Game Music, Reviews

Koreans Are Happy About Golf! PangYa Portable Soundtrack (Review)

March 4, 2009 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook Koreans Are Happy About Golf! PangYa Portable Soundtrack (Review)on Twitter

You’ve probably figured out by now that if “Korea” appears anywhere in my posts, it’s a good indication that it’s something I like. It’s no different with the PangYa Portable Soundtrack that was just released last December in Korea. Another pattern you’ve likely noticed is my mentioning of soundTeMP and ESTi when I talk about Korean game music… and yes, the ubiquitous ESTi strikes again here along with a team of seemingly untested composers that I’ve never heard of.

Similar to La Tale Soundtrack that was released last year, ESTi teams up with a new group of composers including nev, supbaby, and Nikacha. NieN and Electronic Boutique (of La Tale) even make an appearance as performers, and vocalist Sanch provides some of the album’s most memorable moments. Needless to say, this super laid back and poppy soundtrack is amazing, and needs to be in your collection.

Hit the jump to find out why through our review of the soundtrack album.

ESTi opens with “너의 하늘로” a super upbeat and super catchy Korean pop track with Sanch on vocals, NieN on guitar, and Electronic Boutique on bass guitar. This is quite the dream team in terms of Korean game music talent, and it shows as this song has stuck in my head for weeks. Next, his “a dive into volcano” track sports a nice swing and a groovy bassline. The highlight, however, is the memorable chorus section with an amazingly epic melody. “Starlight” is another vocal track pairing ESTi’s impressive synth work with Sanch’s sweet voice. It’s more mellow than the intro track, but equally beautiful.

While I hadn’t heard of nev before hearing this album, he is surely talented. He’s responsible for a large portion of the soundtrack, including a number of arrangements of pieces composed by helicon soundworks. Tracks like “in the wind” and “falling leaves (arr.)” have a distinctly jazzy feel, but that’s not all he has up his sleeve. His “a walk to the fairyland” is an excruciatingly happy piece featuring an accordion along with these guitar notes on the upbeats that would feel right at home in a Super Mario Bros. title. Nev also does uppity synth pop with “bunny picnic” and “snowscape (arr.),” both of will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. While PangYa Portable is typically brimming with sunshine and rainbows, nev has two tracks on the album’s second disc (which features all the in-game cues) titled “dark (part1)” and “dark (part2)” which are actually… well, dark! Chugging electric guitars and organs are always a good match, although each track is less than a minute long.

Finally, 슈퍼꼬마 (supbaby) contributes the final portions of the score with heavy-hitting tracks like “drive!” and “ventus.” I like the rapid secession of upright bass notes in “daydream (arr.),” as well as the energetic “into the pangya” from the second disc with lots of pitch bends and brass melodies. The last track I’ll mention is “tea time (arr.),” which is a fun bossa nova piece with thin, bendy synth melodies and fun percussion.

So, all I have to say is that this album is that it’s awesome.  If you’re a fan of pop music or Korean game music (same thing?), you should definitely try to get your hands on it. It comes in a nifty baby blue digipak with some wacky designs and a booklet that gives track-by-track credits, which is appreciated. I’ll be honest and tell you I don’t know how likely it is you’ll see this sold online, as it came bundled with the PangYa Portable Limited Edition in Korea, but hopefully NTREEV will bring the series to the US, and who knows, maybe they can sell any extra copies they have lying around. You’d be so lucky!

Are you sick of my endless praise of game music from Korea? Are you with me in thinking that maybe they’re on to something good?

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