Terrain of Magical Expertise (TOME) is an isometric RPG based on the 2011 web series of the same name (based on the in-universe MMORPG of the same name). It follows the efforts of The Dandy Alliance as they battle their way through an epic guild war. Customize your player character by choosing their race, element, and combat class, and explore the virtual world.
A total of 14(!) composers worked on the music for this game, which incorporates a lot of recurring themes. Each of the game’s worlds has its own musical style. I handled the tracks for Orange Island, which take cues from tropical house and me wanting to write orchestral things.
There are 99 tracks on the album. Some of my personal favorites from other composers are “The Prisoner” (36), “Bustling of Goldhattan Square” (44), and “Arriving at the Highlight Heavens” (88), so check ’em out!
Track by track
This is meant to be a VHS/gen 5 console-sounding jingle to go with a production logo at the start of the game. It’s based on “Welcome to TOME,” which is also arranged for “Ode to TOME” (97).
31. The Last Thing You’ll See
Ooooh, heavy metal is such a struggle for me! Please be nice! ‧º·(˚ ˃̣̣̥⌓˂̣̣̥ )‧º·˚ This theme was arranged for “The Last Thing You Can Try” (82) as well as the first half of the final boss theme, “The Last Thing in Our Way” (95). Some of the notes are raised or flattened in that version so the various motifs can be layered on top of each other.
64. The Serenity of Blackcurrant Beach
The first of many tracks in which you’ll hear the same NI Massive lead. This song also introduces orchestral strings, which have been largely absent from the soundtrack thus far. The ensemble strings used throughout are from 8Dio’s original Adagio/Agitato collection. I replaced these recently, but now I feel a little bad… they do a very nice job here!
65. Just Monsters, Yo — ORANGE ISLAND
This is the generic monster battle theme for Orange Island encounters, a liberal arrangement of the “Just Monsters, Yo” theme (7, 23, 45) that appears in each of the worlds.The intro is very serene. My parents raised me while always telling me I was special, and you can really hear that in some of these “NOTICE ME!” arrangements. I am the specialest snowflake.
66. Exploring the Citron Shipwreck
Here I tried to go for something part-pirate, part-Kirby. The pirate influence explains why the instrumentation is so sparse. Pirates don’t have drum machines or room for an entire orchestra on their boat. (They do have room for the Massive lead to return about halfway through, though.) This theme was arranged for “Exploring the Luteus Labyrinth” (14). My original name for this track was “Underwater and On Land.”
67. Spirit and Will
The downward spiral of my electric guitar street cred continues. I’m an orchestral person, okay? This theme was arranged for “Courageous Quest on a Colossal Campaign” (76), and then by me for “Please Rise Again” (83, see below), and finally as part of a medley in “Towards Our Magnificent Ending” (87).
68. Trials in Tamarillo Town
I am always concocting new weird things for cellos to do. Here we see one going ham. The portamento on the backing strings also really shines in this track. Way to go, 8Dio!
69. Unbreakable Character – Volume IV
This is an arrangement of the “Unbreakable Character” theme (15, 29, 54, and the very impressive 70). My original name for it was “Test of Character.” The monster theme motif makes a brief cameo, as does — you guessed it! The Massive lead! Please take notes: this is how we create a sense of coherence.
I think I did a good job of infusing the melody with a tropical house flair around 0:56. It really says, “Here’s the same recurring event, but it’s on an island now.” It’s a shame that immediately afterward, track 70 blows my little sea shanty version out of the water. Curse you, track 70!
72. Trekking across Lychee Lagoon
This is an arrangement of the “Trekking” theme (8, 27, 49). While the previous three versions make trekking sound like sort of a workout, this one at least starts fairly chill. To be completely honest, I have no memory of writing the part where it picks up into some kind of Para Para, but I think I did fairly well for myself. I hope Odyssey Eurobeat-senpai is proud (her signature sound makes a surprise cameo with “Drivin’ that CAR,” number 51).
My original name for this one was “Mirror In Sand.”
73. Hacker Facker Funk PART 4
This is an arrangement of the “Hacker Factor” theme (9, 34, 57, 92). The drums are a little dark for my taste. I originally titled this one, “Hacker Refactored,” which I thought was pretty clever. Unfortunately, this is the fourth version of the same theme, so it had to follow the naming format. 😔
74. Sneaking around the Honeydew Hotel
A lot of this song was just an exercise in using the various Sound Dust instruments I just purchased. Because if there’s one thing Sound Dust is perfect for, it’s ghosts! This track was arranged in the very cool “Sneaking around Goldhattan Casino” (46). Long-time fans with very sharp ears may notice that the countermelody starting at 1:05 is “Where Everyone Knows Your Name,” a doodle I posted on Patreon many years ago.
The bit at 1:42 is fun, isn’t it?
77. Enjoying Empress Kindarspirit’s Presence
I popped this one off pretty quickly. It cribs that one motif from the monster theme (again) as well as the melody of “Midas Mix” (see following entry), made to sound ominous and funky.
80. Celebration in the Island
This is a more traditional arrangement of the “Midas Mix” theme (21, 42, 63, 77, 89). “Celebration in the Woods” was already pretty islandy, so we couldn’t go much further into South America with this. I settled for the addition of a guitar and a flute. This is probably the only song where I followed instructions and just made some adjustments/instrument swaps to the MIDI file I was given. (You can tell I’m really fun to work with.)
83. Please Rise Again
This is one of the last themes (maybe THE last theme?) I did for TOME, and the only one I did this year (2021), so my mixing has notably improved (and the guitars have finally been relegated to their rightful place).
93. Dream-Filled Performance (The Resolution)
This is the final version of “Dream-Filled Performance,” (13, 32, 61, 90). Listening to them all in a row is kind of an emotional journey, huh? Despite being last, it’s right in the middle in terms of length. You might have picked up on the fact I went a completely new direction with the last bit of the original (starting at 1:07 in “Opening Act”), turning it into a chorus of sorts rather than a series of “falling action” chord progressions bringing us back to the beginning. Why not? I’m the final version! I can do whatever I want! 😤