Shin Kamaitachi no Yoru: Juichininme no Houmonsha Original Soundtrack
Shin Kamaitachi no Yoru: 11 Hitome no Suspect (aka True Night of the Kamaitachi: The 11th Visitor), the latest in Chunsoft's detective mystery series, was released in Japan in the fall of 2011 for the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3. This time, Chunsoft hired the talents of Hideki Sakamoto and Yasufumi Fukuda. How does this album stack up?
The album opens with the series' main theme, arranged here by Hideki Sakamoto. The arranger rather capably handles "Shin Kamaitachi no Yoru Nightmare MIX 2011," fusing it with his own trademark style. While the original theme is rather uninteresting (though fitting) with its off key, mysterious sound, Sakamoto embellishes it quite wonderfully with strings and piano. He clearly demonstrates what modern production can bring to an old tune.
Sakamoto has quite a few classically-oriented pieces that are reminiscent of his work on echochrome. "Wailing" is one such piece, featuring evocative strings and piano, which masterfully complement an endearing yet sad melody. Similar appreciative comments can be made about the fantastic closers of each disc, "Memories That Cannot Reach" and "Friends." Equally effective is "Message," which soothes with its flute, piano and xylophone interplay.
Sakamoto also composed a good deal of jazzy pieces reminiscent of his work on 428: In a Blockaded Shibuya such as the soothing "Recollection," which is immediately followed by the more bouncy "Pension Brownie" and "Jealousy." A bit further on, "Harmony" is a nice jazzy piece to relax to with some enjoyable flute work. Unfortunately, not much else by Sakamoto stands out on this album. A few notable pieces are the mostly uninteresting yet somewhat attractive "Red Parlor," with its Asian influence, the panicky and aggressive "Alarm Bell" and "Battle in the Dark," and the gentle yet apprehensive "Discord."
Yasufumi Fukuda, the other major composer on this album, is just as hit-or-miss as Sakamoto. Out of the gate he starts strong, with the eerie "Touching System" and the goofy, jazzy melody that follows in two arrangements, "Oumori's Appearance" and "Oumori's Triumph." However, the rest of his disc one appearance is a collection of tedious, atmospheric pieces that lack the small amount of charm even that Sakamoto infuses with his. I'm sure these are fantastic in context, but they're just dull to hear in sequence.
Fukuda's contributions on the second disc are better. "Lost Manuscript" paints a very pleasant yet mysterious image. The rest of his pieces are nearly all jazzy and quite enjoyable. None really stand out, but all are competently written and enjoyable to listen to. He also arranges "A Single Reason" from the original Kamaitachi no Yoru soundtrack. The arrangement is decent, and the effect mysterious and eerie.
The last four pieces on the album are bonuses, taken straight from the original Kamaitachi no Yoru soundtrack, and not arranged in the slightest. It's neat to have a small glimpse into the series' musical origin, though I'm not sure why these were included besides. They do make for an enjoyable close regardless.
There are pockets of good pieces on this album, but the majority is comparatively meaningless outside of context. I wouldn't recommend this as a purchase just for those few tracks, as good as they might be, unless the reader is desperate for a few of Sakamoto's classical or jazz works. However, those enjoyed the atmospheric tracks within the game might find this album worth a purchase. All in all, nothing unpleasant or badly put together, just not enough to impress as much as Sakamoto's previous scores.
Contains some tracks from Kamaitachi no Yoru Soundtrack (SNES)