Silent Hill Extra Tracks
Silent Hill Extra Tracks
Konami Digital Entertainment
March 16, 2011
Buy at CDJapan
Every Silent Hill game has had a soundtrack release, whether commercial or promotional. But Yamaoka has tended to leave material off of the soundtracks, opting for a cohesive album rather than a complete one. As the main bonus to come with 2011’s Silent Hill Sounds Box, this disc contains unreleased and/or unused music from the first four games in the series, as well as a few tracks from Silent Hill: The Arcade. It still doesn’t cover all of the unreleased material, especially the music for the various joke endings, but at 67 minutes, it’s a hefty collection of odds and ends.
The selection opens with “AZUSA 1GO”, an unreleased track from the first game. It begins with a female voice amongst synth pads, then moves on to ambiguous organ chords and a bass guitar. Just as it seems to have ended, a polymetrical section akin to the score’s tenser moments begins, ending just as suddenly. It may be a tad disjointed, but it’s as good as anything from the game. “Silent Hill (estudio)” is a piano version of the game’s opening theme. It’s an interesting take on the original, but it was clearly not intended as a piano piece and the writing feels less than idiomatic. “Anaconda” and “tussock” are short unreleased tracks that don’t have enough time to develop their initial bursts of noise.
Almost half of the disc is devoted to Silent Hill 3. Like the original soundtrack, the selection here opens up with “Lost Carol”, but this alternate take is much longer. McGlynn’s vocalise shows of the full capacity of her expressive voice, but the longer version doesn’t quite maintain the same level of intensity as the familiar intro throughout. “JOE SWEET DREAMS” is a similar vocalise by Joe Romersa, backed by synth strings and piano. Not quite as successful as “Lost Carol”, the track is brought down by the silliness of Romersa’s lines: “Ooh, yeah” and “Good night, sweet dreams. Try to keep your eyes shut.” “Rain of Brass Petals” and “Innocent Moon” are presented in alternate versions, the latter extended significantly with vocal effects added in.
“LAST BOSS REMIX” fills an unfortunate gap in the original soundtrack’s tracklist. The initial burst of organ and industrial noise may seem a bit clichéd, but the piano line that develops out of the oppressive atmosphere and the sections in staggering 5/8 add effective contrast. “Dance Girl Dance” is constructed around a clash between a melodic dulcimer line and the droning electronic backdrop. “Queen of the Rodeo”, the game’s results screen music, fills another important gap. The warm string pads contrast with the colder, more mechanical rhythm, and the otherworldly echoing voice. In “All Screwed Up” varied drumming offsets the repeated 7/8 guitar riff. The track’s later sections fully justify the five minute running time.
The section dedicated to Silent Hill 4: The Room opens with “Your Rain (Reprise)”, with the bridge of the song sung slowly over synth string chords that seem to clash with the melody. “Result” seems placid on the surface, but some odd interjections ripple across from time to time. “Until the Stars Go Out” builds in waves of metallic clanging and men’s choir, which collapse all at once into the low creaking that opened the track. “Hanyo” is a short track of distorted choir and distorted synth. “Clown Parade” creates an aural fog of strings and creaking sounds, which is dispelled by a simple echoing synth tone, eerily disconnected from the rest of the track.
“Ki-No-Ko”, from Silent Hill: Lost Memories, the Silent Hill media disc released in 2003, suffers a bit from its repetitive hip hop rhythm, but is well-constructed nonetheless. “KO”, an unreleased track from Silent Hill 2, differs significantly from the rest of that game’s score. Constructed out of slowly evolving synth chords, it is set apart by its unusually nervous rhythmic backing, which is constantly evolving throughout the track’s considerable four minutes.
The final three tracks are from the poorly received light gun spin-off, Silent Hill: The Arcade, which never made it across the Pacific. Long-timer Masahiko Ikariko led the sound team, but no credits are provided here. “Theme of Hanna” sounds akin to generic Zimmer-clone movie score material rearranged to sound closer to Yamaoka’s industrial-tinged style, but putting aside the fact that it sounds nothing like Yamaoka’s music, it’s not all that interesting. The following two tracks are from the game’s joke UFO ending. “You are tired” is almost interesting, with its piano arpeggios and off-key recorder, but the Gradius tribute “Recorder 2007” is unbearable. Perhaps the recorder should have been replaced with the theremin or ondes Martenot. In any event, the arcade tracks are a poor addition to an otherwise wholly worthwhile disc.
The Silent Hill series can rival almost any other in amount of quality unreleased material. Every section of the disc is filled with gems that did not manage to make it into the series’ soundtracks, and Konami did a great service to the series by releasing them here. The arcade tracks may be of dubious merit, but the rest of the disc is stunning, and for fans of Yamaoka, it may justify the purchase of the whole box set.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Ben Schweitzer. Last modified on August 1, 2012.