Music of the Week #10

Tracks: “Unfinished Battle”, “Colony 9”, and “Gaur Plains”

From: Xenoblade Original Soundtrack

Composed by:  Yoko Shimomura (Unfinished Battle & Colony 9), ACE+ (Gaur Plains)

I’ve never actually played Xenoblade, though I’ve heard it’s good.  Don’t have a Wii, in addition to my lack of time for games these days.  But the music is just fantastic.  Picked it up after looking up a few tracks out of curiosity; definitely a good decision.

“Unfinished Battle” is a very cool battle theme, one of the better ones I’ve heard in any RPG.  It has a very tense feel, like the tide of the conflict could (and probably will) turn sharply at any moment.  There’s also a sense of this being an important battle; not just any old fight against some stray monsters, but something important to the story.  It also has a very strong “extra fantasy” vibe.  This wouldn’t fit in with a story that was purely medieval fantasy; there’s a definite genre-crossing flavor, at least to me. I can also see the fight itself being much more lively, much less realistic, than “medieval fantasy” would suggest (i.e. more magic, more acrobatics).

Of course, I have no idea how, exactly, it’s used in the game, but that’s how I’d use it.

“Colony 9” and “Gaur Plains” both evoke traveling to me.  Perhaps exploring, perhaps simply traveling from one place to another, but moving, being on a journey of some sort.  The former also has a more relaxing feel, giving the impression of passing through peaceful lands, or looking out over a beautiful lake and contemplating whatever your journey’s purpose is.  Gaur Plains, on the other hand, has a more lively, upbeat feel, and this seems to me like the music for when you are traveling with friends, uncovering some new wonder as you explore uncharted lands.  And again, like “Unfinished Battle”, this track has a feel to it that would work well with slightly less “traditional” fantasy.  These tracks are present in nearly every playlist I make for my iPod these days; I find both of them excellent companion pieces when I’m walking around somewhere and not in a hurry!  I listen to them quite a bit when working on Valocea, as well, and have started to sort of associate them with that project.  They make for excellent music to listen to while designing fictional lands, or even just sitting there and imagining I’m on a train somewhere in Valocea.

There are a LOT of other really good tracks on this OST; some other favorites include “Main Theme”, both “Prologue” pieces, “Fight!”, “Grandeur”, “One Who Gets In Our Way”, “To One’s Own Future”, and the “Night” versions of both “Colony 9” and “Gaur Plains.”

-Saito S


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