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Sakura Note ~A Future Connected to the Present~ Gift of Sound

[back cover]
Catalog Number: N/A
Released On: November 5, 2009
Composed By: Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged By: Nobuo Uematsu
Published By: Marvelous Entertainment
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD

01 - A Future Connected to the Present
02 - About Nanami
03 - Let's Whistle and Go Somewhere
04 - The Cat, Serious!
05 - The Dog, Working Hard!
06 - Nanami's the Heroine?
07 - The Weird Man
08 - A E I U
09 - An Important Phantom Shows Up
10 - It's a Phantom Festival
11 - Fight! Boy
12 - Battle Victory Fanfare
13 - Everyone in This Family
14 - Filthy Sewer Dungeon
15 - The Factory's Just Like a Dungeon
16 - The Construction Building on a Moonlit Night
17 - I'm Always Hills
18 - A Town Filled with Machines
19 - This is the Chicken Shogunate
20 - Unpleasant Premonition • Chest Disturbance
21 - He's a Phantom, but?
22 - Hades University Preparatory Phantom Academy
23 - Got Something Important!
24 - Jumping on the Train with Nanami
25 - To the Legendary Last Battle
26 - Fight! Naskaiser
27 - Try Saying It Kindly
28 - Music Box of Tears
Total Time:

Sakura Note is a new DS RPG, with music by Final Fantasy veteran Nobuo Uematsu. Every time a new project from Uematsu crops up, the community seems either hopeful or nervous. Will this project be another flop? Will it be "average?" Or might it actually meet and surpass our expectations?

After a few listens, here's my short conclusion: the expectations I had for Blue Dragon are fulfilled here. I thought the Blue Dragon OST was fairly weak. I expected it to be light-hearted, but I also expected some decent, memorable VGM. I found none there. However, I found some good stuff here. It's the kind of stuff that says "yes, this is Uematsu!"

The battle theme "Fight! Boy" actually makes a reference to the FF battle themes of the past. There's a two measure break where, for three beats, we have the bass line pounding 8th notes on the tonic, then jumping down one whole step for beat four. You know, the bass line to nearly every FF regular battle theme? Yeah, Uematsu throws it in here, almost as a humorous joke. The rest of the song sounds like a decent, albeit synth-tastic, battle theme from Uematsu.

Melodically, this album does shine quite strong. I think Uematsu gave himself enough time to rest after the Mistwalker projects (Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey); and between this, Level-5's "Fantasy Life," and Final Fantasy XIV, I'd like to believe Uematsu is back on a winning streak. Only time will tell.

Anyone wanting to hear something on par with Uematsu's FF work needs to acknowledge one fact that we as listeners tend to forget: Uematsu doesn't have Square (Enix) behind him for sound programming and synth manipulation. It's all Uematsu's team at Dog Ear Records working with this music. So that distinct FF sound is, at times, severely lacking. Fortunately, his sound team still happily works retro "chiptune" sounds amidst the more sophisticated synths.

The compositions are very "Uematsu" as we've known him. He's not trying to re-invent himself on this soundtrack. He's just busting out a decent handheld RPG soundtrack. That's not a commodity we've been lacking in since the advent of the DS, but it's nice to have something really good from Uematsu for this platform.

The Sakura Note soundtrack was released as a promotional "gift" item with Japanese consumers who got the game. Barring the possibility of a retail release, Uematsu fans had better act fast if they want to add this soundtrack to their collection. Of course, the other possibility may be that this game comes to America and the same promotional soundtrack is released here. Again, time will tell.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann


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