“Oh dear… what have we here? Are you a new servant?”
Music for the Daughters of Chaos, one of the groups with whom the player may form a covenant in Dark Souls. The sad story is only hinted at in the course of a normal playthrough, but the music by Motoi Sakuraba gives full vent to the sisters’ tragic history.
“Beautiful Area” by Akihisa Yamaguchi– certainly not the first, or second, or even the third thing would have come to mind if given only the name of the game soundtrack it comes from: Gran Turismo 5.
“Brain Wash (Stage 4-1)” is a somewhat arresting track by Junichi Masuda for the Mega Drive game Pulseman. The developer, Game Freak, subsequently created Pokémon, for which Masuda wrote much of the initial music. Today, Masuda is on the board of directors of Game Freak and one of the leaders of the Pokémon franchise.
It’s not every day that the modern working composer gets a chance to quote the likes of Chopin and Rachmaninoff piano concertos at their most bombastic, which is why Chris Velasco must have had fun with this track, the appropriately floridly named “Blood Thirst Concerto” from Soul Calibur V.
In Heian-era Japan, the imperial court magician Abe no Seimei explains certain fundamentals of spellcraft to the good-hearted but buffoonish young noble Minamoto no Hiromasa as they stroll through town.
I like the way there is no wonder or fear attempted in this piece even though the topic of conversation is about curses leveled by vengeful spirits. Such topics, of course, were part of everyday life at this point in history, and this cue captures the curious but familiar presence of such forces, while underscoring the rhythm of their unhurried walk.
From the soundtrack to the 2001 film Onmyōji (陰陽師), composed by Shigeru Umebayashi.
Even if you aren’t a fan of chiptunes, this jazzy interpretation of Nobuo Uematsu’s Final Fantasy series theme (with a little Bach detour) by the band YMCK is remarkable solely on the basis of its playful, virtuoso musicality.
This is “The Beginning,” my favorite cue from Demon’s Souls, in which the fall of a kingdom is recounted not with “epic” horns and choir but an intimate string arrangement. Instead of focusing on the scale of the disaster, we are taken inside of King Allant XII’s head as he weakly makes the decisions that lead to catastrophe. Music by Shunsuke Kida.
“You fool. Don’t you understand? No one wishes to go on.”
Among Yasunori Mitsuda’s lesser known works is the score for the obscure and poorly reviewed 2001 PS2 game Tsugunai: Atonement*. Neither the game nor the score really stood out, but Mitsuda’s hallmark sounds and rhythms can be clearly heard in this track, “Departure,” which evokes some of the work he did for Xenogears (prior) and Xenosaga (after).
*tsugunai means “atonement”, so the fully translated English name of this game could be said to be Atonement: Atonement.
This is Yoshimitsu’s theme from Tekken Tag Tournament by sanodg (Nobuyoshi Sano). The voice can be heard saying: “no eye, no ear, no nose, no mouth, no body, no mind, no shape, no shape.” It seems to be an adapted translation of a part of the Heart Sutra of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Nothing I have read (which is, admittedly, little) suggests that Yoshimitsu, the character, is a of a fanatical Buddhist bent, but that suggestion in the music is interesting.
Accoring to Wikipedia, the story of El Shaddai: Ascention of the Metatron “is inspired by the apocryphal Book of Enoch, and follows Enoch, a priest seeking seven fallen angels to prevent a great flood from destroying mankind. He is helped in his quest by Lucifel, a guardian angel in charge of the protection of the world who exists outside of the flow of time, and four Archangels.”
One might be forgiven for not immediately making the connection upon hearing A Mirror Reflecting Images, by Kazuhiko Sawaguchi, from the game’s soundtrack.