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Dva – “Botanicula OST” Review

Oh Dva. Three little letters, and just like the little game of Botanicula there is so much hidden inside this 23 track soundtrack.

Each song is wonderfully charming and crafted and the overall sound arc makes me feel like Sigur Ros made a childrens TV programme. It’s beautiful, personable and darn right jolly.

Opener “Juchu” is a prime example with a banjo/guitar four chord salute while xylophones, animal chirps and lots of ambient vocal squeals and ooh’s all pull together to create an enchanting melody, one that’s returned to throughout the soundtrack. “Lekacka” is a clumsy double bass /piano track which again plays on lots of strange voice noises over the top of a silly melody. It’s great fun to character act to this track especially with the percussive sections being mixed in with vocal snippets from the main characters crying, woohoo’ing and screaming. “Letejono” is a euphoric beat boxing, fly buzzing uplifting chant. Sounds barmy yes? It works to perfection. “Houby” takes things a step further by merging lots of tuned percussion together to an almost Brazilian / Mali level over plodding guitar riffs and helium filled vocals. “Crab” is a short helium piece that is so delightfully comical it reminds me of Crash Bandicoot’s Twinsanity Soundtrack.

“Mr Lanterns Mixtape Part1” is a mesh of industrialist clatters and bangs over warping scattered speech before the vinyl spitting “I was Born As Frankenstein” gives us a true b-movie feel with lots of high-pitched wooo-ing much like how LittleBigPlanet would do horror. “Level 3” returns to the more euphoric forest creatures with cute noises, infectious melodies and plenty of finger bells. It’s the closest the soundtrack has to a “proper” song and along with the opener, is the best place to enter this amazing soundtrack. “Mrs MushroomLikes LCD Soundsystem” is another cheeky tune with bouncy bass lines, funny vocal gymnastics and lots of digital trickery to sound utterly unique too. It’s like a singing bird has joined a circus. Delightful.

“Bunky” shows a more meloncholy side with a whimsy piano/vocal riff before “Melodika” brings the titles instrument into play over an electronic pulsing beat of clicks and bops. “Beetleman” veers off more into abstract territory with distant rolling drums over ethereal keyboard sounds and chirping characters, like two speeds are playing at the same time. This paves way for the appropriately jazzy “Nocni Jazz” with its soulful brass taking over the damp, raindrop filled speakers. “Evil Live” is a short track that is almost like an obscure Dva hymn. Strangely aura filled yet eerie at the same time when it gradually turns to screams.

Dva continues to show complete diversity with the helerious 8-bit “Im the Pacman” which plays during a mini game. It’s short, sweet, but memorable. “A Major For 12 Frogs” is equally memorable with its use of splashing water for a drum snare and the utterly cute quacking vocals. It’s the kind of thing you’d imagine from the TV show Green Wing. “Submarine” is an interesting track because it has a certain echoed, thinned out production to it where everything sounds thin but very close to the ear. It gives off an eerie and unsettling feel which fits the music perfectly. “Lala” is a short track of Ukulele and cute la-la-la’s which is good fun as by now you know you’ll be getting strange twists on everything.

The final stretch of tracks begins with the zen “Cinem” which is led by a tuned gong sound, underhumming engines and distant vocal montages. It sounds Eastern, almost barren but very much like a place of rest. In complete contrast “Zatoichi” is aggressive with its clanging warped strumming and low vocal mumblings. It’s over quickly though and suddenly we break out into a wonderful reprise of the opening theme with “Finale” that feels fresh, new, bright and sunny. I cannot describe how the main melody just gets inside your head and utterly takes over. I’d happily have it on repeat for hours. The two tracks to finish things off are “Plavaci Hlavolam” which is almost like a Botanicula Morning Raj – a single tonal note that just grows and grows into a shimmering beast and “Star Wars” which is like a secret bonus track of vocal snippets from the game while the fly buzzings are made to sound like light sabres – pretty darn cool!

Dva have created a superb soundtrack with Botanicula. It is part of what makes the game utterly memorable and it certainly stands up on its own merit too. It’s part crazy, part relaxing, part kooky spooky and all parts a mash-up of sounds a voice can produce. Sublime in every way possible – if I had any other thumbs, I’d be sticking them up too.

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