Shin

X Character Files

X CHARACTER FILES:
COMPOSER: various (Yoko Kanno, Hajime Mizoguch, Seikou Nagaoka,
Hisaaki Hogari, Yoshikazu Suou, Yutaka Fukuoka)

1 – Yuzuriha (3:34)
Composed & Arranged: Yoko Kanno
– Starts off with a wolf howl-undoubtedly an Inuki tribute. The rest of the piece has an Irish feel with it’s use of traditional flute over guitar and drums. Very happy and optimistic but not perky.

VERDICT: play

2 – Nataku (3:25)
Composed & Arranged: Hajime Mizoguchi
– A sad, short string orchestra piece. Not much to it, though, really. Seems to be of a string orchestra of only violas, celli, and bass….if there’s a bass in there….Perhaps the piece is meant to reflect the lack of emotion in Nataku, but emotionless pieces dont’ make for very listenable pieces.

VERDICT: skip

3 – Satsuki (7:19)
Composed & Arranged: Hajime Mizoguchi
– LARGEST MUSIC FILE EVER DOWNLOADED. (Symbolism? Large like her chest? Maybe…) Starts of with tech-y beeps and such over string monotones only to get progressively weirder. Out of nowhere comes this jazzy section with walking bass which almost suggests some presence of the bipolar disorder in Satsuki. Which is an interesting, thought, really, but Satsuki’s bipolar? I’m not sure about that. The tech sounds continue throughout the entire piece accompanied by a very mellow and kinda bouncy melody. Again another analogy to her chest? Hope not.

VERDICT: play (only because it’s so long)

4 – Karen (4:01)
Composed & Arranged: Yoko Kanno
– Absolutely gorgeous. Synth piano and Gabriela Robin + Yoko Kanno up to their old “we kick musical arse” tricks. Rather “Enya-ish”, but eons better. The rhythmic choral section that pops in here and there is just so pretty. This also has quite a optimistic feel despite Karen’s sad past. Personally, I wonder what Kanno was thinking when she wrote this one because Karen’s beauty hides her insecurities yet here, everything seems to be open.

VERDICT: repeat

5 – Subaru (4:18)
Composed & Arranged: Yoko Kanno
– Flute and clarinet play off each other in the intriguing opening to be joined in by a sad orchestral melody. Very movie music-like. There’s some Howard Shore, Lord of the Rings-like chord progressions in there which gives a sort of noble feel. Not unrepresentative of Subaru at all. This is probably one of the most relatable pieces on the entire OST.

VERDICT: repeat

6 – Sorata (4:41)
Composed & Arranged: Seikou Nagaoka
– Starts off with monk-ish chants (symbolism, undoubtedly pointing at Sorata’s monastery roots) which then moves into a rather neat, almost rock-ish melody with a touch of jazz and some weird BG vocals. It moves and could be mistaken for fighting sim music if it was faster. A very fun piece.

VERDICT: repeat

7 – Yuuto (3:30)
Composed & Arranged: Hisaaki Hogari
– Atonal but there’s a guitar in the background behind all the clanging that progresses into a melancholy yet hopeful piano with guitar accompaniment melody. This one is quite strange and mysterious. Seeing how Yuuto is a charming playboy, it’s quite interesting that the composer saw him as this weird mess of…mess.

VERDICT: skip

8 – Arashi (3:37)
Composed & Arranged: Yoko Kanno
– Very modernistic classical feel. Reminds me of Barber or Prokofiev or Ives; it’s strange and almost uncomfortable until you get used it. After that, like Arashi herself, it’s beautiful and then mysterious as well. The music hints that there’s something beneath that wants to be found, but also wants to remain hidden. This is a gorgeous work that, however, sadly needs understanding before it can claim full appreciation of the listener.

VERDICT: play

9 – Seiichiro (4:08)
Composed & Arranged: Nagaoka Seikou
– This piece is somewhat of a surprise. It’s based more in funk and bop than anything else. As a piece of music, it’s very appealing and listenable. As a representation of Seiichirou, it’d odd because the thought of Seiichirou being jazzy is quite far away from his caring-father-typical-nice-guy image. So if anyone can tell me how this piece relates to Seiichirou, feel free to tell me.

VERDICT: repeat

10 – Kusanagi (5:06)
Composed & Arranged: Yoshikazu Suou
– A solo trumpet soars over earth-y music sounds – vibes, some modernistic piano, some electric guitars and traditional drums…quite appropriate and straightforward for Mr. Earth-boy. As a piece, it’s also a nice work in itself, though it fails to really take itself anywhere.

VERDICT: play

11 – Seishirou (5:14)
Composed & Arranged: Yutaka Fukuoka
– This piece moves and feels a bit like a RPG action FMV music where the heroes are running to rescue someone. Actually, it reminds me of 007 Goldeneye on N64 music. Not unlike Sorata’s image file, it’s quite fun, but not quite sadistic or morbid enough to be exactly the bloody Seishirou.

VERDICT: repeat

12 – Kakyou (4:35)
Composed & Arranged: Hisaaki Hogari
– A calm opening that’s reminds me of a seaside (well I guess that’d be about right since it’s Kakyou.) that’s permeated by weird chants that feel out of place and tech blips and swirls which are fine representation of Kakyou’s condition. It’s like listening to a satellite connection. This is probably the most symbolically obvious of all the pieces on the OST, but it’s not easy to stay focused on it.

VERDICT: skip

13 – Fuuma (6:04)Composed & Arranged: Yutaka Fukuoka
– At first impression, the listener will probably think they’re standing in some religious temple of Asian sort with chanting monks. It continues on this chant base while gradually picking up some speed/rhythm. What exactly the composer’s trying to say in this one it a bit hard to pick out. It sounds very optimistic as opposed to Fuuma’s bloody and teasing nature. When he’s evil that is. Perhaps this is more to represent his earlier, evil-less days. Nonetheless, it’s a very interesting piece.

VERDICT: play

14 – Kamui (4:31)
Composed & Arranged: Hajime Mizoguchi
– Sad string orchestra pops in again with a solo cello and piano interlude. There is angst and pain in the melodies and that’s not incorecct when it concerns the unfortunately mopey Kamui. However, the piece is a bit boring. Angst was never too much fun. Save this one for when there’s a need of music to cry to.

VERDICT: skip

OVERALL: Each piece tends to be very symbolic of the person that they are speaking about. It may take some time to see exactly how to composer interpreted the character and what surrounded them, but understanding is not what they’re about to give you. The entire CD is centered around a more “modernistc” classical music feel, though the touches of jazz here and there are nice breaks. This is recommended mostly for hardcore X fans and those that dont’ mind strange, not usual, not alway melodic music. Yoko Kanno’s “Karen” is certainly an oustanding breath of fresh air of all the works and the catchiest. It soars and though might not be the beautiful Karen as she is protrayed in the manga or anime, paints a gorgeous picture all the same.

By kiyo-chan

3 Responses to X Character Files

  1. Hello, just stopping by to give my 5 cents. :) In my opinion, rather than being boring, I find Kamui to be the most beautiful piece of the whole collection, and pretty much the only track I keep coming back to listen, month after month. But then again, I really love orchestral pieces, and the cello & piano duet instantly won me over.

  2. I actually loved Kamui and Nataku’s piece. And liked Subaru’s piece the most, Karen’s was nice but I think it’s because Kanno is great =) ~ Never really liked her character that much. Seishiro’s was mindblowing.

  3. I think Seikou’s Sorata dominates over all the other composers, when your not trying to pair the music with the character. Seichiro is amazing as well. All japanese composers do jazz. Yoko Kanno is the biggest violator. Seikou always has the best compositions, he just needs orchestra for better sound quality, such as that of El Hazard the Symphonic world.

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