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The Legend of Xanadu Super Arrange Version :: Review by Chris

The Legend of Xanadu Super Arrange Version Album Title: The Legend of Xanadu Super Arrange Version
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: KICA-1143
Release Date: May 25, 1994
Purchase: Buy at eBay


The Legend of Xanadu had the rare of honour of being treated to two Super Arrange Versions, not just one. In May 1994, a stand-alone album was released featuring jazz fusion arrangements of the score by Katsutoshi Morizono and Mitsuru Kotaki. However six months earlier, a more diverse disc of The Legend of Xanadu arrangements was released on Falcom Special Box '94. While the latter is definitely the richer production, the stand-alone album is more characteristic of the Falcom sound...


The disc opens on a bright note with a rendition of fan favourite "Legend of the Wind". The opening few bars perfectly recreates the gliding feel of the original, while the entrance of the melody is equally delightful on electric guitar. The focus is kept on the guitar throughout, against a light poppy background, but fortunately Akira Wada's performance and the original melodies are good enough to keep listeners entertained. This arrangement isn't exactly a creative one, but it is still refreshing in its own way. "Dawn of Makria" is also a very linear piece. It ups the tempo somewhat, highlights the wailing guitar, and introduces a catchy piano backing, but that's about it. The timbres and rhythms will still be appealing for those looking for unobtrusive background listening. However, those looking for a well-developed masterpiece might feel starved.

A lot of the album has a clear funk focus. Material like "Legend of the Wind" and "Dawn of Makria" offer hints of this style, but it's first explicitly produced in "Black Light". This one has all the makings of a funk track — with slapped bass, semi-acoustic guitar, and saxophone leads — and fits the original material surprisingly well. Yet this isn't really a progressive funk work and has more in common with elevator music than George. It's just as derivative and linear as preceding pieces. "Dakru" brings out the funky piano riffs to catchy effect, yet is drastically short, while "A Bird Crossing the Desert" is one of the most beautifully soundscaped of the album, combining sleazy guitar performances with a gritty bass emphasis. All in all, the funk arrangements are quite well done and add a new perspective to the new music.

There is also a rock element to several tracks on the performance. Many will find "Silent Tower" has everything one might expect from a Ryo Yonemitsu arrangement — with its motivating melodies, flashy guitar work, and synthy vibe — even though it's not actually arranged by him. In fact, it's very reminiscent of Perfect Collection Ys and that is no bad thing for most fans out there. The 'wind' concept of the introduction returns in the last three items. Perhaps the edgiest contribution to the album, "Wings of Freedom" offers a surreal timbre with its distorted synthpads. However, the final arrangements "Like a Wind" and "In the Wind" are very simple pop-oriented themes. While many will enjoy their style, I personally find them both tedious and superficial.


The Legend of Xanadu Super Arrange Version definitely exudes the Falcom sound with its memorable melodies and refreshing timbres. It's a little more funk-oriented than most of Falcom's productions, but still arranged in the spirit of Ryo Yonemitsu et al. This album isn't as diverse as the arrangements featured in Falcom Special Box '94 and those looking for spectacular J.D.K. Band, M-Fujisawa Project, and J.D.K Electric Orchestra performances should look there instead. However, the stand-alone Super Arrange Version will still be satisfying for those looking for a taste of the more modest Falcom sound in conjunction with some of The Legend of Xanadu's best melodies.

Overall Score: 6/10