Phantasmagoria, though released by Squaresoft, has only two things in common with game music: (1) its composer, Nobuo Uematsu and (2) a single track, aptly titled "Final Fantasy". That being said, Phantasmagoria is, quite easily, my favorite disc of its kind. I read to it. I drive to it. I do homework to it. Occasionally, I just sit down and relax to it. I hesitate to describe Phantasmagoria as "easy listening" (since that title is usually reserved for the likes of Barry Manilow and that unemotional crap that plays while you're on hold), but really, that's what it is. It's easy to listen to. Expressive, emotional, thoughtful.
Several of the songs have Japanese lyrics and are, in all but one, spoken rather than sung. The instrumental tracks are performed, or in several cases programmed, beautifully. The melodies are right on. While most of the songs conjure up calm images of drifting snow, dusty sunlight, or cresting waves; a few of the tracks are more playful. "Dogs On The Beach" is one such track. The Prologue theme rears its majestic head once again in the tenth track, "Final Fantasy", and is the only video game-related music you'll hear on this disc. It's arranged in a kind of folk style, with a male vocalist who is generally inoffensive but nowhere near as talented as the angelic Risa Ohki. In the veritable infinity of Prologue arrangements that are available on various discs, I'd say this version ranks in the lower half. The final track is not listed in the contents - and what it contains won't mean much to you or I. It's a reading, in Indian, from a book of prophecies titled "The Leaf Of Augustia". The book is believed to tell the past, present, and future of the lives of those who listen. The reader is apparently speaking directly to, or about, Nobuo Uematsu since he mentions his first name several times. I can't recommend this disc enough - it's a joy to listen to. And as Nobuo Uematsu's first published non-game music endeavor, it's a creative triumph.