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INFO FILE
Title:
Trigun Spicy Stewed Donut Original Animation Soundtrack
Format:
CD Original Soundtrack
Total Play Time: 49:55
Total Tracks: 15
Production:
HDCD
TOKYOPOP soundtrax
Yasuhiro Nightow
Shonen Gaho-sha
Tokuma Shoten
JVC
Comments:
A heavily digital romp through every mood you can possibly think of.
Overall Rating:
90%

Animefringe Reviews:
Trigun Spicy Stewed Donut Original Animation Soundtrack
By Holly Kolodziejczak


Yasuhiro Nightow, creator of the anime series Trigun, set out to create a series that was a mix of many different elements, and came out with a product that was very much NOT the same old thing. In Trigun Spicy Stewed Donut, composer/guitarist Imahori Tsuneo has set out to do the same thing. Even the name of the soundtrack implies an interesting mixture of elements.. a little spice, a little meat and potatos, a little sugar on top. Most of the time, these 'creative' mixes are nothing but a recipe for disaster, but in this case, the end result was far more than just satisfactory. With a mix of latin rythms, techno, trance, hard rock, funk, and honky-tonk.. how can you go wrong? Here is a track-by-track breakdown of the album.

Track 1 - "H.T." --run time - 1:32
Ah, an old favorite. H.T. is Trigun's opening theme, and it never fails to please. This time, of course, it's in full CD quality, digitally mastered goodness. H.T. rocks the socks off, and it's a great opener for the series, as well as the album.

Track 2 - "NO-BEAT" --run time - 3:09
Whoo! This one is almost mind-altering. It's a sonic feast with it's deeply layered drumkits and samples. This whole track was obviously rendered completely by computer, with a fast techno-trancey feel and some very familiar sounding guitar-riff samples. Throughout the song, if you listen with headphones or a decent stereo system, you get this really cool panning effect with some of the bass and drum samples.. it's really well done, and almost dizzying.

Track 3 - "Big Bluff" --run time - 3:46
More beautiful work with the drum machine. Although I do hold that digital drums just don't have that same booty-shaking quality as real drums, there's really a lot of interesting things you can play with rythm-wise when you're using a drum machine. It's a give and take.. digital drums give you more flexibility and precision, and real drums sound more, well, real. The digital drum track in this song is *almost* too precise in some places and sounds kind of choppy, but the things that are done in this song rythmically really do have a nice effect on the tune itself. The flute and saxophone also give this song it's (very melancholy) melody, and I personally think it's a nice touch. Their smooth, flowing lines help to even out the stacatto guitar and the choppy rythm track.

Track 4 - "Unhappy Song" --run time - 2:49
Whew.. a melange of various odd bits of samples that are thrown together in a seemingly haphazard fashion to create a piece of music that is very arhythmic in places.. I would almost call this "art music" just because of the way that this was arranged and executed. This track is very drum and guitar heavy, again almost certainly digitally rendered in it's entirety (as is most of this album), a very fast and heavy song, full of angst and confusion. "Unhappy Song" is full of pent-up manic energy that will barrage the listener with it's total aural fury.

Track 5 - "PHILOSOPHY in a Tea Cup" --run time - 4:37
Mmm.. such a mellow song. The drum beat that kicks in after the first few measures is a little jarring, but the groovy bass line mixed with the flute and the expressive piano line really make the piece come together in a .. kind of unexpected way. You wouldn't think all of those things together would work well, but the seemingly mis-matched pieces really do come together into a nice whole.

Track 6 - " Cynical Pink" --run time - 3:46
What a fun little tune! A very upbeat little jaunt of a melody. This has to be one of my favorite tracks on the whole album. Ironically, it's a fast, salsa-techno drumbeat over a very 50's sitcom-esque melody line. The B section, on the other hand, gets very heavy and speaks to the inside of your mind towards the end of it, but then.. there's a flawless segue back to the bouncy little synth line. It's just an ironic little piece, very fitting of it's title, IMO.

Track 7 - "Nerve Rack" --run time - 4:42
"Nerve Rack" starts fast and heavy, with a popping drum line and some very skillful work on the guitar and bass. The guitar line may not sound difficult on the surface, but there is some very fast fretwork and really nice bends in this tune. The digital drums in this track are quite well done, unlike in some of the other tracks on this disc. The addition of the trippy guitar and synth effects only serves to make this piece even thicker and richer in tone, and it's hard rock attitude is in direct contrast with the track that precedes it, "Cynical Pink". It just keeps getting heavier and more layered as it goes on, and the funk guitar riffs really are a nice touch. "Nerve Rack" is one of those songs that, although it's a bit repetitive, continues to build and build to the climax at the end.

Track 8 - "Zero Hour" --run time - 2:38
In direct contrast to "Nerve Rack", "Zero Hour" is much more slow and flowing, yet the work with the percussion samples in the background add an undeniable air of tension to the otherwise relatively serene melody. I'm quite fond of the second part of this song. The interesting thing about the melody line is that is sounds as if the synth was recorded one way and then played back and recorded in reverse for the final version of this track. This use of reverse also serves to add to the implied tension of the piece. The reverse effect is really apparent when the acoustic guitar kicks in towards the end, going the normal direction. The abrupt ending is appropriate when compared to the relative wierdness of the song overall.

Track 9 - "KNIVES" --run time - 3:17
Latin percussion, eerie noises in the background, and a guitar-bass combo that makes you want to shake your booty, or at least bob your head in time, if you're not the booty-shaking type. This song inspires me to clap, dance, mosh, and say "ooooh, the colors!" all at the same time. It continues seamlessly into track 10 like the smooth switching of a radio station..

Track 10 - "Permanent Vacation" --run time - 1:53
"Permanent Vacation" is a groovy little tune with nothing but blues guitar and jazz saxophone. It's almost remnicent of the music from the anime series Cowboy Bebop. This is another one of my favorite tunes on this album, despite the sudden ending.

Track 11 - "BLUE FUNK" --run time - 3:26
What can you say about this one? It's like a mix of blues, honky-tonk, funk, and background music from a gunfight scene from a Western movie (think Young Guns..). Definitely one of the most diverse pieces on the album, and amazingly well exectuted for the eclectic mix of genres that it is. This song features even more fancy fingerwork on the guitar and some very richly layered melodies.

Track 12 - "YELLOW ALERT" --run time - 3:05
Tension music if I ever heard it. It makes you want to grab the girl and run, James Bond-style. Once again, the work on the guitar and bass is impeccable. Imahori Tsuneo (guitar/composer) and Okiyama Yuji (bass) are like, my new idols. Almost all of the drum samples used in this track are ethnic drums of some kind: shakers, bongos, etc. Yet again, this song features an sbrupt ending..

Track 13 - "Carrot & Stick" --run time - 3.56
Let's Samba! This is the first track on the album that even has any kind of vocals at all. In this song, it's only 2 vocal samples of some guy going "Aaaah," and then "HUH!", so they're not like, exciting vocals or anything. The latin drumbeat combined with the cheerful guitar makes for a very nice sound, but I will be the first to say: although this track is very cute and I like it a lot, it's EXTREMELY repetitive. I really do like the tinny effect they put on the guitar to make it sound kind of like an old western-style lounge piano, it comes off quite interestingly. Also, this is another track that ends suddenly, something that by this time is starting to get kind of old.

Track 14 - "Suna-no-Hoshi" --run time - 3:27
Some very, very nice work with classical guitar. I love how classical guitar can give the illusion of multiple guitars being played when it's really only one. This is a very lovely and probably very difficult tune. Whats interesting about this track is that the classical guitar is the only instrument throughout the whole song, and the whole thing is recorded entirely acoustically, from what I can tell. I know that it's hard to maintain rythm when you're playing with only a single instrument, but the rythmic scructure of the song is not lost once. A very hauntingly beautiful piece of art.

Track 15 - "Kaze-wa Mirai-ni Fuku" --run time - 3:42
You will definitely recognize this song if you're at all familiar with Trigun. This is the ending theme of the anime series, sounding very impressive in full, clean digital sound. This is also the only track on the whole album that features a vocal line. The booklet for the CD has the lyrics translated to english, for added convenience.. I only wish they had included the japanese lyrics as well ^^;; This song is performed in it's entirety by AKIMA & NEOS, and is truly beautiful to the ear. It's painstaking percussion and complex intrumental lines make this song unique in a world musical copycats.

Overall, Spicy Stewed Donut is everything that it set out to be: a wide mixture of musical genres and sounds, and there is sure to be something on this album for everyone to enjoy. Normally, I get bored rather quickly of purely instrumental music, but Spicy Stewed Donut is an exception to that rule with it's rapidly varying moods and sounds from all across the musical spectrum. The only gripes that I have with it is the overkill on the sudden endings and the fact that some of the tunes do tend to get a bit repetetive, but those are relatively easy to look past so that you can truly enjoy this soundtrack. The cover art selected from a mixture of unreleased bits is also a very nice bonus to the whole package. Tokyopop Soundtrax really has a winner with this one!

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