DRAG-ON DRAGOON Original Soundtrack

DRAG-ON DRAGOON Original Soundtrack. Front. Click to zoom.
DRAG-ON DRAGOON Original Soundtrack
Front
Composed by Bartók / Debussy / Dvořák / Holst / Mahler / Mozart / Mussorgsky / Nobuyoshi Sano / Respighi / Rimsky-Korsakov / Takayuki Aihara / Tchaikovsky / Wagner
Published by Square Enix
Catalog number SQEX-10239~40
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 2 CD - 47 tracks
Release date April 20, 2011
Duration 02:18:51
Genres
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Overview

Drakengard was a title developed by cavia and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 2. It was described as a cross between Panzer Dragoon and Dynasty Warriors with some RPG elements thrown in for good measure. cavia chose two of the most reputable composers in Japan, Takayuki Aihara and Nobuyoshi Sano, to handle the score. They took an incredibly unique and controversial approach for the soundtrack. Initially released in two limited edition volumes, the soundtrack was eventually reprinted as a two disc set in 2011 by popular demand.

Body

Both composers had the luxury of working with the Tokyo New City Orchestra for the score. They recorded a mixture of familiar classical motifs with original music with the ensemble. This was only half of what they had in mind, however. After they were done the recording, the real fun started: they mixed everything to their own style. As techno music composers, they used more loops than you can count, and it has brought a very unique sound to the score. There are lots of famous symphonies featured here — from Dvorak's New World to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake to Mahler's Symphony No. 5 — but there treatment here is completely unique and most samples are barely recognisable.

The beauty of exploration through music was an important motivation on Drakengard. in a way, I was interested in working on a musical concept I had heard explored by the Chemical Brothers. Through their influence, I thought about applying a techno design to reconstructing orchestral music. - Nobuyoshi Sano

The first track that catch my attention was Aihara's "Weapon Select". One of the few fully orchestrated tracks to be left untouched by their electronic manipulation, it reflects the majesty of the Tokyo New City Orchestra. Most of the track is based on repetition of col legno strings, creating suspense and eeriness. However, the well-placed viola samples give the track a wailing quality and the interlude from the 0:45 mark is nothing short of gorgeous. The track is certainly fascinating and beautiful, but above all it is intimidating: it reflects to gamers they are about to enter an epic wartorn world.

The rest of the score is mostly peppered with several mixed orchestral sample loops. Reflecting the highly dissonant approach of the stage themes, "Third Chapter Sky" is filled with looped choir chants and screeching ascending strings, before descending into a calamity of dissonant orchestration. It's an amazing twist on the conventional epic sound and really fits with Drakengard's world. "Third Chapter Above Ground" brings back the col legno strings in conjunction with orchestral breaks inspired by techno techniques. The chorus takes a more central role here with their ominous Latin chants, culminating in a short but dramatic climax at the 1:09 mark. It's quite an experience to hear such an odd but original piece both on the soundtrack and in the game.

Whereas Aihara's approach tends to focus on epic melodic orchestrations, Sano distorts and twists his pieces with results that are difficult to get into at some points. The best examples of this are the Chapter 8 themes. "Eighth Chapter Sky" sticks out like a sore thumb with its prepared string use, hammering piano parts, and electronically induced breaks. By the end, Sano pulls a piano hold, press, release pattern for nearly 10 seconds — it's insane. In addition to being musically fascinating, it is incredibly atmospheric — somehow ethereal and horrific all at once. "Eighth Chapter Above Ground" has Sano reflects his individuality further. It's truly distorted, repetitive to boot, but still addictive enough to appeal to some listeners. Not all will enjoy such unconventional and cacophonic tracks, but many will get used to his unusual approach and appreciating it for its originality.

Moving to the second half of the soundtrack, among the highlights are the warring themes for the secondary character — Leonard, Arioch, and Seere respectively. These maintain the same dissonant orchestral approach, but have some unique twists. Leonard's themes are comprised of stabbing violin motifs and loud sporadic orchestral bursts that have a slightly mischievous feel to it. Those from Arioch feature an unpleasant brass sample, which is looped constantly to the point of irritation. Those from Seere are a lot more enjoyable, with "Seere's Prayer Sky" featuring some of the richest orchestral loops of the soundtrack; they sound like something that might come from an action-packed medieval film, but of course are much heavier and looped.

One of the most beautiful tracks on the soundtrack is "Ninth Chapter Sky Two". Here Aihara shifts the focus from full orchestra to pipe organ for the first time in the soundtrack, yielding a dark and celestial sound. The first part of the track is truly engrossing, with the pipe organ creating a tremendous timbre in conjunction with the backing orchestra and chorus. The second section is more abstract with its repeated motifs and irregular motifs, but still highly effective. It directly transitions into Sano's "Ninth Final Chapter", where the pipe organ is almost completely swallowed by chanting chorus and piercing strings at relentless tempo. It's an epic climactic spectacle with some fantastic transient nods to the great romantics.

Although the Drakengard soundtrack is still rather niche, it is gratifying to see more and more game players' opinions resonating with the composers' original intentions. For my own personal feelings, I still like the originality and the intensity of the music. - Nobuyoshi Sano

One piece that needs to be mentioned is the ending vocal theme, "Route B Staff Roll Exhausted." Eriko Hatsune's voice seems to float above the pulsing dissonant strings and helps bring beauty to this repetitive piece. Sano has taken the liberty of playing with the volumes and distorting her voice every so often, creating an interesting effect. Overall, it's a decent vocal piece that was revisited in the sequel. But it is perhaps the "Route C Staff Roll" that best rounds off the release. Muted trumpet sirens, aggressive timpani rolls, and dazzling string runs on loop create a gigantic sound that reflects the war is far from over. Needless to say, it's not for all, but it is awe-inspiring.

Summary

The two volumes of the Drakengard Original Soundtrack are nothing short of extraordinary. Takayuki Aihara and Nobuyoshi Sano's sheer audaciousness here is truly remarkable; any composer who records a whole score with a reputable orchestra, distorts the creations through all sorts of electronic techniques, and releases it in game and soundtrack form to murder most people's ears is worthy of some sort of respect. That said, while the overall product is diverse and unique, but isn't subtle. Though the score features lots of intricacies, it is largely what one hears, and, to most listeners, that's something unpleasant, perhaps unbearable. Love them or loathe them, though, no albums are quite like Drakengard's.



Album
8/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Luc Nadeau

Disc 1:
  01, 10, 1.11, 18~23 composed by Nobuyoshi Sano
  02~1.09, 12~17 composed by Takayuki Aihara

Disc 2:
  01~09, 12, 13, 20, 23 composed by Takayuki Aihara
  10, 11, 14~19, 21, 22, 24 composed by Nobuyoshi Sano


M2-19 Route B Staff Roll "Exhausted"
Composition: Nobuyoshi Sano
Vocals: Eriko Hatsune
Lyrics: Sawako Natori


Classic samples
Dvorak:
Othello, Op. 93
Carnival Overture, Op. 92
Symphony No. 9 "From the New World"

Bartok:
The Miraculous Mandarin

Debussy:
La Mer

Mahler:
Symphony No. 5

Mozart:
Le Nozze Di Figaro

Tchaikovsky:
The Swan Lake
Capriccio Italien
The Nutcracker Suite
1812 Overture Solennelle
Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture

Respighi:
Feste Romane

Wagner:
Gotterdämmerung
Die Walküre
Tannhäuser

Rimsky-Korsakov:
Capriccio Espagnol

Mussorgsky:
Pictures at an Exhibition

Holst:
The Planets



----------
[from the staff credit]
Conductor: Akira Naito
Orchestra: Tokyo New City Orchestra
1st Violins: Yurie Tomiyama, Naoko Yamakawa, Junko Suzuki, Warabi Suzuki, Iku Tsunaki, Yuichi Endo, Yoshiko Muroi, Kioko Yasuda
2nd Violins: Masami Uehara, Yoko Yamae, Keiko Yamamoto, Izumi Aramaki, Midori Sakai, Saeko Kobayashi
Violas: Tamiko Sakurai, Emiko Takehana, Idumi Adachi, Momoko Otsuki
Violoncellos: Kazuo Suzuki, Minoru Matsu, Toru Yokomori, Hiroki Kato
Double Basses: Hidenori Kanaoka, Kayoko Tomi, Yuichi Nakamura
Harp: Natsuko Hirayama
Keyboard: Yoshie Shimizu
Flutes: Hiroshi Inoue, Akiko Sato
Oboes: Kiyoshi Saito, Keiko Inoue
Clarinets: Shuji Hyuga, Kaori Matsumoto
Bassoons: Mayumi Ito, Masashi Maeda
Horns: Shigeaki Hisanaga, Natsuko Fujiwara, Mitsuo Matsuura, Sayuri Iijima
Trumpets: Kiyokazu Nakanishi, Fuminao Kobayashi, Masato Sawada
Trombones: Makio Okawa, Yukino Fukawa
Bass Trombone: Yasumitsu Eto
Tuba: Akihiko Yamagishi
Timpani: Hisao Horio
Percussion: Hisae Hirako, Yoshimi Niizawa
Album was composed by Bartók / Debussy / Dvořák / Holst / Mahler / Mozart / Mussorgsky / Nobuyoshi Sano / Respighi / Rimsky-Korsakov / Takayuki Aihara / Tchaikovsky / Wagner and was released on April 20, 2011. Soundtrack consists of 47 tracks tracks with duration over more than 2 hours. Album was released by Square Enix.

CD 1

1
Mission Select
00:25
2
Weapon Select
01:14
3
First Chapter - Sky
02:56
4
First Chapter - Ground
02:24
5
First Chapter - Castle Interior
02:57
6
Second Chapter - Sky
03:12
7
Second Chapter - Ground
02:44
8
Third Chapter - Sky
03:11
9
Third Chapter - Ground
02:35
10
Fourth Chapter - Sky
03:19
11
Fourth Chapter - Ground
03:28
12
Fifth Chapter - Sky, One
03:26
13
Fifth Chapter - Ground, One
03:16
14
Fifth Chapter - Sky, Two
03:47
15
Fifth Chapter - Ground, Two
03:13
16
Sixth Chapter - Sky
03:15
17
Sixth Chapter - Ground
02:57
18
Seventh Chapter - Sky
03:47
19
Eighth Chapter - Sky
03:16
20
Eighth Chapter - Ground
03:31
21
Eighth Chapter - Closing
02:53
22
Mission Clear
00:36
23
Game Over ~ Continue
00:52

CD 2

1
Leonard's Hunger - Sky
03:28
2
Leonard's Hunger - Ground
03:16
3
Arioch's Strangeness - Sky
03:12
4
Arioch's Strangeness - Ground
03:19
5
Seere's Prayer - Sky
04:11
6
Seere's Prayer - Ground
02:36
7
Ninth Chapter - Sky, One
03:11
8
Ninth Chapter - Sky, Two
03:06
9
Ninth Chapter - Closing
02:48
10
Tenth Chapter - Sky
03:04
11
Tenth Chapter - Ground
03:05
12
Eleventh Chapter - Sky, One
02:58
13
Eleventh Chapter - Sky, Two
03:12
14
Twelfth Chapter - Sky
03:29
15
Twelfth Chapter - Ground
02:56
16
Twelfth Chapter - Closing
03:20
17
Thirteenth Chapter - Closing
02:31
18
Route A Staff Roll
02:43
19
Route B Staff Roll "Exhausted"
04:05
20
Route C Staff Roll
03:48
21
Route D Staff Roll
03:24
22
Route E Staff Roll
03:37
23
Eleventh Chapter - Sky (Unpublished)
03:27
24
Twelfth Chapter - Closing (Unpublished)
00:51
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