Flower, Sun, and Rain: Water – For Relaxing Time

Flower, Sun, and Rain: Water - For Relaxing Time Album Title:
Flower, Sun, and Rain: Water – For Relaxing Time
Record Label:
King Records
Catalog No.:
KICA-5055
Release Date:
June 27, 2001
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 Satie, 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 former, entitled Water – For Relaxing Time.

Body

Torn open the album with a remix of one of the most overarranged pieces in game music, Satie’s Gymnopédie No. 1″. While the duo preserve the pensive melodies and chord progressions, they transform the piano-based original into something entirely synthetic. The soft treble samples often reinforce the dreamy aspect, yet lack the fidelity and maturity needed for the theme, while the harder drum beats sometimes feel out of place. It isn’t a terrible remix, but it doesn’t feature many interesting ideas either. Unfortunately, the band maintain this synthetic aura throughout the album. As a consequence, it’s quite obnoxious how the cheap string samples interrupt Takada’s beautiful piano interpretations of Schumann’s “Träumeri” or how Gershwin’s “Summertime” is stripped of its nuances and drama in its downbeat take here. Maybe worst of all, Ravel’s already irritating “Boléro” is transformed into some novelty shop music.

While most of the material here will be objectionable to musical conservatives, there were a few remixes that I found likeable. The use of warped samples and industrial backing on J.S. Bach’s “Air for the G String” is certainly daring, but it just about sounds acceptable and the duo nicely interweave the melodic and harmonic portions of the original work. Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune”, “Prélude à l’apràs…”, and “La fille…” also seem quite receptive towards Torn’s minimalistic ambient takes. While these interpretations aren’t as beautiful as the originals, they inspire more imagery that complements the game quite well. It’s pleasing how the duo integrated some authentic jazz instruments into “I Love You, Porgy”. The final result verges a little too much towards smooth jazz, but the trumpet work is still very enjoyable.

After a largely disappointing set of remixes, do the original compositions redeem the score? “One Island” is a promising start — an impressionistic piano piece filled with Takada’s personal feelings — while “Morning” elaborates on these ideas further in conjunction with orchestration. The pair also contribute lighter additions too. “Entrance” blends elements of 1930s swing with jazz fusion to set an interesting atmosphere for presumably a bar. “Step” isn’t as impressive and falls into the boundary of generic and aseptic once again. Those looking for more passionate themes should skip to the end of the score. “Final Mondo” provides an anthem blending an emotional synth melody with climactic beats, while “Welcome to Losspass” provides a vibrant accompaniment to the mysterious island with its fusion of world instruments and the standard rock set. The final track, “F.S.R”, develops from a rustic guitar theme into a rousing rock ballad. Although sections are generic, there’s something about how it all comes together from 1:17 that makes it very emotional.

Summary

The original compositions on Water – For Relaxing Time are far more enjoyable than the classical remixes. It’s clear that Takada and Yasumoto feel more liberated when they are creating their own music in their own musicality. They seem to struggle more when adapting classical pieces and end up stripping them of emotion or presenting them in generic formats. Listening to them will be hellish for conservatives. The final album unfortunately focuses more on the remixes and doesn’t come together as an appealing whole. While the principle of the Flower, Sun, and Rain score was a good one, it would have worked better as a stand-alone and contextual experience if practically all the pieces were original.

Flower, Sun, and Rain: Water – For Relaxing Time Chris Greening

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

2.5


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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