Now this is what I’m talkin’ about!
The first KH piano collection was terribly underwhelming. Why? The arrangements were primarily character and town themes. No one remembers that music from the Kingdom Hearts series. The only really memorable track on that whole album was “Dearly Beloved,” since that’s the title music. The rest of the music appears so infrequently in the game that it was just hard to care.
With this second album, “Field & Battle,” the track selection is right on. These are the pieces that Yoko Shimomura wrote to capture specific Disney worlds, as well as the incredibly catchy battle tunes that she managed to pen in the last seven years. The only character theme on here appears almost as a bonus track: it’s music for Xion, the character exclusive to the DS title 358/2 Days.
Across this album, we experience a strong, diverse range of music. Fast and slow, loud and soft, technically complex and emotionally moving, classical and modern, tense and soothing. It’s all here. Of course, we should expect as much diversity from three arrangers and four performers for a 9-track album.
This, of course, brings me to my only real complaint about the album. As impressive as it all is, it’s under 40 minutes, and there were still plenty of other Kingdom Hearts pieces I want to hear for piano. Destati? The “Deep Dive” music? Maybe something from the “Tron” zone? And there were plenty more battle themes that could have been selected for the album as well. The “medley of conflict” (track 8) hits some of them, but I’d have preferred to have each of these tracks get their own full-blown arrangement.
If it had meant a six month delay for the album’s release to get four more tracks, I would’ve settled for that. But it seems this album was timed to be released with Birth by Sleep (PSP) in Japan. So I guess I’ll have to settle for this small, but extremely impressive, collection of music to make up for the completely forgettable first Piano Collection. If you can find this album for a price that fits your budget and expectations, do pick it up. Every track is a winner, even the ones not sampled here.