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The Legend of Xanadu Super Arrange Version, 2006-11-07
Reviewer : Simon Drasle - See all my reviews
Before Falcom decided to resurrect their perennial ?eSpecial Box?f in 2004 after a seven-year hiatus, The Legend of Xanadu had never received an original soundtrack release. Before the 3-disc soundtrack found its way into the new millennium?fs only Special Box foray, the closest thing we received was ?gThe Legend of Xanadu - JDK Special?h which featured slightly improved versions of the main songs from the game. While incomplete compared to the aforementioned original soundtrack, it showcased the worthwhile tracks but unfortunately only in a low-quality synth form. Due to the amazing craftsmanship of Sound Team JDK?fs compositions, it was still quite charming in its own right but only furthered Falcom fans?f longing for a soundtrack release featuring technically superior versions of these epic melodies, ala the coveted Ryo Yonemitsu-laced Perfect Collections. While this never came to fruition, in 1994 Falcom decided to skip right to the next best thing and unleash ?gThe Legend of Xanadu Super Arrange Version?h.
Taking 11 exceptional, and arguably the best, tracks from the game, Katsutoshi Morizono and Mitsuru Kotaki spice up these songs with all the rockin?f awesome that Falcom Arrange albums have become legendary for. Given that this is a ?gsuper?h arrange album, one should be able to trust that the sound quality is excellent and greater than that of its predecessor. Of course as soon as the CD commences with the introductory chords of the brilliant ?gLegend of the Wind?h, the most recognizable song in the series, in high-quality synth, the promise is fulfilled and one is content in knowing that, if nothing else, these will be the best sounding versions of The Legend of Xanadu?fs anthems. With Falcom?fs track record, however, it would be pretty reprehensible to stop there, that?fs why they didn?ft.
Normally the hypnotic opening to ?gLegend of the Wind?h is a precursor to a sensational power rock ballad. However, with the Super Arrange version the intro, extended here, progresses into a smooth-flowing, fusion guitar that firmly grips the listener?fs heart strings while dousing them with copious amounts of soul. Half the tracks on the album are penetrated by a similar fusion surge that perfectly accentuates the melody taking it to new highs. My absolute favorite arrangement, ?gSilent Tower?h, is the most blatant beneficiary of this fact. In it, Morizono and Kotaki ignite wailing guitars that sing like they are belting out heavenly hymns creating an aurally glorious experience.
While the arrangements of some of the other tracks such as ?gPower of Fellowship?h and ?gDakru?h aren?ft quite as bold, they are instead infused with rhythmic funk that make them equally infectious. Then there are songs like ?gSophia?h and ?gA Bird Crossing the Desert?h which are superb simply because Morizono and Kotaki expand upon and embellish the originals?f ethereal ambiance. Emphatically concluding the album with one final blast of fusion is a hauntingly stunning rendition of ?gLike the Wind?h, proving that from start to finish this is simply a brilliant album.
Being that ?gThe Legend of Xanadu Super Arrange Version?h isn?ft particularly rare or expensive, given that you know where to look, it comes with my highest recommendation. It?fs certainly one of the most uniquely beautiful albums that not only have been produced by Falcom, but have been produced period. As a side note, any diehard Falcom fan yearning for more Xanadu goodness should check out the 2nd disc of Falcom?fs 1994 incarnation of the Special Box. Also titled ?gThe Legend of Xanadu Super Arrange Version?h, confusingly enough, it features a number of different, along with a few of the same, Xanadu songs wrapped in orchestral delight.
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