The Arkanoid series are a line of Taito games inspired by Atari's Breakout games of the 1970s. Now part of Square Enix, Taito recently revived the series and released Arkanoid Live for the Xbox Live Arcade. Hirokazu Koshio handled the music for the game and offered an interactive techno score. The resultant score is not ideal for stand-alone listening...
Hirokazu Koshio takes listeners to the world of Arkanoid with "Regressive Trip_Debug" and "Regressive Trip_Release". Like most of Koshio's work, both are futuristic electronic pieces featuring colourful samples and expert mixing. However, they do lack the variety and melodiousness to really entertain outside of context and are much better simple as background music in the game. This feature is true of the majority of the compositions in the soundtrack, though it is certainly more listenable than Koshio's lesser Space Invaders scores.
The majority of the album revolves around three stage themes, "Microwave Starship", "Exotic Baryon", and "Crazy Cruise". The compositions themselves are quite straightforward techno pieces that are just about likeable on the album. Interestingly, Koshio uses the compositions in an interactive way, offering four variations with different levels of pace and thickness. This is wonderful in context, given the music really immerses gamers in a dynamic manner. However, it can grow tiresome to listen to four variations of the same idea on a stand-alone release.
Between these themes, the soundtrack has relatively little to offer. Koshio missed the opportunity to use Ogura's themes from the original Arkanoid exuberantly here and instead just arranges a few jingles. "Dump On Heat" and "Dirac Sea" are a little more entertaining and bring some much needed intensity to the soundtrack, the former jagged and grungy, the latter surreal and apocalyptic. There is also a set of stage themes that weren't used in the game, "Chaotic Girly", that take a more experimental approach with voice samples and breakbeats.
Overall, Arkanoid Live features the weakest of the Arkanoid scores released in recent years. Hirokazu Koshio is able to offer a fitting and interactive accompaniment to the game. However, his electronic compositions here lack appeal emotionally, melodically, and even intellectually out of context; the presentation of different variations of stage themes only exacerbates these matters. It is probably best to skip this soundtrack unless the samples really appeal to you.