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Rogue Galaxy – “The Theme of Rogue Galaxy” (arr. Yasunori Mitsuda)

May 6, 2010

So I was digging through a bunch of albums in my ‘R’ folder (in the ‘Rockman’ section to be exact) and came across this Premium Arrange album to Rogue Galaxy (2005). Opening it up, I noticed it has a track by Yasunori Mitsuda that I hadn’t heard before (which was probably why I picked this one up). I’ve never played it, but I seem to remember my brother picking a copy of this up at one point (or maybe it was Castle of Shikigami 3 – I can never remember what all is on the shelves).  Anyway, here’s Yasunori Mitsuda’s rendition of “The Theme of Rogue Galaxy”

Rogue Galaxy Premium Arrange – “The Theme of Rogue Galaxy” (Yasunori Mitsuda)

Mitsuda’s Celtic influences are pretty strong in this track, which holds well with the 18th Century pirates feel of the game. The acoustic guitar mixed with piano and drums, which creates a very dynamic – and very Mitsuda – rhythm, as well as a flute-held main melody infuse the song with an exotic quality one would expect from interplanetary exploration. There is also a synth line introduced in the second loop of the theme. The song’s overall structure is fairly standard remix fair, with theme, variation, original material, and theme redux (maybe there’s something inherently pleasing with that structure…or it just happens to fit well with looping music). However, these elements are so well woven together that these divisions don’t feel as solid as doric columns on a capitol building but instead a fluid dance. The break here is a quiet piano interlude for a softer, human element. I think it’s that acoustic guitar and flute that really make this song memorable – travel on the cosmic ocean, searching for adventure with some good friends to keep you company. That’s the kind of camaraderie associated with Mitsuda’s work.

It’s usually fairly easy to identify a Mitsuda piece: he has used roughly the same selection of instruments (usually that acoustic guitar and flute) since he began composing with Chrono Trigger in 1995. Mitsuda’s music is also always full of joy, brimming with a love for sound, rhythm, melody, and the peace that we gain from sharing this sound with others.

The original track was composed by Tomohito Nishiura (Dark Cloud, Professor Layton). I haven’t heard any of his original music, but judging by the arrange album, I’d say he’s a pretty solid composer. And hey, if he’s a friend of Yasunori Mitsuda, he must be good! This arrange album seems to be the product of the friendship between Nishiura and other composers such as Yoko Shimomura and Motoi Sakuraba.

Now I admit I don’t have this album, but if they were ever to publish it on iTunes, I’d purchase just this track. The other songs, while possessing a high production quality, didn’t really stand out to me (maybe because I haven’t played the game? It’s always a question of whether or not playing a game has anything to do with music recognition and retention…but I’d say it’s a big part). I will say though that “The Castle in the Air”, arranged by Kenji Ito, is another good track.

I’ve never played Rogue Galaxy before, so this required a little reading on what the game is about. It’s a Japanese RPG that was pretty popular and highly rated in Japan (85 average). The player joins a team of pirates who sail the Milky Way on a spaceship shaped roughly like an 18th century schooner (boggles the mind, but it’s not like the shape of the ship matters much in space). Lots of treasure hunting, planet-hopping, and monster fighting ensues. For some reason, it reminds me of Skies of Arcadia and the anime Outlaw Star (gee, that goes back a LONG way!).

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