Genshin Impact - The Stellar Moment

Yu-Peng Chen and Dimeng Yuan

" The release does fulfil its expectations. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the download only release

In 2020 the Chinese role-playing video game Genshin Impact was released, featuring an original score by composer Yu-Peng Chen. My initial response to its first music release, The Wind and the Star Traveler, was arguably carefully praiseworthy of the original score. The Wind and The Star Traveler was followed by two more releases, City of Winds and Idylls and Jade Moon Upon a Sea of Clouds. Altogether, they included more than 3,5 hours music, and the composer made additional music available online. Only then, was I able to conceive the impressive overall merits, easily the best video game score of 2020.

On February 4th 2021 the developers launched a Genshin Impact 1.3 update, coinciding with a new musical release by Yu-Peng Chen and introducing Dimeng Yuan as secondary composer; The Stellar Moment. However, the disappointing thing it’s called a Character OST Album, which is a practice the Japanese have been using for ages. Character albums, sometimes called Image albums either include a lot of actual new non- or somehow related to the characters of a game, series or film by allowing characters, voice actors, to sing songs, or they offer newly created songs by various artists based on such characters. It is usually of such little appeal. But some of these albums, a minority though, expand on the original score written for specific characters using a wild range of the more popular renditions, including songs as well. Obviously, the second type of character album is much preferred, but it can still provide such a hugely deviating, often embarrassing result, that diminishes the quality of the original score, but may attract those of an acquired taste. Therefore, I would not recommend The Stellar Moment release to anyone, unless you understand the concept of a character album, and are willing to listen to, luckily, a different type of ‘character album’; fantastic (orchestral) music that mingles with all sort of styles and sounds that, sometimes, could not have been removed further from its original sound.

The release does fulfil its expectations. Some short musical cues sound like actual small story interludes or mini-games. The majority of tracks are labeled as (New) Character Demo or Character Announcement and Character teaser. Call them an informal approach to each character, a demo if you will, used in publicity videos to introduce the developers’ content. Because of that it this character/image album is quite different from the earlier mentioned long Japanese tradition of character albums.

The result of this release is surprisingly fun, but also unlistenable at times. Yet, watching the promotional videos for which they were written, everything works fine. 'Qilin's Prance' begins with a wonderful traditional Chinese instrument, but then quickly becomes a dance remix,' Flaming Fry' has great orchestral elements with alienating synths, 'Contemplation in Snow' (and a few others) sounds like an almost direct copy of Mahito Yokota' music of Super Mario Galaxy (as Mario uses the Fire Flower and the Ice Flower),'Where the Sunlight Flees' uses strange synths, electronic beats and wacky sounds that would not be out of place in funny home videos… You have to perceive virtually every track with tongue in cheek approach, which is the only way to enjoy it slightly, because every time there’s something wonderful on display, expect it to be smashed, ergo enriched, by all kinds of newly introduced sounds and styles. Even the small selections of tracks I mentioned have some enjoyable qualities, furthermore enriched by big band and even small traces of a seventies sound.

By far, the two German titled tracks, 'Ouvertüre der ewigen' and 'Sieh an, mein Sommernachtgarten!', whom concentrate on the character Fischl of the Mondstadt (Moon City) are the closest to original scoring cues, including the same quirkiness and tongue in cheek, with attractive organ and mimicking a harpsichord. I think since these pieces convey a rather ‘ancient’ sound, the composers were unable to present in a more modern, popular fashion to promote.

The Stellar Moment is providing a very different view of many original pieces of the score by Yu-Peng Chen. Upon listening to it for the first time, I assumed Dimeng Yuan was attracted to ‘invigorate’ some music; one doing the orchestral music, the other the variety of other more popular styles. But given their credit for each individual track, that’s not likely. I am inclined to say it’s overall a very mixed blend of attractive music and questionable, both deplorable and enjoyable, new elements. However, if you consider the fact many of these pieces were used to promote the game and their characters, it makes some sense.

1. Bard's Adventure Yu-Peng Chen 1:47
2. Let's Go, Crimson Knight! Yu-Peng Chen 1:31
3. Where the Sunlight Flees Yu-Peng Chen, Dimeng Yuan 1:12
4. Flaming Fry Yu-Peng Chen0:58
5. Ouvertüre der ewigen Nacht Yu-Peng Chen1:17
6. Sieh an, mein Sommernachtgarten! Yu-Peng Chen, Dimeng Yuan1:16
7. Preserver of Fortune Yu-Peng Chen1:00
8. Surge of Prophecies Yu-Peng Chen, Dimeng Yuan 1:01
9. Letter From Ajax Yu-Peng Chen, HOYO-MiX 1:33
10. From Snezhnaya With Boldness Yu-Peng Chen, Dimeng Yuan1:28
11. Exclusive Specialty Yu-Peng Chen, Dimeng Yuan 1:01
12. Rockin' With Fire Yu-Peng Chen, Dimeng Yuan 1:01
13. Nimble as Lightning Yu-Peng Chen 0:59
14. Contemplation in Snow Yu-Peng Chen2:02
15. Genius of Takwin Yu-Peng Chen1:40
16. Qilin's Prance Yu-Peng Chen 1:40
17. Rex Incognito Yu-Peng Chen 1:48

Total duration: 23:13

(written 20-03-2021)
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 2 votes - average 3.5/5)

Released by

miHoYo (download only release 2021)