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Aion: The Tower of Eternity OST
Catalog Number: PCSD-00277
Released On: October 21, 2008
Composed By: Yang Bang Ean (Ryo Kunihiko)
Arranged By: Yang Bang Ean (Ryo Kunihiko), Hijiri Kuwano
Published By: Pony Canyon Korea
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD
Tracklist:

01 - The Tower of Eternity
02 - The Wings of Knight (Origa Ver.)
03 - A Fairy of The Peace
04 - Kingdom of Light
05 - Song of Moonlight
06 - Solid State Battle
07 - Death Waltz
08 - Magma & Beast
09 - Blue Forest
10 - Forgotten Sorrow (Eng.Ver.)
11 - Step to The Next World
12 - Darkness in Your Heart
13 - Voices from The Ruins
14 - Attack The Unsion
15 - Arabesque
16 - Dream of The Shepherd
17 - Red Land
18 - Dark's Innocence
19 - Raging Strings
20 - Flying Dragon
21 - Heaven's Gate
22 - Forgotten Sorrow (Kor.Ver)
Total Time:
75'47"

NCsoft's latest MMORPG, "Aion: The Tower of Eternity," contains one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard for an MMORPG. The soundtrack comes from a Korean/Japanese composer (Yang Bang Ean / Ryo Kunihiko); he goes by both names, as he was born in Japan and now resides in South Korea.

Having this all-star musical power behind an MMORPG is pretty surprising. Looking over Kunihiko's previous works, you'll find that he's worked with the London Philharmonic, and he's composed scores for television and film for well over a decade. The soundtrack to Aion is just another jewel in the crown for this composer: but for VGM fans, it's something much more unexpected, something unique and powerful.

One of my favorite things about the Aion soundtrack is the emphasis put on the piano. Piano appears on many of the 22 tracks on the album, and it gets prominence (main melody, solos, etc.) in at least half of those tracks. Kunihiko lists Maurice Ravel as one of his influences on his MySpace page. I immediately detected the impressionist influence in the music. It's less like Hamauzu (who seems to be in the Debussy school instead of Ravel), and more like...something you've never heard, unless you know Ravel. When Debussy wrote music for a fast tempo, they would typically be very fragmented in the phrasing (not in a bad way, it was a technique, and it sounds great). Ravel was very good at smoothing over his non-traditional melodic phrases, regardless of tempo. Kunihiko does the same thing, and he does it quite well. Kunihiko doesn't limit himself to one style, of course. There is a lot of East Asian influence, industrial influence (Kunihiko cites Nine Inch Nails as a source of inspiration), and other Western classical styles.

A female vocalist added her talents to the score, on a number of tracks, and her ethereal voice reminds me of early Tori Amos. One track, "Song of Moonlight," has a non-lyrical vocal performance that reminds me of Chance Thomas' "Dance of Mystery and Intrigue" (from Quest For Glory V). This particular piece is what caught my attention, and it acted as a gateway, leading me to eventually listen to and fully appreciate the entire soudntrack.

The soundtrack was printed by NCsoft in Korea, but it seems that it can be purchased separately, and some online retail outlets are currently stocking it. I highly recommend purchasing this soundtrack. We at RPGFan have taken note of slight differences in VGM styles among Korean and Japanese composers. But this composer has worked in both countries composing commercial music; atop all this, it seems he is a well-learned composer, and you can expect to hear plenty of wonderful music if you choose to pick up this album. I'll let the audio samples do the rest of the convincing.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann



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