Game Music, Reviews

Just Relax With Hiroto Saitoh’s Melodia (Review)

May 11, 2009 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook Just Relax With Hiroto Saitoh’s Melodia (Review)on Twitter

We recently covered Hiroto Saitoh’s POWER DoLLS 1 Soundtrack Resonance album, and we noted that Saitoh appears to be quite fond of jazz and bossa nova. What better way to reinforce his love for these particular styles of music than with his original albums that have been released on LILT Records over the years.

Melodia in particular is a collection of 8 tracks that include many Saitoh originals alongside a couple of arrangements of works by bossa nova maestro Antonio Carlos Jobim and Japanese composer Nagayo Motoori. The music is mainly jazz, and is always laid back and accessible, so kick off your shoes and prepare yourself for a tranquil experience.

Hit the jump for our review of Hiroto Saitoh’s Melodia.

“A Bird of Passage” kicks things off with bossa nova right from the start. Jazzy acoustic guitars, rich piano chords, and a beautiful violin melody plod along with smooth hi-hat hits. The upbeat nature of the piece had me thinking Suikoden at times with its emotional violins, and I thoroughly enjoyed the flute and piano solos that came in about half way through the piece.

Vocals make an entrance with “A Pretty Child,” a laid back lounge piece with a minimalistic piano backing and some seductive sax segments. The siren-like vocals of Apaco sit in the back of the mix, sounding like they’re coming from the far corners of your mind instead of being featured in the forefront as one would expect. It’s a pretty cool effect for sure. The next track, “Winter Morning,” also features Apaco’s voice, and is an arrangement of a Nagayo Motoori piece. It features acoustic guitars, crystalline belltones, and of course Apaco’s serenely sweet vocals. I particularly enjoyed the high-pitched segments of the chorus section. These are easily my favorite two tracks on the album.

“#-Pause-“ deviates a bit from the jazz theme, using vocal clips over some filtered and flanged electronic sounds and percussion that sound downright strange. “Arc in the City” is an appropriate title for the hustle and bustle found in this track. A repetitive bassline and rhythmic hand percussion act as the foundation for a hectic blend of brass, piano, and electronic sounds. “Luiza” is the Jobim piece I mentioned before, sounding as sweet as ever as a duet between strings and piano, with Apaoco’s lovely voice making an appearance once again.  “He Came, and it Goes” sounds like flamenco with its layered acoustic guitars and rhythmic sections, while “#-Coda-“ takes an ambient approach with a serene acoustic guitar melody that is backed by strings and pads with lots of reverb, creating a soothing and inviting soundscape for you to take a well-deserved rest.

While Melodia clocks in at just over 33 minutes of music, there’s still a lot of music here that you should enjoy if you’re into bossa nova music. Even if you’re not, I think this album might turn you on to the style with its wide open soundscapes and catchy vocal tracks. The packaging is direct and to the point, with a one-page booklet listing all the credits in English. I recommend picking this one up if you’re able to find it, as the original price point of 1,500 yen is reasonable, but know in advance that these short 33 minutes will probably have you wanting more.

Are you a fan of Hiroto Saitoh’s work? Do you think more game composers should be creating music for themselves outside of games and releasing it for their fans to enjoy?

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