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Genso Suikoden II Music Collection ~Orrizonte~ :: Review by Sitorimon

Genso Suikoden II Music Collection ~Orrizonte~ Album Title: Genso Suikoden II Music Collection ~Orrizonte~
Record Label: Konami Music Entertainment
Catalog No.: KMCA-57
Release Date: May 10, 2000
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Genso Suikoden, the series that has spawned six games and about 44 arranged soundtracks! Some of them good, some of them not so good, but one in particular for me in a class of its own. Welcome to Genso Suikoden II Music Collection ~Orrizonte~, a Celtic crossed with traditional Japanese themed album that simply reminds you why we can anticipate arranged albums. Yuji Yoshino and Yuko Ueno arrangements are usually extremely well conceived, but here they are astounding.


"Withered Earth" opens with an assault on your ears. Soaring strings, panpipes, saxaphones, and pounding drums take a powerful tune to another level. Having recently purchased various Celtic and Asian instruments, I take extra joy from this track by being able to drum away to the piece. Top class arrangement. "Carried on Rippling Waves", on the other hand, is possibly one of the best a capella arrangements of a piece of music I've heard. There's no poor elecution that riddles the vocal collections of Genso Suikoden and the melody is given a smooth and melting flow of a celtic sunset. Just a main voice and two backing vocals tracks make up the piece but you'll still be lost in the memorable track. "Freedom Again" is a chirpy track made completely of wind instruments. It's delicate and intricate in its design, although I've heard some say it outstays its welcome by about a minute! I like the way it returns to the beginning of tune at its conclusion.

"Every Day Is A Carnival ~ The Even More Glorious Beautiful Golden Capital" (big enough name!) is in a similar veins to the opening track. It is less cohesive yet manages to pack more power in the end. There's a triumphant finish with all the strings suddenly shooting up the scales to a lovely cadence... only for the arrangement to suddenly restart and then cut out! It's a very artistic way of ending the piece as if can't just simply stop flowing, constantly moving and taking you on its whirlwind adventure; a lovely touch to a fantastic frenzied piece. "Amid the Silence" works perfectly off the back of the previous track with its deliberate slow pace, almost like a clock tick-tocking. While it doesn't overpower you, I do think its a very valid piece for the album as you can't have completely manic tracks all the time!

"Imprisoned Town" continues the slower more melancholy route. It's a lovely piece that has guitars and vocal ab libs working in perfect harmony. The low brass works at its best here too with a lovely saxaphone solo section. "The Confederation Forever" then rolls out the military drums for a Scottish-influenced piece. You can image rows upon rows of Kilted Men strolling out on parade with bagpipes and drums ahoy, but it still doesn't come across as clichéd; very uplifting. "Plastic Castle in the Sky" is the second vocal piece, which is in English. This is a very peaceful song with whistles, acoustic guitars, and minimal percussion helping adding to the trio of vocals. Maybe not as stunning as "Carried on Rippling Waves", but it definitely holds its own.

"Let's Climb That Hill" is a soft and passive acoustic guitar melody. It is a nice departure from the rest of the album before "If You Don't Work, You Don't Eat" settles us to sleep with a sweet blanket of soothing voices before the other instruments come into play. It carefully builds itself up into a short frenzy of percussion before settling back down again. While it's an interesting piece that is very enjoyable, it doesn't quite work as stunningly as the others. "Ah, Beautiful Dancer ~ Nahara Yan Kun" takes us to the most Japanese side of the album with brash vocals, oriental twists, and chords and percussion too. A thouroughly enjoyable piece indeed. The album then closes with "Orrizonte", the shortest track and the most passive too. Like falling into clouds the soft vocalists, xylophones and keyboards will send you into slumber and round off a near perfect CD.


In terms of Celtic / traditional arrangements I have two that stick out in my mind — Xenogears Creid and Genso Suikoden II Music Collection ~Orrizonte~. If that's not a recommendation, then I can't think what is!

Overall Score: 10/10