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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Yoko Shimomura's "memória!"

Yoko Shimomura, main composer for the Kingdom Hearts series and for the much anticipated Final Fantasy XV, has just released her new compilation album: memória! The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura.

Her last compilation album, "Drammatica: The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura," was released back in 2008, and featured re-workings of songs from various games that she has worked on, including an anthology of Organisation XIII themes from Kingdom Hearts, 'Somnus' from Final Fantasy XV (Then, still under the title of Versus XIII), and the Mana series.

Her new album, memória!, also boasts tracks from a range of game titles and series, such as Parasite Eve, Super Mario RPG, and Front Mission.

Of course, there are also pieces from Kingdom Hearts - two, in fact! And they are two of the most iconic pieces of the franchise.

The first is the main title theme of every single Kingdom Hearts title to date: Dearly Beloved. The newest arrangement of this piece captures the beauty and emotions of the original piece, while, at the same time, bringing a new sound to the track. Somehow, Shimomura manages to create something amazing every time she returns to the piece, changing it enough to make it different, yet retaining the spirit of the original.

Shimomura seems to quote various arrangements of Dearly Beloved in her new album - it begins with a piano version of the opening to March Caprice (the credits music from the original Kingdom Hearts), while also incorporating the waltz segment from the 3D arrangement - which adds an element of wonder and awe to the track.

The second piece is a highlight from the album: Vector to the Heavens, from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. This piece has been given the full orchestral treatment, and it is amazing. Like the original, it incorporates Xion's theme - the melancholic, moving melody that was an integral part of, not only Xion's character, but the entire game it was written for; as well as the main tune of Kairi's Theme, and, of course, Dearly Beloved.

Since the release of Days, Vector to the Heavens has become one of Shimomura's most iconic pieces - and rightly so. This arrangement is definitely worth checking out.

One final note - OMNIS LACRIMA, the piece from the latest Final Fantasy XV trailer, is a bonus track on the album.

While there are other tracks on the album, I will not comment on them here. You will have to go out and explore them yourself! However, I have given a quick review of the Kingdom Hearts tracks, and encourage you to check them out. The album can be bought via the Square Enix store, or through Amazon.
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