Top 10 Yuki Kajiura soundtrack albums

YKWorshiper

I like Yuki
To my amazement, I was unable to find a thread where fans could list their top 10 YK OST albums. As we know, there are dozens of them out there. I don't know about the rest of you—and maybe because of Spotify etc. this has changed quite a lot—but I tend to listen entire discs or albums at once through my HiFi set. That's how I approach all music, YK included. I think YK's music rewards a listener from close listening and having a good system. So, here's my personal top 10:

1. Tsubasa Chronicle Future Soundscape Volume 1

(the only thing on this album I don't like so much is the vocal tracks, especially the one at the end: this was my second YK album and I think I've listened to this album roughly 1,500 times making it one of my most listened-to albums ever out of my collection of more than 1,000 albums)

2. .hack//SIGN 1
3. The Garden of Sinners Movie
4. .hack//SIGN 2
5. The Works for Soundtrack
6. Tsubasa Chronicle Future Soundscape Volume 2
7. Mai-Hime 2
8. Sword Art Online Alicization War of the Underworld 1
9. Fate/Zero Standalone Complex
10. MADLAX 2
 

Lorde-Kowz

I have reached Yuki nirvana
Muh absolute faves are mostly early Kajiura, however, I still very much enjoy her recent music. I can't list individual albums because I usually always listen to the whole music collection together, either in order or random, so while I know in which disc they belong, I treat them as a singular work.
Anyways: HiME, Xeno 2, Xeno 3, Hanako
  1. Tsubasa Chronicles: So diverse in styles and genres, and lots of memorable melodies. Plus it features my favorite Kajiura singer, Muh Eri Itou.
  2. Madlax: I don't even know how to describe the music for this, but it's simply fascinating. The second soundtrack is definitely where most of that craziness lies.
  3. Noir: Super early Kajiura. Even with the heavy amount of samples and synth, I think it has a sort of elegance and melancholy.
  4. El Cazador: Kajiura style + South American influences is a combination I didn't think possible, but it happened and it's kewl as fuark.
  5. Le Portrait de Petit Cossete: Delicious Kajiura darkness. Haunting but beautiful.
  6. Kara no Kyoukai: The beginning of the neo-Kajiura style. Perfect fit for the work it was made of, and the music was greatly done, of course.
  7. .Hack SIGN: Mmm mmm is dat some Celtic goodness with some early Kajiura craziness sprinkled in between?
  8. Mai HiME: I love the balance between dark and moody, happy go lucky, and melodramatic tracks.
  9. Xenosaga 3: The first Kajiura soundtrack I listened to (well, technically it's Xeno 2 but when I first played it I didn't pay much attention to the cutscene music. Maybe cause the game sucked.)
  10. Hanato to Anne: Mmm Celtic, folksy, classical-inspired goodness. Lots of short but lovely melodies.
 

grunty

I have reached Yuki nirvana
1. Tsubasa Chronicle Future Soundscape Volume 1

(the only thing on this album I don't like so much is the vocal tracks, especially the one at the end:
Wait... In the other thread you already said you love the English Tsubasa so... do you mean only the OP/ED songs or also tracks with Eri?
If the latter, there's a place for everyone I guess. XD
 

YKWorshiper

I like Yuki
Wait... In the other thread you already said you love the English Tsubasa so... do you mean only the OP/ED songs or also tracks with Eri?
If the latter, there's a place for everyone I guess. XD
Sorry, my bad. I meant these two: "BLAZE (TV size)" (by KINYA) 1:42 and especially: "Loop (TV size)" (Rūpu (ループ?) by Maaya Sakamoto) 1:34.

The rest of the vocal tracks are awesome :love:
 

YKWorshiper

I like Yuki
Muh absolute faves are mostly early Kajiura, however, I still very much enjoy her recent music. I can't list individual albums because I usually always listen to the whole music collection together, either in order or random, so while I know in which disc they belong, I treat them as a singular work.
Anyways: HiME, Xeno 2, Xeno 3, Hanako
  1. Tsubasa Chronicles: So diverse in styles and genres, and lots of memorable melodies. Plus it features my favorite Kajiura singer, Muh Eri Itou.
  2. Madlax: I don't even know how to describe the music for this, but it's simply fascinating. The second soundtrack is definitely where most of that craziness lies.
  3. Noir: Super early Kajiura. Even with the heavy amount of samples and synth, I think it has a sort of elegance and melancholy.
  4. El Cazador: Kajiura style + South American influences is a combination I didn't think possible, but it happened and it's kewl as fuark.
  5. Le Portrait de Petit Cossete: Delicious Kajiura darkness. Haunting but beautiful.
  6. Kara no Kyoukai: The beginning of the neo-Kajiura style. Perfect fit for the work it was made of, and the music was greatly done, of course.
  7. .Hack SIGN: Mmm mmm is dat some Celtic goodness with some early Kajiura craziness sprinkled in between?
  8. Mai HiME: I love the balance between dark and moody, happy go lucky, and melodramatic tracks.
  9. Xenosaga 3: The first Kajiura soundtrack I listened to (well, technically it's Xeno 2 but when I first played it I didn't pay much attention to the cutscene music. Maybe cause the game sucked.)
  10. Hanato to Anne: Mmm Celtic, folksy, classical-inspired goodness. Lots of short but lovely melodies.
I totally get where you're coming from.

I'm a listener more "brutal" than most I guess. I don't buy or download albums that just don't do it for me, even if it's by Y. Kajiura. So, for example, I thought "Pandora Hearts" Disc 1 was too weak on the whole although it had some amazing moments too. So I simply ended up not getting it and got Disc 2 instead. 🙃

Before buying, I always do a critical preview, and it either works or doesn't. Regardless of the artist. Of course there are some artists I've liked so much that all the (full) albums have been killers, but not very many.

I hate to fill my shelves and disc space with music I don't truly enjoy so that's why... 🙂
 

grunty

I have reached Yuki nirvana
Lucky. I'm usually the same on other composers but with how much I have of Kajiura it's become a little different...
Like I was perfectly fine with not having Ordinal Scale on my shelf but then I ended up pre-ordering Progressive OST and I knew the thought of missing a standalone release from SAO movie line would just bother me to no ends whenever I walked by that wall... so I ended up getting it...

Of course, hindsight is 20/20 - I would've been perfectly fine never buying either, lol. But here's hoping to the 2nd Progressive OST being much better.
 

YKWorshiper

I like Yuki
I liked the vocal tracks on Xenosaga 2, but other work, not that much. I think I've several of the vocal tracks on the FictionJunction live compilation CD (2008—2010).

However, I do like Xenosaga 3 quite a lot! 😊 On this album, Y. Kajiura is patient in tempo, letting the notes breathe and sink in spatially while successfully conveying dark moods. There's not too much going on — maybe a result of PS2 chip limitation? I've previewed a little less than half the tracks and most have been pretty good! Maybe not top10 material for me, but definitely in the top20 👍
 

grunty

I have reached Yuki nirvana
Xenosaga2 > Xenosaga3
There, I said it! (Again, lol.) I also have a strong dislike for how XS3 (or most of the tracks) sound on CD.

Anyways, but that's just me...
The thing with Kajiura's Xenosaga is that for XS2 she only did the cutscenes, whereas for XS3 she did all of the game, including gameplay loops. Kajiura's tracks for XS are all recorded, nothing rendered ingame (pretty sure that only happened on Double Cast, Meguri Aishite and BLOOD, but AFAIK those also had their own custom sample libraries, rather than any chips). Unrelated to the CD release but sadly for XS3 half the tracks in the actual game are encoded at a mere 24kHz. Poo.
 

YKWorshiper

I like Yuki
Xenosaga2 > Xenosaga3
There, I said it! (Again, lol.) I also have a strong dislike for how XS3 (or most of the tracks) sound on CD.

Anyways, but that's just me...
The thing with Kajiura's Xenosaga is that for XS2 she only did the cutscenes, whereas for XS3 she did all of the game, including gameplay loops. Kajiura's tracks for XS are all recorded, nothing rendered ingame (pretty sure that only happened on Double Cast, Meguri Aishite and BLOOD, but AFAIK those also had their own custom sample libraries, rather than any chips). Unrelated to the CD release but sadly for XS3 half the tracks in the actual game are encoded at a mere 24kHz. Poo.
Right, so you're saying that you don't like it when XS3 the music CD has nonrendered sound (or a sound more advanced than in-game sound)? I'm not sure what you meant 🤔😊 But to me personally, that would be good news indeed.

Or do you mean that XS3 the music CD is ill-suited for just listening purposes? It is a load of tunes sure, but I like such a concept sometimes (I've SAO the 4-disc edition and like it quite a lot, though it's been a while since I played it).

I guess it's different strokes for different folks and all that 😊
 

grunty

I have reached Yuki nirvana
Right, so you're saying that you don't like it when XS3 the music CD has nonrendered sound (or a sound more advanced than in-game sound)?
Uh I've no idea what you said. lol.

Kajiura's tracks were all recorded in the usual way. Nothing of her music was rendered in real time in Xenosaga games. Nothing to do with PS2 hardware.

Her tracks were used for movie cutscenes only in Xenosaga 2.
In Xenosaga 3 she did everything, including cutscenes and gameplay tracks. Many of these tracks were not included on the released 2CD soundtrack and that sucks because the actual files in the game are encoded at pisspoor quality.

As for my preference, I just find XS3 mostly boring AND I don't like how most of it sounds recording/mixing-wise. It's great that others do.
 

YKWorshiper

I like Yuki
I see. Thanks for the heads-up regarding production issues on XS3. A shame if that's the case. I'll have to give it a critical listen to see if I agree with your assessment.
 

grunty

I have reached Yuki nirvana
I guess we all have our journey in developing our tastes. ^_^
Not just "musically" but also "sonically". And it's not like there's really many absolutes in all this... most of it is subjective... and possibly ever-changing...
 
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LianaIlia36

I have reached Yuki nirvana
Well, the 1st ost I listened to of hers or heard her on was Noir, but it's not in my top 10, probably. heh

1. Also Tsubasa, I love the vocal tracks, I talk to the rain is my fave Kajiura track of all time
2. Kara no Kyoukai it has Kalafina, and such a unique style to it
3. Cossette this was also early on, and it just has so many good tracks on it
4. Hanako probably my fave newer ost, such unique sound, many different styles of music, it's so relaxing to listen to
5. Historia so many good tracks on this work, it's a must for Kajiura fans
6. Fena another new fave, it's just so good
7. Kubikiri this one is interesting, has many classic Kajiura songs
8. Madoka also has Kala, and many of the songs I listen to over and over
9. .Hack I love all the English songs, the bgms are so relaxing as well for the most part
10. Madlax this is so entertaining, I love all of ost 2, a lot of 1

Not to say I don't love the others. I love Mai hime, sword art (yes, I said it), the others. I am a huge Kajiura nerd so yeah... lol In any case this was fun to do.
 

duVillage

I eat sleep and breathe Yuki
favourites
Mai-HiME was my first exposure to Kajiura music, A Song of Storm and Fire from Tsubasa Chronicles is why I checked out all her other work.

1. Le Portrait de Petit Cossette
2. Tsubasa-RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-
3. Mai-HiME
4. .hack//SIGN
5. Princess Principal
6. Hanako to Anne
7. Xenosaga II
8. FateStay Night Heaven's Feel I
9. FateZero
10. Sword Art Online

songs I covered per soundtrack
Honestly is there even a better metric than this?

5 songs
Tsubasa-RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-
Xenosaga Episode II Jenseits von Gut und Böse

4 songs
mai-HiME

3 songs
.hack//SIGN
Fate/Zero

2 songs
.hack//LIMINALITY
Aquarian Age: Sign For Evolution
Elemental Gelade
Fist of the North Star
kara no kyoukai 8
Le Portrait de Petit Cossette
Loveless
mai-otome HiME
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
Mobile Suit GUNDAM SEED DESTINY
 
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YKWorshiper

I like Yuki
One thing that bothers me about "Kara No Kyoukai" the 2-disc movie sound collection (SVWC-7749 ~ 7750) is the dramatic difference in quality between the discs. Disc1 is absolutely amazing, I had it in mind when I ranked it as #3 in my entire collection. Disc2, by comparison, is significantly weaker. Here YK has tried her hand at longer compositions, and, to me at least, the efforts just don't succeed.

I've tried to give it one or two extra listens but no, Disc2 does very little to me. In fact it could be one of the weakest—if not THE weakest—YK discs that I own.
 

george1234

Moderator
1. Tsubasa Chronicles
2. Madlax
3. Xenosaga 2
4. KnK
5. Mai Hime
6. SAO Alicisation
7. Fena
8. Vanitas
9. Cossette
10. Madoka Magica

(But also good ones: Zaregoto, Mai Otome, Xenosaga 3,Elemental Gerad, Noir, El Cazador, Noir, Velveteen Rabbit, Satoyama, Hanako)
 

TRal55

I like Yuki
1. Rekishi Hiwa Historia
-- I really see these albums as YK's magnum opus. The compositions are sublime.
2. .hack//SIGN
3. Elemental Gelade
4. El Cazador de la Bruja
5. Noir
6. Madlax
7. .hack//Liminality
8. Tsubasa Chronicles
9. Sword Art Online
10. Xenosaga 2

Great thread :)
 

YKWorshiper

I like Yuki
Another great OST that (to my surprise) isn't listed in this thread is Pandora Hearts. Specifically, PH Part 2 is significantly above Part 1 in my opinion. It's a soundtrack I keep returning to again and again. Great melodramatic moments and variety. At times, I might even prefer PH 2 to Cossette so it's also very close to my personal TOP 10 list.
 

YKWorshiper

I like Yuki
YK has made so much great music. Just listening to Cazador (Pt. 2) and it's better than I remembered.

It's hard to make a solid top 10, there's that many great albums. But I think I've got almost all of the cream of the crop by her (for my personal tastes). I thought to give the Puella series of OSTs more listens, I only have one.
 
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