The end of the Layton trilogy marks the end of a series of strange, enigmatic tunes written by Level-5’s in house composer, Tomohito Nishiura. But I promise you, Nishiura goes out with a bang, as I feel this is without question the strongest of the three soundtracks! Why?
For starters, there’s the opening track. All three games have great opening tracks, but “Theme of the Last Time Travel” is performed live by a self-named “Layton Grand Caravan Orchestra,” as are bonus tracks 24, 25, and 26. These performances are all great, but the opening track in particular shows the “Grand Caravan Orchestra” in full stride. What a beautiful song.
Though the synthesized part of the OST, which makes up the bulk of disc, still uses a limited range of synths, it is unlike the previous two soundtracks in that it doesn’t rely on the novelty of the instrumentation to be interesting. Yes, the accordion dominates, and we also hear plenty of piano and strings, but Nishiura’s compositions show such masterful talent on this album, I have to wonder if he intentionally saved his best for last. Lots of 20th century techniques are used: minimalism, 12-tone/atonal/chromatic composition, polyrhythmic patterns, etc. There’s also, certainly, some jazz influence found throughout the album (see “Casino Number 7”). These are some of Nishiura’s strongest compositions to date. But, I must point out, there was one song where I thought he ripped the melody straight off of “Feena” from the Ys series. Listen to track 13…yeah? Isn’t that Feena? I know, right!
But the best part is saved for the end. The bonus tracks are fantastic! Some are live recordings, whereas others are “upgraded” synth arrangements. The last six tracks make up nearly 20 minutes of the album, and they’re all arranged. And, in my opinion, these arrangements are better than what I heard on the other two albums (definitely better than Pandora’s Box; I’m not entirely certain how I feel about these versus the arrangements on Curious Village). “London 3” and “Huge Weapon” stood out most to me, though I will say that “Hexagon Tower” is good too. It’s just not different enough from the OST version. Why make an arrangement of something when the OST version is already fantastic? If you do that, you had best be prepared to create some marvelous arrangements. And I’m not sure this happened in the case of Hexagon Tower.
If you look at Nishiura’s discography: Dark Chronicle, Rogue Galaxy, and now the Layton trilogy, it’s difficult to say which is his best. Most people will go to Dark Chronicle, and I am inclined to go that route as well. However, if you separate the Layton trilogy into the three separate albums, I have to say that this album is top-notch. There’s very little “filler” music. It all held my interest, from start to finish, through multiple listens. That’s usually a good sign. Hopefully that information helps you decide whether or not to make a purchase.