A man turns to you, and he yawns. "Welcome", he says, in between sighs, "to RPGFan's review of..." yawning, the man collapses on the ground and falls into a deep sleep, unable to finish the sentence.
Alright, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit: Falcom's tome to New Age music, "Preprimer II", isn't quite that boring or sleep-inducing. In fact, there are a few sections to this otherwise soft album that I would be willing to call "lively." They are certainly few and far between, but they exist nonetheless.
One such lively moment is found in "An Evening Breeze"; every now and again, the song picks up and moves into a bouncy jazz section, and the piano offers a sweet little four measure solo: then things slow back down, and the strings have the melody again.
I was also taken to track 6's arrangement of "Josephine", one of my all-time favorite Sorcerian melodies. This arrangement features a fiendishly long pause between the introductory plucked strings section and the move to the melody of the song itself: this happens two or three times in the arrangement, and each time you think "is it over already?", and then you are pleasantly surprised to hear one of Falcom's greatest songs ever written. Fujisawa does it right on this track.
Though these two songs are good, and there are plenty of other good moments, the fact is that this hour-long, ten-track album has a whole lot of standard New Age boredom filling in the gaps between one good minute and another. Yes, these songs are relaxing, but they are sometimes relaxing to the point of pure and unequivocal boredom. My typical reaction is to turn the music off and go do something worthwhile with my life. Maybe that's a good thing: reverse psychology through music?
In comparing this album to the first Preprimer, I will say that this one has a somewhat more diverse song selection: pulling from Xanadu, Sorcerian, and Ys III, rather than a whole slew of tracks from Ys and Ys II. The first is probably preferable to this second album, but the second album does have a unique flair to it that isn't found on the first album. That may be hard to believe, but just trust me: I know what I'm talking about here.
Of course, if you're the Falcom nut that even cares to read this review, you probably already know that this album is not easy to find. Printed in 1991 and not reprinted since, I would bet that you'd be a lucky man to find this album for $40 or less anywhere on the internet. Unless, of course, the demand was as low as the supply, and then maybe you could snag a good deal off of someone. The point is, don't expect to add this one to your Falcom collection anytime soon. After listening to the samples, you'll probably have had your fair share of soft piano trio music for the time being.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann