Many game soundtracks - even arranged ones - seem to focus mostly on making immediate melodic impact, rather than taking time to "set the mood". Witchwood is a bit different in that it strives to establish mood, often using ambience and slow melodic progression to do so. As a whole the CD revolves around the forest wilderness setting that the composer Bjorn Lynne attributes to having a strong impact on his life.
Witchwood utilizes the ambient sounds of the woodlands - flowing brooks, calmly chirping birds, etc. These ambient passages are used frequently between tracks, tying them together and setting the woodland mood. I don't consider myself much of an outdoorsman, but even I find myself enjoying this natural sound, which conjurs images of homely farm communities and misty forests after heavy rains. Other game soundtracks establish similarly strong images with their music, but usually those are more in the form of the knight's epic adventure or a space pilot's intense final dogfight. Witchwood's nature theme is unique.
Witchwood is not all about setting mood, though, as the ambient passages form only part of the CD. Some tracks have what could be considered a mild progressive rock sound. You'll have your electric guitar with limited distortion, driving bassline, passive percussion, and a mix of tame electronic sounds, along with the more natural instrumentation of winds, acoustic guitar, and more. It would be naive to claim that the sound hasn't been accomplished to some degree before, but as far as game soundtracks go it's pretty exclusive.
A few other tracks, "Homeland Farmland" and "The Town of Witchwoode" in particular, should bring an immediate smile to the faces of Final Fantasy fans and other RPG traditionalists. Uptempo, flutey, and highly melodic, these town themes have a lighthearted nature which, combined with the woodland setting, makes them a treat to hear.
The ambient natural atmosphere and less intense melodies of Witchwood make it a great CD to play as background music while you write, read, or do other tasks. However, there is also enough substance to the CD to lose yourself in the world of the music. Witchwood may not feature the abundant melodic content of a Konami CD or the drama of a Square soundtrack, but what's here is unique and a pleasurable listen in its own right.