CREID: Yasunori Mitsuda and Millennial Fair (Xenogears)
- "Clearly, one of the greatest arranged albums ever!"
- "I believe Yasunori Mitsuda has found his true calling with Creid."
Tracks (49 minutes total)
- Released Apr 22, 1998 by Digicube (catalog no. SSCX-10018, retail 2854 yen).
Clearly, one of the greatest arranged albums ever!
Reader review by Eric Bowling (1999-01-29)
Wow! That's all I can say about Xenogears: Creid. Yasunori Mitsuda takes his place as a top video game composer with this collection of 10 arranged tracks from Xenogears. You've never heard anything like this, folks, and probably will never again.
Mitsuda combines Celtic music and new age rock and mixes them in a way that is completely enthralling to the senses. He brings together such diverse instruments as harps, congas, bagpipes, fiddles, and accordions and combines them into a masterpiece of sounds and emotions. At times it's simply beyond words to describe it. I'll try anyway.
"Melkaba", with its rocking drums and strings, starts with a soft Celtic harp string accompaniment, then kicks in with Uilleann pipes, guitars, congas and bongos! What you get is a cool, slightly undulating musical melody that is both frenetic and orderly at the same time. You almost want to headbang, but it's not as intense as the Konami rock tracks. It will still make your body move.
By far my favorite track on the disc is "Stairs of Light". It absolutely rules! A pair of clattering castanets, accompanied by an accordion, acoustic guitar, and fiddle, make it sound like you're in the middle of a Xenogears jam session! It has a truly awesome bass solo halfway through which must be heard to be believed. The vocals, sung by "Tenchie", are cool, even though I can't understand a single word. She has a really playful voice that has only been matched by Risa Ohki in "Have You Ever Seen Me?" from Final Fantasy: Love Will Grow. Tenchie does it with more power. The only problem I have is that it's only 3:44 long! Way too short compared to the monster 7:24 running time of "Melkaba".
"Stars of Tears" is a great song, with howling low whistles, electric guitars, drums, and keyboards. The vocals - in Japanese (so I of course don't understand them) - fit the song very well, and are very catchy.
"Lahan", an instrumental piece, is very energetic, with a cacophony of instruments (accordion, fiddle, congas, bag pipes, etc.) all coming together with a chorus of voices and hand clapping, as well as a laughing noise, courtesy of "People at The Hardcourt Hotel's Pub" (so says the liner notes). It sounds like a jubilant celebration going on all around you. It makes for really good party music.
The whole feel of Xenogears: Creid, I think, is expressed in the "Lahan"... a communal, party-like musical experience, with diverse instruments and people (the artists on the CD come from Ireland, America, and Japan) coming together to create something very special, and very new and unique. Everybody involved in the production of this CD is obviously enjoying themselves, and this rubs off dramatically in the recording. The music carries with it that kind of energy. I had absolutely *no* idea what I was getting myself into when I bought this - Celtic music wasn't really a love of mine, and the term "New Age" that's associated with it scared me as well. But I took a chance on this CD (I never played the game or had really listened much to the OST beforehand) and wasn't disappointed. I think it's so good because it's so easily accessible to your ears and mind. Do yourself a favor, and go get Creid *right now*! Don't wait! This album will be looked upon in the future as a turning point in arranged soundtracks.
I believe Yasunori Mitsuda has found his true calling with Creid.
Reader review by Aaron Lau
The first thing I must say about this soundtrack is that, man, was it released fast! After the long, *long* wait that was Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks (eight and a half months, and for a slip-shod arranged CD, at that), it's really refreshing to get a *full* arrangement just two months after the original. My best guess is, Mitsuda had a lot of time to work on the OST, and hence, had more time for the arrangement.
And what an arrangement! To make an arranged soundtrack that's different from the norm but also remains faithful to the original can be difficult. Lately, Square's composers haven't even been trying! Since the original Xenogears music was heavily Irish-traditional based, it only seems natural to make this into a Celtic arrangement. So, much like Final Fantasy IV Celtic Moon, the result is a whole lot of fiddles, harps, pipes, and Irish overtones, coming together to make one harmonous piece. As a matter of fact, you may even remember key fiddle player Marie Breatnach from Celtic Moon!
The soundtrack starts off with "Melkaba", which is based on the song "Premonition". This is a very moody piece, with a melancholy harp, chorus chants from Yoko Ueno, and strong guitar rifts throughout. "Balto", which is based on "Bonds of Oceans and Fire", starts off with a soothing acoustic guitar and flute, then transitions over into an upbeat accordion and fiddle melody. To me, this song is the most distinguishing of Creid's Irish nature (although strangely it reminds me of the music from the Pocky & Rocky series!). The title track, "Creid", is based on "The Wounded Shall Advance Into The Light". Eimear Quinn's heavenly voice will surely put your mind and soul at ease. Then when the uillean pipes and beat kick in at the middle, it's just too beautiful!
"Two Wings" is a Japanese vocal version of "Stars of Tears", and the first of vocalist Tetsuko Honma's performances. If you've never heard the out-take version of this song on the original, then it'll be a double treat to your ears to hear the original "Emotions" arranged. Speaking of Tetsuko Honma, she really has an excellent sense of vocal melody. Her charming and light-hearted voice fits the melodies extremely well, especially in the whimsical "Stairs of Light" and "Spring Lullaby". It took me a little time getting used to listening to these Irish-style melodies sung with Japanese lyrics, but now it seems like second nature to my ears.
By far one of my most favorite tracks is "Dajil". Damn, this is one phat track! Mixing an Arabian melody with heavy rock... has such a thing ever been done, while sounding so awesome?! "Spring Lullaby" retains the melody of "Flight" perfectly, and the bass drums and sleigh bells are just too cool. "Lahan" sounds exactly like its game counterpart, "My Village Is Number One". The chorus at the end, I think, truly represents the title, "Millennial Fair".
A great soundtrack deserves a worthy end song, and "Mebius" delivers. This is essentially a Japanese vocal version of two of the most significant songs in the game, "A Distant Promise", and "Small Two of Pieces". Like in her other songs, Honma's performance is flawless, adding some very nice variations and stresses to the notes. Ordinarily, if I hear a Japanese vocal song, and the melody and voice aren't right, I abhor it. Joanne Hogg's recording of "Small Two of Pieces" sounds just beautiful, with strong heart-warming lyrics, but Tetsuko Honma's recording is sweet and fair. Special credit goes to both vocalists for outstanding performances, and extra special credit goes out to Yasunori Mitsuda, who created such a wonderful song.
This soundtrack is simply fantastic. I have to honestly say that, not only is the original Xenogears music one of my most beloved Square soundtracks, but Creid is also one of my most favorite arranged soundtracks to come around in a long time. Although I really did want to see some battle tracks, as well as some of those blood-pumping action tracks, Creid takes a different direction. Its focus is more on warm Irish melody, which makes for a truly spectacular arrangement.
Creid of Yasunori, Fei, Ellie, and you.
Reader review by Tomo Takebe
When Xenogears came out, I was "hit" by its melodies and innovations in the songs. With its blend of Irish traditional music and progressive rock, Yasunori Mitsuda took Xenogears music to the next step in Creid. The 10 songs are all hand picked, composed, and arranged by Yasunori himself.
"Creid" means "to believe" in the Gale lauguage. Yasunori wanted to guide the lost ones with this album by telling a message to believe in themselves. Four of the five vocal songs in this album are in Japanese, and their lyrics express deep emotions and love, with some reference to the Xenogears theme that you may recognize after playing the game.
The two main styles of music presented in this album are Irish traditional and progressive rock. A Bulgarian chorus sings in the Yoik style in various places, filling in the fiddles and the celtic harp. In other moments, the drums kick in along with distorted guitar. The blend is neither jumpy nor unnatural. Everything comes together as a message.
Tetsuko Honma sings most of the vocal songs in Creid with a very interesting style. She breaks out of the language barrier of Japanese completely, adding Irish/English articulations on every syllable. It may sound unnatural to listeners accustumed to Japanese, but the sound fits the songs completely.
This album contains the arranged versions of "Presentiment", "Stars of Tears", "Chain of Ocean and Fire", "We, the Wounded, Shall Advance into the Light", "Dajil, the City of Burning Sand", "The Sky, the Cloud, and You", "June Mermaid", "Into the sky", "My Village is Number One", and "Small Two of Pieces". As you can see, Yasunori did not pick the uplifting battle songs. He picked out the most sensational and beautiful themes instead. They all are intended to give hope and to make you "believe".