Gyromancer Original Soundtrack
In 2009, Tsuyoshi Sekito composed several unusual projects for Square Enix while at their Osaka branch. One such game was Gyromancer, a hybrid of RPG and puzzle game elements inspired by Puzzle Quest. I expect most out there wouldn't have a clue what to expect from the music from such a peculiar game, but the revelation of the composer might give a clue: Tsuyoshi Sekito. Those who enjoyed his score for The Last Remnant will certainly want to listen to what Gyromancer has to offer, since it's very similarly styled. Thanks to a batch of pre-Christmas releases from Square Enix Music's digital division, now fans worldwide have the opportunity to do so.
The "Main Theme" for Gyromancer will be highly reminiscent of Tsuyoshi Sekito's work for The Last Remnant. Once again, he boldly combines brutal brass discords with gritty electric guitar riffs for the majority of the track. He even adds some of his characteristic ghostly choral chants and bagipe infusions to the mix as well. The resultant composition certainly declares that the game is no light-hearted one, despite the puzzle elements, and a dramatic action-packed journey lies ahead. However, it doesn't really have the individuality or melodiousness to really be an iconic theme that most will want to revisit again. There are several other themes across the soundtrack that continue this brassy approach during the soundtrack, but they're generally more successful. "Bared Teeth", for instance, initially captures interest with its unpredictable chord progressions and driving bass line before rewarding them with a charismatic string melody from the 0:59 mark. "Lashing Out" is also a fine action theme, albeit a more tense one.
As with his last epic, Sekito's compositions are most satisfying when they are hybridising multiple stylistic elements. "Reminiscence", for instance, provides a moment of serenity during the game with its rustic guitar riffs and singing violin solos. When these acoustic elements are combined with some electronic overtones, the result is very meditative and comparable with new age music. "On the Trail", on the other hand, proves one of most colourful orchestrations Sekito has ever produced. Pizzicato strings provide a light and dynamic feel throughout the entire track, suitable for the progression of an adventure. Meanwhile proud trumpet melodies, wistful oboe countermelodies, and a few guitar chords are uttered atop and capture the wider diversity of the world. Further soothing fusions are found in the dance-like "'Neath the Eaves of the Wood", folksy "Looking Back", and the especially heroic "Pressing Onward". They all help to enrichen the organic fantasy world portrayed in Gyromancer.
In addition to setting themes, there are plenty of mysterious themes to accompany the puzzle elements of the game. "Brume", for instance, is often reminiscent of those sinister compositions from The Last Remnant, yet sometimes contains some very frivolous twists too. The contrast of dark and light elements certainly keeps gamers surrounded in mystery. Even more ambient themes like "A Hunch", "No Turning Back", and "Suspicion" are more reminiscent of Junya Nakano with their persistent rhythms and gradual layering. While composed primarily to fit in context, some are also fascinating on a stand-alone level, especially "A Hunch". Later in the soundtrack, there are a number of even more expansive and mystifying tracks, particularly "Apart", "Cloaked in Darkness", and "Power Unbound", that intensify the puzzling experience. Once again, it's to Sekito's credit how he offers such rich and dynamic timbres to these compositions. Even some of the most functional-sounding compositions feature some surprises.
Though rock music is not a major focus here, Sekito brings the style to some of the later battle themes on the soundtrack. "Test of Faith" and "Power Unbound" are particularly impressive, since they bring Sekito's electric guitar work into the centre, the former wild and liberating, the latter much more stern and grungy. Those who experienced his battle themes on The Last Remnant and Dawn of Mana should know what essentially to expect. Moving to the climax of the experience, "Hallowed Ground" is another track that features endless twists and contrasts. However, it's very epic overall with its gothic choral chants, romantic piano solos, and pipe organ work. For the final battle, "Wheels of Fate" returns listeners to the realms of Hollywood pomp with its orchestral passages and percussive drive, and proves quite well-produced overall. Finally, "Green Shoots" unites the contrasting stylistic threads of the soundtrack together while it subtly develops over a five minute playtime. A modest yet emotional ending theme.
Gyromancer is almost like a more condensed version of the score for The Last Remnant. Sekito's daring stylistic fusions manage to portray the various elements of Gyromancer fittingly, including the diverse settings, intense battles, and mystifying puzzles. Although the main theme is lacklustre, the majority of the other compositions satisfy on a stand-alone level, particularly the setting and battle tracks with their rich timbres and compelling rhythms. The soundtrack is only available digitally through iTunes and suchlike, but offers decent value for money with its 26 tracks and 76 minutes of music. Anyone who enjoyed Sekito's work on The Last Remnant should consider picking it up, irrespective of whether they're interested in the contextual experience.
On the Trail
In the Tracks of the Beast
'Neath the Eaves of the Wood
No Turning Back
Test of Faith
On the Heels of Truth
The Scent of Blood
Cloaked in Darkness
Hand of Ice
Wheels of Fate