Siren -New Translation- Original Soundtrack
Siren -New Translation- Original Soundtrack
August 27, 2008
Buy at CDJapan
Siren: New Translation is a reimagining of the first Siren game and is yet again set in the quiet mountain village Hanuda. An American television crew has been sent there to investigate the local legend of human sacrifices in the village’s history. Soon the foreigners find out that everything isn’t what it seems and must find their way out of the alien environment they’re trapped in. The game was released in an episodic manner, consisting of twelve episodes in total, which meant that the composers had to approach the game from a more televised angle. Thankfully, the composer of the first game Hitomi Shimizu decided to take up the challenge. However, despite Shimizu’s skills, the third soundtrack wasn’t quite up there with the previous offerings. Let’s see why.
The album begins with the theme song of the series “Hoshingoeika (Ondes Martenot Edit.)”. As the track name indicates, the arrangement features the early French electronic musical instrument, the Ondes Martenot. In this version, the chant stays to the background and the unique instrument is used to convey the main bulk of the song. There are multiple “Hoshingoeika” variations popping up throughout the album. The Lyrics I Edit and Lyrics II Edit are similar to the original track of the first Siren, whereas the Lyrics Free Edit replaces the lyrics are replaced with a woman singing overtone. “Hoshingoeika (Ancient Edit.)” transports the listener back in time to ancient Hanuda where old men have gathered for ritualistic chants. “Hoshingoeika (Kaiko Edit.)” continues where the ancient version left off, with clapping percussion joining the frenzied chants. Ending the multitude of “Hoshiongoeika” variations is “Hoshingoeika New Translation” which combines the best elements of each of the previous tracks to create a cohesive whole.
Another track that sees many incarnations is New Revelation. “New Revelation: Anxiety” is the first one and immediately establishes the creepy mood with spacy synth and low growls. “New Revelation: The Vision” is the most interesting of the lot, going for a minimalistic approach with a vibraphone and a girl breathing heavily, the latter which Shimizu likes to employ quite a lot. “Despair” also contains the melody already explored in New Revelation themes, but soon descends into a hellish nightmare which culminates in a solemn piano solo. “New Revelation: Reprise” is essentially a “coming soon” version of the theme with brass and heavy strings. Unfortunately, it’s nothing more than a little snippet. “New Revelation: Desolation seems to feature Ondes Martenot, this time solo, and the old school sound of the instrument offers an eclectic mix of retro and folk.
Rest of the album consists of various ambient and danger tracks. Some of them, like “Darkness”, are more in line with Silent Hill’s music with their ravaging rawness. The atonality of the pieces are constantly accentuated, especially in the case of “Fear” and “Frustration”. The rare quiet ambient tracks aren’t very intricate and feel emptier than their counterparts on the first Siren. More experimentation is with retro electronic sounds, as is evidenced in tracks like “Showdown” and “Euphoria”. However, the electronic percussion in many danger themes, like in the aforementioned “Euphoria”, “Tension” and “Strife” undermine the horror which Siren is renown for, where the horror crawls under your skin and slowly invades you. While the in-your-face approach works well in context, it makes for a more jarring listening experience.
It wouldn’t be a Siren album if there weren’t crazy additions in the end of the album. “Genocide” could be described as an American reporter successfully escaping from the depths of hell, taking up the electric guitar and then letting out all the psychological injures that were inflicted on him. Taro Nagata’s “Bermuda Love Triangle” sounds like a cheesy opening song for an 80s TV series. Yes, you don’t even have to ask to know that there’s bound to be cheerful brass and naively peppy lyrics here.
Hitomi Shimizu’s decision to transform the soundscape that had been one of the trademarks of the series was courageous and bold, but makes for an unfocused album. I think it’s not that Shimizu is at fault, just that a different sound was expected from him, and actually most of the time the music is very fitting for the new presentation of Siren. It’s an enjoyable soundtrack on many levels, but when comparing it to its older brethrens, the maturity and sophistication of the first two leave the younger boy in the shadows. I can only hope that the future Siren soundtracks return to the roots, yet add a distinctive flair, like Haishima managed to do (well, most of the time) in the second game. If you’re a fan of the series, then it’s definitely worth it. For newcomers I would suggest getting a copy of Siren Original Soundtrack or Siren 2 Original Soundtrack instead.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Raziel. Last modified on August 1, 2012.