What a strange album. There is no cohesion at all, but if you can stomach listening to two entirely different musical styles on the same disc, back and forth, then you will love this album. And what are those two styles? String quartet (with piano), and late ’80s J-pop.
Six tracks are the cheesey J-pop vocals performed by Kotono Mitsuishi (whom, I believe, did Japanese voice acting for Lilia in the original version of Ys). These songs have no connection to actually Ys melodies. They are originally composed, and are best understood as “image” tracks. That said, they retain a very familiar Falcom-esque sound, so if you like the Falcom Vocal Collections, you might like these songs as well.
The other four tracks, which are instrumental arrangements of four classic Ys themes (all of which have also had vocal arrangements), are performed by the Haruki Mino Quartet. It’s a standard piano/string group, and the arrangements are similar to what Fujisawa and others in Falcom would later do as “New Age” arrangements (such as Preprimer). In terms of personal preference, I was a much bigger fan of these tracks. Mostly classical, with a light jazz influence, these songs are perfect “easy listening” pieces, with some of the best recording quality I’ve seen from early Falcom CDs. Rance Village (aka “Too Full With Love”) is my favorite track on the whole album, for what it’s worth.
But are the four “quartet” pieces worth hunting down this album? Probably not. You have to be into the J-pop image songs to have a full appreciation for this album. Being an old Falcom album, though, it’s still a good CD for collectors to get ahold of. I don’t plan on parting with my copy anytime soon.