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Old Dec 24, 2018, 11:19 AM
LiquidAcid LiquidAcid is offline
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Default Best releases of 2018

While I began compiling this list, my first impression was that I had bought more animation and movie soundtrack this year. But in the end I still came up with a pretty long list.

For my top albums, I want to try something new, and point out (for each disc) one of my favorite tracks. Since album number 3 is only available in digital form, I decided, based on the album length, to select two tracks.


Top 4:

SBPS-0025~30 | Xenoblade2 Original Soundtrack & SQEX-10642~5 | Octopath Traveler Original Soundtrack
This was a difficult decision, but in the end I decided to rank both albums at the top. Both feature very high production value, but while Xenoblade2 follows the modern approach of scoring and has a large cast of arrangers and composers, Octopath Traveler keeps things "simple" with just one guy in charge, memorable themes and clever use of instrumentation. Because these approaches are so different, I couldn't just favor one over the other. Both are great in what they do.

Here are my choices for XB2:
- 1.14, "Gormotti Forest" (Manami Kiyota)
- 2.19, "Drifting Soul" (ACE)
- 3.14, "Song of Giga Rosa" (Kenji Hiramatsu)
- 4.13, "Loneliness" (Kenji Hiramatsu)
- 5.17, "The Tomorrow with You" (Yasunori Mitsuda, co-arranged by Mariam Abounnasr)

And here are the ones for Octopath:
- 1.07, "Alfyn, the Apothecary"
- 2.16, "Clearbrook, by the Pristine Waters"
- 3.10, "Decisive Battle II"
- 4.18, "Ending Theme"

N/A | Tangledeep Original Soundtrack
Another retro-sounding album, according to composer Andrew Aversa inspired by the music from the 16-bit era. Aversa is joined by guest composers Hiroki Kikuta, Grant Kirkhope and Norihiko Hibino, but his own tracks are the ones I enjoy most.
My choices are track 04, "Mirai the Heroine (Dungeon Theme 1)", and track 12, "Mysteries of Time (Dungeon Theme 3)", which reminds me of Mitsuda's "Corridor of Time" (Theme of Zeal).

SQEX-10640 | Seiken Densetsu 25th Anniversary Orchestra Concert CD
A very early 2018 release, which I probably didn't listen before mid of the year. What did I miss all this time! Good selection of tracks, just about the right length for each track, three veteran arrangers and one new guy.
My choice is track 06, "Ruined Sparkling City", composed by Yoko Shimomura and arranged by Natsumi Kameoka.


The Good: (in no particular order)

AECL-1009~10 | Grand Summoners Original Soundtrack
If going just by the release date alone this is from 2017, but it's so close to 2018 (29th of December) that I opted to include it here. In recent years I began to skip most of the work by Agematsu, and honestly I can't really remember why I decided to give this a listen. But it suffices to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, you can hear that it's a mobile title, but it features a nice main theme/motif that reappears in most of the tracks. And it does so in a natural way, and not the forced we-have-to-put-it-into-every-single-track type.

SBPS-0036~7 | Another Eden Original Soundtrack 2
Another (no pun intended) album which surprised me. Heck, even alone the fact that we got a second volume for Another Eden was a surprise. The album is quite short when compared to the first volume, and most of good stuff (by Abounnasr-san btw) is located on disc 2 (the three Horai tracks!). Hope to see a real full-length solo project by Abounnasr in the future!

SBPS-0038 | Another Eden 8bit Arrange CD
A very short bonus for the aforementioned second volume, but with a nice selection of tracks. I like the Baruoki chiptune in particular.

N/A | Game + Anime = Ganime Jazz
While the album title also mentions anime, for the most part the songs covered are from videogames. Looking back now, I had quite some trouble getting the album, but thanks to the friendly folks from Dagmusic everything was smoothed out in the end.
Now I would probably buy the album just for the Snake Eater cover alone. Also because Donna Burke performed a similar version in Paris at the Metal Gear concert. Great voice, what can I say more? :-)

N/A | Hoshiyomi no Tsumugu Uta Music Collection -Vol.1-
The only soundtrack released by mamomo in 2018. Bought the album directly from the composer at the M3-41. Not as upbeat as his recent works for 3rdEye, but more on the relaxing side.

BSPE-1071 | Caravan Stories Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 (and the other seven volumes)
I'm putting all eight volumes here, even though I have so far only listened to 1, 2, 3 and 4. If I would rank each album on its own, the ranking would definitely be lower. In particular I found the first volume to be very weak, and I could imagine that people would skip the rest on that impression alone. So I can only encourage people to also give the rest a try.

So this is primarily here because of the sheer volume. And because of that it's easy to find something to enjoy. For me this is mainly material composed by Yoshimo Kudo and Azusa Chiba. And for the Hitoshi Sakimoto fans, there is lots of stuff that could some straight out of Final Fantasy XII (not the parts I enjoy). Still I wonder if a complete release with a different ordering of the tracks would've been better to present this.


The OK:

SQEX-10635~7 | Secret of Mana Original Soundtrack
This could've been a great album, if it wasn't for the lack of direction. Seems like everyone was given free rein, and then later someone collected the results, compiled and mastered it. My main motivation for checking this one out was the involvement by Haruka Shimotsuki, but her tracks sound mostly untouched (in terms of arrangement) with just her providing vocals/chorus. Which is OK, but also nothing more.
So in the end, after going over the playlist multiple times, I have mostly arrangements by Yuzo Koshiro, Tsutomu Narita and Kikuta himself left.

SQEX-20049~50 | Final Fantasy XV Original Soundtrack Volume 2
A similar problem plagues this album, but it is more due to how music production for the difference DLCs were handled. I guess Episode Ignis was quite nice, and I also enjoyed some of the from the Multiplayer Expansion Comrades (in particular The Wrath of Swords). The rest is mostly forgettable.

TSCM-0083~4 | For Whom the Alchemist Exists Original Soundtrack
Pretty standard Shimomura -- what more can I say?


The Bad:

AVCD-55174 | Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Original Soundtrack
I was pretty disappointed by this one. Even though the first Ni no Kuni album is shorter (talking about the release by FRAME, not the one by Wayo), it manages to tell a story in its 54 minutes. This album feels like a bunch of tracks mashed together, and while a few of them stand out, it has never managed to capture my attention. And when the ending theme was playing, I just thought "And that's it?". Come on Hisaishi, you can do better than this!

N/A | Resurrection: Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary Arrangement Soundtrack
I like Azel for its very specific sound, and was curious about how they would approach the music. Looking back now, I think one should've called this a remaster album, because it's mostly just this -- using better samples or live instruments for the tracks, doing little or nothing new and interesting with the source material. A lot of wasted potential here.

SQEX-20048 | Xenogears Original Soundtrack Revival Disc -the first and the last-
Another remaster type album, which doesn't really warrant the term 'remaster'. Except for the newly recorded tracks, nothing here is new or that much improved that it makes any sense to use 96kHz, 24bit.


Still need to listen to these:

KSLM-0149~51 | Summer Pockets Original Soundtrack
When the game came out, I gave the gamerip a superficial listen and then immediately decided to buy this. Anyway, the album still hasn't arrived, but I'm pretty confident that I'm going to enjoy it.

LNCM-1276~8 | Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth Original Soundtrack
Seems like Atsushi Kitajoh is only allowed to work on the Persona spin-offs now. Looking forward to this one, since I enjoyed Q1 a lot.

KICA-2543~4 | Touken Ranbu -Online- Kinji Music Collection Vol. 2
With the few things Akiko Shikata still does, there was no question if I should buy this.

CPCA-10457~8 | Rockman 11 Original Soundtrack
As far as I can see, this is the first solo work by Marika Suzuki. After the desaster with Mighty No. 9 I guess it can only get better?

N/A | God Eater 3 Collector's Edition Original Soundtrack
So far God Eater hasn't let me down (except for that anime album), hence I keep hoping for a official release to appear in the next year. The cast of arrangers looks promising, even though I had hoped for more Shiina+Miyano greatness...

KECH-8077 | Alchemy of Sounds ~Atelier Arranged Tracks~
Hayato Asano is back with Gust (well, just for this one arrange album it seems), and he's even doing a track from Grand Phantasm. What more can you ask for?

SBPS-0039 | Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Kingdom of Torna Original Soundtrack
More XB2, more Jen Bird? Yes, please! :-)

HIMJ-0015~8 | Kurokishi to Shiro no Maou Original Soundtrack
At first this was supposed to be the "big" soundtrack by Shimomura in 2018, but now it seems the big solo project by Shota Kageyama, with some contributions by Shimomura. I was inclined to order at first, but with that additional information I'm first going to sample I guess...

SQEX-10655 | SINoALICE Original Soundtrack
Apparantly the game was/is a big hit. With the hype around NieR Automata's music I could imagine this also being a dud.


And now without further ado, Merry Christmas!
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  #2  
Old Dec 24, 2018, 05:38 PM
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eduhunter eduhunter is offline
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Hello!! My list for 2018 get shorter because of my college completion of course work (or what we call TCC here in Brasil) and a new job and marriage (yes!). But i reserved some moments for music of course, so here we go (as usual from me, by release order):

The Good

Tangledeep Original Soundtrack
I agree with LiquidAcid here, this soundtrack brings the best of 16bit RPG style of music.

SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY ORIGINAL SOUND TRACK
Goddamn...they really turned Mario music into something BIG! Loved the Koji Kondo tracks and overall presentation of the album.

Re:Tune Romancing SaGa BATTLE ARRANGE
Din't expected this one after the other SaGa arrangments albums. But they are still amazing. Another great arrangment from Kenji Ito.

THE PRIMALS
Very good FF XIV arrangements

Xenoblade2 Original Soundtrack [Type C]
After the frustrating Xenoblade X OST, i was so happy to see ACE again in this series. I was not disappointed. Best album of the year.

Reverie
This little "Zelda style" game came out of nowhere on the PS4/Vita and the soundtrack is so charming <3

WILD GUNS Reloaded Original Soundtrack
Though most of the OST isn't new, the new tracks from Hiroyuki Iwatsuki are very good!

DELTARUNE Chapter 1 OST
Toby Fox maintain the consistency with his new work. Awesome battle music too.

Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth Original Soundtrack
Aside some tracks from other Persona games, this is batter that Persona Q1, and this is a good thing, because the last game ost was also good!

The bad
Secret of Mana Original Soundtrack
Yeah...the arrangments here dont match with each other and they lost the magic of the original soundtrack...it feels generic much like the in game graphics...

FINAL FANTASY XV Original Soundtrack Volume 2
The only good part for me was the Nobuo Uematsu tracks - Choosing Hope - City of Light and Choosing Hope. Seriously, i listened to the entire album, but most of the tracks don't feel...right.

There some OST i missed and have yet to listen, like Kirby Planet Robobot, Zelda Breath of the Wild and Octopath Traveler. Hope 2019 will bring us some great music [hype already high for Kingdom Hearts III]...see ya!
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Last edited by eduhunter; Dec 24, 2018 at 05:44 PM.
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Old Dec 24, 2018, 06:16 PM
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Phonograph Phonograph is offline
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perso, as I think I said, seiken orchestra is boring
sd music isn't done for orchestra, when I see the pic of the concert I feel it wrong
tracks sound like 2 or 3 guys played an instrument, it doesn't sound like an orchestra performance at all but 3 guys in a garage (maybe misrecorded?)

other disappointment is sen no kiseki iv ost
it's that sort of ost that can have like 3-4 good tracks for a total of 60-80 tracks
(my fav kiseki ost will still remain zero no kiseki ost)
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Old Dec 25, 2018, 03:08 AM
Ramza Ramza is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidAcid View Post
SQEX-10655 | SINoALICE Original Soundtrack
Apparantly the game was/is a big hit. With the hype around NieR Automata's music I could imagine this also being a dud.
This has been sitting, sealed, on my desk for over a month. I really need to crack into this. Especially since a localization for the game was announced.
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Old Dec 28, 2018, 04:14 PM
Homan Homan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phonograph View Post
perso, as I think I said, seiken orchestra is boring
sd music isn't done for orchestra...
Same, not as fantastic as I thought, maybe because I wanted something more epic or with more chores. But fine to listen!
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Old Dec 31, 2018, 09:36 PM
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It was an excellent year for Nintendo music fans with Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Octopath Traveler, Xenoblade 2, and the Kirby orchestra concert all being great and all getting proper releases. XB2 is my favorite but I've given them all good listens.

We also had some great indie soundtracks like Tangledeep, Deltarune, and Celeste. Hope to hear more Deltarune and the 'modern' arranged version of Tangledeep in 2019.

We also got our first proper JAGMO release last week in the form of Symphonic Suite "SUIKODEN". A really great job by the arrangers and performers - I hope this release will encourage them to put more of their concerts on CD.

I'll also shout out Sdorica -sunset- because it seems like nobody has heard of it. Low budget, but the music is well written, the orchestration is interesting, and all the tracks have endings (no loops). The composer seems to have taken a lot of inspiration from Hamauzu.
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Old Jan 2, 2019, 11:30 AM
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Teioh Teioh is offline
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I haven't completely made up my mind about 2018 but this is a first list. Some major releases from the last quarter of 2018 already considered, so it may still take a couple of listens to change the ranking.

Best Game Soundtrack:The major releases did not disappoint. Octopath Traveler met all expectations and Xenoblade 2 deserves a honorable mention for the effort Kurokishi to Shiro no Maou at 4 discs turned out thoroughly enjoyable.

Best Eroge/Visual Novel Soundtrack:A miserable year for the eroge industry and it shows. Visual Art's is strong as ever with their Key and SAGAPLANETS brands, but I was sorely disappointed by the monthly release output. Paradise Ocean was OK and Raspberry Cube pretty good, that's it. More Music Entertainment had a productive year but I just can't get into their works. It also feels like artists such as solfa or Toshinori Orikura get all the jobs now and are doing their best to drain this genre of any innovation.

Best Western Soundtrack:Celeste outshined everything in the indie department in 2018. Moss delivered a great fantasy score and while I typically don't care for horror game music at all, Chad Seiter's Arkhangel works so well out of the game, it deserves a honorable mention.


Best Arrange Album:Too many orchestra CDs this year, it used to be something special, now it takes 5CD Suikoden concerts or Eroge Chamber Orchestra CDs to even take note. I'm happy that Key Orchestra takes a completely different path to AUGUST's Traveling August concert series with focus on BGM rather than vocal songs.
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Old Jan 20, 2019, 01:31 PM
LiquidAcid LiquidAcid is offline
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Just finished listening to the first disc of the Rockman 11 album, and woah, I guess I need to add another album to my top 5. I need some more time for this to sink in, but this one really took me by surprise.

Does anyone know how her works for Star Force compare to this one?
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