Atelier Ayesha Recollection Archives :: Review by Max
On the same day as the original soundtrack, two additional albums were released by Gust for the latest entry of the Atelier series. One of these was the Atelier Ayesha Recollection Archives, which comes with purchases from the Gust Shop. It features DLC tracks from Atelier Meruru and a few unused tracks from Atelier Ayesha.
The first half of the Atelier Ayesha Recollection Archives is dedicated to Atelier Meruru's DLC. Kazuki Yanagawa's sole contribution "pinakes" opens the album in experimental fashion with bubbling electronics, which have a kind of retro feeling. While the melody itself is catchy, the theme is lacking in terms of depth and imagination compared to other tracks from the composer. It's better to enjoy his tracks from the game's main soundtrack instead.
Daisuke Achiwa then takes over the lead with remixes of "Terminus" from Atelier Totori and "Alas de Luz" from Mana-Khemia. He stays true to the orchestral basis of the former, while refining Ken Nakagawa's original with his own fingerprints, like the focus on piano arpeggios and bombastic brass segments. The latter is even better than the original with its higher sound quality and remixed interludes. It was one of my favorite battle themes from that period and the characteristic theme is revived wonderfully here. What follows are three short snippets of music for special attacks, which works nice in the context, but don't offer much on a stand-alone basis.
The second half features unused music and demo tapes from the recent Atelier Ayesha. Kazuki Yanagawa's "Flower Ark" is a soft lullaby-esque theme with nice piano and acoustic guitar work, but the rather thin structure and repetitiveness of the melody marks it as one of the weaker tracks from the composer. "Into the Lands of a Faraway Country" has a bit more to offer with its rousing beats, buoyant melodies, and distant Eastern flair, but like the first track it can get a bit annoying after a while. Lastly, "Cloud of Sand" is an oriental-inspired theme with an melody performed by mizmar, pan flute and chimes. The groovy percussion adds something fresh to the score, though I find it a bit unfitting to this theme. Overall, Yanagawa's unused tracks are not a great bonus, as they suffer from the lack of refinement and creativity he proved on the full soundtrack.
Daisuke Achiwa's sole offering is the "Gnome" battle theme, this time with bouzouki as lead instrument, as the title implies. As I said already in my review for the original soundtrack, I prefer this theme against the original, because the live instrument sounds far superior within than the synthesized one, and also adds a touch of originality to the otherwise bland theme. This version should have been added to the score rather than the final product. There are two remixes available from Yu Shimoda as well, namely a demo version of "Close to the Edge" and an 8-bit version of "Journey to the New World". While the former has less power than the final version, it is still packed with dynamic ideas. The latter is just a short, downgraded bleep version, which effectively showcases the catchy melody of the original. All in all, two pretty pointless and boring contributions.
Atelier Ayesha Recollection Archives doesn't have much to offer for fans, at least not musically. Highlights from this short promotional item include "Terminus for meruru", "Alas de Luz", and "Gnome (Bouzouki Land Ver.)". The rest is definitely uninteresting and useless stuff. This retailer bonus item is only recommended for hardcore fans.
Overall Score 5/10