SuperSweep Records is always full of surprises. These usually come in the form of long-lost videogame soundtracks released for the first time, but this time, it comes in the form of an original Japanese pop/rock album with SuperSweep artists on production duties recorded at MONACA STUDIO, home of the team behind the soundtrack of NieR. It’s quite a combination, although the album is strictly pop music.
Piramirise serves up a variety of styles, from the jubilant rock anthem, “JUMP!” and the hip foot-tapper, “For the Future,” to the sweet and bouncy “Dead or futarikiri” and the funky and uplifting “Flying High!” There’s the sweet “Maybe Maybee Maybe,” a beautiful acoustic guitar and piano ballad in “Kanji,” and the incredibly futuristic and cool “Secrets makes shapes of life.” EDM makes an appearance in “Ageha” and “Perfect Place,” whereas “Sainposuto” takes a turn for the dramatic, and “Emotion” closes things out with a sweeping string and brass arrangement.
There’s something here for everyone, and it’s a lot of fun to see SuperSweep artists take a crack at various pop styles. This is a rather unusual release from SuperSweep as it doesn’t feature any videogame music, but fans of the SuperSweep team may want to give it a spin. The album can be imported via CD Japan.
Right at the tail end of summer in North America, XSEED released the latest Senran Kagura title, Peach Beach Splash. An arena-style shooter featuring anime girls in swimming gear equipped with water guns, there’s of course a goofy and over the top story to go along with it all, and thankfully, for those who splurged on the limited edition, a soundtrack CD with over an hour of Japanese pop and rock music. Fitting with the summer theme, expect lots of surfer rock and tropical vibes!
The opening theme, “RAINBOW KISS,” is your typical bubbly upbeat anime rock, but things quickly take a turn with the nostalgic rock tune, “Sound of Lonely Waves,” the chillout funk track, “The Beach Soaking up the Horizon,” and retro-tinged and super fun “Water Drop and Dance of Cherry Blossom Flowers.” There’s winter bells in “Water Battle IN THE SNOW,” killer guitar solos in “Beyond the Rainbow,” and sweet and smooth with “Heart Vessel, one of my favorite tracks. There are a ton of catchy themes found throughout, including in the short looped tracks at the end of the album.
In all, the sound team does an excellent job with the source material, bringing authentic pop and rock that perfectly accentuates the summer fun. It’s also great that the entire soundtrack is included here as well, rather than just a sampler with the full soundtrack available as a separate purchase. You can still get the limited edition “No Shoes, No Shirt, All Service” edition which also includes with an art book, blu-ray, and all sorts of in-game content on Amazon.
While I haven’t played or even seen Square Enix’s Gunslinger Stratos series, gameplay videos look pretty awesome. It’s an anime-style third-person shooter with some amazingly well produced pop rock and metal. There’s everything from heavy metal and J-rock to pop ballads and vocaloid. This compilation album includes the soundtracks to the first two games in the series (there’s a third now), featuring a wide variety of talent from within Square Enix and without.
It all begins with the catchy and upbeat metal track, “Choose Your Way,” which sets the stage for the vocaloid-heavy “DAYS,” the explosive metal-meets-dubstep “Isolated Clash,” the Gothic rock “Boquet de Fleurs Neige,” the Japanese-infused “Golden Dolphins” with rapid-fire koto, the spacey pop-rock “Beyond the Azure,” and the infectious Genki Rockets-flavored “Kimi no Ita Ano Hi ni.” Gunslinger Stratos 2 gets arrangements of several of the tracks from the first game, but also a number of originals including the desperate and spacey rock track “Inferiority Complex” (my personal favorite), the dreamy “Soul Evolution,” the bumping dubstep “9Elements (Nine Elements,” and a beautiful “unplugged” version of “Ending” with piano, strings, and layered vocals.
Fans of J-rock will get a kick out of this soundtrack. There’s some wonderful tracks and great production values throughout. Unfortunately it’s sold out on CD Japan , but keep an eye out on the used market if you’re interested.
This one may have slid by your radar earlier this year, but you’ll want to check it out. SuperSweep Records looks back at this PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita title offering a cool blend of electronic music with traditional Japanese instruments by Patapon and LocoRoco composer Kemmei Adachi.
You’re in store for some really amazing atmospheres, starting out of the gate with the opening track, which features pumping electronics and the addition of Japanese koto, shakuhachi, and vocals. There’s plenty of funk throughout, tense stealth espionage cues, a hauntingly beautiful ambient piece with sound effects and siren-like female vocals, a lounge track with flamenco-like guitar and koto, what I’m calling ninja dance music with bumpin’ bass, crunchy and glitchy electronic offerings, and an amazing 90s dance track that will get the nostalgia flowing.
Pick Ukiyo no Shishi/Ukiyo no Roushi up on CD Japan if you want to try something different. There’s not a whole lot of music like this out there.
Do you love Muramasa? The game is gorgeous, and the soundtrack by Basiscape has also received high praise. Muramasa has seen several album releases with a soundtrack and arrange album to date, but this latest collection from Basiscape Records brings together new music created for the PlayStation Vita port Muramasa Rebirth DLC packs, composed by the Basiscape team.
Fans of the original score should feel right at home. Lots of beautifully-layered Japanese instruments abounds, complete with rock and orchestral backings as appropriate. The opener, “Strike the Four Strings,” features studio head Hitoshi Sakimoto’s memorable theme and other standouts include the contemplative and sweeping “Mountains and Rivers,” the decisive orchestral piece “Perseverance,” and healing “High-Rise Buildings,” the lovely vocal theme with piano accompaniment titled “Rice Flower,” the gorgeously flowing strings of “Astonishing Sight,” the cool jazz fusion of “Solid Fortress,” the super serious espionage-esque “Pursuit,” the pop-tinged “External Traveller,” and the mischievous “Extraordinary Talent.”
While the physical two-disc set is available in Japan and is covered in artwork by Vanillaware, the album is available on the iTunes US store if you’re interested.
The Sengoku Basara series has generally been known to have great music. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of the powerful orchestral pieces and eclectic mix presented through the character themes, and it certainly didn’t hurt to have Shadow of the Colossus composer Ko Otani working alongside T’s Music and the rest of the large music team for Sengoku Basara 3.
Does Sengoku Basara 4 live up to the musical history of the franchise? Find out below. Continue reading Review: Sengoku Basara 4 Original Soundtrack