Gran Turismo Rock Arrange
Gran Turismo Rock Arrange is a tribute to the original game music heard on the Gran Turismo Original Game Soundtrack, the music of which accompanies the very first Gran Turismo game. Do not be fooled by the name of the album, it is not wholly rock music, but rather a blend of electronic, rock, and new age music. Some of you may be disappointed to hear that, but I can advise you that the majority of the original themes featured on this album were rock themes anyway!
Upon listening to this album, you will notice that the original tracks which are most improved upon are mostly from Isamu Ohira. One such example, Yuzuru Tomita's arrangement of "Toward the G.T.", features a great guitar performance from Takeshi Gonda. Ohira's original melody is so vastly built upon in this track that it almost becomes a completely different theme. In my eyes, this is a good thing, since the original melody was one which hardly sustained itself anyway. Another decent arrangement is the lengthy "Final Lap," also created by Tomita. Though the original theme was one of Ohira's best tracks on the Gran Turismo Original Game Soundtrack, this house remix brings about a great new flavour to the melody. In this arrangement, the urgency of the original track is removed and replaced by a much preferred smooth, lengthy variation of the melody.
Though these arrangements are better than Ohira's original tracks, this does not mean that they are the best tracks on the album. Masahiro Andoh's themes have also received some strong arrangements with the exception of "A Man of the World". "Freedom to Win" has gained an inspirational arrangement which truly brings out the relaxed atmosphere initially intended to be created on the original theme. The arrangement features a hopeful beat, inspirational backing singers, and a great feel good vibe. I would hardly call this piece a rock arrangement; however, in fact I'd call it more of a new age, polytheistic piece of music. "Get Closer" has also received a pretty strong arrangement from Yasuyuki Tanaka. It is much more aggressive than the original theme, less melodic, and has a dark atmosphere about it, created by a recurring synth line and strong beats.
The main problem with the arrangements of Andoh's themes is that, although they are good, they do not really better the original tracks. In fact, if you were to listen to the arranged and original tracks back to back, it is likely that you'd prefer the original theme every time. Take Mayumi Chiwaki's arrangement of "Green Monster," for instance; the original theme was almost certainly a rock theme before this arrangement, and there was no real reason to even attempt to rearrange it (hey, it even had cowbell!). Though you could argue that the ambient and atmospheric sound which Chiwaki gets out of this track is something that Andoh had failed to touch upon, it still isn't an arrangement which I feel draws more on the creativity of the original theme. "Moon Over the Castle" is another example of an arrangement which fails to do the original any justice. The biggest failing factor of this track is the absence of the original orchestra, and the lack of the surprise transition from this into the rock melody as Andoh had initially intended.
The game music world has seen some great rock arranged album (e.g. anything done by the Black Mages) and some not so great ones (e.g. Rockman 1 ~ 6 Rock Arrange Ver.) in its history. Gran Turismo Rock Arrange lies somewhere in-between this in the sense that is enjoyable, but fails to really do much with the original tracks. Ohira's themes certainly benefit from the album, but Andoh's tracks are merely given to us in a way which fails to match the original tracks' prowess. Overall, I was impressed with what I heard, but I had hoped for much more development upon the great themes originally heard in the Gran Turismo Original Game Soundtrack.
Green Monster (feat. Luka)Mayumi Chiwaki & Luka
Toward The G.TYasuyuki
Get Closer (feat. Takeshi Gonda (Propeller))Yuzuru Tomita & Takeshi Gonda (Propeller)
The Motorious CityYasuyuki
Joy Of GarageYasuyuki
Freedom To Win (feat. Luka)Mayumi Chiwaki & Luka
A Man Of The World (feat. Luka)Mayumi Chiwaki & Luka
Final Lap (feat. Takeshi Gonda (Propeller))Yuzuru Tomita
More Than Loving (feat. Takeshi Gonda (Propeller))Yuzuru Tomita & Takeshi Gonda (Propeller)
Moon Over The Castle (The Theme Of Gran Turismo)Pappara Kawai