Genso Suikoden has a vast vault of arranged albums from what is a relatively small collection of games. “Genso Suikoden Vocal Arrange ~ La Passione Commuove La Storia~” was the first of the two (to date) vocal arranged albums we have been given. However with both of the vocal albums, there is one specific issue with the arrangements – there is a very Engrish pronunciation to any English track. This album has a variety of languages and so it doesn’t throw it in your face as much as the follow up. Bare this in mind for your purchase, as if you can’t see beyond that, this beautiful arrangement album will be utterly wasted on you.
“The Beautiful Golden Capital” which opens the CD in such a fine fashion is actually instrumental though. It’s soaring saxophones and violins really make this arrangement complex and eventful and I love the original anyway. It has a real carnival atmosphere and I for one am not a fan of the saxophone so if a song with a saxophone as a primary instrument really gets me going – its a great song and a superb arrangement. ”Theme of a Moonlit Night” starts off the vocal tracks. Yuko Imai sings beautifully tonally in this ballad but it’s one of the worst offenders of elocution problems. It’s a shame because its a classic ballad with a big ending and beautiful instrumentation. If you can look passed that niggle you’ll enjoy the piece. “Reminiscence” is a much more upbeat jazzy number with some nice drum machine extra. The song is extremely catchy and very strong and the elocution doesn’t have such a prominence here. “Her Sigh” ends Yuko Imai’s English trio of songs. It’s my personal favourite, a bitter-sweet noble piece with a distinct Japanese essence running through it and epic scale. Not even the elocution can ruin it for me.
Risa Oki then takes over for the Spanish “La Mia Tristezza” which really spices things up with a presence and an urgent speed that really hasn’t really been shown until now. Even though the chorus’ slow down, the bridges are magical. Risa’s vocals are strong here too. Yuko Uemo then brings us the sublime acoustic “Orrizonte” with minimal percussion and nice wind instruments just adding to the magic. Uemo then sings “Due Fiumi” which comes across to me much like an anime theme song. The cross between acoustic and electric meets here in another strong tune. Yoko Imai returns for the light dance track “Rain Grass” with her confused English but once again the song is strong enough to with stand some of the weird pronunciations.
However a huge shout out goes to Risa Oki and “La Passione Commuove La Storia” which is an epic track. Regal, emotive, soft but strong and epic all at once. This is a stunning track. The CD ends with “The Wind Blows Gently” which is almost like a happy encore which always makes me giggle with the poor vocalist having to sing so fast with her accent heavily influencing the song. It’s still a lovely a piece though.
Leaps and bounds better than the follow up vocal arrangement album, I often come back to this CD for some fun music, a good laugh at Japanese elocution and actually for a good journey. There’s a bit of everything on here that can lean towards a jazz style. Not being a fan of jazz it does surprise me I rate this album so highly but well – we all have guilty pleasures don’t we? If you are choosing which arrange albums of Suikoden to get, I’d still recommend the Celtic and Asian collections over this but it’s still worthy of purchase if you can track it down.