Jam of the Day: White Devil by Rio Hamamoto (Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Limited Edition Music Soundtrack)
I haven’t really followed the music (or games for that matter) of the Ace Combat series. But after hearing the soundtrack to Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, I think I probably should.
Assault Horizon’s score has a very full sound that’s a hybrid of full orchestral performances, heavy metal, choral sections, and even bits of electronica and world music. This diverse set of elements works fantastic together and really took me by surprise.
No single song can capture all the OST has to offer, but “White Devil” is a great example of the orchestral and metal combination at play.
Composition & Performance: Rio Hamamoto Orchestra Arrangement: Jonathan Sacks Orchestra Performance: Northwest Sinfonia
Jam of the Day: Stream of Lights by Hiroshi Okubo (RIDGE RACER 3D direct audio)
I haven’t followed the Ridge Racer games very closely, but I almost always enjoy the soundtracks. They’re full of energetic, occasionally chaotic electronica that’s really fun to listen to both in and out of a race.
I did actually pick up Ridge Racer 3D when I first got my 3DS and Stream of Lights in particular really stood out to me as a fun song. Hiroshi Okubo does good work. If you ever get the chance, check out his music on the Nanosweep albums.
Jam of the Day: Karma by Akitaka Tohyama (Tekken 6 Soundtrack)
I love fighters, but I’m really not much of a Tekken guy. In fact, most of the fighters I enjoy are 2D. Still, I can’t deny Tekken 6’s awesome music. The official OST is pretty large for the genre, spanning 3 discs by tons of different artists. A lot of it is really high energy electronica which is something I’m quite partial to. Akitaka Tohyama in particular is responsible for some of my favorites including Karma (featured above) and Hacked. It’s definitely an OST worth checking out.
Jam of the Day: Star Wolf Theme by Yoshie Arakawa and Yoshinori Kawamoto (Star Fox Assault Soundtrack)
Handing Star Fox to third party developers yielded very uneven results. I believe Namco got closest to what a Star Fox game should be with Star Fox Assault, but still fell short of the Nintendo EAD & Argonaut Games originals. Where Namco managed to exceed everyone, though, was the soundtrack.
The orchestral score of Star Fox Assault is fantastic. Star Wolf’s theme in particular is my personal favorite, but the high level of quality is consistent throughout most of the soundtrack. It gives the game a larger space opera feel and helps disguise the shortcomings of the game itself. Listening to the music makes me want to play it again in spite of its problems, just to hear it in context another time.
Hopefully, if Nintendo ever takes the series back for a new entry (or hands it off to yet another developer) they can produce an OST of the same grandeur.
Jam of the Day: Jr. by Yuki Kajiura (Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse ~Movie Scene Soundtrack~)
I’ve been listening to a lot of Xenosaga music today. All three episodes have phenomenal soundtracks. This arranged version of Yuki Kajiura’s “Jr.” features the vocal work of Margaret Dorn, Masayoshi Furukawa on guitar, Hitoshi Konno on violin, and percussion by Ikuo Kakehashi.
This is one of those tracks I can never listen to just once. Inevitably it gets set on “repeat” at least a few times whenever I rediscover it.
Jam of the Day: When the Grief Let’s You Go by Yuki Kajiura (Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra Original Sound Best Track)
Without going into detail about my personal life, this is a pretty stressful week. I’m often helped to cope with stress by music. Yuki Kajiura’s “When the Grief Let’s You Go” is a cathartic piece. I was originally sad to see the Xenosaga sequels scored by someone other than Yasunori Mitsuda, but after hearing Kajiura’s work I think she’s done a fantastic job.
Jam of the Day: A Crimson Rose and a Gin Tonic (YMCK 8bit Mix) by YMCK (Katamari Damacy TRIBUTE Original Soundtrack: Katamari Takeshi)
Katamari soundtracks are always a treat! There’s a unique flavor of bizarre, joyful sounds that you just won’t find anywhere else. Katamari Forever took many of the existing songs from the series and had them arranged by a variety of artists to make some really interesting new versions.
“A Crimson Rose and a Gin Tonic”, composed by Asuka Sakai, was always a personal favorite of mine from the original Katamari Damacy, so I was delighted when I learned that not only was the song featured on the soundtrack to Katamari Forever, it was remixed by YMCK!
I was first introduced to the band by a very good friend (who has spent a lot of money importing all their albums from Japan) and the combination of their 8bit jazz sound with that of the Katamari series is an absolutely perfect fit.