oto no ha
oto no ha
Magical Lamp Sound Design
February 23, 2019
Buy at Sweep Record
oto no ha is an original EP recently released by Hiroyuki Kawada, known for his works at Namco since the 1980s. The album’s concept is that of music found in science fiction novels and games. While the music in past albums has been primarily focused on minimalist electronica, this album is a bit more diverse in terms of soundscapes. How does the end result turn out?
The album opens with “tao,” a electronic and rock based tune with punchy drums done in a drum n’ bass style. It’s an energetic tune with a fun melody and great rhythms. The synth solo is also quite nice and the overall feeling of the tune makes it feel like it would fit perfectly into a Pac-Man Championship style game. On the other hand, “signifiant et signifie” is simply stunning with its beautiful and warm piano tones over bubbly futuristic synths, which veer towards future bass, and an ethereal accompaniment. It’s vibrant and sports a fantastic melody that is at times a bit fanfare-like in approach. “Theme from Cat Odyssey inspired by ‘Mecha Samurai Empire'” blends strings, piano, electric guitar, and synths to create a tune with an adventurous tone and its bright and engaging melody help to amplify the overall fun of the piece.
“kamitoki,” on the other hand, is one of the heavier tunes on the album, mixing distorted synths, rock, and drums to create a tense, boss battle-like atmosphere. It’s quite dramatic and the melody is quite engaging. On the opposite side of the spectrum is “towa no megumi,” a beautiful and comtemplative piano tune with a romantic tone and jazz influence. The melody itself is quite beautiful and haunting. Lastly, “mirai no tsuiku epi. 1 (dedicated to the legend of V),” is by far the longest tune on the album, clocking in at almost 14 minutes long. Despite this, the tune manages to stay engaging throughout due to the additional layers of sound that are introduced as it progresses. It’s an electronic tune that certainly fits the sci-fi mold with dreamy piano, ethereal synthesizer, and uplifting strings that are all featured at various points throughout the tune.
Hiroyuki Kawada’s oto no ha is certainly is most successful EP to date, due largely to the variety of styles to be found. While the other albums were strong minimalist albums, the concept of this album helped give some of it a more game-like approach and allowed for a bit more experimentation. Fans of Kawada’s previous works will most likely find something to enjoy on this album.
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Posted on June 3, 2019 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on June 3, 2019.