Soundtracks & JMusic
Sunday, 09 January 2005 14:40
Any anime fan who's been paying attention to their
soundtracks these past few years will instantly recognise the name of Yuki Kajiura.
Having originally started off in the game soundtrack world, she's
recently taken fandom by storm with her outstanding soundtracks to a
number of recent shows, including .hack//SIGN and Noir. Fiction is her first 'real' album, feature re-interpretations of some of her anime tunes, along with some new pieces...
First up, the .hack//SIGN songs, all of which are sung in English by Emily Bindiger:
Key of the Twilight - for mellow, veg-out listening, this is hard to beat, a catchy violin-led piece which just flows over you.
Fake Wings - Tsubasa's theme, and one track where this re-scored
version isn't vastly different from the original. Even more
mellow than Key of the Twilight, but not as enjoyable.
Open your Heart - this song has had more versions that I care to
count, including a very catchy hip-hop version. For this one,
pipes & guitar backing are added to make a track that captures the
lazy feel of The World perfectly.
Next, songs from Noir:
Canta per Me - Deb Lyons is drafted in to handle the
vocals in this re-recorded version, but while having a superior voice
to the vocalist who handled the TV version of the song, somehow manages
not to catch the 'vibe' of the Noir soundtrack. Disappointing.
Salva Nos - the Noir battle theme gets a re-interpretation, but as with Canta per Me
doesn't come out of it too well. Very harsh & hard to listen
to, this isn't close to being as good as the original version.
Lullaby - I somehow feel like a lounge lizard after listening to this - I can just picture vocalist Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch draped over a piano while signing. Again, not as good as the TV version of the song, but a better remake than the other Noir songs got.
...and finally, the original pieces:
Cynical World - another collaboration with Emily Bindiger,
this grabs your attention from the get-go with drum beats that seem
designed to wake the dead, before bringing in the Uilleann pipes to
produce a truly powerful song.
Fiction - the title track, a moving tale of a girl living in her
own dream world - foreboding yet darkly catchy, if that makes any
Variety - picks up in tone from where Fiction left off, plucking at the emotions with a gentle piano tune.
Red Rose - an instrumental piece which, despite being a
hotch-potch of different styles at first listen, will definitely grow
on you. Uillean pipes feature heavily again.
Zodiacal Sign - almost a techno piece, with a non-sensical voice
track that makes it hard to listed to. Probably my least
favourite track on the album.
Awakening - Bells, jingles, and quiet lyrics fail to make a song that grabs the imagination.
Winter - featuring Deb Lyons on vocals, another quiet piece with
acoutic guitar being the main musical accompaniment. Like a lot
of other song on the album, best listened to while lying in a darkened
room & enjoying the atmosphere the song creates.
Echo - the one song on the album where Yuki Kajiura is the sole performer, a short piano piece which just begs to be longer.
I'll admit to being a bit disappointed with the re-scored versions of the songs from .hack & Noir
- while they do sound a lot more 'professional' in these versions,
there's just something missing from them that makes them fall short of
the 'wow' factor that the original versions had.
No such concerns with the new songs, though, most of which are just made to turn up loud and space out to, with Cynical World and Fiction
being my picks for the best of the disc. If you've ever enjoyed a
Yuki Kajiura soundtrack, you won't want to miss this disc.