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Napple Tale OST Vol. 1 ~ Illustrated Guide to the Fairies

[back cover]
Catalog Number: MJCG-80042 (reprint VTCL-60159)
Released On: October 21, 2000 (reprint July 1, 2009)
Composed By: Yoko Kanno
Arranged By: Yoko Kanno
Published By: Marvelous Entertainment (reprint Victor Entertainment)
Recorded At: Forum Music Village (Rome), Victor Studio, Soundcity Studio, Crescente Studio
Format: 1 CD
Buy this CD from Play-Asia
Tracklist:

01 - Dove Clock
02 - Tail Song
03 - Flower of Yesterday's
04 - Chocolate Forest
05 - Jumping Cracker
06 - Delightful Arithmetic
07 - The Snow Princess
08 - A Stroll
09 - Balsam
10 - Snowball
11 - Tree of Church
12 - Egg
13 - Rain Waltz
14 - Cecil's Garden
15 - Skipper
16 - Dual Tango
17 - Toy Train
18 - Gatena Toyshop
19 - Pooch
20 - Round Sheep
21 - Little Black Book
22 - Green Wings
23 - 13 Ice Cream
Total Time:
51'46"

It's very sad that Napple Tale never made its way to the US. Not only did the game look beautiful, but the music is something magical too. I haven't listened to much of Yoko Kanno's work in the past, but I think it's about time that changes. She truly is a master at her craft. There's something about her style that brings out so much heart to the compositions. The music here can best be described as sweet, pretty, oftentimes quirky and funny, and at some parts, beautiful - perfect for a game geared toward younger girls. But the compositions are so complex, yet simple, that you'd swear it couldn't possibly have come from a videogame.

Napple Tale Vol. 1 ~ Illustrated Guide to the Fairies is the first of two albums featuring the game's music. The tracks on this disc are mainly comprised of the fairy themes, and have a lighter feel than that of the second volume. What struck me first about these compositions was the sound quality. Everything is performed with live instruments and sounds wonderful. How much better can you get when it comes to sound quality? Is this the future of game music? I certainly hope so.

Unlike many other action-RPG's, these pieces aren't wailing rock tunes, nor are they overly dramatic orchestrated themes. Many of the tracks have a soft, bouncy feel to them while others sound as if they've come from a cartoon. And still, there are pieces that are clearly inspired by classical composers. There's a lot of variety here, yet the soundtrack manages to maintain its happy-going tone throughout. Many different styles are employed, from soft jazz, to "Snow Princess" with its Spanish Flamenco, even Celtic inspired pieces. One of my favorite songs is "Jumping Cracker" which sounds like a cartoon chase scene. It's different from anything I've experienced before in a game soundtrack.

As a fan of game music vocals, I must give mention to Maaya Sakamoto who instills gentle sweetness into these pieces with her emotional performances. Although "Tail Song" may seem out of place with it's offbeat melody, Sakamoto pulls everything together with her lovely voice. "Green Wings," in particular, showcases her talent. With her beautiful words harmoniously flowing through the calmness of the music, it proves to be quite a breathtaking piece.

The music isn't the only enjoyable aspect of this soundtrack. As the title states, it's an illustrated guide to the fairies, and the liner notes are actually a small booklet containing drawings of many of the game's fairies/creatures. Ever heard of a Wool Ball Chipmunk? How about a Whisper Rabbit or Doggy Bee? Although they look to be drawn by a child, I found some of the images to be quite amusing and fun to glance through.

So, as a newcomer to Yoko Kanno's music, I can't compare this album to her previous works. Therefore, on merit alone I recommend this soundtrack. With it's happy/outgoing tone, excellent instrumentation and compositions, it makes a great pick-me-up when you're feeling down or just looking for something refreshing and enjoyable to listen to. Sadly enough, not many online stores carry it. Otaku has it for relatively cheap (around $27), but the shipping can be pretty steep. I feel it's worth the price anyway.

Editor's Note: the soundtrack was printed in 2009 and will be available for the foreseeable future.

Reviewed by: Lucy Rzeminski



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