Atelier Ayesha ~Alchemist of the Ground of Dusk~ OST
Catalog Number: GUSTCD-10007~9
Released On: June 27, 2012
Composed By: Daisuke Achiwa, Kazuki Yanagawa, Yu Shimoda, Georges Bizet
Arranged By: Daisuke Achiwa, Kazuki Yanagawa, Yu Shimoda
Published By: Gust
Recorded at: D-Sound, Studio Fine
Format: 3 CDs

Disc One
01 - Flower Sign (Full Ver.)
02 - Flower Offering
03 - Guidance
04 - Recollection Hill
05 - Sleeping Earth
06 - Illusion
07 - Journey to the New World
08 - Invitation Flower ~ Spring
09 - Rain in the Dried Up Valley
10 - Sylpheed
11 - Frontier Laughter
12 - Excavate Polka
13 - Even Today is Still Today
14 - Flower Scented Forest
15 - A Single Beam of Light
16 - Let's Try It!
17 - If You Walk Down Main Street
18 - Baby Bird
19 - Charmed By a Cow
20 - North Wind Musette
21 - Wind, Earth and Sentiments Sonnet
22 - Tangomushi
23 - Nice to Meet You!
24 - The Sign is Fleeting from the Mist
25 - Silent Hill
26 - Gnome
27 - A Flower Blooming Nearby ~ on orgel
28 - Pen and the Sword
29 - Getting Closer
30 - Yesterday's Opponents are Today's Ingredients
31 - Sagittarius
32 - Milkyway
Total Time:

Disc Two
01 - Invitation Flower ~ Summer
02 - Earth's Whisper
03 - Very Ordinary
04 - Memorizing!
05 - Just a Coffin and an Automaton
06 - Purple Smoke
07 - It's an Older Sister's Incident
08 - Wish for Treasure
09 - Undine
10 - Glass Cotton Flower
11 - Recipe
12 - At My Pace
13 - Merchant March
14 - Start!
15 - Scapon Detector 77AVturboZmkIISR
16 - Result!
17 - Dance of Dripping Water
18 - A Holiday at the Plaza
19 - Sunshine Rondo
20 - Invitation Flower ~ Autumn
21 - The Man in the High Mountain
22 - Heat Haze
23 - Confrontation
24 - Salamander
25 - Cheeks Stained by the Color of the Setting Sun
26 - Splendid Place
27 - Frostflower
28 - Tomorrow is Still Tomorrow
29 - Sparkle
30 - Hanage Military History
31 - I'm at the Bazaar
32 - Suddenly Refreshing
33 - Thanks!
Total Time:

Disc Three
01 - Invitation Flower ~ Winter
02 - Manifestation
03 - Slag Toccata
04 - A Flower Blooming Nearby
05 - Dream-Weaving House (Recorder Ver.)
06 - Floating Islands
07 - Close to the Edge
08 - Vestiges of Technology
09 - Artemis
10 - A Far, Far, Distant Place
11 - Moon Guidance
12 - Slag Dance
13 - Swinging Hair Ornaments
14 - Variety
15 - Altair
16 - FJ: Meteo Storm
17 - FJ: Lady End
18 - FJ: Raging Edge
19 - FJ: Grand Slam
20 - FJ: Ancient One
21 - FJ: Pana Special (Zundoko)
22 - FJ: Pana Special (Tetteke)
23 - FJ: Pana Special (Ninnio)
24 - FJ: Pana Special (Hazure)
25 - Flower Sign (OP Edit)
26 - Flower Sign (Off Vocal)
27 - Flower Sign (Instrumental)
28 - Altair (Off Vocal)
29 - Altair (Instrumental)
Total Time:

Project A14, Atelier Ayesha, marks a continually evolving Gust. Especially in their music. Long-gone is the Nakagawa/Achiwa/Tsuchiya trio that made their sound team huge. Daisuke Achiwa is still around, and actually did a fair bit of Ayesha's music. Yanagawa-san, who joined up for the Arland trilogy (Rorona / Totori / Meruru) is on point as well. Neither of these two are contracted under Gust: they've gone freelance. We also have newcomer Yu Shimoda contributing a few instrumental tracks. Also, you'll notice that Gust is no longer publishing their music via Team Entertainment: they've gone back to self-publication, though they are distributing their albums through various outlets, including CDJapan.

This is also the largest Atelier soundtrack to date. The previous record-holder was A13, Atelier Meruru, which was also 3 discs, but its first disc was just vocal tracks and then a variety of instrumental arrangements of those vocal tracks, so ... less OST content proper. This is 3 discs of full OST, and it has a whole separate vocal album (Twilight Hour).

Ayesha takes the music in a decidedly more acoustic direction. One performer, Kou Ogata, plays whistles, concertina, mandolin, bouzouki and an Irish drum known as a bodhran. The recorded instruments make a huge difference on this album. Atelier has been moving more and more away from the vocal-heavy chants (Haruka Shimotsuki et al) and more and more towards an authentic, provincial sound.

I also detect a bit of Hisaishi-envy, though. Check out one of the opening tracks, "Sleeping Earth." That orchestral writing with featured solo instruments ... it sounds like it could've come straight out of Mononoke or Spirited Away. Not that I'm complaining! I really enjoy it!

It's not all acoustic. There's this great power-rock battle theme on disc one, "Yesterday's Opponents are Today's Ingredients," probably one of the best and most interesting Atelier tracks I've heard in a decade. No kidding, I was completely floored by the style of this one.

And it's not ENTIRELY moved away from the chant vocals. Sure, they aren't the feature presentation (opening theme, main theme, etc). But they do appear, and they sound almost exactly like the style of "Melkaba" from Xenogears: CREID. Where can one hear these strange and beautiful vocals? Disc 2, track 8, "Wish for Treasure." Check it out. It's a tiny but welcome reference to the Atelier games I grew up with.

Extra care was paid by this new team on the "Invitation Flower" season tracks. Each and every one of them is awesome, easily some of the best tracks on the OST.

Ooh, and check out "Vestiges of Technology." The melodic consistency against varied layers and levels of sound, the intensity of the drums, that beautiful violin solo -- this is another good one. And if you're looking for a solid Gust battle theme, look no further than the boss battle track "Artemis," which comes right after. Guitar and bass are jamming out at a fiery 16th-note pace while ... mandolin and piano combined into one packaged synth? ... take the lead.

I was worried about what might happen to Gust since there's been so much transition, but it seems they're staying the course: or, rather, continuing to pave a way forward. Screw it, I suck at metaphors. Let's just say that I'm wonderfully surprised and pleased that the track record for this series' music has continued to impress this lowly reviewer.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann