The Silver #02 -DESTRUCTOR-
The Silver #02 -DESTRUCTOR-
October 10, 2006
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The increasingly popular Grasshopper Manufacture decided to further commemorate Masafumi Takada’s score for The Silver Case in 2006 with a reprint of its original score and a remix album. Entitled The Silver #02 DESTRUCTOR, the arranged album features nine independent artists presenting themes from The Silver Case in slightly eccentric and experimental electronic remixes. Several source pieces, namely “The Silver Case”, “Moon”, and “Kusabi”, are referenced multiple times during thee album. However, is there enough going for the arrangements to make this forgivable?
One thing that I dislike about generic remix albums is their tendency to labour a simple idea from an original piece by overly repeating it. The opening remix of “The Silver Case” is one of these examples — obsessively focusing on an annoying sound effect and voice sample from the original piece alongside some formulaic beats and the odd typewriter noise. It takes all that was bad about the original theme and presents it into an entirely intolerable format. Compared to the opener, the endless loops of “Kusabi” sound almost liberating. There are some interesting soundscapes and hints of direction during the remix, but it still struggles to sustain its eight minute playtime. The artist’s name ‘Die Trax’ just seemed a little too fitting for me. Others such as Shinya Tanaka’s clearly intend something deeper, but too often sound misguided. While the build-ups are well done, they’re not enough to justify the underwhelming climax or, worse, the hollow sounds before it.
There are unnecessarily five remixes of “Moon” dispersed through the album. Sugiyama 303’s first two remixes both open with a female vocoder giving a disclaimer about her poor English before completely weirding out. It’s good that she’s prepared to give an apology where due, but it wasn’t the grammar I had a problem with; rather the annoying, aseptic tone of her voice and her tendency to repeat herself within two successive tracks. The rest of the remixes distort the piano lines and electronic beats of the original, yet also end up labouring them too. Far better is Kohei & His Computer Band’s remix featuring soothing electronic samples and minimalistic ambient vibes. Ryuji Nishida’s remix also helps to salvage the piece by offering some very dynamic soundscapes and jazz improvisation, but is tragically short. It’s left to Sugiyama 303 to recapitulate the theme in a slightly harder drum ‘n bass variant of his original remix. It’s still extremely repetitive, but thankfully without the horrendous introduction by Frederica this time.
Although much of the album is unappealing, there are a few highlights. After an epic opening narration, Maru’s “Uehara Kamui” largely maintains its elating and surreal vibe. It’s easy to glide along with the beats here whereas earlier remixes simply seemed like a drag. Despite its long introduction, Kayou Ihara’s interpretation of “The Silver Case” works due to the strong atmosphere created by tragic suspended strings and soulful semi-acoustic guitar. It’s one of the few remixes where the repetition eventually serves an artistically appealing goal. Another refreshing change is Kohei’s “Investigation” with its highly syncopated funk riffs and slight hip-hop vibes. It’s one of the most compatible with the mood of Takada’s original score yet also individualistic too. The album ends with an grunged up remix of the title theme and an ever-changing eccentric bonus track. Both are pretty impressive and make listening to the preceding material almost worthwhile. Fortunately, CD players also have a skip button.
This album features approximately an equal mixture of satisfying and poor remixes. This isn’t such a bad thing for those just looking to sample individual tracks — as there are 14 in total to listen to — but the collective experience is certainly a drag. A lot of the album suffers from the formulaic qualities, misguided development, and random track listings with the introductory tracks being the worst offenders. However, the redeeming remixes still don’t really add much to the musical experience of The Silver Case and are best approached as independent musical works. Overall, this album is far from a must-listen and there are many better experimental remix projects out there.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.