Red Dragon Original Soundtrack
Red Dragon Original Soundtrack
October 16, 2012
Buy Used Copy
Hitoshi Sakimoto has been involved in a number of unusual projects lately, one of them being Red Dragon. This title is an collaborative online novel that emerged from a tabletop RPG session. In the vein of Yasunori Mitsuda’s kiRite, Hitoshi Sakimoto’s Red Dragon Original Soundtrack is a collection of music that accompanies the novel. The eleven track album helps to accentuate the world featured in the story and unsurprisingly has a lot in common with RPG video game soundtracks.
The magical world portrayed in the novel is introduced with “Flight ~ Main Theme”. In contrast to the rest of this largely dark album, this track is soft and feathery throughout. It nevertheless fits the fantasy feel of the novel, incorporating both Celtic and Japanese influences. The gentle woodwind-focused melody line draws listeners in, while the beautiful orchestral harmonies adds depth to the experience. If it is one thing that Sakimoto usually accels at, itís creating a fantastic main theme for his work and this is no different.
“Locals ~ Town” develops the motif heard in the main theme, conjuring up images of Muramasa, with its strong Japanese presence, especially in the woodwinds. It definitely has a darker tone to conventional town themes and is a striking contrast to the opening track. “The Sun Rises in the West ~ Kouran” is an interesting piece, as it combines a Japanese aesthetic, some Renaissance flair, and beautiful orchestral work. Itís another well-composed piece that develops quite a bit. “Eastern Kingdom ~ DíNatia” continues with this fusion approach, although it is predominantly more folksy in sound. While it largely exhibits a playful tone, the more magical and moody orchestral work that is also present in the piece helps to mellow the piece out.
“Instigation ~ Battle” and “Fight to the Death ~ Struggle” are both quite nice and represent Sakimoto’s ability to craft very militaristic battle themes in a range of tones. With its slow tempo and frequent suspensions, the former is much more brooding and tense. The latter is more akin to his faster-paced battle themes, using frenetic strings work, choir, and pounding percussion to create that sense of chaos. “Climax ~ Red Dragon” is the “final battle” of the novel. As such, the soundscape is quite oppressive and tense. The brass work, particular in the melody, really carries the piece; however, all the instruments work well to create a very cohesive and epic sound.
“Dreams of a Journey ~ Field” conjures up images of Final Fantasy XII with a Japanese twist. In particular, the serenity heard in this piece is, in many ways, reminiscent of “Cerobi Steppe,” although on a somewhat grander scale and with some more mysterious and ominous tones as well. “Days of their Destruction ~ Death” is very somber and definitely fits the tone of loss, but it doesn’t stand out among some of the stronger compositions on this album. “Scheming ~ Conspiracy” is another less remarkable addition, merely fitting the setting with its dark ambient textures. The album closes with “Beast Song,” sung by Miyuki Sawashiro. It carries with it a dark, yet magical, tone that really fits well with the rest of the album. The vocalist’s voice is also a bit wispy, adding to the mystery of the piece.
While the novel that this music accompanies is only available in Japanese, I think fans of Hitoshi Sakimoto’s music will enjoy his work on the soundtrack release. While there are indications of some of his more typical styles, particularly in the darker pieces, I find that his inclusion of Japanese and Renaissance elements really bring an intriguing soundscape to some of the pieces. In addition, the battle themes are all well-composed and bring variety to the experience. Since it is hard to obtain in the West, importing it from a secondhand shop or an online auction site are probably the only ways to obtain it, so this release may be for hardcore Sakimoto fans only.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on January 16, 2016.