Sorcerian Super Arrange Version II Plus Sorcerian System Vol.1

 

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Review by · February 9, 2005

Note: The name of this soundtrack, along with its ominous “you’re not getting a fully arranged disc” subtitle, is “Sorcerian Super Arange Version II – Plus Sorcerian System Vol.1”.

Let’s just start with the good stuff, okay?

Hiroyuki Nanba, to me, is a one-of-a-kind arranger. He takes some of the best melodies Falcom has to offer, and from that can make an assortment of beautiful arrangements using one of my least favorite genres of music: “smooth jazz”. Right from the start, “Beautiful Day” has that bouncy jazz feel you might hear on the radio or the weather channel, but the saxophone solo later into the track says that this isn’t the work of some dime-a-dozen musician who lacks talent. No, it’s going to be good from here on out.

The next track is decidedly my favorite on the whole album. Imagine playing Sorcerian, staring at a menu screen of all things, and then Hiroyuki Nanba steps out of the screen and says, “hey y’all. I’m just gonna spice this one up a bit.” That is basically what’s happening with “The Choice is Yours”: a song that you used to say was “okay, I guess” is now “definitely a solid bit of music.” On this track, expect to hear organ, electric and acoustic guitar, and a jazz flute that will blow your mind. I absolutely adore this song.

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Jazz organ and slap bass dominate the next track, and Nanba again does his tricks to turn a fairly good song into a really good song. It has the standard run through the melody, and then a breakdown with some solos (which seems to be the Nanba formula, also a standard jazz formula). I liked this track, but not as much as the others.

Taking a drastic and unexpected turn, the Olympus “Village” theme of track 4 is basically some solid chamber orchestra music. Strings, harpsichord, and an unlikely synth work together to form a very beautiful tapestry of music. The next track uses many of the same instruments, and it’s almost as if Fujisawa (head of the “new age” arrangements) had a chance to step in and do his thing, but no, it truly is Nanba doing the work on this one! Suffice it to say that if you can take some old Falcom track and turn it into this, you should probably try to get a job in VGM as well: I don’t think many people can do it with such precision and genius.

Track 6 rounds out the good stuff with another “Village” theme, this one much more mellow, but not like chamber music. This song speaks of a foreboding evil, but no present danger to worry about. Again, a solid piece.

Track 7, apparently, is also arranged, but it is entirely synthesized, and quite frankly, I do not hesitate to skip this track. I don’t think the original composition is that great, and I don’t think Nanba did much to make it better either.

The next 20 tracks are all original synthesized tracks, direct from the game to your CD player. These songs are nothing to laugh at, but after listening to Nanba’s arrangements, it is hard to say “man, this sure is good stuff as well!” without wanting to hit the “back” button on the CD player. Hearing these original tracks, I have to say that Nanba did some good work with track selection on his arrangements: some of these songs wouldn’t have worked well in any arranged form, so the songs he did pick are pretty good choices.

One can lament that there aren’t more arranged tracks, but that’s what Volume I is for. Get it straight: seven arranged tracks, twenty original tracks, one CD. That’s what SAV II is all about, and I am generally pleased with the result. Remember, this thing was originally released in 1988…that’s a long time ago.

As for purchase, good luck finding the originals. They are few and far between. The reprint, which was released a solid 11 years after the original print), can be purchased at Falcom’s Website for something like 2000 yen, or about $20. Again, you need to know some basic Japanese or have some sort of guide to get yourself around this non-English site.

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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.