Following Game Show, Square Enix Music Takes Initiative

By Jeriaska . November 15, 2008 . 10:14pm

Over two consecutive years Square Enix has been the only developer at the Tokyo Game Show to devote a booth solely to its music department. Next to a rack of forty-four albums published by Square Enix and a three-dimensional version of the lime green cube familiar to visitors of the publisher’s website, promotion coordinator Akio Shiraishi was on hand, announcing the latest album releases through a loudspeaker. The event offered us the chance to hear from producer Soushi Yoshida, seen below holding the DVD for the live concert in Yokohama titled “Voices: Music from Final Fantasy.” Yoshida has been involved in the production of many of the company’s live recordings, including those found on The Black Mages’ first album and “Drammatica: The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura.”



This week, two albums that appeared on the Square Enix Music sampler, offered to those who made a purchase at the booth, received official release dates. Takeharu Ishimoto’s Dissidia Final Fantasy Original Soundtrackwill be out on December 24. The album includes remixes of classic themes from the Final Fantasy series. On the same day, Chocobo and the Magic Picture Book Series OST, a two-disc album of songs from the Final Fantasy Fables series, will go on sale, including tracks from Chocobo Tales and its upcoming Nintendo DS sequel. Mainly arrangements of Nobuo Uematsu’s canonical role-playing game themes, the album will also showcase the original compositions of Yuzo Takahashi, the Sapporo-based arranger behind Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon. Twelve samples are currently on the official site. In January, still more Uemtasu arrangements will follow with the CD release in Japan of orchestral concert Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy.



One of this year’s notable developments for Square Enix Music is in digital downloads. The company was one of the first game music publishers to offer iTunes exclusives. These included the soundtrack to Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales, now finding its way onto compact disc. In addition, the three Square Enix Official Bootleg volumes gave arrangers and synthesizer operators in the sound department the opportunity to make their own compositions available to listeners. Dirge of Cerberus arranger Ryo Yamazaki contributed a track called “Feel Gravity” to Bootleg Vol. 2 that features vocals by Final Fantasy Tactics A2 localizer Joseph Reeder. Such unexpected collaborations have contributed to the lasting appeal of the music collections.



The Official Bootleg trilogy was followed by an original album by contributor Mitsuto Suzuki called “In My Own Backyard.” The ten-track image album has been praised for its sound design, the memorable quality of its compositions, and the originality of its concepts. “The power of Mitsuto’s music works outside the boundaries of logic and reason to deliver inspiration to its listeners,” comments Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka in the album’s online liner notes. According to Soushi Yoshida, Suzuki’s tracks on the Official Bootleg series received a large amount of positive feedback. “This led to the decision to publish the self-produced album,” says the producer. “We have received enthusiastic responses from all over the world, so we are currently looking into the possibility of making available original albums by other composers.”



Images courtesy of Square Enix. Translation by Ryojiro Sato. Photo credit: Jeriaska/ Siliconera.

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