This bonus soundtrack just makes me angry. Why not include this on the full OST?
I mean, I get it. Bonus item for the people who bought the limited edition. Spiffy artbook, bonus music CD. But why is the bonus music entirely a full grade better than the rest of the soundtrack?
I'm not kidding. Track for track, this bonus soundtrack is Atelier elite. The preview/TV music "Until the Curtain is Raised" loops a simple melodic pattern on orgel and builds more and more until it just becomes something larger than life. The percussion, the brass, and the rest of the orchestra come together to present an epic fanfare. It's like Gust is ushering in a new era.
There are some live instrument recordings on almost every track on the disc. I'm almost positive that everything on the track "Determination" was recorded, not programmed or sequenced. This is one of the best tracks on the disc, and is largely representative of the entire Atelier series at its best: catchy, rhythmic, "World" music.
The short piano solo track "Beginning of Night" serves as a wonderfully calming piece amidst the excitement of the rest of the album. A great "mid-point" for these 30 minutes of audio, even though it's technically only about 10 minutes in. The lengthy tracks come in the second half.
Among them, we have the track "Go Around Arls!" which features bandneon (accordion-ish instrument) and a variation of the Arland series main melody heard in "Mysterious Recipe." We also have the incredibly strong ethnic/mysterious/wild-world track "Phosphorescence." This is the kind of song that helps me remember the beautiful nature and small-town scenery that the Atelier series is so good at exhibiting: grassy plains, open seas, snow-capped mountains. Happy times are here again.
And, to top it all off, Toshinori Hiramatsu comes in with one of his insane rock guitar tracks at the end. You remember when SSH did those rock arrange albums with Hiramatsu-san for Atelier Iris 1 and 2? It's basically that, but for a track that I'd nearly forgotten about: Nefertiti, the incredible boss theme from Mana Khemia. It makes me wish they'd do a third album in that SSH rock series, one that would now cover the entire 13 --soon to be 14-- part series. Nefertiti 2011 is proof it could work.
Sadly, none of these tracks are included in NISA's limited edition soundtrack. If I had my way though, I'd have made sure most of these tracks were included in the US LE package. It's a fantastic collection of music.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann