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Baiyon – PixelJunk Eden OST Review

PixelJunk Eden is a beautiful game on the PlayStation Network, which is also where you can download the soundtrack from (much much cheaper than getting the CD version imported from Japan).  Baiyon is the composer of this 12 track abstract danceathon.

The soundtrack opens with the short ambient drones of “Become Part of This” like a group of chords that have been slowed down on vinyl. From there we enter into the low-fi world of Eden. “637 Volpe” sets up the overall tone for the soundtrack nicely with pulsating beats and abstract and anti-melodic riffs. The song, as with the whole soundtrack, is all about slowly layering and evolving – each 4 or 8 bars of music something alters. Sometimes its the bass, the percussion or the melodies – sometimes it’s a new instrument added. “637 Volpe” is one of the more melodic songs of the soundtrack.

“Bord de Lac” is one of the shorter tracks (still 4 minutes mind) and is all about bending notes and siren bass lines which doesn’t evolve quite as much as the previous track but doesn’t outstay its welcome. “They Said” is even more subtle with its low-fi approach and tiny changes as it goes along. At 7 minutes too it either gets hypnotic or tedious depending on your standpoint. However the random effects squishing around are good fun.

“Summer in Winter” has a tripped up beat to it and some interesting bass lines as it gradually unfolds into a much more livelier track the the previous two however “Flat Frog” goes one better with its flanging synthesisers working to great effect.

“Swept the Rain” is the equivalent of a low-fi freakout. It’s got a maddening bass with sounds like a muffled car engine but it really pumps out the grisliness  in the second half of the song where the track really stretches its legs. “Wheel Window” is in the same vein as 637 Volpe with its plinky tunes that are a-tonal and don’t really go anywhere but keep you listening anyway. “Hand Wash” is nearly 10 minutes in length and sounds like someone trying to dial on a phone or text someone with their key pad noises still on. Again dependant on mood its either irritating or hypnotic.

“Druck der Farben” is a bit more celestial with its weird space noises flowing throughout and this gives it a free-falling feel which is really easy on the ear. “Return” deals with backward noises whooshing through the speakers to a beat but again at nearly 10 minutes it doesn’t evolve quickly enough to justify its length. The soundtrack closes with “3 Across 4” which sounds like the CD has got a bit stuck in places. It’s quite abstract and an interesting way to end the soundtrack.

It’s just a shame that the rest of it isn’t as interesting. PixelJunk Eden has a non-melodic approach which while works excellently with the game, doesn’t stand up quite so well out of it. It’s too up-tempo for ambient music but too washout out for pure melodies. Kudos must be given to Baiyon for creating a soundtrack that seems to avoid any melody at all and it still be perfectly listenable.

PixelJunk Eden is entirely dependant on your musical taste. It’s a very hard soundtrack to judge. Maybe it’d have been more interesting with shorter tracks but as it is its a nice selection of background beats that never threaten to take over your world but will never assault it either.

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