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An Cinniùint :: Review by Z-Freak

An Cinniùint Album Title: An Cinniùint
Record Label: Sleigh Bells
Catalog No.: SBPS-0001/2
Release Date: December 25, 2001
Purchase: Buy at VGM World


The year is 2001, where Sony Computer Entertainment produces their first RPG for the PlayStation 2: Tsugunai: Atonement. The game featured a decent storyline, good graphics, and, above all, a unique soundtrack. But who was the composer for this game? None other than Yasunori Mitsuda himself, famous for his work at Square. However, Mitsuda takes an unusual approach for the music in this game. How many RPGs are blessed with a full Celtic-, Irish-, and Scottish-inspired soundtrack? Not that many to my knowledge. Anyway, on with the review.

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) Opening

Here we are immediately greeted by violins, cellos, flutes, the works... It sets the mood for the rest of the soundtrack. It's rather upbeat and refreshing compared to the usual opening themes.

2) Tsugunai

Most likely the title theme, this track offers a calm melody on the flute, which is the main instrument throughout the theme. It is very pretty and highly inspiring from what we are used to getting.

3) Whilst I Sleep

This is a truly interesting piece. It starts off with a few piano notes, then a flute joins in, along with some percussion instruments. After a while, we get a rather dark passage, but it still has a hint of hope through it.

4) Morning Fog in the Village

The theme starts off with chimes, and this is followed by the introduction of an acoustic guitar and violin. It easily represents the quiet and peaceful image of the hero's village when he wakes up. Quite charming indeed.

5) Cursed Forest

The title says it all; indeed, this track gives off a feeling of fear and loneliness. It starts with a few piano notes, then some chimes are introduced, and then we hear sounds that are similar to what Mitsuda will use in parts of the Xenosaga Original Soundtrack. Eventually it turns to a beautiful but still dark passage and the track then repeats. This is a really good theme for the first training area.

6) Battle - Level 1

What's this?! After a few weird sound effects, bagpipes come out blaring out of nowhere backed up by percussion, violins, synth effects, and some electric guitar samples. Such a battle theme is unheard of previously in VGM and it succeeds in being a very unique and highly enjoyable battle track. Mitsuda has done well here.

7) Spirit Tower

Another winner, this track mostly comprises of a piano backed up by a fake chorus. This gives an ethereal feel to the track. Violins and bells soon join in, and a flute later appears as well. Indeed, another incredible effort from Mitsuda.

8) Enemy in My Path

I'm not sure if this a boss theme, but it certainly makes me think that I'm fighting some tougher monsters. Violins and percussion instruments are heard throughout most of the piece, which is a good change from the medieval themes found in most RPGs.

9) Victory!

Not much to say about this one, except that it shows off the feel of winning a duel against nasty creatures.

10) Departure

This one has a bit more 'oomph' to it. The violins and percussion instruments seem to give the impression of escaping from a horde of monsters.

11) Collapse

The Game Over theme just grabs you emotionally with its sad chorus and violin use. It's very gripping and fitting.

12) A Peaceful Temple

There is more chorus use here, and this helps to convey the feeling of all that is divine. It's another nice track by Mitsuda-san.

13) Early Afternoon in the Village

This is a slightly more upbeat theme for the hero's village. The main instruments are the flute, accordion, and piano. This is a really nice composition.

14) Evening in the Village

This is a more relaxed, slower theme for the hero's village. Here, percussion instruments and flutes do most of the work. It almost puts you to sleep.

15) The Pub

Now if this isn't Irish, I don't know what is. It's basically a catchy jig that makes you want to join in and dance a jig like there's no tomorrow!

16) Nabi Fairy

This track reminds me a lot of Chrono Cross' compositions, mostly because the use of the drums and other instruments is very similar to what Mitsuda used in that project. It's not as good as the rest of the pieces on the soundtrack, being too much like what we have heard before.

17) Find Him!

Ah! A comical theme. Now what is the hero up to now, huh? It's a rather light-hearted piece that has a goofy feel to it. Very mischievous.

18) Conspiracy Within Castle Walls

Hmm. A more serious piece this time around. The percussion instruments and flute give off a sense that people are planning behind their King's back. Not exactly evil, but still with a hint of deception. It's not a bad track either.

19) Valley of the Goblins

I love how this piece starts. I'm always imagining the party moving through a mountain chain filled with evil monsters featuring Goblins!! The piano and violin really stand out in this piece, which gives it a mystical, magical aura.

20) The Flaming Tree

Oh man! With piano, violins, percussion instruments, this is truly one of the best tracks. It sounds so mysterious, yet extremely beautiful. The flaming tree must have a really important part in the story to deserve such a masterpiece.

Disc Two

1) Happiness

Disc Two starts off with a cheerful tone. Flutes, a piano, and an accordion make the most of this piece. It's a cute effort.

2) Black Shadow

Despite the title, the music here is anything but foreboding. It starts off with a few piano notes, backed by a synth chorus, creating a somewhat mysterious tone, not an evil one.

3) Ship Run Aground

Another quirky theme, "Ship Run Aground" has a hint of creepiness in it as it progresses. The violins help to convey this creepy feel, while the rest of the composition sounds quite mischievous.

4) Book of Legends

This is the next gem in the album, giving off the same beauty as "The Flaming Tree," except that it focuses more on demonstrating mystery. The piano, chorus, violin, and percussion use really does this track justice.

5) Vanished Body

This track has a more creepy fell than the rest. It starts off with a few piano notes, and later on, we get to hear voices. These voices seem to be in pain, as you hear them moan and scream a bit. It's quite atmospheric and creates a wonderful effect.

6) Fortress of Orcs

This one is a bit on the odd side, as you get a lot of percussion beats in conjunction with fast piano notes. So, yeah, conquer that fortress!

7) The Test

This track features a wood flute, backed up by piano, violins, and percussion instruments. You can sense that you're going through some form of trial to prove your worth and strength.

8) Battle - Level 2

WHAT!!?? This theme is a bit too upbeat, even though the bagpipes and percussion instruments do fit well. The mood is all wrong and it doesn't feel like you're fighting tough, nasty monsters at all. It is still a valid effort if you ignore the fact it is intended to be a battle theme, however.

9) Purification

Another victory theme, maybe? It's more melodic than heroic, but it gets the job done.

10) Grief

Another gem in my book. With piano and a flute, it is a sad theme, but it is also agonisingly beautiful.

11) Fisela's Theme

We start off with a chorus, then a piano, guitar, and flute are progressively introduced. This is an outstanding character theme, being somewhat mystical in feel and sound, but also a little sad.

12) Cemetary

This one has more a hopeful sound that a scary one. I can imagine the ero wandering through a cemetary looking for a particular clue among the tombstones. The acoustic guitar and flute gives it a calming mood overall.

13) Between Mirrors

Now it gets a bit more serious. This one has a more determined feel to it as the hero struggles to reach his goals. The violin gets the point accross as usual.

14) Battle - Level 3

This one is more like what a battle theme should be. You really get the feeling that you're fighting a boss and that you need to take your time and attack effectively. The violin adds a creepy feel in the music.

15) Sanctuary of Darkness

A haunting theme. You hear sound effects of a clock cog wheel getting turned, followed by a female chant backed up by a few piano keys. It's very fitting.

16) The Devil

Wow! Wow! Wow!! What a great villain theme! It starts off with a few choruses, and then alternates between the use of the piano and the use of chants. It may not sound like much, but it's really good.

17) Hell's Resurrection

The final dungeon theme is quite scary, especially when the weird noises and the organ comes in. You can imagine the hero making his way across the fiery pits of hell to find his foe.

18) Battle with the Devil

Oh yeah, this is the stuff!! Funeral bells, vocals, percussion, violins, the works!! Mitsuda brings us an invigorating battle theme for a change, unlike his oddities he brought us in Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, and Chrono Cross. You really feel that you're fighting the core of all evil. It's very epic and very fitting. Go Mitsuda-san!!

19) Eternal Soul

The ending theme is mostly accordion- and guitar-based. It's quite a nice surprise, as it's more happy than epic.

20) All is Redeemed

The credits music, most likely, sounds more something from a movie score. The guitar and flute use is lovely here and it is a most beautiful theme.


Should you buy the soundtrack or not? That depends if you willing to directly support Mitsuda for it. It's available at VGM World and his Japanese official site, though at no other important online shops.

Overall Score: 8/10