Space Invaders Infinity Gene -Evolutional Theory-
Space Invaders Infinity Gene -Evolutional Theory-
April 13, 2011
Buy at CDJapan
While an instalment to one of the oldest shooter franchises, Space Invaders: Infinity Gene is actually very different from most shooting games out there. The same is true for its musical score by Hirokazu Koshio — a collection of hard aseptic beats on first inspection, an attempt to evolve the approach of game music on closer analysis. While likely to alienate many audiences, his score is an impressive artistic achievement for several reasons. Evolutional Theory is the complete soundtrack release for the game, available both as a physical album in Japan and digital release worldwide.
The soundtrack opens with the tracks originally featured in the iPhone Edition of Space Invaders: Infinity Gene. These tracks are based on those previously featured in the mobile phone soundtrack, but have been completely resampled, remixed, and expanded to accommodate the streaming capacity of the iPhone. The majority fit the futuristic image of the game well with their electronic focus and rhythmical impetus. However, they will be a select taste on a stand-alone level given their focus on heavy electronic beats, rather than catchy melodies. Indeed, they have more in common with underground techno music than old-school game music, though many electrophiles out there will adore what Hirokazu Koshio has accomplished here.
The sound in Space Invaders: Infinity Gene ended up being considerably more minimalist than that of any other shooting game out there. In fct, judging just from the songs, a listener might not even recognise them as coming from a shooting game. – Hirokazu Koshio
Most of the background music featured during the main gameplay is arranged in three different versions here. Though a simplification, the original ideas (‘Genetic’) tend to be mostly based on minimalistic industrial loops, the second interpretations (‘Adaptive’) are more fleshed out techno compositions, and the final renditions (‘Evolution’) tend to be intense hardcore mixes. As the gameplay intensifies, there are transitions between these tracks to capture the desired pace and density. In context, it is excellent how the soundtrack is able to bring this interactivity and it is certainly a step up from the more stale mobile phone edition. Through a combination of expert arrangements and programming, the ideas are wonderfully implemented too.
Hardcore Zuntata fans will realize that these tracks have been released in a dedicated digital soundtrack before. However, their presentation on Evolutional Theory is vastly superior to the earlier release. Crucially, the three arrangements are compiled into single tracks here, rather than being separated and segmented in a repetitive manner. It’s fascinating to hear how Koshio elaborates on his original ideas as a track develops over a six to seven minute playtime, segueing smoothly from arrangement to arrangement. A real sense of expansion and evolution is created as a result, which will be awe-inspiring for many. Indeed, coinciding with the physical release of the album, Zuntata Records have finally ensured the music of Space Invaders: Infinity Gene is the optimal way for stand-alone listening.
Throughout the release, Koshio demonstrates he has a great command of rhythms and timbres. The opening track “Survival” encourages listeners to concentrate with its brisk beats and inspiring elaborations, while capturing the abstract, spacey feel so inherent to the Space Invaders sound. “Mutation” is even more experimental, with its dense breakbeats and complex polyrhythms at 161 BPM, and certainly takes listeners to some really bizarre places during its playtime. “Reproduce” and “Manipulate” are also delightful, shifting from ethereal to industrial segments in a provocative manner. They create a very unique and fitting ambience in the game, while offering plenty of contrasts to please album consumers. While “Strategy”, “Program”, and “Lifegame” are shorter, they’re also potentially worthwhile.
In addition to the background music from the iPhone edition, this 25 track album features a number of compositions created for the downloadable console version of the game. These tracks mainly build on the thumping electronica approach featured on the iPhone edition and will, once again, be a select taste for shooter followers. While these tracks don’t undergo the same evolution during their playtimes, some are major stand-alone highlights nonetheless. Particularly enjoyable are “Trickster”, an unpredictable action-packed beatfest, “Anima”, a more colourful array of electronic soundscpaes, and “Unconscious”, an even more minimalistic mix than the rest. These exclusive tracks also help to really flesh out the package to ensure it is worth its pricetag.
There’s no denying that the sound has evolved. Just as Space Invaders: Infinity Gene is different from other shooting games that have been released to date, so too has its music taken a diverging path. This, to me, is evolution.” – Hirokazu Koshio
Rounding off the release are three remix tracks produced for the DLC expansions for the game. Here Koshio incorporates classic themes from Darius, Night Striker, and Metal Black in the experimental electronic style he has developed for the rest of the score. This fusion of new styles with old themes is competently achieved throughout and really fits the ‘evolution’ concept of the album. That said, these remixes are major departures from the originals — listeners will have to observe closely to even hear the classic “Chaos” motif in the Darius mix “I Can Not Aim” — so many old-school fans will find them alienating. Thankfully for such consumers, the Metal Black remix manages to be insanely catchy without being superficial and seems to fuse the personas of Cosio and Yack into one.
Evolutional Theory is certainly the definitive version of the Space Invaders: Infinity Gene score. It demonstrates Koshio’s leanings towards experimental and evolutionary sounds on the title, while reflecting the adaptive features of the music in the game. Unlike previous releases, it is also inspiring and satisfying on a stand-alone level too due to the superior presentation of the main gameplay tracks and the inclusion of various new compositions and remixes. Not all will like Koshio’s hard minimalistic approach to shooting scoring, but it is something different and fascinating nevertheless. Many audiences will therefore find this landmark release a worthwhile physical or digital purchase.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.