Infinite Undiscovery OST

[back cover]
Catalog Number: SQEX-10122~4
Released On: October 8, 2008
Composed By: Motoi Sakuraba
Arranged By: Motoi Sakuraba
Published By: Square Enix
Recorded At: Memory-Tech
Format: 3 CDs
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Disc One
01 - Supernal Epic
02 - Procession of the Order
03 - Soaring Blade
04 - Blue Horizon
05 - Dewdrops in the Morning Wind
06 - Step Into a New World
07 - Town in Despair
08 - Claridian Enchained
09 - Hymn to the Headless Knight
10 - Bless the Bountiful Land
11 - The Azure King
12 - Beguiling Mirages
13 - Colorful Days
14 - Fire Dancers
15 - The Crimson Emir
16 - Divine Wings
17 - Message
18 - Cries of a Twisted World
19 - The Lonely Path
20 - Home Sweet Home
21 - The Slovenly Serenade
22 - Promise
23 - Until We Dream
24 - Fleeing Dog Rhapsody
25 - Cleaving Blade
26 - Ferocious Valor
27 - Onslaught
Total Time:

Disc Two
01 - Garden of the Immortals
02 - Swelling Madness
03 - Towering Behemoth
04 - Gray Harbor
05 - Pure Alabaster
06 - The Alabaster King
07 - Abundant Harvest
08 - The Amber Empress
09 - Memories of the Past
10 - Cavernous Corridors
11 - Poisoned Land
12 - Impure Waters
13 - Ballad of the Bony Wolf
14 - March of the Brave
15 - Hesitant Step
16 - The World Awaits
17 - Precipice
18 - Misshapen Form
19 - Lingering Shadows
20 - Moonless Depths
21 - Deadly Premonitions
22 - Air of Authority
23 - Requiem Feline
24 - Knight of the Order
25 - Fearsome Strength
26 - The Reaper Calls
Total Time:

Disc Three
01 - Recollections in the Water
02 - Wavering in the Darkness
03 - Forbidden Ground
04 - Dark Skies and Seas
05 - Forgotten Bard
06 - Against the Unknown
07 - Steadfast Spear
08 - Heaven and Earth Collide
09 - Porcelain Tears
10 - Another Challenge
11 - Armadillo Bolero
12 - Fleeting Reminiscence
13 - Tearful Memories
14 - Disquieting Sanctuary
15 - Endless Struggle
16 - Unbreakable Resolve
17 - Stygian Sneer
18 - Unchain the World
19 - Glorious Victory
20 - The Brink of Despair
21 - Prelude to Liberation
22 - Lullaby
23 - Bridge to Happiness
24 - The Endless Stream
25 - Evening Star
Total Time:

I should preface my review by stating that I have not played Infinite Undiscovery, but the soundtrack makes me wish that I had. Yet more incentive to purchase an Xbox 360. Although many reviews of Infinite Undiscovery vary in their recommendation of the game, I can assure you that the soundtrack is sure to not disappoint. From the soft and somber mood of piano-centric "The Lonely Path" to the gradually epic sound of "The Endless Stream," this soundtrack will satiate any listener's tastes. All moods and instruments are represented here. Motoi Sakuraba's hard work is demonstrated in the wealth of different styles and instruments used throughout this album.

Many say that Sakuraba has been branching out as of late, trying to cover or experiment with different styles of composition. Infinite Undiscovery's soundtrack makes this attempt clear. Some tracks come across as traditionally Western, while others, like "The Crimson Emir" have a striking Asian sound to them. This success in variety should be applauded, as most of the changes in style come across as if he has always been composing this way.

Sakuraba's expertise as a composer is made clear in tracks like "Endless Struggle," where he takes what many would consider a complete sound for a high-tension battle sequence, and adds bells in just the right places. One could imagine the piece without bells, and it would be satisfactory, but with the bells, the piece truly feels complete and epic. In fact, Sakuraba uses bells affectionately throughout the soundtrack. An example of a piece with a more central focus on bells is "Wavering in the Darkness," where listeners are welcomed with a soft compilation of piano and bells, followed by a creeping, brief organ segment (the darkness), and a slow return to the soft beginning as the organ stops chiming in.

However, for those of you who are fans of Sakuraba's use of flutes, fear not. Sakuraba continues to use flutes in a charming, moving way as he has in several previous titles. "Abundant Harvest" uses flutes in an easy going, almost listless way, and then uses them more intensely in short spurts, until the two sounds become one in a grander sound, and then a return to peace. One might assume that such interweaving would be chaotic, breaking the sense of immersion, but Sakuraba truly composes a story in these short, three to four minute tracks.

In fact, this style of soft-hard-soft is used frequently throughout the soundtrack. Whether or not this is a trick to make the tracks fleshed out or not I cannot discern, but I will say that many folks will be tricked, if that's the case. The sounds are not only full, rich, and appropriate for their individual stories, but truly do feel like brief journeys, as is often heard in several longer Western orchestra pieces.

Some of these journeys are forgettable, unfortunately. I cannot say every track dazzled me, but I will say that those that did not catch my attention were easy to listen to–perhaps too easy. Unlike Uematsu, who I would argue has very few forgettable tracks, Sakuraba can occasionally put in tracks that don't have enough "wow" to them. This is forgivable, of course, and perhaps this is even appropriate, but I often forget that I'm listening to music and zone out. Tales of Symphonia and Star Ocean The Second Story come to mind when I think of other games guilty of this. To call this boredom would be unfair, but I did not feel engaged, either. "The Reaper Calls" falls into this category, because it doesn't necessarily have anything extra to it. Generic and typical are the best words to describe this track. Maybe if there were more bells...

One last thing I would like to comment on is the appropriate title versus sound. Pick any title on the soundtrack, and you can almost guess exactly what the piece will sound like. I'm sure to those who have played the game, they already know this. However, this seems to be a particular strength of most Japanese composers. Some of the best fits I found on the album were "Procession of the Order" with its emphasis on snare drums and long, deep horns, and "Town in Despair," which is particularly–and rightfully so–depressing.

I can only imagine that those of you reading this who have already played the game have nodded in agreement throughout the review. For those of you who are gaming music fans, or just fans of Sakuraba's work, I recommend this album not only for its plentiful library of impressive pieces, but as an example of Sakuraba's growth, even after twenty years of composition. Modest reviews or not, this soundtrack has taught me two things: 1) I should give Infinite Undiscovery a playthrough if I ever buy an Xbox 360, and 2) Life needs more bells.

Reviewed by: Bob Richardson


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