I'm always pleasantly surprised to see a new anime remix out of a new face. I'd tell him to submit it to Anime Remix but the site's down at the moment and I can't seem to find Xaleph anywhere. Plus Strike911's actual site is down. Hrmph. Oh well, for now, it's on his myspace page.
I first heard of Strike911 when Auld Lang Sine 2 ended and we all handed in our finished records, and while I thought his music was a bit generic I still liked Trance Insurgency part 1 and 2 a lot :).
Also yeah I know this blog hasn't been updated in more than a year. Welcome me back, bitches! Also a fair bit of news, I have officially started my anime collection. I now own Project A-ko, Perfect Blue, and Gunbuster on VHS. Awwright. That's probably it for a while now, though. I'm also starting a new cyberpunk album. Watch out for that sometime... next year.
What's that low booming sound, getting ever closer? Why, a DistantJ track of course! And this one is way better than his last Slayers remix, which was a bit... Well, not too good. This new track is totally heavy hitting and well done, and I didn't even mind the cliché'd vocal clip. Unfortunately, it's a short track for the genre, and I wish it were twice as long. Still, Slayers fans must check this out.
Oh boy! Electric Concerto's tune is surprisingly good trance, and themaister, while his song was initially not good enough, he resubmitted it to AR twice and now it's something passable. Good dedication, man!
My El Cazador CD arrived via DHL today. Well, at this point, it might be more accurate to say yesterday. It came in just before noon while I was at work. "El Cazador Original Soundtrack 1", as it is labeled (not getting creative like they did with the Tsubasa Chronicle "Future Soundscape" OSTs here) contains 17 tracks for a total of 51 minutes, 1 second of bliss music. All keyboards and programming are by Yuki Kajiura, while various other musicians sit in for a few songs each, providing a variety of live instruments, from the ubiquitous string section to the swanky harmonica and the impossibly rocking accordion. Booklet and inner cover art consists of just various caps from the series; the front cover is a rather bland picture of Nadie and Ellis floating amidst rose petals. [I'll be able to provide some scans later, hopefully.]
Overall, this first El Cazador soundtrack is very solid quality, with Yuki Kajiura sounding a lot less restrained than in some of her other recent endeavors. The level of traditionalism and experimentation is about on par with her Madlax soundtracks, which is high praise. Many of the tracks, such as #1, "Maxwell's Witch", are sort of less interesting songs that get used often in the background of the anime; #14 ("hotel del sol") and #13 ("small fry") are all passable quality but not worth frothing over. There are a number of subtle but good tracks, such as the mood-setting acoustic guitar solo "ennui", the haunting pan-pipe piece "murderous intent", the rocking "hit it and run!", and the bluesy "ballad of a bounty hunter", each of which is definitely worthwhile in its own way - but it cost me $50 to import this thing (international shipping on CDs still feels like banditry to me). Thankfully, there are three songs of such incredible quality that I don't regret it at all:
Track #6, inca rose, is the main killer in the soundtrack, for me. It starts with an entrancing melody played on what sounds like an organ, supplemented by plucks from an acoustic guitar, some beautiful pads, and a nicely layered techno groove. But there's also room for a heavenly chorus and some heartful electronic guitar solos. But don't take my word for it: download a 30-second sample clip! El Cazador - 'inca rose' Sample [30 seconds; 780k mp3]
Track #12, el cazador, is the trademark action insert song. It starts out with a string progression and techno beat that sounds like it was plucked right off the Tsubasa soundtracks, which had practically dozens of this sort of thing, but within the first minute, that gives way to an acoustic guitar backing up Yuuka Nanri (the vocalist half of "FictionJunction YUUKA") in what appear to be Spanish lyrics. 1:31-1:56 also houses an accordion solo that puts "Romance" from the Noir soundtrack to shame. After a beautiful breakdown, it picks up where it left off and eventually finishes roughly where it started, which is not bad at all.
And finally we reach track #17, forest, the only song on the soundtrack whose vocalist (Emily Bindiger) is labeled on the back of the case next to the track name. And for good reason: this is the same vocalist who performed some of the most memorable English-language tracks from the .hack//SIGN soundtrack, and the resemblance is crystal-clear. This halfway-upbeat song was used as an insert song for a powerful scene of episode 14. Strings, bell synths, a wonderful flute solo, and all the usual suspects are present here. The lyrics, as included in the insert booklet, are [apparent typos and all]:
summer rain falls on the apple branches
lights from heaven dancing with the shadows
come take my hand
let me be in your forest
sometimes you think loneliness is better than pain
and you sink deeper in your valley
is this the place to be, in your memory?
no, I never wanna lose you in the forest of the night
in vanity's lair
yearning for the angel calling
hear the lonely prayer ringing through the land of rain
across the thin air
they sing voice to voice
the ancient melodies
autumn goes by
combing twilight into my hair
I look back on the passing tenderness
let me stay by your side
In your memory
no, you never gonna find me in the forest of the night
In vanity's lair
no more holly angel calling
hear my lonely prayer ringing through the land of rain
across the thin air
we sing voice to voice
the ancient melodies
I'm calling you
Anyway, the gist of this is that if you're familiar with Kajiura, you probably don't require this review to decide whether or not you want the soundtrack. However, it's up to you whether you're willing to import it at that price. Roughly $30 for the CD plus $20 in shipping adds up to highway robbery (heck, for that price you could get an entire season of Emma), but for a soundtrack like this, I'm willing to suffer the cost.
Lucky Star, for being such a "mediocre show" [according to a few of my friends who have seen it], is getting quite a bit of attention. You can hear the original tune for this cover in the previous news post. Despite the TV show itself it is quite a viral tune, probably because MOE CANNOT BE REASONED WITH.. Maybe the fact that there will always be a new "fad anime" out these days is a good thing. More covers for us anisong fans! Additionally, here is a YouTube video of Rockman/Megaman robots dancing to a different chip version of the Lucky Star OP. This version of the song sucks but hey, DANCING ROBOTS.