Synchronica Original Soundtrack
Synchronica Original Soundtrack
September 30, 2016
Buy at CD Japan
Synchronica is a rhythm game developed by Namco and works by tapping the screen to the patterns generated on screen. The resultant soundtrack features music by Taku Inoue, Yuu Miyake, AJURIKA, as well as a plethora of other contributing artists. How does this rhythm game soundtrack turn out and what kind of tunes can one expect?
The album opens with the main theme, “Synchronicity,” by Taku Inoue, an upbeat and fun electronic tune featuring vocal samples, piano, and strings. The progression of the piece is also quite nice, offering moments of intensity, bubbly moments, as well as relatively calm sections. There are quite a few chill electronic tunes, such as “Attract,” “Entrance,” “Tutorial,” and “Result,” that provide a calm and unintrusive sound, but at the same time, do provide interesting elements to them, whether it be in the melody or the instrument selection. These tunes aren’t used in the actual gameplay, but more for menus and such, and are a nice listen in the end. Of course, Inoue also contributes a couple of tunes that are more focused on working within the context of the gameplay. “Sakura Secret,” a remix of ZUN’s “Bloom Nobly, Cherry Blossoms of Sumizome ~ Border of Life,” from Touhou: Perfect Cherry Blossom features interesting rhythms, a piano driven melody, similar to the original tune, and is overall a beautiful piece of music. His original tune, “3 Seconds Left Til Dawn” opens with a beautiful piano line before moving into intricate percussion and a drum n’ bass influence as well as offering some more ethereal moments with vocal samples during the short bridge featured in the tune. Lastly, “Minna no Uta” is definitely pop oriented, but with a clear Inoue signature. The vocals leave a bit to be desired, but the catchy melody and piano focus are positives in that regard.
There are also some singular contributions from both current and ex-Namco employees. AJURIKA’s “Snow Light” incorporates his staple psytrance sound while adding in some dubstep influences. The piano led melody is quite beautiful as are the wispy vocals provided by Donna Burke in the second half of the piece. Yuu Miyake’s “Real-Eyes” is a drumstep inspired tune featuring heavily processed vocals, a catchy melody, and an intricate, but not too heavy, drop. There is some really cool synth manipulation in the second half of the tune that makes for a really fun listen. Lastly, kyo, who is a current Namco employee, contributes with “God Ray,” a more gothic rock influenced piece with an electronic beat that opens with choir. The resultant piece is one that is powerful and dramatic, while also providing a hauntingly beautiful bridge. This tune could easily work well in an RPG as a boss theme of some sort.
Some of the tunes featured are arrangements of existing pieces, primarily of the classical nature. “Canon (Shin Kuronika Remix),” by Takeshi Nakatsuka, is a really fun jazz take on Pachelbel’s familiar tune. The arrangement for the most part is fairly loose, making it much more tolerable than most “Canon in D” arrangements, with only the end being a more straightforward take on the theme. Ken Inaoka’s “Air on a G String (Shin Kuronika Remix)” takes Bach’s classic and transforms it into a xylophone rendition with some quirky electronic beats. It is an interesting juxtaposition of sound, for sure, and as the piece progresses, the electronic elements get more intense. “New World,” by LAGITAGIDA, transforms Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” in particular the Allegro con fuoco movement, into a rock arrangement with frenetic pacing. The power of the original translates well into this style so I was pleasantly surprised in that regard. Lastly, A-bee’s “Grandfather Clock,” originally by Henry Clay Work, is an upbeat pop rendition of the 1876 tune. The vocals by Mi-yo work well with the arrangement and the end result is an extremely fun take on the original.
There are also some other vocal tunes featured on the album. “A Night on the Town,” composed by yuma with vocals by Sofia Rubina, is a house tune that also packs a lot of soul, particularly in the vocal performance. The melody itself is great and as the tune progresses a jazzy piano solo is also introduced. LCA contributes two tunes to the soundtrack, both featuring vocals by immi. The first, “Last Call,” is a dance oriented piece with some heavier beats, some chaotic tones, and vocal manipulation, reminiscent of Ridge Racer at times, while the second, “Hear Me Out” is more pop oriented with a piano/synth accompaniment and another great melody.
Lastly, there are some instrumental tunes as well. “Conflagration,” by Chris Brann, is an interesting house tune with lots of modulation, odd rhythms, and sound effects. There is a bit of a funk sound to it, but the piece loses direction a lot due to the many styles being incorporated. Ken Inaoka contributes an original piece as well, titled “Iroha of Beats,” combining traditional Japanese instrumentation and chanting with electronic rhythms and 80s synth. It’s certainly unique but not a particularly strong tune. “Luminous Flight,” by Tomonori Hayashibe, fuses dance beast with brass and acoustic instruments resulting in a great melody with a sound that is very reminiscent of modern Gust. “La Saison,” by Yuzuru Tomita, is an upbeat and pop oriented electronic tune featuring a fun synth melody and some piano incorporation that helps add an uplifting sound. Finally, “Light Around,” by Yuichi Nakamura, opens with violin before moving into an electronic beat with an interesting rhythm. In some ways, it reminds me of a battle theme that Masashi Hamauzu might compose in terms of its execution.
Aside from the more menu driven tunes that aren’t meant to stick out and are more innocuous than anything, the Synchronica Original Soundtrack provides primarily a variety of electronic tunes that work well in the context of a rhythm game. While, on a standalone listen, some of the tunes might not be particularly focused, the end result is still a largely enjoyable listen, especially for fans of rhythm game music.
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Posted on September 22, 2016 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on September 22, 2016.