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Atelier Marie -Alchemist in Salburg- Original Soundtrack :: Review by Charles

Atelier Marie -Alchemist in Salburg- Original Soundtrack Album Title: Atelier Marie -Alchemist in Salburg- Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Gust (1st Edition); Team Entertainment (Reprint)
Catalog No.: 0100801/2; KDSD-10003/4
Release Date: October 1, 2001; September 23, 2004
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Atelier Marie -Alchemist in Salburg- Original Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the very first game in the Atelier series, the PlayStation's Atelier Marie. Toshiharu Yamanishi was the main composer working on this album, though Daisuke Achiwa made his fair share and Akira Tsuchiya served as a guest contributor. Toshiharu Yamanishi's first soundtrack is somewhat of a generic medieval "castle and cave" start to the expansive Atelier series, but there is still a share of good music that might make it worth it in the end.


I thought the Atelier Elie soundtrack really stood out through it's consistency of top grade tracks. On the other hand, the Atelier Marie soundtrack has its share of great music, but there is a lot more generic RPG filler to be found here. There are a lot of random and repetitive silly tunes like "I'm Working Right Now!", "Epic Battle of the Squishy Hammers", and "I Better Hurry". These tracks are upbeat but also very annoying. They don't have enough catchiness to save them so the just end up like annoying fast paced carnival tunes. There are a lot more than just the ones mentioned too, but at least they don't take up the majority of the album or anything. It was Toshiharu Yamanishi and Daisuke Achiwa's first try at this series so they had room to grow, but I guess I expected more.

Another weird thing is that there is also a version of Pachelbel's Canon thrown in here and I can't say why as I've never played this game. It's difficult to hate the original piece — the chord progression is amazing and I fall for it every time. This is a sort of a slow synth version of the piece and it doesn't sound half bad. Still, I own numerous versions of the tune though, and this one doesn't live up to half of them. It kind of shows how Toshiharu Yamanishi didn't exactly go for the gold on this album. The J.S. Bach arrangement "Etude No. 2, Opus 7" is similarly mediocre, especially compared to the original. A lot of the sound quality just isn't cutting it for this PlayStation game either. The many flutes throughout the soundtrack sound nice and have seemed to become a signature instrument in many of the soundtracks. However, the supporting instruments really lack the humanity so important to Atelier soundtracks.

Though I said a lot of the music was generic, there are a couple I personally enjoyed. "Just Smiling is Fine" is a pretty piano ballad. Heavy piano bass can be very powerful. In addition, the piano works a lot better than other instruments when it comes to MIDI music so nothing is distracted from the beauty. "Snow and Memories" was also among the nice tracks with its laidback flute. There are also some bonus tracks at the end of the final disc. The first two "Extra Sessions" are extremely energetic rock tunes that you wouldn't expect from this album. They aren't half bad if you like the idea of rocking Atelier music. The extra sessions are a bit MIDI sounding though, which was a disappointment. "Extra Session 3" is just a full-blown out ballad of Atelier music with multiple parts ranging from energetic to soft. It has a lot more depth to it than the rest of the album. I think this is because guest contributor Akira Tsuchiya tends to give his arrangements the best facelifts he can.


Toshiharu Yamanishi and Daisuke Achiwa's first go at the Atelier series isn't exactly a bad one. When comparing it to other soundtracks in the series, it certainly doesn't live up to many of them, especially since many were on the same systems. It has enough smart composing and interesting instrumentation to stop it from being totally run-of-the-mill, but the Atelier series certainly had room to improve. Luckily the composers took that room and grew from this starting point.

Overall Score: 6/10