Tuesday, January 18, 2011

F-Zero Arranged Album

 Having played F-Zero GX for the Gamecube and loving it and the music.  I went after the soundtracks.  I found this gem, after reading the few reviews.  Most gave it a 10/10.  I am not a big fan of jazz, but I like collecting the few and expensive extra's that Nintendo puts out there.  Seikou Nagaoka does a lot of jazz outside his soundtrack career, but I've grown to like his style.  So it was worth giving it a try. 

I was really turned off and away running through this cd the first time.  It was mostly the jazz orientation that scared me.  I was think of GX and I was wanting rock or even heavy metal.  Actually, I was skipping through the first time.  The alto sax sounded like a big one was being ripped, lol.  Which is I am not into jazz.  Especially since most music incorporated with it.  But I was drawn to the drums, guitar, and the use of a band-like musicians. 

This album production has banded together a bunch of American musicians, under lock and key of Nintendo composers of course.  All tracks composed by Yumiko Kanki, except 2 and 12, which are by Naoto Ishida.  Of the Americano's, Marc Russo(Sax's) and Robben Ford(Guitar) are the star of the show.  We get a picture of them, along with a comment by Marc.  Of course, they couldn't have an American translation.

01 Opening Theme 4:21
02 Big Blue 4:03
03 Red Canyon 4:11
04 Fire Field 4:16
05 Silence 4:34
06 White Land 4:22
07 Port Town 4:40
08 Select Time Theme 3:42
09 Mute City 4:25
10 Sand Ocean 4:39
11 Death Wind 3:31
12 Ending Theme 5:05
Realizing that I may eventually like, and I do, which is why I'm making this review.  Number 1 is great for a introductory jazz peice.  Makes you feel like a TV program is running through the list of racers and tracks.  Just before the 2 min. mark is where Marc works his lungs.  I like the sax player's lead from that point on.

I'll skip number 2 for now, but 3 Red Canyon, begins with the bass and carries you throughout with drums and sax.  It feels like those old movies, or like on broadway.  Think in the Mask, as he's going into the club.  That scene where Jim Carrey, livening up, I think I can remember the music to be of the like.  The way this track ends, perfectly fits that scene. 

Fire Field is where it gets good.  This actually fits into the racing genre that this cd should be doing.  Drums and electric guitar gets you into that racing mood.  Then the second guitar rocks out the show, leading to a great finish.  5 Silence has left me silent.  I have no comments good or bad for it, but I will say this,  I can listen to it but not worth repeating.  It has its uses for the F0-verse.  I remember the Ford commercials in the 90's sounding like this.

White Land is a perfect bland of mellow jazz and rock.  It's more of an atmospheric track.  It's very addictive, I repeat often.  Port Town sounds like your in Mexico, Spain, or Hawaii.  It doesn't seem like it in the begining, but definetly after the first minute and on.  If you're having a party at the luao, this music should be played doing the limbo or the Moroccan dance.  Select Time Theme definetly takes its time.  It is a slow piece, as if the jazz didn't slow the overall pace of the album.  I like the use of the bass in the middle of the track.  Has a fun fading finish. 

Mute City and Sand Ocean don't grab me so.  Especially Mute City, what with all its many arrangements out there.  I am kind of sick of it.  It is still one of the better arranged ones.  Sand Ocean starts out with the beachy feel, but kind of gets crazy with the strings, it sounds like techno.

Ah, Death Wind, it literally blows you away(I am not apologizing for the corny puns).  This is what Jazz-Rock Fusion is made for.  It's fast pace from the start, but it's too short.  Its the best one on the cd.  I can't sit down on this one.  Sadly, it's too short, as it's fading out it gets even better.  You must hear it.

Finally, I saved Naoto's tracks for last, because they are the odd ones.  Thankfully, he/she did two, but I think there was no need for him/her to be involved in this project.  Big blue is also like Mute City with tons of other arrangements, but like Mute City it captures the funky urban city life that this series is placed in.  Ending Theme is fitting, for an ending though.  It's these two that is hardest to listen to.

The package of the album is nothing at all, 4/10.  Why, well Nintendo is not known for it's CD's physical contents.  That score is too high of a score.  We get a picture of two of the musicians, and a small comment by Marc, but thats it.  There should have been more from the musicians, interviews, comments, how they(the Americans) got into this production.  Nintendo often doesn't know how to show their love.  They need help.  Cover art is not even noticeable, F-Zero as the title, how am I supposed to know if it's an arranged or an OST.  I can barely see that there is an engine on the cover and back.  The inside of the panphlet, has Falcon looking into the desert.  I won't scan it becuase it's not that fascinating. 

This CD gets in A for composition and arrangement.  A perfect, live arrangement of the games original soundtrack by Hirokazu Ando.  So well done, Nintendo doesn't give us his original compostions.  We don't need them though.  This cd is not terribly rare, but definetly not cheap.  The contents on this cd are all you need to go and find this rarity.

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