Mushihimesama Cave Festival Ver. 1.5 Arrange Album

Mushihimesama Cave Festival Ver. 1.5 Arrange Album Album Title:
Mushihimesama Cave Festival Ver. 1.5 Arrange Album
Record Label:
Cave
Catalog No.:
CVAS-009
Release Date:
August 26, 2011
Purchase:
Buy Used Copy

Overview

The Mushihimesama Cave Festival 1.5 Arrange Album, released in August 2011, contains the music for the special PCB board sold exclusively during Cave’s online matsuri in May 2011. It features the original Mushihimesama soundtrack remixed mainly by the late Ryu Umemoto with support by Masato Sakurai. How does it compare to the original soundtrack, given Umemoto’s success with his conversion of ESPGaluda II‘s soundtrack last year?

Body

The first stage theme, “To Shinju Forest,” manages to retain the feeling of the original in the melody line. Yet the energy is definitely amplified due to the exuberant synthesizer accompaniment that Umemoto likes to use quite a bit. I”m also a very big fan of the stage three arrangement, “Walking on the Land of Flame,” as it features a lot of interesting concepts going on. I really like the staple Umemoto synthesizer work in the accompaniment and the dreamy, upbeat soundscape produced by the melody line; however, the true star of this arrangement is the beautiful brass harmonies that complement the original melody so well. Also notable is “Like a Night of Falling Stars,” which was my favorite on the original soundtrack. While not as serene and peaceful as the original, I really do like what Umemoto decided to do with this arrangement. Adding intoxicating female and choral vocal samples, infusing a groovy bass line, and manipulating the rhythm and tempo of the melody really do wonders for the track. While I do think the original is still the superior version, I was quite impressed with the new atmosphere that Ryu Umemoto was able to provide in his rendition of Namiki’s classic.

In addition, Umemoto also co-arranged some music with Sakurai. The select theme, “The Princess, Age 15,” has a more pronounced strings accompaniment and the synthesizer tones in the melody line are also brought to the forefront a bit more. The stage two theme, “Furthermore, Cross the Desert Too,” features a much more retro vibe, particularly due to the FM synthesizer tones in the accompaniment; whereas the melody line has a much happier tone. These are most likely from Umemoto and Sakurai, respectively. Overall, it’s a nice arrangement that has a lot of elements that Umemoto fans will enjoy. The other stage theme co-arranged is the stage five theme, “The Direction to the Heart of the Forest.” This theme also is a bit more lighthearted than the original in tone, but it is also one of the best arrangements on the album, in my opinion. I really like the dreamy synthesizer harmonies that complement the main melody line quite nicely. Combine that with the energetic synthesizer accompaniment that is an Umemoto staple and it’s a very enjoyable tune.

In addition to the stage themes, Umemoto also arranged all the boss themes for the game. The arrangement of “Levi-Sense,” the normal boss theme for the game, is absolutely astounding. Featuring a retro rock vibe, thanks to the wonderful FM synthesizer, it manages to capture a more edgy, sinister sound and provides a ton of energy for those hectic and bullet-laden screens during the boss fights. Another successful arrangement by Umemoto is the last boss theme, “Is This How You Are?” It’s an intense orchestral theme with some FM synthesizer accompaniment. The orchestral tones are intense, particularly when it comes to the brass work, while the strings work provide a nice frenetic touch. Umemoto also incorporates some industrial synthesizer punches to give the theme a bit of a dire edge. Overall, this is a very nice rendition of the original.

While the two main boss themes are quite successful, I feel that Ryu Umemoto missed the mark with the true last boss theme, “Requiem of the Sky.” While Namiki’s was extremely peaceful and emotional due to the a capella nature of the choral work, Umemoto’s, while featuring emotion, doesn’t manage to retain this atmosphere. The organ work that is added to the theme, while fitting the idea of a requiem, really takes away from the vocal work that he incorporates, both in terms of a boys choir sound sample as well as the similar choral work provided in the original. I feel the theme would have been much better had it taken the organ out entirely.

Among Sakurai’s few solo contributions, his rendition of the stage clear theme, “Enough About That!” is quite nice as it incorporates the first stage theme’s melody into the composition after the initial stage clear jingle. The name entry theme, “Starfall Village,” compared to the original, has a much heavier retro vibe, particularly in the bass line. The blissful nature of the original is lost a bit, but it’s still very fitting for the game. The ending theme, “I Want to Ask You Something,” arranged by Umemoto, opens up with a playful music box rendition of the theme before incorporating some beautiful orchestral accompaniment that gives off a very heroic sound. It’s an absolutely stunning rendition of the original. The brass harmonies are out of this world and really show some of Umemoto’s emotional and caring personality. This is definitely one of the defining tracks in the composer’s career.

Summary

Overall, I think this album is a good effort by Masato Sakurai and the late Ryu Umemoto. Sakurai’s tracks tend to be on the more upbeat side, while Ryu Umemoto manages to incorporate a variety of emotions through his various synthesizer and orchestral harmonies. Some of the arrangements are better than the originals, while some don’t quite manage to capture the spirit or essence of Namiki’s soundtrack. It’s definitely worth a listen though, both for fans of the original soundtrack and fans of Ryu Umemoto’s work.

Mushihimesama Cave Festival Ver. 1.5 Arrange Album Don Kotowski

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

3.5


Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.


About the Author

Don Kotowski

Currently residing in New York, I spend my days working in antibody therapeutics and dedicate some of my spare time in the evening to the vast world of video game music, both reviewing soundtracks as well as maintaining relationships with composers overseas in Europe and in Japan.



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