Glodia Music Vol. 2: All Sounds of Vain Dream

 

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Review by · February 9, 2005

Volume 2 of Glodia’s earliest soundtrack releases came one month after the first volume, featuring upgraded synth music for Emerald Dragon. The same process takes place here, but now the game in question is Vain Dream, a title known even less well than Emerald Dragon. Most of the same composers and arrangers are present, including Tenpei Sato; but something is different about this soundtrack.

Maybe it’s the fact that there are 40 tracks. Maybe it’s just my personal taste. I don’t really know what it is. All I do know is that this soundtrack is certainly worth listening to many times over. For its time period, it is a remarkable bit of work featuring some catchy beats, snazzy licks, and whatever else you’d want to find from this “style” of music.

Take a listen, for example, to track 30, “Climax”. The looped rhythm is already enough to make you get up and dance. A syncopated slap bass holds things together while a synthesizer plays a solid melody. Orchestra hits come in on the downbeat to solidify things even further, and then halfway through the track comes the breakdown: one hit after the next, driving you back to the original melody song. The full composition, disregarding the loop, is about 40 seconds long. I could listen to this looped for ten minutes before getting bored. Such is the nature of many songs on this disc.

If you need something slower, try out track 34, “Forest 2”. A background hum (produced by the synth for an Australian aborigines instrument, the “didgeridoo”) sustains the piece, and seems to be as high a quality sound as what you’d hear in more modern compositions (such as Chrono Cross). Woodwinds take the melody, and they take it well. The piece is gentle; something you would expect to hear in a forested area of a videogame. Isn’t it marvelous?

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Another great point for woodwind usage is the game’s opening theme, which is a fun, peppy little number. I love this melody, and I love the the use of the high-hat cymbals to keep the tempo fast. This game apparently didn’t need an “epic” opening theme; just something that would get you into the game. I’m sure this piece accomplished that task, though we are hearing an “upgraded” form of the original piece.

Keep in mind, the tracks sampled are some of my favorites, so there are a few obvious “filler” pieces; but most of these songs are still fairly high quality. I think it’s good to recognize that tracks composed by Sato are no better than tracks composed by anyone else; in other words, these composers all do a great job.

At the time of reviewing this soundtrack, I have now heard four soundtracks from Glodia, and I hope to hear more. I used to think that no one could create music reminiscent of Falcom other than Falcom; no music reminiscent of Konami other than Konami. But here, here in these old obscure games, one can find fresh new takes on some of those classic VGM styles that we all know and love. I am well pleased with the Vain Dream soundtrack, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some more.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.