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SHADOWRUN: DRAGONFALL VINYL (REVIEW)

SHADOWRUN: DRAGONFALL VINYL (REVIEW)

April 9, 2018 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook SHADOWRUN: DRAGONFALL VINYL (REVIEW)on Twitter

On February 26, 2018, Black Screen Records released the soundtracks to Shadowrun: Dragonfall, and Shadowrun: Hong Kong on 180g Vinyl LP. Jon Everist composed the scores and graciously supplied OSV with signed review copies of both albums and their respective art prints. This week’s review focuses on Shadowrun: Dragonfall, and my full review of Shadowrun: Hong Kong is on the way.

Over the past few years the release of video game soundtracks on vinyl has blossomed, and some have been more disappointing the others. I am very happy to report that this release does not disappoint. Read on for my full review of the album, which includes a look at the album art and packaging as it’s an essential part of the experience.

The album art for Dragonfall was created by Artist Jenn Ravenna. I’ve presented images of the cover, it’s interior and the back cover throughout the review. Like me, you may be wondering why the Shadowrun name is missing from these releases. Although the album does not bear the Shadowrun name, it doesn’t detract from the overall esthetic or beauty of it. Inside the album you’ll also find a digital download voucher the size of a business card which you can redeem for a digital copy.

Side A of the album begins with “The Haven (Kreuzbasar theme)” which immediately draws you in with it’s immediate sound of a sonic veil being removed. I have not played the game but I’ve learned that Kreuzbasar is the hub of Shadowrun: Dragonfall, an area in within the greater city of Kreuzberg. The Wiki describes the area as “A chaotic mess of wealth and poverty, crime and commerce, anarchy and control.” The music fits that description perfectly many different elements spread out throughout included sustained electronic notes that give the listener a sense of mystery coupled with intrigue.

The second track on the album is significant in a couple of ways. “Horn and Ivory (Glory’s Theme)” is the first track that Jon Everist wrote for the soundtrack which he reveals in the album’s liner notes. The song features long noted cello, woodwind and string interplay, and is backed by a chording piano medley. The music evoked in me thoughts of a complex soul, personally it also slightly reminded me of the theme for “D” in Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust which I hold in high regard. The character of Glory is showcased on the album cover, and is also available as an art print by artist Jenn Ravenna. The image above shows the print on top of an album sleeve to give you a reference to it’s 9×12 size.  You can find more of her stunning artwork on her website.

The vinyl comes in a traditional black or clear version. Above you can see the image of the clear vinyl and get a sense of the transparency as you can see my hand as I showcase it for the camera. The record bears the image of the face of the Great Dragon Feuerschwinge, which matches the image from the interior of the album.

“Alpha Mike Foxtrot” closes out Side A and features a militaristic snare drum and electronic percussion that keeps the pace, electronic tones, ominous male chanting and a simple but elegant string melody.

Side B of the album opens with “The Flux State” that features echoing sounds that make you at time think of resonating knocks of a ticking clock. It also has a lovely hummable melody.

The interior of the album features liner notes by Jon Everist and a very large image of the Great Dragon Feuerschwinge . I’ve intentionally not made the liner notes visible as to not take away from experiencing them yourself if you choose to pick up the album.

“Dragonfall (Final Boss Theme)” is a stand out track on the album as it brings all of the elements featured throughout the soundtrack together.

The back cover of the album features images of the game characters Dietrich and Eiger. The album closes out with “Neon Orchestra (Bonus)” which sounds like a very cool end credits theme, just in time for the end of my review.

I have not played any of the Shadowrun series, or many of the games whose music I have the opportunity to review. If you have never played a game I’m a strong believer that you should never let that stop you from experiencing its music. Shadowrun: Dragonfall is the perfect example as its music that caters to a dark cyberpunk landscape. If you’ve enjoyed the music from the Ghost in the Shell series, or Blade Runner you’ll be right at home with this album. For the review I listened to the album on a friend’s Pro-ject 2 Essential Turntable, connected to a Mies i100 amplifier, and played through Q Acoustics 2010i speakers. The sound quality was exceptional, and we both enjoyed listening to and appreciating both sides of the album.

If you want to see more images of the vinyl album I can recommend images I noticed online taken by Twitter user Matthaus Cebulla which you can see here.

You can sample more of the album and purchase it directly on Jon Everist’s bandcamp page. The limited a Deluxe signed version which includes the art print by Jenn Ravenna is still available. You can also purchase the album from the Black Screen Records store.

Check back with OSV soon for my review of the vinyl release of Shadowrun: Hong Kong, and if you missed it last year our in depth interview with Jon Everist right here. If you have this record in your collection, please tell us about your favorite tracks in the comments.

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