RXN -RAIJIN- ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
RXN -RAIJIN- ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
July 21, 2018
Buy at CDJapan
The RXN -RAIJIN– ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK accompanies the game of the same name released earlier this year. Featuring BGM from Raito, BUCKET DRUMMER MASA, and KDES, an alias of Daisuke Nagata, former member of k.h.d.n., and vocal tunes by Yuzo Koshiro and Shigeru Yoshida, it provides a unique style for shmup music. In addition, it also features some bonus remixes by Ayako Saso and Takahiro Eguchi, of Supersweep, as well as extended versions of some of the background music. How does this soundtrack turn out overall?
The album opens with “N -Short ver.- [Parallel Mix],” a vocal tune by Yuzo Koshiro that follows in the vein of his modern Etrian Odyssey style of tunes, particularly the Untold versions with the anime openings. It features jazzy piano and brass, powerful vocals, and a catchy chorus and a great melody, but it does feel out of place compared to the rest of the album. There is also a full version featured on the second disc that has a similar structure to the original, but is extended. Additionally, there are two instrumental versions that remove the vocals making karaoke versions of them. The other vocal tune, composed by Shigeru Yoshida, is “World x World (RXN Version),” is a pop rock tune with male vocals and a female duet. The melody itself is extremely catchy and the overall feel is very anime theme song. However, much like Yuzo Koshiro’s contributions, it certainly feels out of place on an album full of heavy hitting electronic tunes.
Raito and KDES provide the majority of the music on the soundtrack. “RXN, take off,” by Raito, is an orchestral rock tune that focuses on heavy guitar riffs and an excellent synth melody that provide an exhilarating ship select theme that manages to develop a lot more than most in the genre. His other contributions, stage themes, provide a gamut of sounds as well. “Origin of the myths” features thumping beats, a dance vibe, and a memorable electric guitar melody, although the accompanying beats due get a bit stale as the tune progresses. The origin version on the second disc adds a dubstep inspired bridge with modulated synth, which helps break up the monotony, but may polarize listeners. “Converging eternities and the growth of an individual” combines sinister orchestral hits amidst a dance beat. The melody itself is quite catchy and the overall atmosphere has a bit of a gothic flair to it. It is one of the shorter tunes on the album, but the origin version on the second disc helps rectify this problem and also gives it more of an industrial sound with its accompaniment. Raito’s strongest tune on the album is “Once upon a time, the youth called heroes, ‘Gods,'” a powerful rock tune with stellar bass work, synth stabs, funk, an excellent melody, with equally excellent solos. The end result is gripping and quite memorable. Lastly, “ex//perience,” presumably the credits theme, is a heroic orchestral tune with a celebratory sound. The melody is pretty good and there is a sense of jubilation, but it isn’t his strongest work on the album.
KDES, on the other hand, provides a more experimental, by this album’s standards, at least, listening experience. “And the boat moves forward, to where – no one knows” is the first glimpse into Nagata’s work. Sporadic piano adds mystery to the drum n’ bass tune and the sick rhythms with a heavy percussion focus ooze influence from his work as part of k.h.d.n., particularly Illmatic Envelope and Radirgy Noah. The tune itself is more atmospheric than melody, but is quite lovely. With “And there observations of the world continue,” I feel a CHAOSFIELD vibe with its ethereal synths, great rhythms, piano, and an overall futuristic vibe that oozes atmosphere. The origin version on the second disc is absolutely stellar, featuring heavier beats, more atmospheric synths, and some additional intricate drum n’ bass that really elevates the tune. Likewise, “I’m still human” also gives some CHAOSFIELD vibes with its softer electronic beats, light drum n’ bass, futuristic sound. It is another tune that isn’t super melodic in approach, but the more abstract melody fragments help boost the atmosphere quite a bit and helps to distract from the repetition. The origin version is also a more improved version adding more intricate rhythms, some jazzy piano chords, and a heavier sound overall. “Thunder and Rain” is another excellent tune. The accompaniment is exhilarating and complements the fast paced nature of the tune itself, giving the tune a great sense of energy that gives the melodic portions of the tune a lot more power. The origin version changes things up by adding a moody intro with a slower tempo and crisper synths that carry throughout the tune. Lastly, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is super Karous in sound with its heavy distorted synths, drum n’ bass rhythms, ethereal accompaniment and industrial tones. This is certainly my favorite tune on the entire soundtrack and the rhythms are a big part of it.
The background music, however, is where the album truly shines. Although the majority of the soundtrack is composed by Raito and KDES, BUCKET DRUMMER MASA, with his two contributions, brings a unique element to the album. “In To You” keeps with the k.h.d.n. vibes provided by KDES, but at the same time, the distorted synths, which almost sound like heavily modulated vocals, combined with some intricate and catchy rhythms, played on an actual bucket, is an exhilarating tune that ends on an intense note. His other contribution, “Mods,” features the same type of distortion and bucket drumming, of which the latter is quite catchy. It’s another surprising tune, but one that really fits with the overall vibe of the soundtrack.
In addition to the origin tunes, there are two bonus remixes by Supersweep’s Takahiro Eguchi and Ayako Saso. Eguchi’s remix of “And their observations of the world continue” give it a faster tempo, heavier beats, and a more dance-like vibe while keeping the structure of the original intact and adding some more ambient sections that provide a break from the more intense sections of the tune. Saso’s “Origins of the myth” remix certainly doesn’t break new ground and is done in her typical rave style with the melody of the original and some electric guitar. There are some additional harmonies added and some more anthemic synth sections that give it a trance sound akin to the Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune series before it loops once more. It’s certainly an enjoyable remix that fits the style of the original quite well.
The RXN -RAIJIN- ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK is one of the more surprising soundtracks I’ve heard for a shmup in recent years. While I feel that the vocal tunes, while well composed, feel out of place on the album, the combination of Raito’s rock/orchestral/electronic approach complements KDES’ experimental drum n’ bass style while BUCKET DRUMMER MASA adds a unique touch to the album while still retaining the feel of the BGM. Fans of k.h.d.n. will certainly want to pick this up if they are itching for something similar, but the other contributions are certainly worthy of listen as well. Between the original and origin/extended versions, there is plenty of music and most of it excels at providing a wonderful listening experience.
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Posted on October 11, 2018 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on October 11, 2018.