Sengoku Basara 2 Original Soundtrack
Sengoku Basara 2 Original Soundtrack
Scitron Digital Contents
July 26, 2006
Buy at CDJapan
After the serviceable yet unappealing soundtrack to Sengoku Basara, T’s Music upped their game for its sequel. They maintained the stylistic foundations of the series — fusions of symphonic, rock, and traditional elements — but aimed to make the music much more attractive and emotional on a stand-alone basis too. They largely succeeded, but the result still might not be enoguh to demand a purchase.
One of the main improvements on the Sengoku Basara 2 soundtrack are the melodies. Whereas the Sengoku Basara suppressed its melodies in favour of a focus on rhythms and timbres, Chamy Ishikawa and company ensure a melody is at the heart of most themes on the soundtrack. This is immediately evident by the opening theme “Inspiration”, a militaristic anthem featuring charismatic trumpet melodies and deeper secondary melodies. It’s certainly quite clichéd in its structure, though interestingly still keeps the feudal influence alive through its rhythmical structure. While no “Unification of the Land”, it’s still a decent hook to define the soundtrack by. Plenty of the character themes on the soundtrack also feature memorable leads, whether the exuberant electric guitar leads to portray Yukimura Sanada and Motochika Chousokabe, or the uplifting solo violin passages featured in the themes for Hanbei Takenaka and Itsuki.
Another major improvement is the quality of the writing. For the most part, the rock and orchestra elements on the soundtrack are better written and more convincingly stylised than before. This is evident with “Sengoku Basara Ver. 2”, an arrangement of one of the few memorable tracks on the original game; the electric guitars really punctuate the track, the shakuhachi convey so much humanity, and the orchestral elements are elegantly mixed. Most importantly, the track’s elements come together to form as a cohesive whole, in contrast to the original which seemed somewhat thrown together. The track still have plenty of room for improvement, given most individual elements are used in a stereotypical way and the samples could be better quality. However, it is still written and implemented well enough to be an immersive listen.
The final improvement is in terms of diversity, in part due to the larger number of composers involved. Despite being based on stylistic fusions, the original Sengoku Basara had a surprisingly homogenous sound, whereas most tracks on the sequel are individualised. This individualism is sometimes captured in blatant deviations, such as the upbeat jazz-based “Keiji Maeda’s Theme”, the new age styled “Riot”, or the nostalgic Morricone-influenced “Ujisama Houjou’s Theme”. Other tracks build on the series’ existing sound using different musical fingerprints; for example, Rei Kondoh makes his debut on the franchise with the exquisite “The Battle of Itsukushima”, which exhibits a more melancholy and mature sound than Chamy Ishikawa’s creations despite using many of the same influences.
Despite all these developments, the soundtrack still maintains Sengoku Basara‘s focus on blistering rock-orchestral fusions. Building on the likes of “Sengoku Basara Ver. 2”, much denser rock-orchestral fusions are featured on “Ueda Battle”, “Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s Theme”, and “Spread Militarism Over the Whole Land”, among others. These are still carefully considered and the latter, in particular, offers some spectacular percussive sounds that will send chills down the spines of most listeners. “The Battle of Sekigahara” is also welcome, at least for those who don’t mind contemporary reimaginings, for the way these influences are supplemented by hard electronic beats. At the climax of the soundtrack, “The Siege of Odawara” impresses through the way it steadily develops from its tense origins into a multifaceted action theme capturing both the strength of the heroes and the formidable nature of the opponents.
More memorable, refined, diverse, and expressive, the Sengoku Basara 2 soundtrack was a big step forward from its predecessor. It is still dominated by fusions of contemporary and traditional elements, but these fusions are much more satisfying. That said, the soundtrack still doesn’t quite reach the heights of Sengoku Basara 3 or Sengoku Basara: Battle Heroes due to its inconsistent and sometimes inaccessible quality. It’s best picked up if you’re already a fan of the series’ games and music.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Harris Iqbal. Last modified on August 1, 2012.