CHUNITHM Original Soundtrack -Seelisch Tact-
CHUNITHM Original Soundtrack -Seelisch Tact- (Seelisch Tact Original Soundtrack)
September 15, 2015
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CHUNITHM is a rhythm game featuring a soundtrack penned by an all-star cast. SEGA hired multiple big-name game composers to create its soundtrack, including all five of the most successful composers to have emerged from Square Enix (Nobuo Uematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda, Yoko Shimomura, Masashi Hamauzu, Kenji Ito). The game’s 28-minute soundtrack was released exclusively at the Tokyo Game Show 2015 last under the name Seelisch Tact Original Soundtrack.
The main theme for CHUNITHM was created by Nobuo Uematsu himself. It’s an erratic composition that blends samba rhythms, energetic rock stylings, reflective acoustic interludes, and much, much more into a relatively modest 2:45 playtime. There’s a strong rhythmical impetus throughout, but few memorable Uematsu-esque melodies to speak of. Thankfully, arranger Michio Okamiya does manage to develop the composition in a compelling way and the 80s-influenced electric guitar solos at the conclusion are particularly effective. While far from Uematsu’s best, this is still an interesting track that has its moments.
The other instrumental compositions written for CHUNITHM are highly impressive. “The Ether” channels the sound that Masashi Hamauzu developed in Final Fantasy XIII, focusing on the dichotomy of a gushing, flowing violin lead and an uncompromising, dense electronic backing. While it’s a strange fit for a rhythm game, it’s a stunning stand-alone listen. Kenji Ito’s offering is solid if unsurprising, a lyrical rock theme channelling his RPG battle themes, whereas Shota Kageyama’s “Overcome” is a slower-paced tune reminiscent of RPG setting themes and boasting an emotional second half. Perhaps the greatest offering of the whole CD is Yoko Shimomura’s tango, which highlights excellent writing and performances for accordion, violin, and piano. WASi303’s “luna blu” and Takenobu Mitsuyoshi’s “Angry Hammer” bring further variety to the album and intensity to the game with their pulsating electronic rhythms. While both are impressive, the latter stands out as a radical and welcome departure from Mitsuyoshi’s usual stylings.
On the other hand, vocal themes are a mixed bag. The worst of the lot is “Grab Your Sword”, which proves to be SEGA’s most cringe-worthy vocal theme since Sonic R. Expect ultra-motivational pop beats, contrived Disney-esque singing, and hideous lyrics such as “now that we’re together / as one whole family / there’s nothing to stop us from winning”. It’s surprising that such a composition could be penned by the revered Yuzo Koshiro. Akari Kaida’s “The Desert Hunting Girl” and SEXY-SYNTHESIZER’s “STAR” are significantly better, although they’re select tastes. Both are upbeat compositions featuring kawaii vocals, the former having an arabesque vibe, the latter hybridised with chiptunes. However, the real standout is Yasunori Mitsuda’s “Alma”, a vibrant song blending ethereal vocals from Laura Shigihara with beautiful exotic instrumentation. Due to in-game limitations, this track, as with all others on here, clocks in around 2:30; I would be interested to hear a full-length version that fully develops on the ideas presented here, especially the stunning fiddle solo at the finale.
Overall, the soundtrack for CHUNITHM is a varied and interesting one. Nearly all contributors to the album offered material that was interesting and polished, with particular standout work from Shimomura, Mitsuda, and Mitsuyoshi. However, the experience is brought down a bit by the short track lengths, hit-and-miss vocal themes, and perplexing main theme. The album was an event-exclusive, so those wishing to check it out will need to go to second-hand auction sites.
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Posted on July 22, 2016 by Chris Greening. Last modified on July 23, 2016.