by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Are you guys tired of me talking about just how much of a masterpiece Chrono Trigger and its soundtrack are yet? Well too bad, because I’ve got one more masterpiece to talk about today! Julia Henderson, through the Materia Collective, released a new album last week, entitled “Between Earth and Sky”, a tribute to Chrono Trigger, and all of the memories that game has provided countless fans around the world. It’s a short album, six tracks long, but each one packs an Ayla-sized punch of emotion. Of course, it was incredibly hard to pair this down to my favorite songs, because Julia Henderson is just incredible. I enjoy her work a great deal, so having this in my collection is a true privilege. I highly recommend any fans of beautiful vocal work and the music of Chrono Trigger go pick this up immediately in the links below. I also wanted to give a special shoutout to the smooth jazz of Wings that Cross TIme. That’s definitely a first for me for that track, and I thought it was a very relaxing rendition. All six of these songs are amazing, and the vocals for Memories of Green are well, memorable. But I definitely wanted to focus more on Corridors of Time.
“Chrono Trigger’s soundtrack has personally touched me more than any other, and I know there are many others with similar emotional connections to both the game and Yasunori Mitsuda’s soundtrack,” comments Julia Henderson. “My concept and the reasoning behind the album’s title, Between Earth and Sky, was to highlight the physical, emotional, and metaphysical journey that the characters undertake as they discover the truth about the end of the world, experience the end of time itself, and defeat Lavos. Most importantly, Crono’s friends throughout the game all come from
different eras and lands. Thus, Crono finds a greater common purpose along with the unlikeliest of allies, including a robot, a princess, a frog, and a demon king. This theme echoed my collaborative efforts, as I involved many musicians and non-musicians who all share a love for Chrono Trigger and its music.”
Battle with Magus (Track 2): How could I not include this, once I saw it made the cut? The intro with the haunting chanting and flutes really pulled me in. I thought that was going to be how the entire track went (and I was honestly fine with that), but they hit me with the swerve! The transition into the electric guitar, backed by the singing and the flutes were incredible. In many of the renditions of Battle with Magus I’ve listened to, violins are a popular backdrop instead of the flute, but I like this. Towards the end of the track, when the breakdown hits, there’s a duel between what sounds like a classical guitar and the mighty electric guitar, which in my estimation represents Magus and his dark magic, preparing that infuriating Dark Matter spell. The chanting continues throughout the whole song and really adds a chilling elegy to the background to one of the most important fights in the whole of Chrono Trigger.
World Revolution (Track 6): World Revolution is one of the last major songs of the entire game. This is the song that you hear when you break past the crusty shell of Lavos and get to the meaty interior. If there were any song in this whole game that needed the mighty pounding of drums, this is the one, and it delivers. Julia’s wail of despair in the background behind the trumpets and steady drum broke open a floodgate of memories of my first time doing battle with Lavos. World Revolution has always been a song to me that paired neatly utter despair, with just a sliver of hope. That comes towards the end of the track when you hear that beautiful flute again. It doesn’t last, as those powerful drums beat again. Lavos is one of the mightiest bosses I’ve had the pleasure of fighting and is truly worthy of being the final encounter of Chrono Trigger. The mindless, steady beat matches Lavos’ own emotion. Lavos is not necessarily evil, it’s just a devourer, the death of planets. But this world is one worth fighting for.
Corridors of Time (Track 3): From powerful metal to rhythmic drumming, to something softer, quieter. Corridors of Time is unquestioningly one of the greatest songs in any RPG ever. This is the overworld theme, such as it is, of the Empire of Zeal, the floating kingdom of magic in Chrono Trigger. Instead of chanting and wailing, this song has lyrics backing it, and it felt to me, that it was Schala talking about her younger brother, Janus Zeal. Ultimately, Janus has a dark fate, and she can see it every time she peers at the child and his cat Alfador. Though the two are split apart thanks to Queen Zeal and Lavos, this could also be an allusion to Chrono and Marle/Nadia’s relationship, because even though the two are ripped from each other in two occasions in the game, the other never give up on the person ripped out of time that they were fated to find. It’s really a beautiful song, and I can’t really put it any other way. There’s a great deal of depth to the original song, but Julia adds so much more with her take on this particular track. This album is worth purchasing just for this song alone.
This album was provided by Materia Collective for purposes of this review. It can be found in a variety of storefronts, at this link.