Video Game Music w/ the James Episode 6 : Ys Seven (Part 1)

Well well, looks like I have a couple of minutes to start writing some stuff.  My Review in Progress for Final Fantasy 4 is almost wrapped up (the first publish will be up to the end of -interlude-) and as an added surprise, I’ll also be discussing Mortal Kombat, which was actually not on my to-do list, but, it was addicting enough for me to play through the entire story mode.

For now though, it’s music time.  It’s funny how Ys Seven came to mind for this post.  Far from my favorite Ys game, the story was great and the music is arguably some of the best in the series.  I tend to have vivid dreams this time of year, and a couple of nights ago, actually started dreaming some of my favorite music from this game and putting it on TWF, so I said why not go through with fulfilling my dream.  Brace yourselves, cause this is going to be a large list of tracks, even if I eliminate some.  As a matter of fact, I’ll break this one into two episodes, one for each disc of the soundtrack.

Why not just put up the whole intro for the opening track, right? Right.  It’s actually pretty standard rpg opening music, nice pulse, the melody in the strings is pretty cool.  Not my favorite opening in the series, but that doesn’t make it bad, just alright.  I still get pumped listening to it every now and then.

My first though encountering this track in the game : “This dick does not deserve such a badass theme song”.  It’s one of those slow paced electric guitar themes more suited to a character more mysterious and …silent — he doesn’t know when to stfu!  The guy earns his cool points late in the game, but until then, it doesn’t fit the personality at all.  It’s a perfect listen if you want something slow to jam to though.

Here’s something a little more elegant.  Pairing a harpsichord with a flute, the opening/ending phrases have a relaxing, almost baroque flavor to them.  The flute melody is briefly given to a violin for some contrast in the middle, where there is a stronger string presence.  Personally, I’m a sucker for the more noble sounding opening and ending.  Still, it’s a brief track that is also quite relaxing.

The first of a bunch of field tracks, we have a very upbeat tempo here.  Call me weird, but the part that sticks out for me is that bridge with the guitar playing.  I love it!

Boss battle songs in this game are amazing.  As soon as this one gains momentum, it stays the entire duration.  Like a lot of other tracks in Ys Seven, strings are given the main melody.  My favorite part is the section between 1:00 and 1:25 where the second theme is introduced and then played a second time with the electric guitar.

All the music so far make you happy?  Good, cause here’s the game’s first “sad” track.  Normally, it plays in the poor area in the game’s first town.  It also plays during the chaotic midpoint of the game where things start getting really emotional.  Even worse, it’s when my favorite character, Dogi starts getting emo, so that scene always gets me a little teary eyed.  Really, it’s just a cello playing the melody with a piano accompaniment which is mostly arpeggiation, but still manages to be powerful.  Next track coming after I grab my hankie.

The first major dungeon track has a very earthly vibe to it — lots of drums and pastoral instrumentation.  You know me and my bridges by now, and this one is no exception, really brief and repetitive, but powerful since it’s it’s in one of the bass instruments (I wanna say bassoon, but don’t quote me on it).  Also, this is one of the tracks that has very interesting rhythms especially in the percussion.

Here’s the first track that I can honestly call epic.  It doesn’t start off that way actually, in fact it’s really slow and mellow at first.  It takes a while, but eventually the main theme comes in one of the strings, either violin or viola.  It’s really soft, but gets repeated with more power and ensemble support.  It doesn’t blow up with volume or anything, but the way they handle the theme is really dramatic.

For me the first stellar (and very heavy) Ys Seven track.  Really, any praise I give will not do proper justice, listen for yourself.  The beginning is deceptively slow, with a really piercing guitar passage.  Then the drum comes in signaling both the end of the little solo and where everything is about to explode.  The first time listening, I knew I was in for a ride the second that drum came in to cue the rest of the band.

What makes this track stand out is not only the length, but also the variation.  From the slow opening with its glorious explosion, the track continues with the first, more driving melody for a little bit.  Another section follows in a lower register with the same pulse.  Following that is my favorite section of all, with the lowest of the guitars given a warm, fuzzy sounding melody.  A short bridge follows with a loop that has a little variation, particularly at the fuzzy part.  The short bridge from before gets an extension ending in the whole energy of the piece dissolving into the last short segment, where the true loop of the track is.  Pretty much, one loop takes almost 4 and a half minutes.

This is a good place to stop for now actually, might as well end part 1 with a bang.  If you enjoyed the sample of music so far, you’ll love what comes later on, so stay tuned!

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