This Grandia soundtrack is divided into two CDs. Disc 1 is called the orchestral side, and disc 2 is called the synthesizer side.
Disc 1 uses live instruments to play out arranged versions of some of game's music. The instrumentation is excellent, and I felt as if I was listening to an anime soundtrack, rather than a game soundtrack. In the tracks, you can hear a variety of instruments being played, from electric guitars to classical piano to xylophone.
There is a mix of contemporary, new age, and classical musical styles employed in the soundtrack. The early tracks convey contemporary and new age musical styles. From track 6 onward, the music becomes more symphonic. Overall, there does not seem to be any sense of repetition in the musical styles.
Disc 2 uses synthesized music, but it sounds like a high-quality studio synthesizer, so you can definitely expect excellent music. The music on disc 2 sounds a bit more like a game soundtrack, but it does an excellent job of not repeating the melody. Other game soundtracks tend to use a base melody that lasts for a minute and then repeat it. This is not the case here. When the melody almost sounds like it is going to repeat, Noriyuki Iwadare puts a twist in the track. In addition, almost all the tracks provide more than two and a half minutes of music.
The musical style employed here is varied; world music is my best description of the style. For example, track 1 uses a bagpipe-like instrument. Track 2 sounds like music played at a port. Track 4 has a tropical atmosphere. For all you Wild ARMs fans, listen to track 7. Noriyuki Iwadare composes good music regardless of the musical style.
In conclusion, I very much enjoyed this Grandia soundtrack. This is the first time I have ever heard music from Game Arts, and I can definitely say that I enjoy their musical approach to the game. For me, the Grandia soundtrack is even better than the soundtracks of Final Fantasy Tactics and Xenogears. It definitely deserves space in your CD collection.