Ar Tonelico Hymnos Concert Side Blue
This blogpost will cover Concert side Blue – Reading the stars ~Hoshiyomi. Crimson will be covered in another post shortly after this one, don’t worry!
Ar tonelico is a typical 2d JRPG produced by Gust and Banpresto. The game and the concert sides are fairly old but I came upon the music again recently which ignited alot of fond memories. Unfortunately, due to the amount of time between now and when I last touched the game, all I can remember are the scenes where certain songs were played and a very rough outline of the story. Nonetheless, if you imagine it as the most typical of typical jrpgs, you’ve got at least half the idea. A key point to know is that the two female protagonists weave their magic spells using song and at numerous important story scenes, the game will treat you with a vocal piece when a spell is cast.
The style of music was extremely peculiar to me when I first heard it. Even now I struggle to describe it but over the past few years, this style has found its way into various anime and game soundtracks (off the top of my head, I have heard similar pieces in the ZOE2 and tsubasa chronicles osts). There is very heavy use of choirs in many of the tracks in blue and crimson and a distinct ‘ethnic’ feel to the entire compilation, sort of like music you would expect to hear in a secluded village.
Ar tonelico Hymmnos concert Side blue contains 10 tracks, 7 with vocals of one form or another and many >5mins long! As far as I can tell, the music has been largely unchanged from that which is heard in the game itself. Personally I found the second track in this disc to be the standout of the entire ost – somewhat unsurprising since it makes a massive impact when you first insert that game into your ps2 and the song is played in the opening sequence.
IMPACT is surely the one word that sums up this song. The crescendo/decrescendo together with contrasting soothing melodies followed by tense mixing of voices drew me right in from the very first moment I heard it and that feeling hasn’t changed even after all these years. That moment where the singer whispers “ar tonelico” haunted me for a little while…but in a good way.
EXEC_CHRONICLE_KEY is a slower, grander song which undulates between flowing violin, strong choral voices and a rather nasal lead singer. It really seems like I’m being told a heroic story when I listen to this.
EXEC_PAJA/.#Misya extracting plays when the blue-clad female protagonist goes berserk and starts singing some doomsday song. I’m guessing this track is meant to BE the doomsday song which it certainly could be. There is a melody hidden in all that chaos which sounds very tribal. Although I don’t particularly like this song, it did its job in the scene it played, lending a sense of immense urgency and panic as all hell broke loose in the game.
EXEC_HARMONIUS starts off with soft vocals that gradually build in tension that suddenly breaks around the halfway mark, as if something was born. I kept getting the feeling of dread and evilness from this song and my inability to recall when this was played didn’t help to bring it into context. It did mesmerise me for the entire 6mins of playback time though.
Aside from tense, heavy choral pieces, there are 3 vocal songs which give respite.http://l8uvxg.blu.livefilestore.com/y1pEi7tuRA-1ZjIIK5I9qHxd5oKrGmjnGSMZ_l5wr1ESHC6yq92zhiB7oclDXZxKt8-_zHi0rVeuRtmA_6dmpJzWAJdBBo9a4Ue/04_york_of_love..mp3?download&psid=1
York of Love is not particularly amazing but the singer has a very smooth less nasal voice which is a welcome change from the rough vocals that are heard throughout the game.
Song of the Gentle Breeze adds a tiny amount of quirkiness and lightheartedness to the compilation. The same singer from York of Love provides soothing vocals that never stray from perfection even at the high register. I found this song to be akin to a ‘This is an RPG Town” bgm which it sort of was for one short scene in the game. Refreshing and relaxing.
Crimson soon to come!