The various works of Hideki Sakamoto had passed by my radar until I purchased the game “Echochrome” for the PS3. Here I was introduced to a strange yet compelling soundtrack. Entirely classical, Sakamoto takes a string quartet and puts them through their paces and the end result is beautiful.
All the songs names are called Prime # and then a number. “3” opens with an operatic verse before “7” serenely slides its way through like a historical period drama dance piece. It’s tinged with an ounce of sadness and abandon but with hints of grandeur about it. That sentence really sums up the majority of the soundtrack too.
“101” is a downbeat funeral dirge at times but with a bitter-sweet edge to it that makes it appealing and some discordant verses. “19” however is more plucky and upbeat with a chirpy bounce in its step. It also has a strong vocal string line. “313” is much more intricate and sounds far more desperate because of it. There’s a real tension in this piece. “61” however sounds more melancholy and sounds like it should belong in the building music to The Sims 1. It has a quirky slightly out of tune twang to it which gives “61” a unique character.
“2” signals part two of the soundtrack with another short operatic number before “457” swirls in with its sweeping adagios and urgency despite never really pressing for it fully. “59” comes across about as close to boss battle music you’ll get on this album. Some frenzied string squealing is used in between rousing chorus’. “919” also has an upheaval sound to it, like the march of a bad guy about to explode. Again, its all on a string quartet so its down to tune and tempo and not instruments itself, however this track sticks out as a definite favourite.
“5” is a slow ache of high pitched, long held string chords with cute transitions. “233” is a great waltz track that although you can’t exactly waltz to its entirety, is still a fun track and the soundtrack finishes with “9973” with features the operatic voice to conclude the set.
If you’re not a fan or traditional classical music, nor plain string quartets just doing their thing, then this is highly unlikely to convince you. I’m not a traditional classical fan and so I find this album hard to listen to in one go. However when the songs are dispersed you appreciate the sound more. The playing is fantastic and the songs, while at times are lacking a strong riff or chorus to them, never fall short of pleasant. This however is a soundtrack that purely comes down to taste. There’s no guitars, drums, bass, keyboards – only straight up classical music with no gimmicks. If you’re not put off – take the plunge.