Runbow Original Soundtrack
Runbow Original Soundtrack
August 27, 2015
Buy at Bandcamp
Runbow is a new colourful platform racing game released for the WiiU, which boasts multiplayer for up to nine players as characters jump and race through bright and vivid set pieces. The frantic running and jumping is accompanied by an original score penned by Dan Rodrigues, which matches the intensity and vibrancy of the game with immensely fun tracks and a crisp, dynamic sound. It is self-described as mix of “Jazz-Afro-Cuban-Blues-Bossa-Nova-Cinematic-Surf”, and quite accurately so I would say. The album also includes a number of remixes for its latter half, which carry the insane energy through to the very end.
The album beings with “A Scroll in the Park” a track that’s great fun and sports elements like a guitar, bass, percussion, piano, and brass prominently throughout. It’s bright and bouncy with a thumping beat but also has a taste of noir jazz and mystery to it that makes it rather interesting. “Tree’s a Crowd” keeps the fun up in what reminds me of a bright Donkey Kong track with its more tribal percussion, repeating piano motif, and assisting strings. The piano part is very simple, but it isn’t overused and does a good job grounding the track to allow for the other instruments to be a bit more random and free. “Tropical Ointment” and “Solitary? Who’s Solitary?” have a classic beach rock sound, the former with the hazy electric guitar and the latter with some wavy brass trills. These opening tracks are a lot of fun, and carry plenty of energy along with personality.
“It’s Spooky Without You” marks a different tone for the score, but one that still has most of the elements found in the first tracks. All of the instruments are still there, as is the fun arrangement and thumping beat, but now the track has a ghostly side to it (like a creepy circus in a Scooby-Doo episode). I loved how all the brass and tribal percussion still managed to work well together in this track, despite this shift in atmosphere. “Belly of the Beast” is the only track to slow things down and feel a bit more serious, but it never loses the charm or feel established by the prior tracks. This one has a more stealth and spy feel to it, and manages to feel really epic as it builds with strings later on. “Let’s Slow it Down” is a more relaxing beach track, akin to elevator music with a moderate tempo and a bit of a meandering feel. It doesn’t do much so it naturally doesn’t stand out like the other tracks too, but I don’t mind it as a breather in the context of the album. After, “Mamma Loves Runbow” brings the party back with a bit of mambo. I wish the vocals were used more in the piece, as it does feel a bit strangely empty without them at times, but it’s still another fun track in the album’s catalogue.
“Two Feet and a Heartbeat” leads the remixes as a faster paced rendition of “A Scroll in the Park”. It works great at the faster pace, and although all the original elements are there, the melody is reworked to help it feel like a new experience. “Leaf it on the Dance Floor” is a remix of “Tree’s a Crowd” with much of the original intact, mainly changing up the percussion and adding some new parts. Although the original sections don’t work quite as well at the higher tempo, the newly written parts sound quite good, and track is still very enjoyable overall. “Sand in my Shorts” remixes “Tropical Ointment”, and it is interesting in that at first it only minimally plays with the structure of the piece, and focuses more on playing with the sound of the track and distorting it (very subtle-y, at times). It also shows the first markings of the more electronic influences that come soon, as does the “Solitary? “Who’s Solitary” remix “Gotta Lock it Down”.
“Bedknobs and Glowsticks”, the “It’s Spooky Without You” remix, brings more of this electronic influence, mainly laying out synths overtop the original lines and providing the more techno-based rhythm. “O, Satura!” (from “Belly of the Beast”) takes this further, with electronic elements predominant, and the structure of the track changed quite a bit. Many of the melodies are now told on the synths, and it works especially well for the lower regions of the track. I love the new feel the track has as well, still feeling dark but with a cheekiness to it. The album finishes off with a guitar-only track, “Solo Sunset Serenade”. The track is a light and breezy medley of the main tracks of the score. There isn’t anything particularly special about it, but it sounds great and it works as a nice cap to the album.
Runbow is an immensely fun soundtrack that easily entertains both in the game and outside of it. Rodrigues has a great dynamic mix of instruments that all sound wonderful together, and create a consistently fun atmosphere regardless of the sound and style that it emulates. Although the tracks are short, they are all fairly memorable and have catchy melodies. Although some of the remixes don’t really do that much with the sound, they’re fine additions that keeps the party going, and in the end don’t feel overly redundant. Overall it’s a fantastic score to have, and Rodrigues is definitely a young new composer to keep your eye on.
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Posted on September 26, 2015 by Christopher Huynh. Last modified on September 26, 2015.