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Ys Music History :: Review by Chris

Ys Music History Album Title: Ys Music History
Record Label: Nihon Falcom
Catalog No.: YS-MUSHY
Release Date: September 17, 2009
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Ys Music History is a compilation album packaged with Ys SEVEN in Japan. The album features 21 pieces from the Ys series — ranging from 1987's Ys on the PC-8801 to 2009's Ys SEVEN on the PSP. Though there are few exclusives here, this album does feature most of the best melodies from the series' history. Furthermore, it is surprisingly diverse since it offers pieces across different sound boards and arranged albums.


At the time of its release, Ys Music History was most exciting because it provided a preview of Ys SEVEN's music. The opener "Innocent Primeval Breaker" reflects the sound of new Falcom quite well — blending rock elements with sonorous violin leads and some improvisations. In my opinion, it's not on par with classics such as "Genesis Beyond the Beginning", but it's still a charming introduction to the game. A short version of the vocal arrangement "Rush Out!" is also featured among the bonus tracks. The female vocalist and instrumentals offer the quality of much of today's manufactured J-Pop, but it's still bound to be a mainstream draw.

The biggest highlights are the compilation of the series' arranged tracks. Two or three tracks are taken from each of the series' instalments in either original or arranged versions. What's interesting is how . For the first two games, listeners are presented with the chiptune versions of "First Step Towards Wars" and "To Make the End of Battle", the PC versions of "The Morning Grow" and "Termination", and the exceptional PSP versions of "Feena" and "Subterranean Canal". It's wonderful to hear the melodies again and each sound version offers something slightly different. The Ys III selection meanwhile is totally dedicated to Yukihiro Jindo's exceptional arrangements from Ys: The Oath of Felghana, while the Ys IV selection takes much from the Perfect Collections and J.D.K. Special.

All in all, it's clear that Falcom made a good effort to select the most interesting versions of most themes. On the Ys VI selection, for instance, listeners get a chance to hear a performance from the new J.D.K. Band and the vocal opening theme. Ys Origin meanwhile samples some favourites from the original score, such as "Genesis Beyond the Beginning", yet also includes the entertaining strings-meet-rock version of "Silent Desert" from the Super Arrange Version. For games such as Ys V with few arrangements, they never selected the best tracks from the score, namely the action-packed "Field of Gale" and epic "Farewell". Of course, "Theme of Adol" also makes it to the collection since it's the main character's theme, but the version chosen is a complete surprise. Yup, Falcom selected the abstract Celtic arrangement of the theme from ZWEI!!


Overall, Ys Music History is a pleasant tour of the series' history. There's a lot of music here — ancient chiptunes, ambitious orchestrations, rock improvisations, and vocal performances — yet the majority of the choices still have that Ys sound so many out there love. It'll be a useful reference point for new fans of the series and a nostalgic journey for long-term fans.

Overall Score: 8/10