Vain Dream II + Die Bahnwelt Full Arrange Version


Review by · October 24, 2005

Vain Dream II and Die Bahnwelt were titles both released by the company Glodia over a decade ago. It seems that, at this point, Glodia’s older star composer Tenpei Sato had moved on to other projects, and as a result left in-house composer Ikki Nakamura to do the work. Having composed music for Ragnarökkr and other Glodia titles, Nakamura took up the challenge and wrote a number of interesting tunes for the games. Note that this album, however, is an arranged album; here we get to enjoy the music as it is best presented by Nakamura, rather than in its original, limited form.

In general, Vain Dream II has a more medieval and epic feel, whereas Die Bahnwelt sounds more technological and artificial. Both are decent, but I am more prone to enjoying the music from Vain Dream II. Allow me to tell you why.

First of all, Vain Dream II makes use of some outstanding synth sounds. Nakamura is not shy when it comes to using harpsichords and other keyboard-style instruments of previous centuries. These sounds hearken us back to the days of the renaissance and enlightenment. If this is the case with the keyboards, how much more so with the sounds of various flutes, recorders, and whistles that are used to make fast and exciting melodies and trills throughout the game’s score.

Of course, these songs still retain that VGM sound, as none of the sounds come from live, recorded instruments, but rather from some decent high-quality synthesizers. Furthermore, Nakamura is not opposed to using some obviously-artificial sounds in his compositions, be they sustained pads to hold a chord over a softer spot of the music, or eccentric sounds used to create a sense of eerieness or dread.

I sampled four songs from Vain Dream II, including the vocal song “Deep Green Edge.” I enjoyed all four of these songs very much, and you should know that the songs left un-sampled are not any worse than the sampled songs. The entire album is pretty well-done; it’s an accomplishment that Nakamura ought to be proud of even to this day. Though…the vocal song doesn’t fit the rest of the album very well; it’s a super-happy jazz pop song.

Let’s stop for a moment to talk about Die Bahnwelt. Though I enjoyed this score less, I felt that Nakamura still did an excellent job in synth selection and in compositional style. These songs make use of chord progressions that one might consider part of the “new age” genre of music, and the frequent use of piano (rather than harpsichord as we had heard in Vain Dream II) gives me the impression that some Yanni-esque person came in to perform the songs. Take a listen to “Submarine City Ferioul”: combining piano, wailing electric guitar, and a standard trap set that focuses mainly on cymbal-work, we have what could be considered a veritable jam session for the early-alternative rockers of the late 80s and early 90s. If Die Bahnwelt were a decent game worthy of a remake (and I certainly do not know whether or not that is the case as I have never played the game), I would want to see these arranged tracks used for the soundtrack. I’m sure the result would be magnificent.

A few online retailers still managed to keep this album in stock over many years, including If you’re interested in the few games and soundtracks from Glodia, this album might be a good place to start.

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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.