WILD ARMS 2nd IGNITION ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

WILD ARMS 2nd IGNITION ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK. Front. Click to zoom.
WILD ARMS 2nd IGNITION ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
Front
Composed by Michiko Naruke
Arranged by CHOKKAKU / Kazuhiko Toyama / Такэо Мирацу / Takeshi Yamanaka
Published by SPE Visual Works
Catalog number SVWC-7041~2
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 2 CD - 106 tracks
Release date October 01, 1999
Duration 02:23:18
Genres
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Overview

First things first: this soundtrack is not for everyone. In fact, I dare say that this soundtrack is not for most. The western atmosphere of the soundtrack takes its cue from the first Wild Arms, and manages to keep it up pretty strongly throughout, relying mostly on heavy usage of acoustic guitars, brass, and whistling. My God, the whistling is everywhere. If you've read my SaGa Frontier 2 review, you would know that I am big on a tune that can be whistled. I suppose now is the time to add the necessary corollary: I do the whistling, not the piece. However, Naruke takes many more freedoms with synths and other wacky sounds that sometimes detract from (or completely dispel) the "high-noon" feel of the game. Remember when I said that this soundtrack is not for everyone? It certainly was not for me.

That being said, I will cover the album on a disc-by-disc basis, as whoever organized the soundtrack was kind enough to break it up very systematically over two compact discs. The first CD is comprised of nearly every important incidental piece the game has to offer. The second CD contains, well, almost categorically poorly composed music for different story-related situations in the game. Fortunately, the second disc has a few diamonds in the rough worth mentioning. Unfortunately, the same has to be said for CD 1, which makes the entire soundtrack a handful of diamonds in the rough; not good for a sound track.

Disc One

This CD holds nearly all of the dungeon, battle, overworld (or field), and town themes to be found on the album. A major beef of mine is the general length of each track. With a first disc containing a total of seventy-five tracks, you know that something was sacrificed. That something is a track length exceeding one minute. While a slight exaggeration, I feel safe in saying that all but a handful of pieces dare to clock in at over 90 whole seconds. This is a blessing for the majority of the pieces on the CD, due to their general lack of enjoyable sound and unimaginative arrangement. Alas, the few good tracks on the album are usually just as short as the other less desirable ones, ending just as the first loop begins, which makes enjoying them a choice between infinite loop and the dastardly chore of keeping your hand on that rewind button.

The first disc opens with the main theme of the game. It is presented agonizingly slowly, and with a forced sense of foreboding that is almost a tip-off to the suffering to come. Not at the hands of the game, mind you, but its accompanying background music. Here in the first theme we face what are two of my largest gripes about the Wild Arms 2 soundtrack in general. One I have just discussed. The other is that the main theme is literally 16 notes long. This would not be such a problem, unless, of course, you hear the main theme in what seems like every track in the game (which you do). At 16 notes, it certainly is not hard to slip it in here and there, and Michiko does so shamelessly, and to great (read: a greatly negative) effect. This also would not be so much an issue, but for the main theme being so unattractive in and of itself. Halfway through the first CD, I was able to predict exactly when and how the theme would turn up in any given piece with little trouble.

The intro FMV song, "You'll Never Be Alone No Matter Where You Go," while poorly named, is decent. The guitars are very well played, and accompanied by smooth brass, emotive strings, lilting woodwinds, and sweet vocals; it makes a nice introduction to adventure. I was certainly ready to save a world or two by the time it was over.

In general, all of the boss themes are strikingly boring, and fail to get across the idea that what you are fighting is any more threatening than standard fare. Of course, there is increased use of "evil" chording, dramatic hits, and darker sounding instrumentation, but it hardly serves its purpose. I must give credit where credit is due, as Naruke went to all the trouble of thinking up a theme for every major boss and dungeon, but it becomes obvious very soon that the quantity was gained at the loss of quality. You hardly notice this in game, because the piece that is playing during a boss fight is quite rarely the actual boss's theme piece. Those who have played the game will understand my meaning, but I cannot divulge more for risk of spoiling the story.

One notable exception to the dungeon generalization would be "Battle vs. Toka and Ge." This piece is undeniably goofy and clearly does not take itself seriously. Even so, I find it a much more interesting and original representation of faux-boss music. The cheesy Clint Eastwood meets Loony Tunes aspect of the piece is wonderful, although the use of the main theme feels forced. I wish that Michiko had taken this piece a few steps farther and thrown in a gunshot or two. Then I would have been sold.

Naruke's dungeon themes, on the other hand, are surprisingly gratifying. By and large, the pieces are catchy and make dungeon delving a fun experience. "Dungeon: Exploring 1," "Dungeon: Front Battle 2," and "Dungeon: Chapel," are a few of the upper-echelon tunes. The formula for her best dungeon pieces follows a common thread. First, establish an appealing lead riff. Next, drop a suitable and well-panned rhythm that solidly supports the riff and keeps it interesting. Lastly, expand on the riff with counter-melodies and alternating instrumentation that carry you all the way back to the beginning of the piece. Somehow, this all takes place in the short span of one minute, which is impressive, if a bit frustrating, because it always leaves you wanting more.

The town and field pieces are satisfactory, but far from remarkable in any sense. They get their respective messages across with little trouble, and with little else to keep the listener engaged. From a backwater village to a regal castle-fortress, the ideas are cut-and-dry, as is the instrumentation, on the whole. "A Blow in the Wind" was the one tune that I got a kick out of. It has some real feeling in it, starting with an aggressive drum fill and some string stabs that lead into an excellently syncopated bass synth. A sucker for rhythm to the end, I could not ignore this piece. The variation on the main theme was even remarkable enough to the point that I had no problem whistling along with the lead instrument (which just so happened to be a whistle). I must say that I liked the section which immediately followed that replaced the whistle with another synth. The piece continues into a crescendo that leaves you feeling quite good about the music you have just enjoyed.

If disc 1 was the good and the bad, Disc Two is simply ugly. The intro piece, "Resistance Line," is a mixture between an old western pub toe-tapper, salsa, and J-pop. The idea was nice, but the execution is depressing. The track is everywhere at once, and none of those places are anywhere I would ever want to be. The overdramatic vocals are equally unattractive, and the punchy brass comes in so infrequently you have to wonder why they included it at all. It fails to add any flair, and just seems to clutter the rest of the already woefully misguided piece.

Disc Two then embarks upon a long and stormy journey of aural pain and suffering until the very last few tracks. The pieces are incredibly short, incredibly ambient, or just incredibly boring. Often, it is some combination of the two. However, I promised ye a few diamonds, and diamonds ye shall have. "Thinking on a Sentiment" is a very touching piece. It is comprised of one solo guitar and that incorrigible whistler coming together to create what is probably the best variation on the main theme to be found on the entire album.

"Zephyrs' Theme," which is the ending piece for Disc Two, came as a bit of a surprise. It begins with a strange whiny pad and jazz guitar, which definitely caught my attention. The piece soon jumps into an impressive smooth jazz/funk style that this reviewer took quite well to. Of course, no good things last forever, as this piece demonstrates firmly when the vocals enter. They are completely out of place in the context of the piece, turning it into something along the lines of a bad lounge tune. Whenever she stops singing, however, my opinion of the piece takes off. There is a wonderful electric piano solo and some great brass hits that remind me of something from Sonic 3D Blast (which, if you did not know, is a very, very good thing). Overall, this is a good track with vocalization problems that keep it from being great.

"8 Track Arranged Medley" also deserves some appreciation. The first 5 minutes of the former track are filled with mind-numbing bell, woodwind, and string work, but the patient listener is definitely in for a treat when that clock hits 4:53. For that is when a wonderful acoustic bass and piano enter in with what has to be the cutest chording I have heard in a long time. Mr. Whistles is quick to chime in with the lead, backed up by the same piano and what is most likely the only xylophone solo I have ever heard that I liked. Later in the tune we are blessed with a bit of call-and-response between the piano and xylophone that made me go "aww" in appreciation for the completely cheesy yet irresistible cuteness of it all. Directly after follows some perky guitar which is soon joined by strings. Brass joins quickly after that, and the piece carries on in this very relaxing and enjoyable vein for another couple of minutes before it is all lost in favor of some more of those accursed bells.

Skipping past that section, we arrive at somewhere around 12:00 in the piece, and face an arrangement of "Field: The Barren Lands." This is an excellent reprisal of the more pleasant of the field tunes, although it does not last long. What follows after can only be described as the most annoying transition ever into what is actually a very lovely closing to this 16 minute epic. Steady arpeggiating guitar and a pan flute return to the previous field theme, ending on a sweet note.

The "Wild Arms Medley" is a fully orchestrated arrangement of several of the album's tracks. The presence of real instruments did wonders for the many themes, along with generally excellent arrangement. Somehow, this orchestra manages to turn even the blandest of Naruke's boss themes into an enjoyable piece of music. This track, along with parts of the "8 Track Arranged Medley" and "Zephyrs' Theme" are the only reasons to ever listen to the second disc.

Summary

Naruke plays a dangerous game of hit and miss with Wild Arms 2. While her hits are few, they are also not that amazing, which makes her misses seem less like complete mistakes and her hits seem more like better-disguised mistakes. Perhaps I'm a bit too harsh, but I see so much potential in the album that fell flat on its face due to poor execution that I find it hard to still my tongue. Granted, there are definite successes on this album, but they are so far and in between that you would probably be better off never buying the album in the first place.



Album
6/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Nathan Black

All songs composed by: Michiko Naruke
Orchestra arrangement & conducted by: Kazuhiko Toyama

D1-02 WILDARMS 2nd IGNITION ~You'll Never Be Alone~
Lyrics & Composed: Michiko Naruke
Arrangement: Kazuhiko Toyama
Vocal: Kaori Asoh
Piano: Masato Matsuda
Guitar: Chuei Yoshikawa

D1-75 AtomicARMS
Composed: Michiko Naruke
Arrangement: Takeshi Yamanaka
Vocal: The Gospellers (ゴスペラーズ)

D2-01 Resistance Line
Lyrics: Michiko Naruke & Yoshihiko Iwasaki (岩崎良彦)
Composed: Michiko Naruke
Arrangement: Takeo Miratsu
Vocal: Kaori Asoh
Drums: Nobuo Eguchi
Bass: Emi Naoya
Guitar: Jun Sumida
Latin Percussion: Pecker
Trumpet: Eric Miyashiro
Programming: Takeo Miratsu & 岩崎?雄

D2-27 Zephyrs's
Lyrics & Composed: Michiko Naruke
Arrangement: CHOKKAKU
Vocal: Kaori Asoh
Programming: CHOKKAKU
Bass: Hideki Matsubara

D2-29 The Night Sky
Lyrics & Composed: Michiko Naruke
Arrangement: Michiko Naruke & Kazuhiko Toyama
Vocal: Kaori Asoh
Piano: Masato Matsuda
Guitar: Chuei Yoshikawa

D2-30 Miracle
Lyrics & Composed: Michiko Naruke
Vocal: Kaori Asoh
Piano: Masato Matsuda
Album was composed by Michiko Naruke and was released on October 01, 1999. Soundtrack consists of 106 tracks tracks with duration over more than 2 hours. Album was released by SPE Visual Works.

CD 1

1
Main Title
00:29
2
DISC1 Opening "WILD ARMS 2nd IGNITION ~You'll Never Be Alone~"
01:34
3
Going Out Preparations
00:50
4
Dungeon: Ruins Type 1
01:09
5
Serious Slapstick
00:50
6
Chase
00:55
7
The Crisis At Hand
00:35
8
A Dramatic Return
01:08
9
Scene of Reminiscence
00:42
10
Dungeon: Nature Type 2
00:57
11
A Momentary Respite
01:31
12
From Anxiety to Impatience
00:59
13
The Young Witch Appears
01:04
14
Separation
00:54
15
Monsters Appear
00:49
16
Victory!
00:44
17
Departure
01:25
18
Quiet Night
00:57
19
Organization Ceremony
00:59
20
1st IGNITION
02:12
21
Field: Wandering
01:07
22
Field: Distorted Sky
00:49
23
Field: Last IGNITION
01:00
24
A Town Where the West Wind Blows
01:13
25
Western Village
00:51
26
The Hidden Village
00:59
27
Inn
00:12
28
Far into the Sea
00:57
29
The Stronghold Surfaces!
00:51
30
Gale Vanguard
01:08
31
Dungeon: Nature Type 1
00:59
32
Dungeon: Ruins Type 2
00:56
33
Dungeon: Ruins Type 3
00:55
34
Dungeon: Pinch Type 1
00:30
35
Dungeon: Pinch Type 2
00:49
36
Dungeon: Horror
00:58
37
Dungeon: Emergency
00:45
38
Dungeon: Battle Preparations
00:52
39
Dungeon: Mystery
00:58
40
Dungeon: Odessa's Hideout
00:50
41
Dungeon: Diablo Pillar
00:47
42
Dungeon: Heimdal Gazzo
00:43
43
Dungeon: Anastasia's World
00:50
44
Dungeon: Spiral Tower
00:52
45
Dungeon: Center of Filgaia
00:37
46
Castle
01:04
47
Guild Galad
00:57
48
Valeria Chateau
00:50
49
Live Reflector
01:13
50
Guardian
00:33
51
Tim and Colette
01:11
52
Theme of Operation: ARMS
00:53
53
Theme of Odessa
00:57
54
Battle Force
01:30
55
Battle: Knight Blazer
00:53
56
Battle: VS Mid-Boss
00:54
57
Battle: VS Solid
00:48
58
Battle: VS Cocytus
01:04
59
The Demise of the Feast
00:50
60
Battle: VS Vinsfeld
00:52
61
Battle: VS Liz and Ard
01:00
62
Battle: VS Root of the Kuiper Belt
00:59
63
Battle: VS Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt
00:46
64
You're Not Alone...
00:35
65
Battle: VS Lord Blazer
02:05
66
Battle: VS Ragu O Ragula
00:44
67
CONDITION GREEN!
00:22
68
A Tinge of Regret
00:42
69
Beyond the Victory
00:37
70
It's Clear.
00:24
71
Crime and Sacrifice
00:40
72
A New Dawn
00:49
73
WIN!!!
00:23
74
Game Over
00:34
75
DISC1 Ending "AtomicARMS"
01:47

CD 2

1
DISC2 Opening "Resistance Line" (Full Chorus Version)
04:05
2
Liz and Ard
00:32
3
Launch!
00:27
4
Boss Demo
00:15
5
Soaked in Terror
00:37
6
Anastasia's Guidance
00:49
7
Used by a User
00:41
8
High Pressure
00:51
9
Fate
00:32
10
Agony
00:43
11
Clandestine Broadcast of the Rising to Action Announcement
05:43
12
Wish Upon a Star ~ Broken Promise
01:44
13
Filgaia Summit
00:33
14
An Old Tale
00:42
15
A Great Reversal
01:07
16
From Beyond
01:00
17
Suite: I'm Back
02:59
18
2 Persons Split Apart
01:13
19
Marina's Miracle
00:51
20
The Wall Around My Heart
01:11
21
Eve of the Decisive Battle
01:37
22
The Center of Filgaia
00:32
23
Humanity's Fight
01:16
24
Bitter Return
00:59
25
Absolute Threat
00:52
26
(8 Tracks Nonstop) - Gazing at the Spiral Tower... ~ Reunion with the Dear Ones ~ Valeria Brothers Recollection ~ As One Heart ~ Filgaia Revived ~ Their Paths ~ Always Friends, Forever ~ Last Scene
16:00
27
DISC2 Ending "Zephyrs's"
03:53
28
Final Chapter: 1~4 (4 Tracks Nonstop)
07:13
29
The Night Sky
00:49
30
Miracle
00:55
31
Wild Arms 2 Medley - Opening ~ Goint Out Preparations ~ Battle Force ~ Reminiscence ~ Battle: VS Mid-Boss ~ Field: Wandening ~ A Momentary Respite ~ A Town Where the West Wind Blows ~ Organization Ceremony ~ 1st IGNITION
13:30
30.04.12
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