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Atelier Elie Unknown Origin :: Review by Charles

Atelier Elie Unknown Origin Album Title: Atelier Elie Unknown Origin
Record Label: Gust (1st Edition); Team Entertainment (Reprint)
Catalog No.: 0100901/2; KDSD-10005/6
Release Date: November 14, 2001; September 23, 2004
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Atelier Elie Unknown Origin is an arrange soundtrack from the second game of the alchemy-based Atelier series. There's only a select amount of tracks from the game that were arranged, but it definitely is one of those "quality over quantity" situations. Arranged by the very man who composed them, Akira Tsuchiya, this arranged soundtrack stays true to its source and get a gratuitous facelift that shows off some of the best of what this music has to offer.


The complete lack of filler and consistent yet varied tracks are just astounding. The whole album is whimsical, light, and easy to chew, but that doesn't mean it's lacking depth. The music reminds me much of Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure stripped of its lyrics and its cinematic and sometimes unnecessarily orchestral score. There's more electric based music thrown in with more fantasy styled music also and it never feels out of place either way. The first few tracks on the soundtrack, "The Trail of Fallen Leaves", "A Big Production", and "A Sea Urchin's Situation", exemplify the typical sound to expect from the album. They are light, smooth, and fantastical with their rich bells and flutes. "The Story of the Seagull Who Couldn't Fly" is another one of my favorite tracks that shows a worldly, organic and upbeat take of the game.

There is nevertheless considerable diversity in the soundtrack. There's a surprisingly hardcore industrial track towards the middle of the soundtrack, "Welcome to the Room of Distortion!" It works really well in context and is also enjoyable on its own thanks to the its catchy beats. The intro even reminded me of music from the Advance Wars series. In total contrast, "White Reading Olcott" is a cntrasting acoustic guitar pieces. It's very raw and gives some extra humanity to the game along with the likes of "Like the Wind, Like a Bird". "Lover's Correspondence" is another good example of the electric style with catchy beats, synths, pianos, and even telephone beeps, yet the beautiful violin just pulls in all together. It's unique and shows Akira Tsuchiya is not afraid to play around with a few new elements while staying with in the RPG genre.

There are also a couple silly tracks like "A Day Off for Napping", but they are hardly bad enough to count as total filler. There's simply nothing bad on this album. It may not all be professionally orchestrated, but the whole set of arrangements are clear enough for it not to make too much of a difference to the average ear. On Disc Two, there are also three great piano remixes that will satisfy anyone looking for that raw piano sound. The recording quality is great. Sadly they are all mixes of the same exact piece, "If Only It Were Tomorrow". But maybe it's not sad as this vocal theme is really worth listening to in three different forms. Only the jazzy version uses actual vocals though.


Akira Tsuchiya has done a fine job setting all of these different moods with such varied instrumentation and his newfound prominence to the series is welcome. It's a joy to listen to an RPG soundtrack that stands out from the crowd but manages to work for the game at the same time. With that slight mix of Tenpei Sato and Yasunori Mitsuda sound, many RPG fans are sure to love this album. Besides Atelier Iris' music, this would be my most recommended album of the Atelier series.

Overall Score: 9/10