Game Music, Reviews

Fill Up on Your Prescription for Sleep (Review)

May 23, 2014 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Fill Up on Your Prescription for Sleep (Review)on Twitter

As reported on back last month, Prescription for Sleep: Video Game Lullabies has been released from Scarlet Moon Productions for public consumption. The duo of Norihiko Hibino (Metal Gear Solid) on saxophone and AYAKI tickling the ivories have by their powers combined into GENTLE LOVE to produce an arrangement album that is equal parts soothing and simplistic in execution and make for a delightful ensemble. Utilizing music from both old classics like Donkey Kong Country and newer acclaimed scores like Nier, the album features a good assortment that should be enjoyable to a wide variety of fans.

Although I will say, the album probably should have a warning label about listening while driving at night or operating heavy machinery. It’s not lying in its title at all.

Hibino and AYAKI have been touring and using their unique brand of soothing melodies ever since the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011, in the form of charity events. Since then, they’ve been applying their talents as full-blown musical therapy with the Hibino Sound Therapy Lab. Prescription for Sleep seems to be a product of their collaborations.

The album features 10 tracks from a wide assortment of games, both new and old. This makes it an experience that can be related to by a greater range of listening fans. While only featuring ten tracks, each one is sprawling in length, ranging from 6 to 8 1/2 minutes. This sets up the mood for each piece as something the listener can immerse themselves into fully, rather than be a shorter track that may end up sounding abrupt for the style they are using. The use of saxophone for each piece definitely brings out a jazzy quality to the music, and the slower rhythm sets the tone going into each track.

Being longer tracks means that there are a lot of liberties taken with how the source themes are used, and a some arrangements might sound like there is a lot of filler. While it’s true that this is the case, mostly in the case of the oldschool tunes that have source material that is shorter and meant to repeat rather than the longer scores of newer game, the arrangements do a good job of pacing and mixing the tunes in. “Dire Dire Docks” from Super Mario 64 for example keeps it’s secondary melody constantly weaving through the piano part of the song, while the saxophone pops in with the main melody evenly throughout the song and without sounding out of place.

My favorite of the album (which should be no surprise to anyone) is “Lost Painting” from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which also seems to be the the favored piece of Hibano and AYAKI also, according to the digital booklet bundled with the album.

“As we discussed the arrangement, the main keyword we shared was “Italian jazz,” which immediately made our vision for this arrangement clear. We considered a number of other influences, such as old European castle atmospheres and feelings of night time, but we thought “Italian jazz” covered everything we wanted to do with this piece.”

It certainly is the jazziest piece of the album but it works well with the rhythm, reminding me of how “Crystal Teardrops” worked within the actual game with its slower and jazzy nature.

Prescription for Sleep: Game Music Lullabies is fully licensed and available for $10 over on Loudr. If you’re the type that needs background noise to lull you to sleep at night, what better way than with smooth and soothing game music? Get yourself a nice hot drink, curl up and let the music of GENTLE LOVE do the rest.

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