Creid – “Lahan” (Yasunori Mitsuda)December 25, 2009
Merry Christmas, everyone! And what better way to celebrate the holidays than some celebration music? This is one of my favorite tracks from my favorite vgm album, Creid (1998), a remix album of music from Xenogears (1998). “Lahan” is a nice, Celtic fiddle mix that feels like it was taken directly out of an inn somewhere in Ireland. The fiddle and tin whistle are so bright and pure and full of joy, while the bag pipes are have an incredibly pleasant, mellow sound to fill out the mid range. In the end, the accordion and singers kick in to bring the melody to a fine close: it seems like the entire band got together to perform this entire piece. You can almost feel as if you are in the tavern with your best friends, having the best time ever – it is the place I would most like to be. The whole album seems to me a celebration of peace and harmony, especially through a combination of instruments that in any other situation might create a cacophony – in the hands of Yasunori Mitsuda, it is perfect, glorious melody.
Creid was based on music composed by Yasunori Mitsuda and arranged by Mitsuda as well as Tetsuko Honma, KALTA, and Eimear Quinn. The album is performed by the band Millennial Fair, a mix of Japanese and Irish musicians, including Marie Breatnach on the fiddle (Final Fantasy IV: Celtic Moon) and uillean piper Davy Spillane (Riverdance). This was a very unique setup that combines Japanese and Celtic influences to create something very original. The timing for the album was perfect, as shortly after its release there was a big boom of Celtic music in Japan. The band’s name is a reference to the Millennial Fair from Chrono Trigger, and event that celebrates the coming of peace in the Middle Ages of the game world, 1000 years ago. In case you’re curious, Wikipedia has an excellent overview of the album and its composition.
Creid was reprinted in 2005, and so is still pretty easy to pick up on places like CD Japan and Play Asia. It is well worth the effort and price of admission. Incidentally, the first copy of this album I owned was a pirate by K-O Records, so I had to get a second copy a few years later! (NEVER pay for pirated software!) Interestingly, “Lahan” was originally called “My Village is Number One” in the Xenogears soundtrack, and is the song that is played in the opening village level (which tragically gets burnt down by the protagonist in a war that follows him to his home).
Yasunori Mitsuda composed the soundtrack to Xenogears with the intention of making the soundtrack spiritual. This can be seen particularly through “Creid”, but is also present in the spirit of the other tracks. The album title is translated from the Celtic as “Believe”. He has also composed the soundtracks to Chrono Trigger and Xenosaga Episode I, as well as the standalone image album, Kirite. Mr. Mitsuda is my favorite composer – second only to Mozart – and is now the one game developer I would most like to meet.