September 2, 2015
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TEKARU Hectopascal is the latest album from noisycroak’s band, TEKARU. Unlike the earlier albums which featured both originals and arrangements, this album features only arrangements. Containing music from everything from arcade classics like Xevious to consumer hits like Toukiden and casual titles like Thousand Memories, how does the album turn out?
The album opens with “Mexican Flyer,” an adaptation of Ken Woodman’s jazz original. While it isn’t the strongest album opener, it is a decent introductory tune and I could see it being used to introduce the band members onto the stage during their live shows. The second piece on the album is “Start ~ In-Game Music” from Xevious. It’s a nice tribute with the lead guitar melody fun and bubbly while the play on the main theme is also enjoyable, both with the band instruments as well as the original sound source being mixed in as well. “Judgement ~ If Only I Wasn’t Pretending” from Juusei to Diamond is a really nice medley. The first half takes the original’s jazzy sound and turns it into a rock theme with some synth that still carries the jazzy undertones. The second half of the medley has a bit more of a rock/film noir sound with some progressive rock elements thrown in for good measure. It’s a fantastic tune that really manages to shine in the seconf half.
The next three tunes all come from Hideki Sakamoto’s score for Toukiden. The first, “Hinomagatori -Pyropteryx-, features plenty of guitar riffs with a slight metal sound to them. The blend of synth and electric guitar, especially in the main melody, really accentuate the effect of the original soundtrack version and, in my opinion, is superior to the original version. The same could be said for “Gouenma -Chthonian Fiend-.” It captures the intensity of the original through its guitar riffs and the sinisterness of the melody is carried through the lead guitar. The last Toukiden tune on the album is “Demon Slayer (TEKARU feat. Kenji Nakajo) and is taking directly from the Toukiden Original Soundtrack. As stated in that review, it’s a fun rock rendition of the original theme, although there is some slight loss of the triumphant nature of the original.
Keisuke Ito’s Thousand Memories gets featured as well with “Theme of Thousand Memories ~ Heroes of Seed (Seed).” While the latter isn’t featured nearly as prominently as the main theme and is the weaker part of the track; however, the interpretation of the main theme is wonderful. The keyboards work well the guitar accompaniment and the lead guitar playing the main melody still carries that heroic nature. It’s one of my favorites on the entire album. “Main Theme ~ VS Battle” from Kuchisaki Bancho and Kuchisaki Bancho VS features great energy. The melodies are quite enjoyable and feature a synth rock sound. The second portion of the track is a bit more intense and definitely carries a battle sound, before reverting back to the main theme.
The last two themes are from Shoumetsu Toshi and are some of the softer sounding pieces on the album. The first, “About us 〜 I miss you baby,” opens up with a great jazz flair thanks to its jazzy bass, piano, and acoustic guitar. It’s quite refreshing, especially after a series of more rock oriented pieces and would love to see the genre explored a bit more in future albums. The second half of the tune is a fairly straightforward arrangement of the original, featuring synth as well as guitar. The guitar rendition of the theme is quite nice and the vocoder, with its male vocals, makes for a slightly different experience compared to the original. Lastly, “Eternity 〜 Immortality,” opens with a piano ballad before moving into an epic synth/rock sound. The melody is fantastic and it serves as an excellent album closer.
noisycroak’s in-house band TEKARU has produced a few albums in recent years; however, I feel that this one is definitely one of their strongest, despite the fact that there aren’t any original pieces present. There is a nice blend of synth and rock as well as a diverse track selection featuring both larger budget games like Toukiden as well as mobile games such as Thousand Memories and Shoumetsu Toshi. If you are a fan of the band’s previous albums, this one is definitely worth picking up.
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Posted on September 2, 2015 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on January 19, 2016.