Battle Garegga – Arrange OST Composer Commentary

Battle Garegga - Arrange OST Composer Commentary

This composer commentary on the Battle Garegga remixes for the Saturn port was found at the old Raizing homepage. It’s a light piece and comes off mostly as a Garegga/Namiki love-in, but is a fun read given the big names involved. I’ve also added Namiki’s commentary from the Battle Garegga THE MADNESS liner notes, which I had translated awhile ago, but never officially posted.

Takayuki “J99” Aihara

One day I heard from a friend that this new STG “Battle Garegga” had a soundtrack that was getting critical acclaim from all over. As a fellow musician, and also as a game music freak myself, I couldn’t ignore that news, so I grabbed a fistful of coins and rushed down to the game center… I deliberately chose a small place that wouldn’t be too crowded.

Hearing that sound the first time, with one amazing track after another, I just kept thinking “damn, game music has come this far.” And then there was the gameplay itself, which lived up to my wildest expectations. In the world of STG, Battle Garegga was a leader, a game with real dignity.

Time passed, and one day Battle Garegga appeared again before me: this time as arrange/remix work! It goes without saying that Garegga’s OST is a spirited effort, but beyond that, you can keenly feel the love that Manabu Namiki puts into his work. He is the type of composer whom we rarely see today. (laughs) When I listen to the arranged tracks I did today, I think back on those bygone days I battled with the FM sound, and I get lost in deep nostalgia.

Degeneracy (stage 4) arranged by Takayuki Aihara.
Stab and Stomp (boss) arranged by Takayuki Aihara.

Kenichi Koyano

The arcade soundtrack for Battle Garegga is wunderkind Manabu Namiki’s masterpiece. When the news floated down to me that I’d be arranging two of the tracks, I was at once very happy but also very anxious. Would I really be able to “power-up” these songs, while also maintaining the energy of the original compositions…?

On top of that, I learned that several other powerhouse musicians would also be doing some arranges. This had become a big deal, and the pressure was mounting.

In contrast with the sharp edge of the Battle Garegga songs, Manabu Namiki himself is a very polite, gentlemanly person. He explained in an easy way what his intentions were for the original compositions, and gave me some helpful advice when I needed it. I’d like to take the space here to express my deep gratitude to him.

The original compositions are wonderful, but I hope listeners find a new appeal in these arrangements and their intrepretation of the world of Battle Garegga.

Megalomaniac (stage 6) arranged by Kenichi Koyano.
Marginal Consciousness (stage 7) arranged by Kenichi Koyano.

Ayako Saso

I first met Manabu Namiki, the composer for this game, after a fun night out drinking. “We should definitely do this again sometime!” I said, and we parted ways. Then several days later I got the request to do the arrange for Battle Garegga. “Ah, looks like we really are going to be working together! Fate moves in mysterious ways…” That was what I thought for a brief moment–until I heard the original songs. “These are already completely done… what in the world should I do?”

Then when I learned of the other luminaries joining this arrange project, I thought “Ugh, you’ve got to be kidding me????!” I started to get nervous.

On the day of the mastering I sat there with a dumbfounded look on my face, listening to everyone’s songs as they were played back. Stage 1, stage 2… as the songs went on, that nervousness I had all but forgotten started to creep back up on me!

“Wow, all the arrangers on this are amazing.”

Of course, it’s only to be expected when the underlying compositions are so good, right?

I learned a lot from this. Until next time!

Tunnel Vision (stage 3) arranged by Hitoshi Sakimoto.
Bluescape (ranking) arranged by Hitoshi Sakimoto.

Manabu Namiki

Greetings everyone! Have you been roasting flamingoes? Are you destroying the treads on those big tanks first before you kill them? Yup, yup… Black Heart Mk 2’s winder shot is a real killer, isn’t it? I know that pain all too well! How many tearful, teeth-gnashing defeats did I experience there…? I dreamed of the day when all my efforts would pay off, and I could kneel before the rosy flamingo dawn. So for you who have yet to clear Garegga on a single credit, let the Saturn port be your battleground… ah, I just dropped a 10,000 medal! (cries)

Well, how was it? The arranged soundtrack. If you’re a game music fan, these guest arrangers should be quite familiar to you, unless you’ve been living under a rock these past years! Now, with their extraordinary talents and creativity, the Garegga OST can break out of its 8 channel FM+ADPCM2 shell to be more powerful! splendid! intricate! … well, I don’t really need to describe all that with words. Hearing it directly with your own two ears is best. I will be very happy if, when you next play Battle Garegga, the music enhances the sensations you experience during the game: “wow, these two brothers stood alone against all this power…” or “in this overhanging sea of dark clouds, an ill shadow emerges against flashes of red lightning.”

Well, I hope your love for the game extends to the music! Until we meet again!

post-script: I’d like to take this (belated) space to express my gratitude to the amazing musicians who contributed their arrangements, full of love and effort, to this project. Thank you so much!

Fly to the Leaden Sky (stage 1) arranged by Manabu Namiki.
4:71AM (select) arranged by Manabu Namiki.

Shinji Hosoe

When I first heard the Battle Garegga OST, I was a little shocked: wow, these songs have passion, and they’re so cleverly put together!

It all began at a drinking party one evening. Namiki asked me to do these arranges, and just as quick I replied “yes, I’ll do it.” It had been a long time since I’d done any arranging, and I cheerfully awaited the day I’d start the actual work.

Then one day Raizing asked me to come down and see the game in person, and that was the first time I heard these songs. They were put together with a skill and tightness that is uncommon in game music lately. Has a new star appeared? I look forward to Namiki’s future work, and it’s also given me a jolt of inspiration… so let’s go drinking again sometime!

Let’s use all our power while we’re young! Together we can do it!

Subversive Awareness (stage 5) arranged by Shinji Hosoe.
Erupter (last boss) arranged by Shinji Hosoe.

Hayato Matsuo

“Huh? You want me to arrange this?

That’s what I thought when I saw how complete the songs already were, with a power you’d never expect from an onboard sound chip. I tried to speak up–was this really going to work? But I ended up taking on the job all the same.

“What, he’s only 27?!”

That’s what I thought when I saw the up-and-coming Namiki, wearing a shabby old coat that clashed with his youthful face. And somehow, I feel that contrast shows up in his work, and is a hint toward understanding his music.

“What?! How could the deadline be so soon!”

That’s what I thought whe… well, actually that part was my fault. Sorry! (laughs)

Rebellion (opening) arranged by Hayato Matsuo.
Blood Brothers in the Dawn (ending) arranged by Hayato Matsuo.
Manabu Namiki – Composer Commentary

taken from the Battle Garegga THE MADNESS liner notes

It’s been 8 years since Battle Garegga’s national debut at game centers. This strategy guide represents the hard work of the many scorers and shooters, and stands as a testament to the achievement and progress of many long weeks and months spent playing. As both a composer and a fan of Battle Garegga, it makes me very happy to see that work collected in one place here.

Garegga’s development took place 9 years ago. The staff at Raizing was very experienced. There, in the midst of these craftsmen who had captivated gamers with their various creations, I felt a lot of pressure as the new guy.

I wrote my songs and they matched the game, but as the days went by I felt they were inferior to the graphics, the bullet patterns, and the overall presentation… at the location test my mind was dominated by a vague unease that these songs weren’t good enough. On that day I resolved to myself: “I’m going to re-write the first stage music. The song now feels like you’re flying through a sea of clouds, but… it doesn’t feel like the music of a first stage.”

…and so with this new feeling I composed “Fly to the Leaden Sky“. It felt like something had been set free within me, and for the first time I had a bird’s eye view of what the Garegga sound should be. It’s a very memorable song for me. If everyone who plays the game comes away from it with some memory like that, of a particular bullet pattern or song or graphics–nothing makes us happier as developers.

Finally, I’d like to take this space to express my gratitude to all those who made this album possible, including all the fans of Battle Garegga and its music who have given their support and encouragement in these last 8 years. Thank you.

Addendum: As my final confession, I want to tell you: all those weird voices you hear in the music of Battle Garegga… were done by none other than yours truly.

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