eastern shores. However, it was only limited to the online shop Konamistyle.
The arranged disc starts off with an vocal arrangement of the game's main theme "Tierkreis ~Door of Hope~". While the members of Elements Garden are responsible for the musical arrangement like all tracks on this disc, the vocals are lent by yoshiko. Fans may remember her from Rhapsodia, where she performed "Another World (Rhapsodia Melody)". After a calm opening, the music direction shifts towards electronic with use of acoustic elements such as guitar and violin. It's similar to their work from the Wild Arms series. The next track "Frontier Hamlet" uses an folksy acoustic arrangement with violin, guitar, and percussion of the lively Citro Village theme. It's very close to the original, but sounds much better because of the increased sound quality and use of live instruments. The same goes for "Wandering Caravan", which however can get a little repetitive after a while.
"Intentions of the Imperial Family", with its Arabian inspired atmosphere, fits well to portray the happenings in the Imperial Capital El-Quaral and again the arranged version is much superior compared to the in-game track. The two following tracks return the Celtic style to the music in similar fashion as the acclaimed arranged album series "Celtic Collections". While "Warrior on the Great Plains" features an tribal arrangement of the catchy melody with lots of percussion, its successive track "Shining Castle of Dying Wishes" is one of my favorite arrangements here. While actually beeing a compilation of the two stronghold themes it first starts off in a low-key version with woodwinds, acoustic guitar, and violin. Towards the middle the atmosphere then changes into a more upbeat and lively style, when the actual "Shining Castle of Dying Wishes" motif appears.
One of the lesser known titles from the original soundtrack features an surprisingly good arrangement here, namely "Giant of a Proud Mountain". While it starts identically to the original piece, the atmosphere soon changes with interesting use of percussion over to a slow passage with dissonant strings that lead into the second phrase of the theme "Theme of Fierce Fighting with the Giants". While staying true to the original it increases a bit of power with the use of a live trumpet. It's definitely one of the more interesting and unique arrangements. Already a fan of the original, "The People of the Sea" really shines here with its playful musical texture. The jazzy arrangement brings this piece up to 100% and the use of real instruments is once again delicious to listen to. The same goes for the following track "Woodland Nation" with its peaceful and natural sounding soundscape. I absolutely love the pan flute here.
The last three tracks occur as bonus arrangements and Norikazu Miura himself took the time to arrange these. "Sally Beacon -Solid Brass Mix-" returns to formation theme with help of some strong brass notes and additional percussion. The result is much more powerful and engaging than the original and, if Suikoden Tierkreis would feature a war system, it would be the best warfare theme in the series thus far. But as it hasn't the track neverless remains as one of the most memorable from the game and soundtrack as well. On "Clash with the Librian -Next Impact Mix-", Miura takes the Librian battle theme and directs it into a new dimension of atmosphere with excellent sound quality. The overall piece stays true to the original, but with enhanced instruments like harpsichord or percussion, it sounds much more powerful. The last track "A Single World!" is a fun slapstick march with some chorus singing within. It reminds me a bit of the "The DoReMi Elves" theme from the series. A fun way to finish the first disc, but nothing overwhelming at all.
The first of two discs with additonal music features mostly event themes. Many of them are pretty straight foward filler tracks which appear in traditional RPGs and nothing spectacular at all. Still, they're effective inside the game. Notable exceptions "Friend of the Great Plains" with its catchy melody and upbeat arrangement, "Sisuca's Room" as a beautiful piano solo version of the main theme, and the classic "Name Entry" motif with addition of the main theme. The Librian related themes are also well done, from the major theme "Librian" to the battle theme "Clash with the Librian". The use of Baroque elements in form of harpsichord is fascinating, especially in the battle theme, which used to be one of the most effective tracks from the game. Definitely a favorite of mine. The dungeon themes "A Path to Stray", with its fast-paced piano chords and percussion, and "Coast Cave", with its eerie synth vibes, are interesting compositions on experimental side. Neither of them features memorable melodies, but still the effect of creating an fitting atmosphere is once again fascinating.
Moving to the last disc, it opens with the climatic "Ladzaa Fortress". It features interesting use of chimes and percussion as well as melodic passages; perfect for an invasion event. "What Ties Stars Together" is beautiful Celtic rendition of the "Visitor from Another World" motif from the second disc. It helps to portray the fate of the Stars of Destiny and their mission. "What is Called Hell" is another of those experimental tracks from the soundtrack. It features some mourning female chantings, disturbing strings, and synth effects. The Rhapsodia style definitely returns with this track. "Dancers of the North" is featuring an Eastern-styled soundscape with Japanese instrumentation and whimsical arrangement — another great example of the diversity of Suikoden Tierkreis' soundtrack. While "A Single World" is a fun track fitting for the slapstick scenes where it's used, "The Night Before the Decisive Battle" is after "The One Who Watches Over the Stars", the second big dissapointment for fans of the series; it isn't the traditional "Moonlit Night Theme", instead it's another of the hundred versions of the game's main theme, this time in a slow ballad version. The two featured last battle themes are more or less a little dissapointment in form of atmosphere and originality; I prefer other ones from the first set.
Overall, I truly must say that I'm a little dissapointed with this collection. After the hype of the announcement of the arranged disc with help of Elements Garden I expected a lot. What I heard are nothing more than one-to-one copies from the original with enhanced sound quality and here and there a few live instruments. True, they're much superior to their counterparts, but a little more originality and style wouldn't be that bad to hear here. A least some pieces like "Frontier Hamlet", "Warrior of the Great Plains", "Shining Castle of Dying Wishes", and "The People of the Sea" absolutely shine here with fantastic and colorful arrangements, which some tracks really deserved. Norikazu Miura's two battle theme interpretations are also listenable and help to bring power and adrenaline into their soundscapes.
For the remaining two discs, I can only say that they make the soundtrack complete in a more or less satisfying way. To be honest, not all tracks are listenable as there are many filler tracks and undeveloped pieces within, but a few diamonds glimmer within. If you're a fan of this game or the series, you should immediately grab this soundtrack set, because it isn't that easy to get.
ティアクライス〜希望のトビラ with Ramin
出撃の烽火 -Solid Brass Mix-
司書との激闘 -Next Impact Mix-