head of RPGFan Music, Stephen is also affectionately referred to as THE ALMIGHTY EMERALD KING among his peers on the site and in Eorzea. At least, that's what he wants us to call him. A deep well of musical knowledge, Stephen possesses an infinite amount of love for the likes of Yoko Shimomura, and like many of us, is a new fan of Masayoshi Soken.
Of course, both of these composers make appearances below in Stephen's favorite music from 2013.
I've made no secret of my love for composer Yoko Shimomura and her work on the prolific Kingdom Hearts series, and from the moment a cryptic tweet and a brief audio sample were issued by Project Destati, I was on board. Their first EP's five tracks are some of the most careful, heartfelt orchestral arrangements I've ever heard from the series, deftly weaving together some of the most popular motifs. The composers promise a full album (entitled Volume 1: Light) sometime in 2014, and if these first pieces of music are anything to go by, I'd be happy to open my heart to darkness to hear the new tunes even sooner.
End of the World
My experience with Valdis Story: Abyssal City matches the one I had with Dust: An Elysian Tail in 2012. I hadn't heard of the game itself, but my stumbling upon the absolutely stellar soundtrack introduced me to one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences of the year. Zack Parrish's work on this game features complex melodies and rocking guitars, and the soundtrack utterly complements the game's colorful world. The game is great, but the music is even better, so be sure to check this one out, available in full on Parrish's Bandcamp page.
Don't Back Down
Also See Our Review:
Valdis Story: Abyssal City OST Review
There isn't much more that I can say about A Realm Reborn's soundtrack. It's a game I've devoted hundreds of hours to (and the only MMO I've ever capped not just one, but three classes in), and to this very moment I am still so moved by Masayoshi Soken's score that I find myself turning the music volume up over the excited chatter of my Eorzean pals on Skype from time to time. The soft, quiet moments of tunes like the theme of Raincatcher Gully are paralleled beautifully by the utter chaos of boss themes like Fallen Angel and the FATE boss theme. I cannot possibly recommend this music enough — even if you're utterly turned off by MMORPGs, this is easily the best Final Fantasy main series soundtrack in some years.
La Noscea Field Song
I'm a huge fan of electronic music, as my love of Battle SQ last year will demonstrate, and Shoji Meguro's work on Persona 3 and 4 practically invites the style. AT1st features a number of noted Japanese mixers having a go at some of the most iconic P3/4 songs, and the results are largely fantastic. A few weak remixes (most notably Mass Destruction) disappoint, but the bouncy brilliance of Reach out to the Truth more than compensates. If you're not into electronic, this one might not be your cup of ffsteak, but I'd still recommend any fan of the series' music check it out.
Never More (DJ Yummy REMIX)
Pursuing My True Self (kors k REMIX)
Your Affection (fu_mou REMIX)
Final Fantasy IX has had its fair share of arrangements, some great and some forgettable, but none of them top performer/arranger TPR's somber work on A Melancholy Tribute to Final Fantasy IX. The arranger manages to hit all the big titles — "Roses of May", "You're Not Alone" — but also dips into some lesser-known but no-less-worthy classics, like "Esto Gaza" and "Terra." I've reviewed the album in full here at RPGFan, but the short version is that everyone who loves Uematsu, Final Fantasy IX, or beautiful piano music in general should check out this album.
Over The Hill
Daguerreo, The Hermit's Library
Also See Our Review:
A Melancholy Tribute To Final Fantasy IX Review
Bravely Default has amazing music, and while the quality of the audio on the official soundtrack release and in the game itself is great, Revo's phenomenal stage performances had the audio practically crying out for a live rendition. Linked Horizons answered that cry with screaming, utter style. The delightful melodic motifs built up over the course of the game and soundtrack transition perfectly to this rocking arrangement, and I urge absolutely any fan of Bravely Default to check out the video footage from this blu-ray, because you won't regret it.