Flower, Sun, and Rain: Shine – For High Time

Flower, Sun, and Rain: Shine - For High Time Album Title:
Flower, Sun, and Rain: Shine – For High Time
Record Label:
Grasshopper Manufacture
Catalog No.:
GHMR-003
Release Date:
March 31, 2003
Purchase:
Buy Used Copy

Overview

SUDA51’s Flower, Sun, and Rain (aka Hana to Taiyou to Ame to) certainly appealed to a niche market with its genre-defying gameplay and perplexing story when released for the PlayStation 2 and DS. The unit Torn, comprising Masafumi Takada and Shingo Yasumoto, certainly added to the quirk of the game with their score. They blended new compositions with interesting interpretations of works by Gershwin, Debussy, and Schubert, among others. The resultant score was released in two parts, a relaxing album and a more upbeat album. Let’s take a closer look at the latter, entitled Shine – For High Time.

Body

Torn sets the impression that a live performance is about to begin with their opening track, entitled “Key, Coffee”, comprising little more than the noise of the audience while a guitar tunes. 19 seconds later, the band unleashes their prowess with a jazz fusion interpretation of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”. It’s not meant to be a highbrow performance, but rather a fun and liberating jam on Gershwin’s delightful melody. And Torn certainly succeed with their charismatic guitar interpretations of the main theme, sassy trumpet parts, and edgy backing rhythms. “Cuban Overture” recounts this success while adding a dash of Latin along the way. The other definitive success, Debussy’s “Children’s Corner”, certainly endears with its adventurous spirit and worldly influences. More controversially, “Arabesque #1” at least took me on an surreal journey with its soft organic treble parts and harder drum beats. I’m sure those even more conservative than me will find it evil, though.

There are some remixes that left me feeling a little less convinced. “I Got Rhythm” featured some catchy rock organ use and decent piano-led passages, but the light backing beats often reminded me of muzak. “The Entertainer” and “An American in Paris” are similarly gimmicky — both as track choices and arrangements — and audiences will be split as to whether they’re irritating or endearing. Dvorak’s New World Symphony meanwhile is stripped down to a flute melody and some ethnic backing. It’d be acceptable as an original game composition and actually works beautifully in context, but is a little obnoxious to listen to given the depth of the original material. However, easily the most stripped down of the arrangements is “Ave Maria”. The arpeggiations from the original are preserved, but with poor tuned percussion synth. Meanwhile the melody line is lost with poorly synchronised synth vocals and strings. The final result captures none of the substance of the original.

While the arrangements are certainly a mixed bag, there are a few original compositions to the album. “Without Chewing Gum Syrup” and “Katharine #1” certainly captures Takada’s cool attitude with their funky beats and industrial overtones. Meanwhile “Deep Shot of Midnight Sun” provides similar elements within a slightly spooky nighttime setting and “Cave” provides a psychological twist with its piano improvisations and soft strings. Despite being an outsider, “Spicy Spice” provides one of the more imaginative scenario themes in the game with its fusions of Indian flavours and electronic beats. Shingo Yasumoto’s sole composition “Nice Middle’s Boogie” is certainly pretty likeable, despite its brevity, and does pretty much what it says in the track title. The album closes with some relaxing Rhodes piano work on “Therefore, What”, transitioning listeners back to the world of serenity.

Summary

Shine – For High Time certainly has its moments. Remixes such as “Rhapsody in Blue”, “Children’s Corner”, and “Cuban Overture” have enough melody, rhythm, attitude to work, while several of the original compositions are commendable. Despite this, there are a number of more obnoxious or bland remixes that will often appall fans of the original material. It helps to treat the works in their own right, rather than comparing them to their originals, but not everyone can think in this way and more conservative listeners will likely find much of the work tasteless. Regardless, there are probably not enough highlights in this 69 minute listen to make it worth hunting down, although Takada fans are bound to find some timeless tracks in here.

Flower, Sun, and Rain: Shine – For High Time Chris Greening

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.


About the Author

Chris Greening

I've contributed to websites related to game audio since 2002. In this time, I've reviewed over a thousand albums and interviewed hundreds of musicians across the world. As the founder and webmaster of VGMO -Video Game Music Online-, I hope to create a cutting-edge, journalistic resource for all those soundtrack enthusiasts out there. In the process, I would love to further cultivate my passion for music, writing, and generally building things. Please enjoy the site and don't hesitate to say hello!



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