Scarlet Moon specialises in releasing game music soundtracks so I always look forward to their Christmas releases as they usually contain some stellar reworks of game themes into Christmas tinged themes. This year is no exception, but this year its half carols and half game themes.
Opening with 60’s summer rock, Stemage feat. Claire Henry and Anton Corazza play their happy retro cool jingle through a vinyl effect which makes everything feel vintage and warm. It’s a cute and unusual way to kick things off before the sleighbells happy “Christmas NiGHTS” from Mega Ran feat. K-Murdock spins you off in an urban rap with chiptune embellishments. Takahiro Eguchi & Fumuhisa Tanaka go for an arcade steampunk version of “Last Christmas”, complete with sassy female vocals that channel anime bunny rabbits. It’s fun and will be a favourite for 80’s power ballad lovers. “Frigid” from VECTODRIVE reimagines Shenmue with plenty of bells and whistles.
Mustin’s “Winter” comes from F-Zero and channels a jazzy town theme style with jaunty harp, piano and church bells. “The First Noel” from Osamu Kubota then delves fully into jazz with a hyper-speed piano rendition of the carol, complete with synth orchestra. It’s a track that may take a few listens to appreciate as its so disorienting at first with its switches of speed, rhythm and melody, but there’s a ton of music crammed into three and half minutes. For me, the stand out track here is Goomin Nam’s holiday version of “Suteki Da Ne” – it’s just a sumptuous and gorgeous as the original, with just a sprinkle of Christmas thrown in. Love it!
Moving towards carols, Vince DiCola’s “It Came Upon the Mightnight Clear” is a clean piano piece – classical, classic and simple – sometimes the best things are straightforward. William Carlos Reyes’ “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” follows the less is more approach with a lovely acoustic guitar version of the carol. It’s of that ancient style you’d get from The Travelers VGM, so there’s a meadow/latin flair to it and is another real standout. Closing out is Norihiko Hibino’s “O Tennebaum” which would fit on any of his Gentle Love albums as the saxophone and piano quietly while away the melting snow.
Whilst its genre-hopping antics may not appeal to all, and the focus on carols may detract from the game music lovers, there are some lovely renditions here. It’s a very sentimental collection this time around, quieter and gentler and so if you’re feeling like you want to relax in the bath with some eggnog – this will enhance that mood.
Recommended Track: Suteki Da Ne – Holiday Version