RPGFan


Sanctuary ~ Final Fantasy XI Music from the Other Side of Vana'diel - The Star Onions

[back cover]
Catalog Number: SQEX-10143
Released On: May 20, 2009
Composed By: Naoshi Mizuta, Kumi Tanioka (7), Nobuo Uematsu (9)
Arranged By: Takahito Eguchi, Masakazu Sugimori, Masato Koda, Naoshi Mizuta
Published By: Square Enix
Recorded At: ONKIO HAUS
Format: 1 CD
Buy this CD from Play-Asia
Tracklist:

01 - Voyager
02 - Flowers on the Battlefield
03 - Xarcabard
04 - Fighters of the Crystal
05 - Faded Memories - Promyvion
06 - Mhaura
07 - Gustaberg
08 - Rapid Onslaught -Assault-
09 - Distant Worlds
10 - Griffons Never Die
11 - Wings of the Goddess
Total Time:
52'40"

The Star Onions are back!

Years after one critically successful arranged album, this eclectic group of musicians (primarily, but not exclusively, from Square Enix) return for their second studio album of arrangements from Final Fantasy XI. The album focuses primarily on music from the game's four expansions (all composed by Naoshi Mizuta), though some notable exceptions are in the mix. Kumi Tanioka's "Gustaberg," which the Star Onions have a live recording of as a bonus track to the Chains of Promathia OST, returns with an even stronger arrangement. And the vocal theme "Distant Worlds," composed by Nobuo Uematsu, is also arranged on this album.

Many of these tracks were arranged by Takahito Eguchi, once known as the "other half" of the two-person team headed by Noriko Matsueda (who has since departed the game music industry). However, a notable composer in his own right, Masato Koda (Monster Hunter, et. al.) provided additional arrangement, focusing on strings. The "Manabe Quartet" provides the string performances on this album, which really helps diversify what would have otherwise been little more than a smooth jazz album. The strings help add a refined taste to the arrangements.

The arrangements, in my opinion, are as strong as they are balanced. The original melody to any particular piece is never lost; indeed, melodies are given the rightful attention they deserve. But rhythm, instrumentation, and occasionally the harmonic structure of the original composition, all get a significant upgrade. The general style of the music is "new age" relaxing (what the Japanese refer to as "healing" music), with a little bit of smooth jazz, funk, and classical fused into the soundscape. Check out the "Assault" theme for a solid dose of funk!

There isn't a single track on this album I dislike. I enjoyed the first Star Onions album quite a bit, but "Sanctuary" is even better. The string quartet has a lot to do with this. Particularly, Takahito Eguchi's string arrangements for track 3, "Xarcabard," are beautiful. Koda-san also does a great job with the string section, as he provided string-specific arrangement for "Flowers on the Battlefield." This song is one of the best from the "Shinpei no Altana" (Wings of the Goddess) expansion. I was so happy to hear it in Star Onions format.

What I really enjoy about the Star Onions is that they aren't really "stars." True to their namesake (a bunch of Tarutaru children who make up adventures in FFXI because they have nothing better to do), these musicians do not attempt to blow us away, nor do they attempt to hype their own egos. They work together, and produce simple, beautiful music, like a bunch of Taru youth might do in FFXI.

A friend of mine, however, offers this suggestion: "I don't like the music to FFXI, but I do like this album." So this album isn't just for FFXI players. If you like VGM at all, and you like the style of the music, you'll want to check out this arranged album. It brings Mizuta's songs to life in a way that I was hardly expecting. What a lovely little surprise this album was!

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann



Back



Twitch Schedule & Status

Sunday, June 17
TBA • 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Mondays
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT

Tuesdays
Star Ocean: Second Evolution • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
LoH: Trails in the Sky The 3rd • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Wednesdays
Alundra • 12pm PDT/3pm EDT
LoH: Trails in the Sky The 3rd • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Thursdays
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
LoH: Trails in the Sky The 3rd • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Fridays
Detroit: Become Human • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Guild Wars 2 • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Saturdays
LoH: Trails in the Sky The 3rd • 5pm PDT/8pm EDT

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin Hands-On Preview

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin

Hands-On Preview
Divinity: Original Sin 2 — Definitive Edition Hands-On Preview

Divinity: Original Sin 2 — Definitive Edition

Hands-On Preview
Our Favorite Features: Part Two ~ An RPGFan 20th Anniversary Feature

Our Favorite Features: Part Two

20th Anniversary Feature
Sound of Drop -fall into poison- Review

Sound of Drop -fall into poison-

Review
GreedFall E3 Impressions

GreedFall

Impressions
Sound of Drop - fall into poison - Official Soundtrack Review

Sound of Drop - fall into poison - Official Soundtrack

Review
Retro Encounter 140

Retro Encounter 140

Podcast