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Otograph – “Dive Into PixelJunk Monsters” Review

PixelJunk Monsters (and Encore) have been out for a long time and the soundtrack has also been available at a shockingly cheap price on the PlayStation Network. Duo Otograph scored the soundtrack and offer up a cute, melodic and fun selection of tunes.

“Dive into PixelJunk Monsters” opens the 24 track album with the tone it continues with. The bleeps, blips, muted electronic drums and ambient melodies that layer over each other are beautiful and entrancing. This swifly follows on with “melodie” which has a charming electric piano riff and some excellent studio trickery to give it ebb and flow. It’s a personal favourite although most of the soundtrack just blends from one track to next in an airy light haze.

“45×8 60×6 90×4” is a manic yet underplayed pressure track. The speed that the keyboard riffs interact with each other is perfectly pitched to be both cute and tense. “Good Morning” slows things down with a song that mimics a stretch on a sunbed at sunrise.  “Circle Flight Sketches” is another looping track that is added to with soft marimbas and organs but it never feels like a holiday song – more like a sunny stroll with friends.

“A-maze-ing maze” is the first song to add in an acoustic guitar sample led track. A constant plucking backing melody fills the speakers whilst an intricate riff is repeated over the top like a mantra. It’s quite hypnotic, like most of the soundtrack. “Flux” is all about soft electronic blips that roll from the tongue which passes over to “Hyper Puzzle Like a Sherbert” which is a bit more percussive and boppy. A simple two chord backing melody is completely fused with seemingly random tunes over the top which makes for excellent listening. The same can be said for “Chocolate Ripples” where the electronic riffs sound almost jazz guitar like. A bossa nova beat and some beautiful music box tinkles set this song off.

“Its a Sonny” is a bit more bold and clumsy with a marching drum beat and simple organ riffs that gradually evolve into a cute track before “Fantasia” strips off the drums and layers various synth pads and reverbed keyboards for a digital classic Otograph style. “mono no aware” has muted piano leading the main tune with a slightly discordant melody which then paired with a picturesque backing track makes for an interesting piece. “Phase Lunaire” continues much of the same synth work in this, the plodding bass beat led section of the soundtrack.

“High Pressure Area” is about as dramatic as it gets with a light drum and bass beat and some very soft high pitched stabs on the keyboard before the low-fi bass heavy “cracked big egg” gives you a slow ambient track that whilst doesn’t have much development, isn’t awful to listen to. “Visualise Your Enemy” is a fast paced melodic minute of keyboard aurora before “Ryhmes” very short electric piano kicks in to lead to the six minute “Bye Bye Monsters” which is the epic track of the album. Starting off with just one keyboard riff and constantly adding, turning and developing, its a marvel in creating a beautiful sound scape to get lost in and one you don’t particularly wish to leave.

“Cool Brain” drum loop introduces you to “lumiere tremblotante” which is warm and cuddly much like most of the album… until “final bit explosion” which is the sole hardcore electronica track. Even then it’d pale to any dance track but in the context of the album, this is the gritty, cold and clinical track with a heavy bass line. “Another Chance” is a low-fi track like Mogwai would produce before the warmth returns for closers “Lovely Brain” and “Game Over” with lush, cosy production from the organs, soft fuzzy percussion and a gelling love from one layered item to another.

Gelling is really what this soundtrack from Otograph is all about. Everything seemlessly fits in perfect precision. Its a soundtrack you could quite easily have this playing on repeat and not notice for hours because its that hypnotic. A joyous soundtrack for anyone to pick up and enjoy.

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