Diamond and the Sound of Gunshot Original Soundtrack
Diamond and the Sound of Gunshot Original Soundtrack
June 24, 2009
Buy at CDJapan
Released in 2009 as the soundtrack to the PSP game of the same name, Keisuke Ito’s Diamond and the Sound of Gunshot is a jazzy work, aiming to describe the experience of the game: a visual novel wherein the protagonist must calm down criminals in hostage situations. Does Ito’s brand of jazz accurately portray the haste of these scenarios, as well as the expected calm of the interim? Can his style remain fresh throughout the lengthy single CD release?
The soundtrack opens with “That Rainy Day,” a piece that rather perfectly establishes the general mood of the soundtrack. The accordion, which is to make a rather stable appearance throughout the soundtrack’s length, plays a soothing melody over some piano, soon giving way to a soft drum beat and graceful, calming violin. The following track, “The Peaceful Afternoon,” runs with the precedent set by the preceding. A jazzy piano and accordion combination help support the same graceful violin playing a different melody. It certainly is a peaceful track.
These fast, jazzy melodic pieces using this instrumentation are rather common on the soundtrack. The main theme of the game, “Juusei to Diamond,” is a brilliant example. The quick downwards glissando on the violin fits perfectly with the quick frantic undertones of the piano and staccato beat of the accordion. The piece picks up as the violin plays its emotionally infused melody, as a beat becomes quite noticeable. The glissando is heard several times throughout as the violin continues to lead the melody. That said, “Judgment” is the most dramatic track on the album, likely the theme for the final hostage situation, as betrayed by its placement as the antepenultimate track. It certainly has that epic air about it, with the violin playing a lyrical melody accompanied by a simple but highly satisfactory beat and jazzy piano rhythms. Soon the violin plays some longer notes as the accordion takes over the melody, the former soon breaking out into faster rhythms and then trading places with the accordion’s main role.
“Le tango de lèvres” seems to be a major track on the album, considering its exotic title and length, a theory supported by the piece itself. A rather nondescript opening builds on itself and establishes a groove that the listener must bob his or her head to. We hear some upwards glissandos on the violin here that give the track a jocular feel that complements the track perfectly. “Looking for a Clue” is also quite noteworthy. It might not reach the emotional heights of the preceding but it keeps the listener satisfied with complex movements on the violin and counterpoint between it and the accordion, all over a satisfying beat and jazzy piano.
But of course, this basic instrumentation and framework does not comprise the majority of the album, somewhat unfortunately. “Dangerous Man” is certainly a dangerous sounding track, at least, though also dangerously simple. It’s merely some synth, played a single chord at a time, one on the right and one on the left, over a beat which carries a bit of a melody. Certainly a menacing and creative track, but it ends too quickly for any real interest to develop. “Incident Occurrence” is more interesting, featuring a similarly ominous percussive line, along with an equally fearful sounding bass line on the piano and quick staccatos on the accordion. The violin soon creeps menacingly to the side of the ensemble. “Checkmate” features a nice percussive line as well as an enjoyable melody on the piano. The trills on the violin in “Labyrinth” give the piece an air of mystery and deception, aided by the piano arpeggios of disconcerting chords. “March!” features a pounding bass synth line and some neat interplay between the accordion and piano, and later, the violin. The piece sounds as if its driving toward a goal.
There are quieter pieces as well. “Bar ‘Giraffe'” is more of a typical jazz piece, featuring a basic, soothing percussive line, bass guitar, and piano to carry the melody. The track develops slowly and never gets boring. “At the End of Today” meanwhile is a soothing piano solo piece; it’s a fusion of jazz and classical, and pleasing to listen to, as much as any given piano solo. “Stroll” sounds exactly like the title, as if the protagonist was taking a stroll in the city. The peaceful air is conveyed by the graceful violin and helped by the jazz piano and percussion. In contrast, “Black Wave” is a somber event track, comprised of interesting percussion and computer sounding synth supporting a simple melody on violin.
Moving to the conclusion, “Last Message” is centered on the melody played by the accordion, but is greatly supported by a sparkling synth and the guitar, as well as simple, though gracefully played, piano. “The Shape of Love” is a peaceful piece, featuring the three most prominent instruments on the album: piano, accordion, and violin, all playing in harmony with one another. The melodic effect is satisfying and serves as an excellent penultimate conclusion. “To the Front without Looking Back,” the last piece on the album and judging by its placement and length likely the credits theme, feels somewhat like a continuation of the preceding track. Though this one is a bit livelier, it still retains the same instrumentation and similar interplay between instruments. The track is the lengthiest on the album, though it’s enjoyable enough for that to not be noticeable in the least.
It’s hard to judge this album. On the one hand, there are some excellent, excellent tracks, both of the active and laidback varieties. Ito demonstrates that he is more than capable of wringing out a full set of emotions from his choice of instrumentation. On the other hand, there are plenty of rather uninteresting event scene tracks that comprise nearly half of the album. So, half of the tracks are quite good, and half can be safely skipped, and they’re all interspersed rather neatly with one another. Those interested in the instrumentation of piano, violin and accordion played in a jazz style might consider a purchase of the album, but for those who find that prospect uninteresting, there’s little else to hold one’s interest. That said, the tracks featuring that style are really done quite well, and should satisfy anyone with a passing interest.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Marc Friedman. Last modified on August 1, 2012.