Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s daily hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today we’ll check out a game I respect more than like. But its remix album…yeah, that’s the good stuff.
Musically speaking, Taito’s mid-’90s arcade trilogy of “Ray” shooters—RayForce, Raystorm, and RayCrisis—was a one-woman show, scored in its entirety by Zuntata member Tamayo Kawamoto. Each game has its charms, though I find the least to appreciate in the high-concept prequel of the bunch, 1998’s RayCrisis (YouTube / longplay / VGMdb). That even goes for its departure of a soundtrack, which feels artistically sound yet moves in directions I fail to enjoy.
But! Listen to this:
Taito / Rapa (YouTube)
Gorgeous. (Don’t skip out before 2:15.) This is “Lavende bleu,” the first track of Kawamoto’s remix album RayCrisis Rayons de l’Air (playlist / VGMdb). In it, she keeps on mutating her RayCrisis OST into new and different genres, with an overall tilt toward the slow, gentle, and beautiful. Certain RayCrisis tracks were so ambient that I never even noticed their melodies, whereas Rayons de l’Air extracts those kernels to arrange with acoustic guitar, accordion, and in my two favorite tracks, lovely female vocals.
I don’t love it all, but the high points are well worth the ride, in particular “Son dessein,” “Formless living bodies,” “There are no nails at my tiptoe,” Vit-symty” (vocals again, English this time), and closer “All is shut down.” Just like that, RayCrisis’ existence feels fully justified. Cool trick.
That’s a wrap for today’s Morning Music! Have you ever run into another case where you weren’t so into an original soundtrack but then someone’s arrangements blew you away? Dunno, seems pretty rare in my experience. Anyway, enjoy the open thread! I’ll be back with more tomorrow.