Listeners return to the stage of destiny with SOULCALIBUR VI by the Bandai Namco sound team and guest Yukihiro Jindo, courtesy of SuperSweep Records. Fans of the epic orchestral stylings of the series will feel right at home with four discs of music with Junichi Nakatsuru at the helm. Other Bandai Namco team members contributing are Yoshihito Yano, Rio Hamamoto, Syuri Misaki, and Yu Sugimoto, all of whom collectively provide most of the music from the first disc with Jindo handling the rest of the massive score, including much of the cinematic and story cues. I found myself enjoying the contributions by Nakatsuru and Hamamoto the most, but there’s a lot to like throughout especially with Jindo’s more emotionally varied contributions. Some of my favorites are Nakatsuru’s epic opening “The Brave New Stage of History,” Yano’s decisive and uplifting “Undying Legend” (which gets a lovely contemplative take by Jindo in “Fated Soul”), and Hamamoto’s terrifying and tense “Deadland Call” and searing and guitar-laden “The Evil Flame.” The booklet includes the track list in both English and Japanese, credits for every track including live performers, and commentary from all of the composers (in Japanese only).
The four-disc soundtrack is available via SuperSweep Records and can be imported from CD Japan.
SuperSweep Records is at it again, bringing music you wouldn’t expect out on CD with the release of the soundtracks to the PlayStation Vita games Bullet Girls 1&2. The album features an eclectic selection of electronic, orchestral, and pop music composed by Masanori Hikichi, including the catchy J-rock title themes, “Faith” (Bullet Girls 1) and “One’s Bullet” (Bullet Girls 2), both featuring vocalist Tifan.
Between military marches, smooth synth pop, funk, and pop rock, there’s something for everyone with this release. There’s sweeping orchestral, spooky trip hop, and even dance music. It’s all wonderfully produced, and even some of the darker tracks maintain an upbeat atmosphere. They also include a number of jingles from the game and the instrumental versions of the vocal tracks.
Bullet Girls 1&2 Soundtrack can be imported from CD Japan if you’re interested.
More Tekken! SuperSweep is at it again, with both Tekken 7 and Tekken Revolution having recently been released. Expect more dubstep and electronic action from the Bandai Namco team and friends, including tracks from SuperSweep’s own Shinji Hosoe and Ayako Saso in addition to Yuu Miyake, Nobuyoshi Sano, and the rest of the gang. Taku Inoue handles the bulk of the music this time around, and as such, there’s a little pop mixed in with this dubstep.
He opens with the grungy rock/electronic “New World Order” with anthemic male vocals, and moves into industrial with “Blood, Sweat, and Fists.” There are laser-like synths in “Everlasting Heaven” and a distorted and searing soundscape present in “Self Destruct.” Yuu Miyake delivers “El Condor,” a trippy electronic track with an ethereal atmosphere and lots of reverb. There’s the dancey “Lunar fringe theory,” the pumping “Chopper” with its crazy slap bass, and even some flamenco flavor in “Bassamenco” and “Françoise’s Bassline.” Vocoder vocals are found in “Brasil evolution,” clean acoustic guitar in “lost in a station,” and Inoue’s uplifting rock in “Night rises” and “Kodama Starship,” the latter of which almost sounds like something out of Katamari Damacy with its vocal work.
Tekken Revolution is published by SuperSweep Records and is available for import from CD Japan if you’re interested.
If you’re a fan of Yoko Shimomura (you are), then you’ll likely want to check out the V.D. -VANISHMENT DAY- SOUNDTRACK. The game is a mobile/web strategy RPG with anime-inspired visuals, and the soundtrack offers up classic Yoko Shimomura with elegant orchestral and piano work over an upbeat action-oriented electronic foundation. SuperSweep Records has published the soundtrack, which features a number of great moments.
From the opening notes of “Departure,” you’ll think you’re listening to Shimomura’s counterpart to Hitoshi Sakimoto’s Valkyria Chronicles score with its militaristic march that seemingly prepares you for battle. From there, though, there’s nothing too serious. All of the combat tracks are tinged with a playfulness that ensures an upbeat listening experience. Both “Built a Fire” and “Sortie!” sport cool and sleek electronic backings, with “Sortie!” bringing in a nice woodwind melody. “Rock on the Heavens” brings in explosive drum ‘n’ bass percussion with a big orchestral sound and romantic piano sections that are classic Shimomura. There’s the tense and ominous “Just Beat That Which Lies Ahead of the Road,” the tragic “con fuoco,” the beautiful sweeping “At Night Where Scarlet Flowers Bloom,” the pumping and driving “Nervous Vision,” the chaotic “The Tempest” with its melancholy breaks, the decisive “The Brave Force,” the triumphant “Our Truth,” the tense and mysterious “Instability,” and the heartbreaking piano and strings closer, “No One Knows the Answer,” which hints at something dark and unsettling.
In all, this is solid work from Shimomura, and there aren’t any duds to be found across the album’s 40+ minutes. It’s available at CD Japan for only $20 USD if you’re interested.
While I’m pretty terrible at fighting games, Tekken is the only franchise I attempt to play. I’ve been with it since the first game, a launch title for the original PlayStation, and while I’ve been out of the game for a while, I’ve kept up with the music. SuperSweep has published a number of recent Tekken albums, and Tekken 7 is no different, bringing a selection of well-produced electronic music from Bandai Namco’s usual cast of composers.
This time around, each stage gets two variations. There’s lots of dubstep to be heard throughout, and the second variation of each stage tends be be heavier. Fans can look forward to the searing opening theme, “Heat Haze Shadow” with its hard-hitting electronics and robotic vocals. For stage themes, the Japanese flavored “Dojo” should be an immediate hit, along with the dancey “Equator Line,” the chilly “Arctic Snowfall,” the mysterious and melodic “The day before the glass matrix,” the epic choir and electric guitar of “Volcano,” and the grungy electronic-rock hybrid of “Devil Kazumi.” The album ends with a lovely vocal duet that combines acoustic guitar and glitchy dubstep in “The Long Goodbye.”
Tekken fans will want to give this album a spin. It’s available on CD Japan, and in typical SuperSweep fashion, buying directly from SuperSweep Records snags you a bonus DJ mix disc full of music from Tekken 7 and other Tekken titles, and CD Japan also has you covered there for an additional cost.
Noriyuki Iwadare fans rejoice! SuperSweep Records has done it again. While publishing rare and and sometimes never-before-released soundtracks has been the norm for Shinji Hosoe’s SuperSweep Records, fans of the strategy RPG series Langrisser (the original was released as Warsong in North America) will be pleased with this six-disc collection. It starts with the original Mega Drive version of the first Langrisser, and is followed by the beefier PC-Engine port that will likely be the highlight for many. It’s then on to Langrisser II, where listeners can take their pick from the Mega Drive or Super Famicom versions. There’s also a presentation of the music of Langrisser and Langrisser II as it appeared in the PlayStation remake, which spans two discs, and includes bonus tracks. Fans of Iwadare’s 32-bit era work on Lunar and Grandia will find this version much to their liking. The final disc features the Langrisser III soundtrack in its original previously-released form.
While various ports were handled by different artists, Iwadare’s thumbprint can be heard throughout. Wonderful synth work and driving rock tunes reign supreme, from the bold and adventurous “Story” and the guitar chugging “Knights errant” to the regal and sweeping “The Legend of Sword” and the prehistoric cave man rock in “Enemy 3 – Morgan” (one of my personal favorites). There’s a lot of great material here.
Fans of Iwadare, SRPGs, and specifically Langrisser will want to import the collection from CD Japan.
Fans of SuperSweep head and Scarlet Moon Artists composer Shinji Hosoe may consider looking into last year’s release of the Dragon Saber soundtrack from SuperSweep Records. Following in the style of his more widely known Dragon Spirit soundtrack, Dragon Saber is also one of his earlier works, containing a mix of fantasy and epic shmup soundscapes.
Those who know his work on Dragon Spirit will be right at home with the energetic and upbeat 80s synth work along with the dark and ominous atmospheres that dominate the later areas in the game. With a gritty rock-based final battle theme, a funky piece to accompany the continue screen, and pop to go with the name entry screen, the score is classic Hosoe. The second disc includes selections from the Dragon Spirit soundtrack recreated using the Dragon Saber sound chip. There are also guest arrangements by SuperSweep’s Yousuke Yasui with a bumping retro sound, and by Ancient Corp’s Yuzo Koshiro with powerful electronics and classy brass.
The album also includes artwork from the series and comments in the booklet. It’s currently available on CD Japan.