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Chrono Cross Liner Notes

Yasunori Mitsuda

Liner notes for Chrono Cross OST, composed by Yasunori Mitsuda. Translation by ``Etoh-21''.


Young and Inexperienced

About 10 years has gone since I started committing myself with ``musical job'' in all seriousness (including the training period). As I think about it thoroughly, I think I have been running with no thought for the consequences. And probably, I will repeat the same thing... till I die... (laughs). When I was a young squirt, I often thought, ``I'm working hard... Why don't people recognize it?'' and I also jumped on too many people because of that. Now I know that the production process has no meaning to the others. The most important is what I can deliver to the listeners in the end. But in those days, I was just a young man and I couldn't realize it. I'm still a young squirt. But I might have grown a little, I now feel it is more valuable for me to make people impressed with my final work, rather than for them to recognize my hard work... Could you managed to cry even once in this game?

One Never Stops Learning

``One can never stop learning..'' -- this is what my dad used to nag at me. For someone who detested studying as a young kid, I can never appreciate the meaning of that. More often than not, I'll rebut my dad whenever he mentioned it (laughs).

And for a long time, I didn't bother much about the worth of studies, until I gave it a little more thought recently. There's always certainly some kind of ``Fashion Fad'' going on in the world, an ordinary person will think ``Why is it that this so-called 'trend' never seem to fit into the current era?''

I have an imaginary ``internal filter'' inside my heart that prevents a lot of things from registering into my mind. Whatever feelings that I may want to experience, has to go through some deep analysis and thought before I can 'digest' it. That didn't happen to my dad's advice until I analysed his statement recently. When I listened to contemporary music, I could not understand its expression until I have to will to learn and let it through my internal filter and understand its character. That can't be done if I ignore my dad's advice... thanks dad! (laughs)

Power of Music

Music has mysterious powers. It has to power to express your feelings more than all the words that you can put together. I think no matter how good a song may be, it has no inner meaning if it is just a montage of sounds. How could composers say that 'any kind of music is good', can be the same as 'this won't clash with my passion for composing'? Music is certainly a colorful media for expressions.

If you listened to the soundtrack carefully, you'll noticed I've used the Guitar as the base for most of the songs in it. Of course, the raw sound of the guitar is not suitable for creating much soul and ambience in music. Sounds pretty empty and hollow actually. The biggest challenge for me is to get in touch with the ``nerves of the guitar'' (haha, understand?). And to do that, I am very lucky that Synthesizer Programmer, Mr. Yamazaki, finally decided to help me out on that problem... A BIG THANK YOU TO YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, MR. YAMAZAKI!

This time, even if you didn't listen much to the songs, you can still feel the emotions brought out by them, and such, is the power of music that I was referring to...

Combined Efforts

The only difficulty in the production process is that one needs all the energy and commitment from all the staff involved. Another thing is, because the limited loading speed of the (PSX) hardware, there is very little memory allocated for sound. Everytime there exist a new program that has better capabilities, I would think ``Oh! That'll be great for the job!'' Well, half of those wishes have come true, I guess it's not that bad eh?

This time, with improving technology, nothing is impossible to create new sounds. It is because of the combined efforts and help from the Main Programmer, Battle Programmer, and the other production staff, that made this possible. In this CD, the music echoes out the power of all the efforts of these fine people that had contributed to it, and boy, is it LOUD or what!

Towards Folk Music

This time round, I had tried to incorporate the sounds of the Mediterranean and the Fado sounds into the soundtrack.

Why is it that everyone says that when they hear my composition, they'll comment that Mitsuda is capable of transforming a mess of sounds into beautiful pieces that touches the heart?... perhaps that's an indication that I have some accomplishment in my career... maybe. (laughs)

From here, it is fun to hear that everyone is able to connect with the mysterious style of Mitsuda's music. But I don't think I should start to get complacent, and must keep telling myself to work extra harder for my next project! Until then, have fun while waiting for it!

Disc 1 - Awakening

  1. Chrono Cross - Wounds of Time
    The opening track for Chrono Cross. Somehow or other, I felt that the level of the musicians are very high! During the recording, time and again new ideas and inspiration sprouted, but they can still easily adapt to the changes! The foundation of this piece is mainly the percussions, the sounds of MIX and the GRAN CASSA beating to the brass sticks is absolutely wonderful.
  2. Deadline
    I think there are two versions of this in the game: one with vocal, and one without. The one in this OST is the vocal version. I didn't like the way an ordinary orchestra would play it, so I emphasized on the percussions. But I forgot where I fiddled around with it. (laughs)
  3. Aruni - Home
    As the theme for the very first town in the game, I injected a feeling of sunshine and brightness to it, something with a good atmosphere. I felt that the Fado Guitar would be an excellent choice to bring out that feeling, even though traditionally the image of the Fado is one of sadness and sorrow. But I realized it can bring out the cheeriness of a song... maybe what they say about the Fado is wrong... (laughs)
  4. Fields of Time - Home World
    Hey! Recognized the melody?? Yup, I re-arranged the main theme from Chrono Trigger. I started by converting the boring C-Melody because I didn't have time to compose another piece with the same passion of Chrono Trigger. Hmm... why did I deliberately use the Sitar on a Chrono piece?
  5. Lizard Dance
    The theme for the first dungeon in the game. The faint sound of the Angklung (an indonesian instrument) was steadily introduced into the theme. It did create the feeling of a cheery dungeon of good weather, doesn't it? It feels good though... (laughs)
  6. Reminiscing - Forgotten Memory
    The feeling of love... I didn't know that the piano could bring it out so well. Because I'm not very good at the piano, I didn't edit much of it due to the feedback of the Playstation. Even so, the message of love is eminent in this simple song.
  7. On the Beach of Dreams - Another World
    Those who know will recognize it immediately, that this is the main theme of Radical Dreamers. The use of both themes of Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers in Home and Another World themes was actually the idea of our Director, Mr. Kato. I thought it was not a bad idea after all.
  8. Aruni - Another
    I had the inspiration of emptiness and not existing in another dimension when I tried composing for this piece. The raw sound of the piano and guitar used in the arranged version of the ``Aruni - Home'' was surprisingly good.
  9. Thinking Back
    Again I used the electric piano and the clarinet for this piece, which is heard when Rena and Serge are exchanging thoughts. Though there isn't any conflicts in love in this game, but in real life, it's quite rare to find couples nowadays actually sit down and exchange thoughts.
  10. Missing Piece
    The guitar and cello version of the Chrono Cross opening theme. Mr. Kira was excellent on the guitar, and I have constant fear that there will be a change in tempo when I mix in my part. I was very worried that I might screw it up. (laughs)
  11. Drowned Valley
    I failed twice in using the recorder to create a melody with a medieval atmosphere. All along I was using 5/8 beat rhythm (laughs). I had no choice but to alter the beat and to my surprise, I could gradually hear the melody I had in mind.
  12. Telmina - Another
    Come on out everyone! This is my 18th festive song with a 6/8 beat. This time, I gave it a Scottish feel in the arrangement. I don't know why... but it reminded me of the festive air of the Guardia Millennial Fair in Chrono Trigger! (laughs)... it actually wasn't supposed to be of that type.
  13. Departed Souls
    I did not regret, to decide to show the bravery of the Dragon Knights in the second part of the song. The Heihachi and Shinobue (japanese flutes) harmonized well with each other and gave it a peaceful sound to it. I wanted to have it til the end but I thought it's best to drop the idea completely.
  14. Forest of Illusion
    This is my favorite genre of music: Minimal Music! What differentiates it from the other music is to repeat the motive of the theme again and again, in moderation. Don't know how many times I have dozed off during the making of this song... Everyone! Did you guys fall sleep listening to this during the game??
  15. Shakotsu Mansion
    With surplus memory, I had a discussion with Synthesizer Programmer, Mr. Yamazaki, as to how we could make this theme sound more interesting. Well, we did alter it... and to this day, everytime we hear this laughable song, we'll exclaim, ``This is STUPID!''
  16. Victory - Gifts of Spring
    This is the orchestral arrangement of the Fanfare song in Chrono Trigger. In my opinion, the inclusion of a fanfare gives a sense of the old school RPGs, giving a majestic feel to the game.
  17. Lost in Time
    For the most part the cello build up the emotion of this song, and then the pizzicato takes up the second-half. Do you think I managed to display the sense of insecurity of being lost in an unfamiliar dimension? However I felt this track was laughable and stupid...(laughs)
  18. Galdorf - Another
    In this game, when you visit towns in the parallel dimension, you'll hear the second arranged version of the Home World ones. Sometimes I don't know which parts to differentiate from the original version and ended up arranging it wrongly. This game is, in my opinion, pretty interesting to be capable of putting me in such a predicament.
  19. Hydra Swamp
    The inspiration came from the dancing movements of the Dwarves. Maybe the choreography of the Dwarven dance had a good timing. It gives both the sense of pop music and mystery to it. But it was tough combining both the elements into the same song.
  20. Pieces of Dreams
    Well, Mr. Kato's project was to make sure that the music for the Musicbox made an appearance in the game. Even though the musicbox song was simple, yet it can dig out the deepest emotions to those who listen. I think the musicbox is a very fascinating instrument (machine?), isn't it?
  21. Sailing - Another World
    Heard when you ride around on the boat. It has a TWO-FOUR progression, then rapidly return back to the original beat, making it quite a self-contradicting piece.
  22. Ghost Ship
    I wonder why the sound of the vibraphone reminded me so much of the Enka song ``Yosaku'' (laughs) It was not my idea to create that image, didn't want people to listen and immediately think of Yosaku, but I just can't shake it off! Must be the huge impact of Yosaku on me...
  23. Extinct Volcano
    After the flat bass intro, gradually the African Beat fades in. After that, I switched to using Ireland's Aeolian Harp and the unique percussion of Udo. This song has an extremely wide variety of instrumentations from all around the world.
  24. Cliffs of Ancient Dragons
    I have to arranged this 2 to 3 times before I was satisfied with it, because it didn't fit into the ambience of the place in the game. Actually, I had the inspiration to write a long 20 minute track for this, but I didn't have enough space on the score sheet. (laughs)
  25. Grief
    Oh, please listen to Mitose's ``Ghostly Wails'' (laughs). Though the track lasts only a couple of seconds, but it was very fitting and scary when coupled with the FMV. I tripled Mitose's 6 wails to make 18 of them altogether. (In fact I wanted to create more, if not for practical reasons.) Very nice screams... thank you Miss Mitose!

Disc 2 - Acceptance

  1. The Dream Starts
    This was composed only for Square's internal presentation, and NOT used in the game itself. Not many tried their hands on the Chrono Cross Demo either, so I thought of putting its full version into this soundtrack for completeness. The first impression of the game it gave me when I heard this song, was the image of the sea, don't you think so?
  2. End of Dimension (End of Time)
    I had a sudden itch to compose this out and did it in 2 hours!! (laughs) Maybe it's the strong sense of inspiration that befall on me. If only I have this kind of power everyday, I could compose this whole soundtrack in just 10 days! (laughs)
  3. Telmina - Home
    I decided to create a totally different for Telmina of another dimension. The beginning of this track is actually for an event, while the one after is the actual track. I also toned down the festive mood for this track.
  4. Dragon Knights
    The so-called ``Pop Orchestra'' (laughs). I had to have this type to present the bravery in those knights. I thought the Brass section did quite well, wondered why Mr. Yamazaki edited it.
  5. Sailing - Home World
    The fine and delicate sounds from the Distortion Guitar... makes it a very fast-paced number.
  6. Galdorf - Home
    When I was composing the rhythm of this track, I had ``Aruni - Home'' as the main idea, then skillfully changed the tune into the Galdorf theme. (laughs) In the midst of producing, the tremolo of the guitar started to become obvious. Looks like it's impossible to work with raw guitar sounds. *sigh* if only I had a better guitar.
  7. Marbule - Home
    This was inspired by music from the Middle Ages, so I used a lot of instruments from that era. I originally wanted to have the orchestra playing it, but somehow the results didn't turn out well. Maybe, I'll try it one more time for the Chrono Cross Arranged CD.
  8. Zelbess
    Somehow this song just brings me back to reflect on life. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. You have to live a balance life... I wish I could go to the Zelbess. (laughs)
  9. The Great Sneff's Troupe
    Why does the image of ``Magic'' and ``China'' come into my mind? Why? Is it only me? This track is screwing up my mind. (laughs) It wasn't intentional.
  10. Bed Time
    OK everyone, let's sleep! Altogether now.. 1.. 2.. 3.. zzzzzzzz
  11. Chronomantic
    This is a reggae version of the Chrono Trigger theme. It's played only for a short while in the game. The track is quite long as compared to the time frame it is used. I tried to re-arrange it but it turned out completely different! I guess I have to perfect my skills in arranging music.
  12. Predicament
    Well, like ``Shakotsu Mansion'' we had extra memory for this track. So I decided to add in the male voice ``Zon!'' , but I didn't expected the result to be amazingly excellent! You could feel the ambience listening to it huh?
  13. Optimism
    What an optimistic feel! Made it a little funky. I arranged the second half of the track, but even though the moods in the two parts are different, I found it funny it still conveys the optimism. If I borrow this game, I'll be laughing a lot at this track.
  14. Island of Departed Souls
    Appeared as one of the dungeon's music. In the middle of the track, I made a weird tune out of my flute ``Heeee...rururu'' tht made a lot of impact on the mood of the track. The percussions and Ring Rhythm contributed a lot too. (laughs) Ring Rhythm is actually setting a percussion to a speaker, then position each speaker in the form of a ring, the result is the effect of the beat rotating on a spot. This is probably the first and last time I combine the use of Minimal Music and Polyrhythm into my works.
  15. Dead Sea / Tower of Extinction
    For this track, I was very worried about the sound of the clarinet, basically due to the Playstation hardware problem. If I set its volume a little low, its reverberations will drown itself out to the main tune. If I set it a little higher, there's a gross imbalance to the volume of the other instruments. I found myself in the worst situation possible. Luckily my savior, Mr. Yamazaki, skillfully solved the problem.
  16. Prisoners of Fate
    The scene accompanying this piece is really heart-wrenching. (text missing). When this track is played during the battle, I did not have the heart to input the battle commands. Somehow, the Strings Arrangement was amazing in setting the mood. Aahh... how sad!
  17. Previously Lost Hopes
    When the game was in production stages, this was the first track that I finished composing. The theme is made up of guitar sounds, and I didn't bother checking the memory it would take up. Initially they said they would use the track for events with major decisions made, but ended up using it for the ``Game Over'' message... this game does have its poisons. (laughs)
  18. Island of Earth Dragon
    I think this theme managed to portray the sense of space and mystique very well. The feeling of vastness and transparency forming itself into a painting... just by this music itself. I don't know how I managed to compose such a thing, must have taken all the powers of me and Yamazaki combined. (laughs)
  19. Navel of the World
    All-out percussion for this one. A sense of a fast-paced song, but the actual scene of the game shows a very carefree mood. Otherwise, the rest of the track matches. Used the MIX to change a lot of parts to this track.
  20. Gale
    The use of Polyrhythm. Until now, I don't think there's a battle music like this, by mixing the 9/8, 3/4, 4/4 and 5/4 beat altogether, a seemingly impossible feat. Seems a radical trend.
  21. Victory - Shouts of Summer
    This trackname was thought up by Mr. Kato himself. 'Shouts of Summer'... what a GREAT name! Up to now, I cannot see myself thinking up such a befitting name for this jingle. Ties in the first ``Gifts of Spring'' version very nicely! How admirable of Mr. Kato! (laughs)
  22. Marbule - Another
    How should I arrange the Marbule track? I was thinking of a way to differentiate it from the original Marbule track because I didn't know what class the music belongs to. Well, it was simple. I reduced the emphasis of each type of instrument and came out with the result.
  23. A Touch of Magic from the Fairy
    The music of Miki the dancer and Slash teaching a lesson on life. It is the setting pattern for the big scene to come afterwards. (text missing?)
  24. Etude 1
    This event was thought up by Kietsu. She instructed me to create a tune to show that Slash was going through a transition of having trouble with his guitar, by omitting the soul of the tune. Well, it was easier said than done (It's tough, man!). Certainly it's different from understanding her.
  25. Etude 2
    I think this is what she meant by ``putting soul'' into Etude 1... How was it? I'm sorry if I didn't really understand.
  26. Magical Dreamers - The Wind, The Stars and The Waves
    As I got the hang of Etude 2, I gave it the best soul I could ever thought of and then decided to use this take. In the second half, the microphone audiofield gave the guitar sounds a classical feel to the melody, immersing all into a unique world altogether.

Disc 3 - Return

  1. Garden of Gods
    The singing of the Boys' Choir really gives a feel of being in the Garden of the Gods, and I was set to use it in the game's title screen. But I might as well put this track to the beginning of this CD ``Disc 3 - Return''. So... let the high-tension music begin!
  2. Chronopolis
    The techno-rhythm of this track was inspired by the chords of Chrono Trigger and became the foundation for it. But I felt it did not deviate too far from the image of Chrono Cross.
  3. FATE - God of Destiny
    Once again, a progressive tune. In the middle, the organ and bass was inserted during the 4-beat period. This was one of the best in my final works, as was ``Boss Battle 2'' in Chrono Trigger soundtrack. How come both are similar in situation?... How mysterious... (laughs)
  4. Jellyfish Sea
    This belongs to the category of Ambient Music. The harmony of the bass and piano combine happily, to create the wonderful feeling of being under the sea. Similar to the track ``Forest of Illusion'', I don't know how many times I had dozed off in the process! (laughs)
  5. Orphanage Fire
    The gregorian-like female chorus and the opera-like male chorus was mixed in this composition. At the very last chord, just as the help was about to start, the chord suddenly twist to give it that added kick. Listening to this track makes you experience the deep hatred that Yamaneko had inside him. Yamanekooooo...!
  6. The Girl who Stole the Star
    Kid may look intimidating, but she is actually a kind person hidden deep inside her heart. This song protrays that kindness in her. I like the way Miss Mitose's ``Lan, la la lan'' scat, which brings out the image of Kid perfectly. Kid is, IMO, my favorite character in the game.
  7. Time of Revealing Dreams
    This track was used in the Demo Game's teaser trailer. By subtle editing of the Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers themes, I think this song sort of summarizes the contents of the whole game.
  8. Hope of the Dragon
    My favorite composer, Jerry Goldsmith, made a special appearance for this track. His unique way of beginning his piece and his orchestration is something I need to digest and learn. I can see the various challenges ahead of me. But I'm at a loss for words (laughs). Must learn more variety of music...
  9. Star Tower
    You think that this sounds like an ordinary track, but gradually, the music fades and is taken over by the choral vocals which gave it an indescribable sense of unsettledness. This song portrays the sense of ``oh, I'm getting nearer and nearer to the end, huh?'' feeling. Is everyone's heart starting to quicken? (laughs)
  10. Frozen Flame
    This was taken from the game Radical Dreamers. It portrays the image of the gem's search for the sorrow of Mankind. This track sounds quite ordinary. I wanted to remix it but I forgotten how I composed this song. (laughs)
  11. Time Dragon
    The choral vocals, String Quartet and percussion were lavishly used in this piece. The vocals in the intro part and the brass and strings arranged in the middle part were fairly easy to create. I saw the scene of the battle before the music was added in, and thought to myself how in the world should I do to portray the sense of a last boss. Well, after this track was added in, the battle seemed to become very up-tempo.
  12. Dark Realms of Time
    (no comments)
  13. Life - Faraway Promise
    Sound effects gradually forming shape into a synchronized melody and doesn't need extra explanation. When I first saw the scene accompanying this music, I had goose pimples for a very long time. If you only bought this CD without the game, I beg you to listen to this in the actual game itself.
  14. Reminiscing - Forgotten Memory
    At the end of the story, the keyword ``forgotten memory'' appeared. I wonder whether the memories Serge had were actually important. And also, whether the photo had any meaning to it.
  15. Radical Dreamers - Unstolen Gem
    It's unbelievable. Kira's guitar and Mitose's ethereal voice matched so well in this song. Initially, for 2 times I had been trying to add the Strings into the song, but it just didn't sound right. Finally I decided to let the guitar by itself. Such a simple song for the ending. The song, though low on melody, but it showed hesitation and pain in it. With such convincing melody, I think this was a big success in my opinion. Mitose's lyrics were wonderful too, certainly worth a listen to.
  16. Piece of Dream
    When you hear this tune, everyone should agree with me that it gives a final sense of conclusion (laughs). I too, had a great sense of accomplishment when I finally saw the ending. Close your eyes, think back to the many adventures you encountered during the game.

Radical Dreamers - Unstealable Gem

Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda
Lyrics and Vocals: Noriko Mitose

(translated lyrics)

To wrap the young hands, around the light that shines down
Pursue to this point, then wandering around border at this hour
Continuing in the search, for the name I never knew
But there's one thought in my mind, when you offer your hand to mine
History can be love or pain, hugging deep within
Until death, I will be remembering
Inside my heart, for how long it has been echoing
Ever since the drop of night, however there's a faint whisper
The cold settles in the darkness of the stars, spinning hopes
Reaching out into your faraway sky.

(Alternate Translation)

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