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Takayuki Nakamura – “Lumines II Remixes” Review

Lumines, the excellent and addictive puzzler for PSP and PS2 has had some excellent music as a core part of its game play. Series sound leader Takayumi Nakamura has released a few albums of the music and now its time for Lumines II Remixes.

Opening with the serene “Cuckoo Clock”, telephone dials, electric piano and clock chimes are integrated into break beats that roll off your tongue. It’s a very well choreographed piece and one that sets you nicely into the world of Lumines.
“T.S.L.” is more electronic in its sound but with a slower beat. Using weird percussive drips and some grizzly keyboard samples, everything is always smoothed over with some spacious keypads that calm down the harshness of the rest of the song. The production is great and the sense of endless troubles are always in the background in this track.

“You are not here.” takes a more rockier route with a dance beat used as a base for the song. Guitar samples are used to create effect and the song feels like its constantly growing and evolving while staying very simple at its heart. Despite being simple in its chords it never becomes repetitive. “HIKARU Frame Work” is the longest track on the album and is one of the more abstract too. With a garage beat and computerised voice samples layered over a minimal keyboard piece, this isn’t a favourite of mine as it has no real hook to pull you in but it’s certainly not unpleasant. “The Mission to the Moon.” in contrast has a great bass line. Add to that brite piano, ethereal keyboards and some fast tabla’s and you have a killer track.

“Mental Gymnastics” kicks off the second half of the album to a tick tocking beat which is fun but the use of some awful computer generated voices hampers the track a little while the the actual melody isn’t too bad. “So that someone may visit you.” takes industrial noises and turns them into percussive and raucous noises. That then fades off to give you a slow moving high tension, slightly darkened piece that’s very enjoyable. It’s all in the chords that just work very well.

“Hometown” however is the album’s most straightforward and fun track. Taking an almost celtic feel, it synthesises an Irish jig and really goes for it. The main hook is excellent and the whole thing just feel fun to listen to. A classic. “Manager Class” is back to the darker tones with plenty of changes of sounds throughout keeping the track nice and fresh.

“Machine Interface” starts off the final trio with some heavy drum loops forcing through the twinkling keyboard riffs. Here though its more like a freelance piece which needed to be reigned in a little. “xop” is more up-tempo and furious but actually is ten times more cohesive. It’s a much better track and gives the album a much needed killer stomper song. Finally “Inheritance” closes with a funky jazzy bass line over some nice drum fills over a relatively forgettable melody.

Lumines II Remixes is a very hard album to write on. It’s probably too subtle for its own good. The melodies are designed to seamlessly flow and be unobtrusive but the problem with that is that there’s no hook to listen and enjoy. It’s more like dance ambience. If you think that will suit you, you’ll be right at home, but I found I enjoyed the Winter Remix album more as it has more melody.

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