Now and then, Gust takes a break from developing titles for their long-running Atelier series to try something a little different. Most recently, we saw this happen in their joint project with Banpresto, "Ar tonelico." In 2003, well before Atelier Iris, Gust developed and published "Taishou Mononoke Ibunroku."
The game's title hints at the genre of music used for the game: traditional Asian, particularly with wind and percussion instruments. The rhythmic styles and melodic patterns are much the same as what one can hear on the Atelier Judie OST, but the emphasis on Chinese and Japanese styles makes for a very different soundtrack overall.
"Different" is about all I can say in comparing this soundtrack to previous Gust endeavors. I'm not sure I can judge whether it is overall better or worse. One thing I can say is that the soundtrack is shorter, with only one disc of music.
The opening and ending vocal tracks (Kagirohi and Yuzuriha) are both unique. The vocal performance emulates a style of singing that I don't know how to categorize, but I recognize its dissimilarity from most Japanese songs, particularly theme songs for games.
This soundtrack's instrumentation reminds me of Tengai Makyou, but the melodies aren't as easily recalled. The soundtrack is relaxing; even the faster songs can be soothing if the volume is low enough.
Besides a few of the more stimulating battle themes, it's best to describe the soundtrack as a "breezy" collection; it feels nice as it goes by, but even as it passes, you could not care one way or the other whether it stays or goes. If I were to pick the defining quality of this soundtrack, it is exactly that: lovely, original, but ultimately fleeting.
This soundtrack was printed directly by Gust, before they started working with Team Entertainment. Hence, locating the soundtrack is a bit of a challenge. Gust still sells it at their own website, but they do not ship outside of Japan.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann