Dragon Ball Z -Infinite World- Original Soundtrack
Dragon Ball Z -Infinite World- Original Soundtrack
January 7, 2009
Buy at CDJapan
Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World didn’t accomplish much as a game, seeing as it was mostly made up of recycled ideas and material from its predecessors. Nonetheless, the production values were still good, so the music wasn’t reused and was replaced by a brand new soundtrack. What’s surprising though, is how great it turned out to be, rivaling even the Budokai soundtracks. Of course, the score was composed by Kenji Yamamoto, but this time around he was assisted by Kanon Yamamoto too. Perhaps, the most defining factor in the success of the album is that Kenji and Kanon Yamamoto benefit from a vast assembly of very talented performers. All of them are established musicians whose works range from numerous anime to game projects, including Cowboy Bebop and Lupin III that deeply influence the soundtrack. Due to the many members featured in the Infinite World project, the assembly of musicians was simply called “The Dragon Ball Z Big Band Project”, something that helps in marketing the album in a more mainstream way. Together, they managed in keeping the same well-defined and enjoyable style from the Budokai scores, being still backed up by professional performers.
What’s more important is that it’s difficult to ignore the astonishing resemblance that this soundtrack has with Yoko Kanno’s music for Cowboy Bebop or even the numerous Lupin III albums by Takeo Yamashita and Yuji Ohno. In fact, even the first three Budokai game soundtracks gave the same impression, much more so than Infinite World. This is of course a positive thing, since not only the music from those two animes are some of the best things that have happened to the Blues and Jazz genres during the last decades, but the style and music featured has its influences rooted deep into some of the best music of the past. Clearly, Kenji Yamamoto doesn’t necessarily rip off any work here, but he simply takes notes and ups the ante of his music substantially. While the Rock and Jazz elements are omnipresent in this album, Yamamoto’s score resembles Ska and Big Band music more than anything else, clearly setting itself apart from most game music soundtracks. For Infinite World, the well-established and easy-to-love style introduced in Budokai, was fleshed out and the music ended up sounding and resembling a full-fledged, professional mainstream album, effective both in and out of the game.
The album opens with the simple yet enjoyable song “The Light Points to the Future” sung by Hironobu Kageyama. Although there is nothing special about it, the song is typical DB fare, and it does have its hooks and enjoyable moments. From this point and onward though, it’s all about instrumental music, and there is no better track than “Rock O’ Motion” to introduce the listener to the style and quality that lies ahead. The mix of classic Rock & Roll and Jazz elements, creates an irresistible, sweet, and fun vibe, that is as snarky as it’s sophisticated. Many tracks are almost identical in this respect, merging fun and catchy melodies with energetic and lively solos. Also, most tracks are generally feel-good and upbeat, like the summer anthem “Tropica” or the equally sunny and quirky “No Man’s Island” and even the jungle frenzy of “Jumba”.
It’s difficult to not enjoy the vast and well put-out musical array of elements: there’s modern jazz, oldies-style jazz and pop, rock & roll, funk, and even some hard rock and electronica thrown in for good measure. There is no lack of instruments either, from guitars, electric bass, Rhodes piano, alto and tenor sax, flutes… There is just too much good stuff in here. Most of it sounds very familiar because its main influences date to the inception of most of these genres, who are also rooted deep into the psyche of all of us. This helps in creating a welcoming and warm aural experience, seeing as everyone knows this kind of music, regardless of being a fan of it or nor. For example, “5th Street” is a fun and catchy track with a very urban vibe that inspires imagery of a 40’s/50’s-era New York. “The Road Still Continues” is a slower, modern take to the cabaret-style music of those eras fused with electronic beats and sounds. “Hey, Mr. Watson” is one of my personal favorites, featuring addictive and very enjoyable flute solos, also very reminiscent of Lupin III. On the other hand, “Quiet Struggle” is much more similar to Bond-style action music, inspiring intrigue and espionage, but still rocking it out with storming and catchy electric guitar solos.
There are also a few rockers, like the blazing “Flash Battle” or the adrenaline-inducing craziness of “Kaleidoscopic”. “Everyone! Urgent Deployment!” merges many synth elements along with the hard rock, managing to sound like something that Toshikazu Tanaka would pull out. On the other hand, “RUN! RUN! RUN!” is one of the perfect examples of why Ska music is so enjoyable, merging fun trumpet melodies, rocking rhythms, and a few synth elements, layered to create an irresistible and memorable theme that always brings a smile. It manages to be one of the most memorable tracks from the album. Surprisingly, it’s followed by another highlight “The Fight That Can’t Be Won”, which sounds like if a Ska band would do much more epic-sounding and hard rocking music. It ranges from heroic brass motifs, to blazing guitar solos, to a beautiful classic guitar part. Simply put, an incredible composition.
Also, there are a few experimental, electronic tracks featured in the album. “Capsule Co.” features electronic and acoustic percussion along with robotic voice samples, synth and techno elements. It’s one of the catchiest themes I have ever heard, despite sounding out of context here. Similarly, “Psychic Force” relies on groove rather than melody, fusing funky guitars with an almost hip-hop percussion. but still is very enjoyable. “Fight in the Cell” on the other hand is a totally crazy mix of electronic elements and electric guitars, sounding like a thrashing machine that has totally lost control. It’s a frantic, heart-pumping and chaotic piece. After all the memorable and dopamine-inducing moments the album has to offer, it closes in a high note with the second and last vocal theme “Dragon Ball Party” which fuses most of the prominent elements of the album together, creating a fun and enjoyable song.
Ultimately, if you love jazzy, funky or rocking music that entertains infinitely and that manages to bring a smile and pump the listener with energy all at the same time, then you owe it to yourself to get this album. The Dragon Ball Z -Infinite World- Original Soundtrack is a tasty as hell aural experience, managing to be the best Dragon Ball game music album since the soundtracks of the first three Budokai games. Kenji Yamamoto has an awesome sense of groove and style and, along with Kanon, he succeeds in creating incredibly fun but also familiar soundscapes, since he fuses various well-known and established musical elements to create not-so-original-but-still-freaking-amazing music. The mix of Rock, Jazz, Funk is phenomenal. Whether it’s the storming and burning electric guitar solos, tasty and extravagant jazzy jams, the funky and upbeat vibe, or just the plain combination of it all, the album rarely fails to entertain. Forget the Dragon Ball brand and title… Hell, forget even about game music altogether. This soundtrack is simply a fulfilling and enjoyable musical experience, with not a single dull or boring moment. It’s capable of entertaining every music aficionado that enjoys and respects the genres and styles represented. Simply put, a memorable and good-for-the-soul album that is highly recommended.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by George Capi. Last modified on August 1, 2012.