Have given this quite a few listens and enjoyed it (as reviewed). It's not on the level of Ghibli Symphonic Collection or Princess Mononoke but the former is an arranged best selection and the latter is abnormally excellent, so maybe not a fair comparison.
Ghibli fans, how do you feel it compares to Hisaishi's other work? Any non-Ghibli fans given it a go?
Does it lose a lot by not including the pieces Rei Kondo composed for the game?
I guess if you want to actually consider this a Ghibli score it's an incredible piece of work. Ponyo was good but it was too simplistic in nature and I'm sure that was the directorial intent of it given the average age of the intended viewer and the age of the protagonists and such. Howl's Moving Castle was okay but I generally don't like that much brass in my orchestrations and it was definitely a huge variation from Joe's normal orchestrations. Top 4 Ghibli scores, in order, are Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Laputa and Nausicaa. If I had to rank this new one I'd probably put it at 5.
Though if you want to compare it to Joe's recent works, non-Ghibli included, I think it falls a little short of what he's capable of, and that could be either due to direction or the medium or the game. Some of the movie and tv shows he has composed for recently (Watashi wa kai ni naratai [I want to be a shellfish], Sake no Ue no Kumo [A Cloud on the Slope], Okuribito [Departures], Akunin [Villain]) have been far and above some of his best work of the decade and I would put it somewhere on the level of Sonatine and HANA-BI scores.
It's hard for me to look at that cover art and NOT consider it a Ghibli score. The sound is also pretty much in line with what I'd expect from a Ghibli soundtrack (both in a good and bad way).
I've yet to hear any of Hisaishi's non-Ghibli work so should make it a point to do so. Had no idea he'd scored such mainstream works as Okuribito.
Not that it would solve the brass issue (which isn't an issue at all with me) but jb when you mention Howl's Moving Castle, you have heard the image album as well, right? Its arrangements impressed me far more than the OST's.
I have, of course. It's pretty good but still very brass heavy which is not what initially drew me to hisaishi (simple recurring melodies, jazzy feel). Not sure if you're aware but I believe there is a different orchestral arrangement of jinsei no merry go round on works 3 and a piano version on piano stories 4.
Overall I do agree it's great
Great news for Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch!
The complete soundtrack (2 CD) composed by Joe Hisaishi and a collector color booklet has just been announced by Namco Bandai and the label Wayo Records!
A limited collector item to own. They ship worldwide, needless to say I already ordered mine
More info here on the official shop page of the label:
Thank you for the heads up! This will undoubtedly sell out! Also, at $35 (after conversion), it's cheaper than purchasing the single CD soundtrack from Japan, which people are asking around $50. And let's not talk about the
"Special" CD that came with the Wizard edition... 2 tracks? Hmmm, "Special" is not the term I would have used
Can anybody help clear up the relation between the DS and PS3 soundtracks and the two album releases?
I'm just now realizing that the 2011 album (PKCF-1036) reviewed here is for the DS game. (Not used to Nintendo handheld OSTs having full orchestral soundtracks.)
Looking at the Wayo two-disc album track list and according to the VGMdb page the first disc is actually a re-release of the aforementioned DS soundtrack, while the second disc is the new PS3 soundtrack. Strange that it appears shorter. Does the PS3 game re-use a lot of the DS game's music? Listening to a couple YouTube clips it sounds like it at least has new arrangements of the main theme.