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Thursday, May 10, 2007

CD REVIEW - Selections from Final Fantasy XII

Selections from Final Fantasy XII
Music by Hitoshi Sakimoto
31 Tracks 73:23 mins

Nobuo Uematsu is recognised as master of music for the long-running Final Fantasy games series, and some memorable stuff he has written over the years too. But this latest in the series, though featuring one theme by the illustrious composer, is scored by Hitoshi Sakimoto.
Not having heard all the scores for the series, and being largely familiar only with re-recorded orchestral versions of Uematsu's themes, I cannot really comment on how this score compares to previous entries. All I can say is that I was well entertained.
The score is realised by a mixture of synths and samples, though the lengthy and impressive opening track "Opening Movie" sounds pretty much orchestral to me, and introduces the composer's adventurous main theme, which will get its best workout in the closing score track "Struggle for Freedom," an exciting and lengthy conclusion to the score.
Some may find the many tracks that fade out at the end, rather than finish properly, somewhat irritating, but I am used to this from listening to many game scores over recent times.
Sakimoto's score then is a mix of exciting action music and lighter movers, all very melodic. Occasionally, ethnic percussion and voices give it a different colour, and there are one or two ethereal moments along the way, with heavenly voices making their presence felt. Sampled choir is used sparingly throughout. Most of the tracks are of a decent length, though there are one or two very brief cues that don't really give anything a chance to develop. The best cues are definitely those opening and closing the score, but others like "The Dalmasca Estersand," "Flash of Steel" and "The Mosphoran Highwaste" generate a fair bit of excitement.
The disc concludes with a very nice ballad "Kiss me Good-bye," performed by Angela Aki, and a bonus DVD is including, with Ms Aki peforming the song, along with clips from the game. There is also a lavishly illustrated accompanying booket, with introductions to the composer and Ms Aki, as well as lyrics to the song.


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