The Japanese bonus artbook/soundtrack combo for Atelier Totori is a rare little treat. The artwork, of course, is brilliant. And the soundtrack, by Ken Nakagawa, features a collection of new/original/unused tunes, as well as arrangements of songs he and Yanagawa-san wrote for the Atelier Totori OST.
This 30 minute bonus CD is something of an “image” album. It gives an image, specifically, of a day in the life of Totori. You wake up early (5:00 am, apparently), to the ambient sounds of the morning and some soothing, ethnic winds and strings. The rooster crows at the end of the first track, and morning begins in earnest.
Among the original compositions for this disc, the next track, “Down the Hill, To the Town” is the best and most developed. It could have very easily fit in the game, but for whatever reason, was left unused.
Nakagawa then handily arranges some tunes in the next three tracks. We do some window shopping with an arrangement of “A Storekeeper in a Small Village.” Then, in the arranged track “Cooking Waltz,” we hear melodies from the Totori track “The Sun Shining Through.” Totori takes some time to learn music in the afternoon, with track 5 “Organ Lesson.” In this track, we hear simple melodic versions of the tracks “Atelier Totori” and “Carefree” from the OST.
Now for track 6, we get a mix of new material and arrangements from the OST. The track runs over 5 minutes, the longest on the disc, and is easily my favorite overall (mostly for the new arrangement of “I Can Still Walk”).
Track 7, “Talking,” takes place at 8:00 pm. Apparently Totori is talking with someone in another town entirely, as the music source here is “Village of the Fleeting Snow” from the Totori OST. Finally, Nakagawa allows our friendly alchemist to go to sleep with the original melodic theme for the late-night “Epilogue” track.
This album works really well as a cohesive unit, especially because of all the timing-appropriate sound effects (walking/running footsteps, streams running, crickets chirping, the rustling of tree leaves, etc). For me, it’s not as good as the Meruru bonus album, which featured some really impressive music and a great arrangement of the Mana Khemia battle theme “Nefertiti.” This album is far more simple and relaxing than the Meruru or Rorona albums. In some ways, I like that, but it certainly isn’t Nakagawa’s most technically impressive work.