Filling the gap between the Ar tonelico trilogy and the recently localized Ar nosurge, GUST developed a hybrid simulator/RPG with social networking elements called Ciel nosurge. As content was released over time, three separate vocal albums (the Genometric Concert series) were released in quick succession. This first album is very short: only 20 minutes in length.
One of the truly enjoyable aspects of this album is that it is not exclusively an Akiko Shikata album. Don’t get me wrong: Akiko Shikata is an amazing woman, and she has managed to help this franchise not only stay alive, but evolve from one soundscape to another with each successive title. She is, without a doubt, a genius. However, it is nice to hear more voices than just hers on a vocal album. That might be why I so enjoy Minami Kizuki’s vocal performance on track 3, “Roar of Earth and Heavens.” Though this piece is composed and arranged by Shikata, having Kizuki perform the song brings a significant change to the sound.
The other non-Shikata vocal performance is found on track 5, “Neptlude.” This song is arranged by HIR, but all other aspects (composition, vocal performance, lyrics) are handled by Haruka Shimotsuki, an incredible vocalist in her own right whose bright voice has brought magic and life to many great Japanese games. “Neptlude” is fun and catchy. It may not be as epic as “Ahih rei-yah” or “Quell,” but it is bouncy and lovely. Fans of Atelier Iris and the first Ar tonelico will definitely appreciate “Neptlude.”
Fans who preordered this first volume received a box in the mail that was designed to hold the planned three-volume set. True to their word, Gust did print two more albums, so there are some lucky fans — and I’m sad to say I’m not one of them — who have a complete Genometric Concert box set for Ciel nosurge. A full reprint of that box set, perhaps paired with the Ar nosurge Genometric Concert albums, would be lovely. Just putting it out there, GUST!