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Carl Mar 28, 2006

Certainly is good to hear about this, more Kikuta is always welcomed  smile

clownb Mar 28, 2006

awesome!  i am really hoping to find a way to get this one, and very curious about how it might sound.  if this marks a true return for one of the legendary masters of game music, it will be well worth it.

Shinichiro Mar 28, 2006

apparently the cd consists of music he wrote as an amateur in the 80's before making music for video games, plus stuff he wrote on the side later on.  so, basically it's all old stuff we shouldn't have already heard...which should make for an interesting listen.

XLord007 Apr 7, 2006

Carl wrote:

Also, if you have a personal fan-message to send to Kikuta, you can write it in the "special instructions" field when placing the order, and your message will be sent to him.

Think she'd still pass on the message if we say something like "Why have you forsaken us?" ;-)

clownb Apr 9, 2006

after nearly three years i have wondered just what it would take for me to actually buy another CD.  this is it.

Carl Apr 26, 2006 (edited Apr 26, 2006)

OK, the disc has arrived, so it's time for analysis and impressions!

Kikuta gives a track-by-track commentary in the liner notes, so here's the (big!) scans if anyone is willing to please translate to English.

http://sg.slightlydark.com/scans/Lost_Files_Scan_2.jpg
http://sg.slightlydark.com/scans/Lost_Files_Scan_3.jpg

Here's my impressions:
1. Mona Lisa Overdrive
Sounds a bit like a shooter track, with a Gradius influence

2. Newromancer
Action/Battle theme!  A little Falcom/Ys feeling here

3. Burning Chrome
Jazzy Rock with a bit of One Night in Neo Kobe City from Snatcher attitude.

4. Catch a Falling Star
Famicom Era!  Happy Bouncy 8-bit love here  smile

5. Oceanic
Slow song, music box/orgel intro then adds some Wild Arms style whistling

6. Something Wicked This Way Comes
10 Minutes long. Starts with Happy 80s Pop for first 5 minutes, then goes into darker bells/synth for 2 minute break, then back to the Pop.

7. A Long Trip to Teatime
Secret of Mana time!   Has his trademark SFC feelings and instruments here.

8. Night Moves
Intro similar to Mario 64 Underwater, then goes into a wacky shopping-type theme

9. Einstein Intersection
hmm, hard to describe this one, almost like a Sim-City SFC metropolis tune.

10. A Scanner Darkly
Middle Eastern ~ Arabian accents, likely for a desert town theme

11. A Small, Good Thing
slow song with acoustic guitar intro, then at about 53 seconds we get a very similar melody line to the title intro of Seiken Densetsu 2

12. Tenreijima Kitan Part 1
starts out with quiet rain, then at 33 seconds launches into full power Soukaigi Mode!!!! 
Instrument set is same as Soukaigi with the highlight piano and percussion, adding electric guitar too.

13. Tenreijima Kitan Part 2
bass guitar line has main focus here, for extended groove.  Saxaphone comes in for the break.

14. Tenreijima Kitan Part 3
High Energy Soukaigi again, with some India-style female vocal work, then around 1:31 changes into an nicely contrasted percussion and woodwind matchup.

15. Tenreijima Kitan Part 4
Bassline driven groove, slow melody overlay, and some funky manipulated sampling that's hard to describe...

16. Tenreijima Kitan Part 5
Energetic Piano back in forefront, Soukaigi continuation...

17. Tenreijima Kitan Part 6
Closest thing to a dedicated rock song on here, full (Live?) drumset and electric guitars, most likely meant as an "Ending Theme" or Staff Roll song from it's feeling.

18. Princess of Elfland
Harp and flute peice, with some strings coming in later.  Second half evokes some imagery of a long travelling caravan journey or something.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with the disc, and was very glad to see more Soukaigi style songs included here.   

Again, if anyone wishes to tackle translating the liner notes, that'd be quite fantastic.
http://sg.slightlydark.com/scans/Lost_Files_Scan_2.jpg
http://sg.slightlydark.com/scans/Lost_Files_Scan_3.jpg
Thanks.

XLord007 Apr 26, 2006

Carl wrote:

Overall I'm pretty pleased with the disc, and was very glad to see more Soukaigi style songs included here.

Sounds interesting.  Mine's not coming for a while (I think I have it paired with the FFXII OST), but I'm looking forward to it more now.  Thanks for the impressions.

Zane Apr 28, 2006

My copy is en route! I can't wait to hear it... knowing that some songs are Soukiagi-ish make me really happy I decided to grab this disc. But I... must... resist samples...

I want it all to be a big surprise when it gets here.

Daniel K May 2, 2006 (edited May 2, 2006)

People who have read my posts over the years know that there are few bigger fans of Mr. Kikuta's music than I, but I must say that after listening through the CD a few times, I'm very disappointed. The tracks that are good are basically the 4 Carl listed samples of: the rest are passable. It would be naive to expect an all-out solo album effort, because this really sounds exactly like what it is: a collection of odds and sods, scraped together over the years. If this were "non-soundtrack"-music, the most appropriate label for the album would be a b-sides collection or demo collection. I will definitely give it many more tries (the excellence of the composer's previous works practically demands it), and I really hope it picks up.

Since the album is built on leftovers, it doesn't in the least lessen my respect for Kikuta's composing abilities. But I was really hoping for something far over and beyond this.

Carl May 2, 2006 (edited May 2, 2006)

Daniel K wrote:

...the most appropriate label for the album would be a b-sides collection or demo collection.

Well yes, that's exactly what this was supposed to be all along....

B-sides and unused tracks are to be expecting from the album name, or was the Title just too subtle in proclaiming it's contents?

With a name like "Lost Files", how would people get to thinking - Woo, it must be a NEW All-Out solo album effort!?    It's still enjoyable, I dig at least a dozen of the 18 tracks.

Daniel K May 2, 2006

Carl wrote:
Daniel K wrote:

...the most appropriate label for the album would be a b-sides collection or demo collection.

Well yes, that's exactly what this was supposed to be all along....

B-sides and unused tracks are to be expecting from the album name, or was the Title just too subtle in proclaiming it's contents?

With a name like "Lost Files", how would people get to thinking - Woo, it must be a NEW All-Out solo album effort!?    It's still enjoyable, I dig at least a dozen of the 18 tracks.

Yes, I agree. And as such a collection it is decent (can't say I like as many as a dozen of the tracks, but 5 or 6 of them are worthwhile). It's just that some sources (such as VGMWorld and some people I've heard discussing it) seem to advertise it as a "first solo-album" sort of thing, and downplay or ignore the true nature of the album.

What I'm trying to say is that, in retrospect, I think this album will be seen as a "in-between" affair, and not one of the milestones of Kikuta's career (like I said, a compilation of leftovers). I can easily see some people enjoying it, but it will most probably only be the die-hard fans (and not even all of them, as my example shows). The phrase "OMFG!!! First Kikuta-album in 7 years!!!!11" is bound to mislead some, who will come expecting a new Seiken or Soukaigi.

The moral of the story: download before you buy. I see the logic behind the samples you selected, Carl, but the samples are also highly misleading, as they are without doubt the best ones on the CD (to any prospective buyer - don't think you'll get an entire CD full of that).

Also, a note on the "Soukaigi-esque" tracks (12 - 17): it's true that instrument- and arrange-wise, they are remarkably close to Soukaigi's music. But in energy and melody, they leave a lot to be desired. I played them back-to-back with the Soukaigi OST, and they seem very bland in comparison. If it turns out that these tracks were leftovers and outtakes from the Soukaigi sessions that didn't make the cut, I wouldn't be at all surprised.

Zane May 2, 2006

Daniel K wrote:

The phrase "OMFG!!! First Kikuta-album in 7 years!!!!11" is bound to mislead some, who will come expecting a new Seiken or Soukaigi.

You're the only one who has said that, actually. Everyone here knows this is a cutting-floor type album of stuff collected over the years.


Daniel K wrote:

I see the logic behind the samples you selected, Carl, but the samples are also highly misleading, as they are without doubt the best ones on the CD (to any prospective buyer - don't think you'll get an entire CD full of that).

How about saying instead: "Damn, thanks for the samples, Carl. That was really kind of you to take the time and bandwidth to host these files," instead of claiming some sort of deception.

I think you're just pissed off because the album wasn't what you wanted it to be, and that sucks for you, man, but that doesn't mean a half of a damn to me or anyone else here.

Daniel K May 2, 2006 (edited May 2, 2006)

Zane wrote:
Daniel K wrote:

The phrase "OMFG!!! First Kikuta-album in 7 years!!!!11" is bound to mislead some, who will come expecting a new Seiken or Soukaigi.

You're the only one who has said that, actually. Everyone here knows this is a cutting-floor type album of stuff collected over the years.

I'm not the one who said that, "actually". I've heard it on many forums, and over not so few internet conversations. As for "Everyone here", I highly doubt exactly everyone knew that, but more importantly, even if that was true, "Everyone here" doesn't cover everyone who will purchase the CD. Most VGM fans aren't so educated. I think at least some who buy this CD are in for a nasty surprise.


Zane wrote:
Daniel K wrote:

I see the logic behind the samples you selected, Carl, but the samples are also highly misleading, as they are without doubt the best ones on the CD (to any prospective buyer - don't think you'll get an entire CD full of that).

How about saying instead: "Damn, thanks for the samples, Carl. That was really kind of you to take the time and bandwidth to host these files," instead of claiming some sort of deception.

Deception...? Hey man, I wasn't dissing Carl. It was cool that he put the samples up, OK? All I'm saying is that I recommend a download of the entirety of the CD before shelling out 3000 yen for it. The sample quality is misleading - I stand by that statement - and hence my recommendation.

Zane wrote:

I think you're just pissed off because the album wasn't what you wanted it to be, and that sucks for you, man, but that doesn't mean a half of a damn to me or anyone else here.

Cool it, Zane. The only one pissed off here is you - the CD you payed 3000 yen for is on it's way, and you're seeing the first black cloud on the horizon. Too bad. STC used to be a place where people could discuss game music without getting comments like "and that sucks for you, man, but that doesn't mean a half of a damn to me or anyone else here". All I was doing was expressing my opinion on the album. Or are only positive reactions allowed...?

Carl May 2, 2006 (edited May 2, 2006)

Now I understand what you're referring to Daniel...

True, it has been mentioned as being his "first solo-album" although I suspect that was meant as being the first cd with Kikuta's own name on it, but yeah that part of the phrasing is probably what got you thinking more than what the Title itself says.

Daniel K May 2, 2006

Carl wrote:

Now I understand what you're referring to Daniel...

True, it has been mentioned as being his "first solo-album" although I suspect that was meant as being the first cd with Kikuta's own name on it, but yeah that part of the phrasing is probably what got you thinking more than what the Title itself says.

Actually, I knew what would be on the CD, that it would be comprised of "lost files". But even knowing that, I was disappointed - I honestly don't think even the best tracks on the CD can touch Seiken Densetsu 2 & 3's lesser moments (not to mention Soukaigi). I was prepared for getting b-sides and odd ends, but I thought it would be better than this.

Zane's claim that I was the only one saying stuff like "Kikuta's first work in 7 years!" is false in both directions - not only did I never claim or believe that, but others did claim it. You need only check around on various game/game music forums to see that, how about the GF thread SquareTex linked to at the top of this page? I quote:

"Some big news today for fans of Hiroki Kikuta: his biggest work in seven years and only solo album to date is being released. Called "Lost Files", with 18 tracks in total, this will only be available through his web site, but should reflect him back on top form."

Biggest work in seven years? Solo album? Back in top form? 1 and 3 are false, 2 is, taken out of context, misleading.

I expected nothing much, and still found it pretty lacking. How will the avarage uninformed VGM n00b expecting the new Secret of Mana find it...?

Like I said, I do like some tracks. "A Long Trip to Teatime" is pretty OK, sounds very Seiken 2. But the only thing it made me want to do was put on the Seiken 2 OSV, which sounds the same, just 10 times better.


Also, another point: "Lost Files" doesn't necissarily imply it being a collection of scattered works. It would not be strange at all to name an ordinary studio album "Lost Files", albums have been named much stranger and more misleading things than that. Add to that the fact that this is a Japanese album... Well, regardless of the name, *anything* could have ended up on the CD.

clownb May 7, 2006

SAL finally saw this safely delivered and so now for a mild impression.

obviously, this is not Kikuta's grand opus.  his style and technique are present throughout most tracks, though it lacks a certain amount of a charm as a whole. 

the first half of the collection seems comprised mostly of clean 80's style synth.  i enjoy most of these tracks with the sole exception of him abusing too much charang to carry the main melodies.  also, "Something Wicked This Way", the 10 minute track, while decent enough, seems kind of like it was overlooped just to fill out the CD.

the quality of synth and composition takes a drastic leap beginning with the "Tenreijima Kitan" tracks.  i would hardly quite put them on the same level as Soukaigi, but the comparison is understandable.  the guitar work in a couple of these tracks is just not very convincing.

overall, this collection is leaps and bounds more enjoyable than any of his h-game soundtracks and nowhere near as drab and fluffy as Koudelka.  i am generally satisfied, but did hope it would be a little more impactive.

GoldfishX May 16, 2006

*Bump*

I have to say, I'm loving this entire CD. Actually, I'd probably call it my second-favorite Kikuta work (after Seiken 3 and ahead of Sakura Relaxation, Seiken 2 then Soukaigi). There is one track I find lackluster ("Princess of Elfland") and one or two of the shorter tracks, but all six of the "Mysterious Story of the Island of Souls" tracks (particularly 1 and 6), "Burning Chrome", "A Small Trip to Teatime", "Knight Moves" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (which seems like it SHOULD be too long, but the added length helps settle into it) are gold. First CD in ages I've listened to twice in a row (probably about 8 times total over the past 2 days) Easily my favorite VGM-related CD this year.

If these are Kikuta's table scraps, I can't wait for a whole 3-disc 10-course meal of these type of tracks. Too bad the composers for the new Seiken games are already determined....

I wonder what the backstory for Island of Souls is...

Zane May 17, 2006

Things I don't like about this album:

1) Some of the chanting vocals (Tenryo-to Kitan 3)
2) The guitar in "A Small, Good Thing" sounds a little out of tune (0:59-1:17)
3) There aren't enough songs

This is up there with SOM+ and Koudelka in my books, and I was glad to hear some tracks that sounded similar to Soukiagi. A, maybe an A-. The six-part Tenryo-to section is killer, and "Mona Lisa Over Drive" is one of the best openers I've heard in a long time.

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