My husband has made me listen to countless videogame soundtracks ever since we started dating. Some of them have given me terrible headaches. Others, however, have come to grow on me. I admit that I don’t care for much of anything that is synthesized through a sound chip; I prefer live instruments.
One day, while Patrick was listening to the mammoth-sized Tales of the Abyss OST, I heard a couple of songs that I liked. It turns out that these few songs weren’t composed by the people who normally write music for the series; these were written by “Motoo Fujiwara.” Further research taught us that Fujiwara was the frontman for the band “Bump of Chicken,” who performed the theme song for Tales of the Abyss. It seems that Fujiwara also contributed a number of his own songs, and as such, he decided to release them (along with some extras) on a 30-minute CD. I figured I’d give it a try.
The bookend tracks for this album are string arrangements for “Tone Song,” a simple and enjoyable melody. I slightly prefer the string quartet version, but I also highly enjoy the minimalist sound of the violin solo. A third version of this song, performed by a female vocalist, is also found on the album. However, the string versions are unique to this album, whereas the vocal version is found on the 4-disc OST. The vocal version is definitely not as enjoyable, to me, as the string versions. That doesn’t mean it’s bad by any means.
I wasn’t particularly impressed by Bump of Chicken’s song “Karma,” though my husband scolded me for not appreciating it. Whatever. It’s a cool song I guess.
The rest of the album is filled with synthesized melodies; as I said, not my favorite sound. Many of these melodies are arrangements of the “Karma” theme, and there are variations on other familiar melodies (such as “abyss”) included as well. I’d like to think of it as in exercise in composition and arrangement. And, again, I liked it. Fujiwara’s melodies are certainly enchanting, even if I don’t like his full-band sound.
The live version of “promise” is another exclusive track on the album…I believe there are 3 or 4 songs here that can’t be found on the OST. So, if you want to complete your “Tales of the Abyss” sound experience, or if you like Bump of Chicken, this album is a neat little add-on. As for me, it’s one of the more bearable albums I’ve listened to over the years.