Nin2-Jump Original Soundtrack
Nin2-Jump Original Soundtrack
May 20, 2011
Buy Used Copy
Nin2-Jump is an Xbox Live Arcade game developed by Cave. Unlike their normal arcade shmups, the game is action-oriented and done in a shadow puppet theater style. The music by Ryu Umemoto continues his Asian themed synth rock, as featured on the Akai Katana Original Soundtrack. It also features some bonus FM arrangements of the artist’s compositional debut for Cave. How does the album turn out?
The majority of the substantial themes are those related to the stage music. Throughout “Spring”, woodwinds capture the essence of the season, giving a very breezy electro-acoustic soundscape. It’s a fun tune, and I really like the multiple layers that Umemoto throws into the mix, especially when the trancier elements work nicely with the funky FM bass and the harp-like instrumentation. “Summer,” on the other hand, features a stronger focus on the funky FM synth heard in “Spring.” The woodwind melody is also a bit more upbeat, which I think help signifies the active lifestyle one can have in summer time. I also think the woodwind melody resembles the Akai Katana soundscape quite a bit, and really helps to accentuate that Japanese feel of the game. I think that “Autumn” only manages to add to this. I feel that the shamisen that is featured in the introduction really manages to get the blood pumping and the shakuhachi elements certainly contribute later in the theme. I really like how Umemoto captures the “Winter” theme by incorporating some ethereal synthesizer work. It may not be as gritty or memorable in terms of melody as some of the other stage themes, but it is definitely the most emotionally gripping.
There are quite a bit of short themes on the album, some of which constitute filler, but a couple do offer quite a bit of listening power. “Menu” is an upbeat theme featuring some trance elements, shakuhachi and shamisen with a bit of FM bass guitar. It doesn’t really develop too much, but does help establish the overall style heard on the album. Among the boss themes, “Boss” is heavy on Japanese drums, dark and gritty FM synth, and some shakuhachi to give a nice, bright contrasting harmony to the heavier, rock influenced theme. It’s energetic and full of tension. Likewise, “Last Boss Nakamura” is a Japanese rock fusion featuring sharp shakuhachi accents, a focus on guitar riffs and synth work. It isn’t as melodic as “Boss,” but it definitely has a sharper intensity and a much tenser feeling. The slow tempo helps accentuate these feelings.
The last stage, “Castle,” is a very Japanese inspired stage theme that has quite a few interesting elements. I really enjoy the slower tempo, as it helps heighten the feeling of being the last stage. The taiko drums and shakuhachi really manage to provide a ton of atmosphere, while the synthesizer B section gives off a bit of a futuristic setting. It’s an interesting combination, but one that I think works to create a beautiful contrast between the very different sections of the theme. There are also Score Attack versions of each of the stage themes that give it a bit more of a rock edge with some guitar lines in the melody and accompaniment. They are usually the stronger of the versions and more in-line with something from Akai Katana. Lastly, “Ending” works well, due to the main elements featured. Taiko drums, shakuhachi, male chanting, heavenly female vocal samples, ethereal synthesizer work really help tie the soundtrack together.
There’s even the incorporation of some of the elements heard in “Menu” and “Spring,” mainly accompaniment and melody motif related. In my opinion, it is not as good as his ending themes for Akai Katana, but it does give off a sense of accomplishment.
There is also an FM synth version of the Akai Katana Original Soundtrack. While I’m not sure if this is used in-game in any way, it is a nice little bonus to hear retro versions of Umemoto’s first CAVE soundtrack.
In the end, I think the Nin2-Jump Original Soundtrack is a nice effort by Ryu Umemoto. At times, I think the game is a bit too influenced by some of the melodies and soundscapes offered in his first work, Akai Katana, but given both games are very heavily Japanese influenced, it works for the game at hand. The stage themes are good and help convey the various settings, but I find them to be weaker overall than the melodies featured in his first work. That said, the FM sound version of Akai Katana is a welcome and surprising bonus. In the end, there are a lot of various soundscapes to be heard on the soundtrack, and fans of the music in-game would be the ultimate candidates for this album.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.