Keep Walking Down the Steps
Keep Walking Down the Steps
December 29, 2001
Buy at Sweep Record
Norihiro Furukawa’s first solo album Keep Walking Down the Steps is a very eclectic mix. It has an electronic focus, like most of SuperSweep’s works, but is combined with synthetic orchestra in places and feels strangely familiar. It is a eccentric album that feels like it has been composed by several different people, rather than one single musician, which shows diversity in style, and no doubt its influences.
“Good Night, Dear Sister” is a short lullaby-style track. Cute sounds evolve into progressive eerie tones to immersive effect. “Good Morning, Dear Sister” is the same theme, but with harpsichord and vocals. As “Astarot” kicks in, it is a complete contrast to the intro track. The didgeridoo-styled vocals prelude a progressive piano-based section with retro overtones and sound effects. It sounds like music to a haunted house ride in a fayre. It’s fun, disturbing, amusing and upbeat.
“Migratory Birds” feels distinctly like Naruke’s music with its western influences. The orchestral progression and catchy melody contribute to the feeling of soaring and adventure. It would work beautifully as a Wild Arms theme. The lightly militaristic “AKATSUKI” is also heroic and adventurous like an RPG soundtrack. It continues the video game influence of the album quite well, though isn’t among my favourites on the release.
“Sagitarius 9th” meanwhile is reminiscent of early beat’em up soundtracks with its retro and buoyant sound. It features some interesting progressions about two thirds into the track, with an inspiring little organ solo. “Ex-Pro-Sion ñ God of Fire” carries on similar motifs of the previous track, yet has a more urgent pace — overall, a jazzy conglomeration of exploding sounds and whirls. “Opera Girl” begins with piano before introducing discordant vocals and ethic sounds. It’s jazzy, camp and enjoyable, though the title is somewhat deceiving.
The string and piano lead “Bye Bye, My Sweet Memories” is a calmer side to the album and is a nice listen. It starts of quite sad, though brightens up half way through before a melodramatic climax. That said, I feel the synthetic sound lets it down and I would be more won over by a live performance. “Night Flight” is also relaxing with its futuristic electronics. It feels like a stream of conscious one would take in a dream. I suppose that is the best way to sum up this album.
“Cinderella” is set a darker atmosphere. I try to envision the fairybook’s story to the track, though I does not fit the traditional vision and makes for a new imagining instead. “Norito” features gothic orchestrations hybridised into an urban, almost tropical sound. Again it suits that haunted house element. “Emperor of Judgement – Returns” pushes the previous tracks feel into epic proportions, while retaining its retro over tone. It is probably the strangest mix on the album. The album concludes with “Steps… For Lovers Only”. It seems like an incredibly safe way to finish off such a strange mix of sounds. The track is entirely piano-based and offers a lovely melody.
Keep Walking Down the Steps is an interesting listen. The title seems fitting, as I find it incredibly nostalgic, especially in terms of my childhood spent playing games. A diverse experience, it features a lot of 80’s influenced progressive music, with elements of rock and jazz blended into weird and wonderful electronic fusions. At times it feels cute, at others creepy, and sometimes somewhere inbetween. The album was an interesting listen for the nostalgic visions it invoked, for the sensations of flying it inspires, and the unusual gothic visions that it portrays. However, I don’t feel it is Furukawa’s best work after listening to his Memories from the Throne album. Though I recommend it purely for its retro side, it does contain an experimental side that you rarely hear in modern benchmark video game scores.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Christopher Jones. Last modified on January 16, 2016.