Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hideaki Kobayashi - Let The Winds Blow

Hideaki Kobayashi

To say my middle-school years were spent playing the various incarnations of the Phantasy Star Online series would be an understatement...
I played them a lot.
Like, I would go to bed around 4am on a daily basis, and the various hours of finding rare items and what have you would shift to algebra or whatever it was happens in middle-school.
Chances are if you wound my nerdery I could talk about the series for awhile, not so much because it had incredible gameplay, but because the advent of online console games/using Dreamcasts with a dial-up modem was such a new and crazy time for a huge-eyed youngster as myself.

It was like the development of cool, you know? The PSO series was this crazy futuristic vibe, mixed with the coming of age internet/multiplayer, and as lame as it sounds it'll probably be something that sticks in my memory for awhile.
A large reason it will remain in memory, is because of the score across the three titles, composed by Kenichi Tokoi, Fumie Kumatani, and Hideaki Kobayashi. The gist of the game/aesthetic was its emphasis on space/futuristic vibes, and digital lobby-chairs/holograms for days wouldn't have near the impact they did if it wasn't for the electronic wizardry implemented by these three people.

So I thought, I'll go back and listen to these for nostalgia's sake --
I quickly realized how much my memory of the game was embedded in my brain because of the music -- even simple lobby loops implement such cool and interesting tones/electronic pulses that I felt obligated to share with the uninitiated.

I went backwards, choosing the game I played least in the series (thought that newest PSU was pretty weak), and ultimately the most neglected -- Episode III that was a Gamecube exclusive.
A lot of fans didn't like it because it was turn-based/card-battles, yadda-yadda, etc., but regardless of sentiments on the game, the soundtrack might be their best work.

I honestly think this soundtrack, and a few others in the series, are really one of the few game soundtracks that you can listen to independently from the game and still have an appreciation for them, or to say, they could stand on their own as straight-up music releases. Obviously playing the games will make the tracks stand out in your head a little more, but there's such an awesome mix of jazz/electronic/neo-classical shit on here that I think anyone could dig.

I'll stop blabbering and just post this, but this is 'Let The Winds Blow: PSO Ep. III OST', and I tagged the entire album as being 'Hideaki Kobayashi'... he's the only composer on the series who worked on all three titles (even though his output on this one might be the least), so I just left the other composers/guest-singers (as one or two tracks have vocals) in the comments.

If the game seems rubbish or you knew someone like me who played it all the time, still don't hesitate to check out the music. Any fan of electronic music absolutely has to hear this...just some essential tones/ideas thrown around on this, with a huge ensemble of talented musicians to boot.

An idea of the 2-discs:

Tower of Caelum

'Idola' - The Strange Fruits

Let The Winds Blow
mind the graves


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