Rewrite Original Soundtrack
Rewrite Original Soundtrack
Key Sounds Label
October 28, 2011
Buy Used Copy
Rewrite is the latest visual novel from Key, the acclaimed creators of Clannad and various other titles. The Rewrite Original Soundtrack was commercially released four months after the game had been released, following a limited release at Comic Market. Before its release, listeners were nevertheless treated to the music from Rewrite with vocal singles and an arranged album. On Rewrite, Shinji Orito and Jun Maeda returned as the lead composers, while external veterans Ryo Mizutsuki, Maiko Iuchi, and Soshi Hosoi made a guest contribution to the company. The release, which made our 2011 shortlist for best Japanese video game score, features a wide variety of styles and plenty of highlights across its three disc span.
The title vocal theme, “Rewrite,” composed and sung by YOFFY and arranged by Kenichiro Ohishi, opens up with some beautiful piano work before moving into a rock anthem with some orchestral accompaniment. The male vocalist captures the energy of the track quite well and I love how, at times, the overall tone of the atmosphere gets a bit darker. Overall, it’s a very successful theme song.
Like the previous single, there’s a short game version and karaoke version of the song. There’s also a so-called instrumental version of this theme without vocals, but it’s more of a karaoke style, given the vocal melody isn’t replaced by an instrument.
“Koibumi,” the Shizuru route insert song, composed by Shinji Orito, arranged by MANYO, and sung by yanaginagi, is an extremely moving piece of music. The vocalist brings an angelic quality to the vocal melody and the accompaniment only accentuates this atmosphere with its beautiful strings work, soft electric keyboard board, and piano. It’s definitely one of the defining vocal themes on the album. The general insert song, “Itsuwaranai Kimi e,” featuring the same composer and vocalist is arranged by Syoji Morifuji. The overall instrumentation between this and “Koibumi” are very similar, although there is a bit more of a pop focus in this song due to the drum work, but it still manages to shine. Another insert song, titled “Watari no Uta,” composed by Jun Maeda, arranged by ANANT-GARDE EYES, and sung by Aoi Tada, is an elegant, romantic strings and piano theme with some ethereal synthesizer and choral accompaniment with Aoi Tada on vocals. At times, Tada’s vocals are a bit overbearing, but for the most part, fit with the overall progression of the theme.
There are two ending themes as well. The first, “Yami no Kanata e,” composed and arranged by Yuuichirou Tsukagoshi and featuring Runa Mizutani on vocals, is a beautiful theme featuring a nice soft jazz sound with some beautiful piano work, some acoustic guitar work and orchestral accompaniment that really works well to capture the tone of the melody. There are also some sax sections that work really nicely and give the tone of the piece a bit more of a seductive sound. The final ending theme, “CANOE,” features the same group of people as “Watari no Uta,” and is a piano and strings based theme with a bit of Celtic influence. Overall, it’s very similar in style to “Watari no Uta,” but overall more enjoyable. In some ways, it’s reminiscent of Gust vocal themes.
Of course there are also plenty of instrumental themes as well from a variety of composers. Although Jun Maeda contributes two vocal themes, he provides only a single instrumental theme for the soundtrack, “Travel”, a beautiful piano piece with some ethereal synthesizer as accompaniment. It’s short, simple, but an extremely heartwarming and enjoyable tune. Long-stander Shinji Orito offers a more substantial amount to the album. “Fertilizer” has a very vibrant electro-acoustic soundscape, reminiscent at times to Noriyuki Iwadare’s work on the Lunar series, while “Honesty” is a soft lounge style piece led by a beautiful acoustic guitar. Perhaps his most beautiful contribution is “Reply.” It’s another stunning piano based piece that reminds me of Spirited Away by Joe Hisaishi at times. The ethereal synthesizer and strings work (in the latter half of the track) coupled with the exquisite piano melody is an extremely satisfying combination of sounds and it really brings a bit of a heavenly touch to the overall atmosphere. It’s one of my favorite pieces on the album.
Themes like “Sunbright”, “Eruptible,” and “Retribution” show of the rock side of Shinji Orito in a variety of ways. Similar to some of Little Busters!‘s hits, the former is a synth rock piece with a bubbly melody that really manages to capture a lot of energy as it changes up between a guitar led melody and a synth led melody. “Eruptible” is an energetic rock and techno piece that falls a bit short in engaging the listener due to the focus more on energy rather than melody. However, it does provide some nice melodic touches in the short B section that comes before the loop. Similarly, “Retribution” is also a rock and electronic piece, albeit featuring a heavier electronic beat. However, I find it to be much more successful due to the implementation of a strong synthesizer melody that is extremely engaging and developed. “Exploration” meanwhile is a synth driven piece with some rock influence, some industrial electronic work, and an overall mysterious, yet groovy, atmosphere. It’s an extremely well-crafted theme with a strong melody and an even stronger atmosphere.
Ryo Mizutsuki also offers some substantive themes to the album. “Sprout” is a vibrant acoustic guitar piece featuring some nice ethnic jazz drum pad work, while “Raised Bed” is a contemplative acoustic theme with some xylophone percussion highlights. The latter in particular definitely gives off an aura of reflectiveness and manages to whisk this listener into a dreamy soundscape and manages to give off a sense of hope, although there is a tone of solemnity as well. “Scattered Blossoms” is an extremely beautiful strings, piano, and synthesizer piece. I particularly love how the piano brings about a calming aspect to the piece, while the synthesizer sections add a bit of mysteriousness. The highlight, although it only shows up towards the end, is the strings section, as they offer a very personal, heartwarming touch. When all three elements are combined, it only needs to wondrous things. “Anthurium” is an upbeat theme with some jazz influence, but never really focuses on a particularly style or instrumentation for too long. It’s enjoyable, although still a bit unfocused. Lastly, “Illusional Land” is a mysterious piece fand, while not the most engaging in terms of melody, it does succeeds in capturing the attention of the listener through its complex tone.
Maiko Iuchi offers a few themes worth mentioning. “Morning Glory” is an upbeat theme featuring acoustic guitar, woodwind, and piano. The combination is quite nice, as they each provide a nice texture to the piece, from the jazzy piano to carefree woodwind work. Overall, it’s an excellent theme providing a ton of energy. “Daisy” has a very lighthearted tone to it and I really like how the synthesizer accompaniment works to bring a bit of a carefree atmosphere to the theme. The melody is quite beautiful and really manages to engage the listener with its personality. There’s also an orgel version of this theme on the album. “Forest Depths” is a theme that has a very Gust like sound, with its focus on accordion and strings, while “Potted One” is a contemplative piano-based theme with an innocent and beautiful sound. “Reaping” is a heroic rock-based theme with a focus on brass in the melody line. It is exuberant and is reminiscent, in terms of tone, like something that Iwadare may conjure up for a battle theme. Lastly, “Finale” is a gothic theme that focuses on organ and sinister choir. It is quite exquisite atmospherically and the melody definitely conjures up a sense of gloom. The choral parts, however, instill a certain beauty to the theme and make it much more enjoyable, even if it is a bit on the cliché side.
The final composer to mention is Soshi Hosoi. Of note, “Soft Windflower” is a piano and synthesizer based piece that offers an extremely beautiful melody and some deep percussion, giving the track a bit of a sensual tone, but at the same time, it carries with it a very delicate air to it. “Cotton Hat,” on the other hand, is a quirky track featuring groovy synth tones; however, at the same time, some of the instrument samples, which sound like high pitched whines, detract from the overall ability to enjoy the theme. “Phobic” offers a very sinister tone with its brooding yet romantic, piano passages and industrial percussion, while “Phobia” transforms these elements an upbeat synth rock piece. “Ground” is a very atmospheric and ethereal composition featuring choral samples and futuristic synthpads, offering more in terms of mood rather than in melody. The combination of choral samples and futuristic synthesizer tones makes for a very interesting combination. “Radiance” has that ethereal quality as well, however, it is definitely more focused on melody, providing some nice strings and piano work combined with xylophone and percussion work.
In the end, I think that the Rewrite Original Soundtrack is definitely a great soundtrack andone of Key’s best. While each composer has themes that stand out and those that lack in engaging the listener, for the most part, the combination of composers is able to create a fairly cohesive sound. There are a variety of styles as well, although they focus more on organic tones, and the vocal themes are even more plentiful than previous Key releases. Fans of these artists work should seek this one out, but even those willing to venture into something they may not necessarily be familiar with may enjoy some of the soundtrack as well.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.