Napple Tale OST 1
My hands were shaking with excitement when I collected this package. I had been waiting for this for a while; to delight in tearing away the paper, inserting the contents into my hi-fi system (doesn't that sound naughty now), and enjoying the music over a cup of hot chocolate. The music that I'm getting all gushy about is this album, the first of two for Napple Tale, a game which unfortunately never did get an international release. Napple Tale is a great game. With solid controls and fun game play, it has everything that a platformer should have. This game, however, contains an additional plus, namely the music within it.
Napple Tale Vol. 1: Illustrated Guide to the Fairies is the first of the two albums. I was very amused and subsequently impressed by the cover art. Squiggly lines and childish drawings seem to set the theme for the music to come. The music in Napple Tale was composed by Yoko Kanno, one of my idols, thus my excitement when I got my hands on this album. Honestly, I don't know how she does it. Really, I don't. The way she manages to weave an absolutely beautiful tune is like magic. As one of the most popular and famous anime/game composers in Japan, she can write out such a strong soundtrack, one that's full of heart and enchantment.
Thinking of how to describe the music seems to be my hardest task. Perhaps the best way to introduce it is to ask you to imagine living in a dream where anything can happen, where fantasy and reality blend together in a cacophony of sounds and emotions. There is no certain theme to Yoko Kanno's music. The album contains a wide selection of pieces, each of a different type and genre. There are the fun pieces, such as "Tale Song" and "Ice Cream." These are childish tunes, bordering on the irritating but still keeping some sensibility within. The song "Jumping Cracker" reminds me of a Disney/Warner Bros. cartoon chase scene: very frantic, and very funny. I can almost imagine the Acme hammers and anvils already. "The Snow Princess" has a fast-paced Spanish feel to it, with the guitar and clackers in the background, as does "Dual Tango." There are also sweeping orchestral compositions that are either weird in flavor, or stunningly beautiful. "Flower of Yesterday" is such a piece, both beautifully peaceful and transcendental, promising fulfilled dreams and adventures to come. However, I most especially love the many soft piano pieces littered in the album. Songs such as "Egg" and "Delightful Arithmetic" are short but definitely sweet. It also helps that most of the instruments used are real, and the songs are performed by professional musicians.
There are several vocal songs included on this album, sung by the girl with a nightingale voice, Maaya Sakamoto. Already an established singer, she lends her voice to Yoko Kanno's compositions, such as "Green Wings." Her singing instills a sense of innocence and longing into the tune, making it almost heartbreakingly sweet and wonderful. She has only two songs in this album, but she sings more in the next. Her vocal contributions are short, with some songs lasting only thirty seconds!
There is an element that Yoko Kanno puts in her work that makes it so much more special than other compositions. It has a certain simplicity about it, and yet her music just manages to give so much more in terms of heart and emotion. Many of her songs in these OSTs spoke to me. "Cecil's Garden," the choral "Tree of Church," and "Snowball" continually amaze and touch me with their magic.
You don't have to play Napple Tale to enjoy the soundtracks. These songs are light-hearted, relaxing and definitely worth listening to. And while you're at it, pick up the rest of Yoko Kanno's works. You won't regret it.