Read or Die OVA Original CD Soundtrack
A musical adventure hailing from one of the most influential composers in Anime music, the Read or Die OST is an eclectic mix of adrenaline and intriguing tunes similar to that of James Bond. Scored by Taku Iwasaki, whose past work includes the superb Rurouni Kenshin OVA soundtrack, this one recreates the entire OVA in full musical glory.
There are basically three different sounds on the CD: dramatic battle sequences, upbeat jazz arrangements, and the investigation tunes. All are very different in musical compositions, but they share the trademark violin flows that Taku Iwasaki is famous for.
Songs like the opening track, "Boutou ni Atari, Mazu Dengetsu ga Hoeru," feature thumping drums and a pulsing string rhythm, highlighting the dangers and the excitement that follows. This is a driving tune, and it is repeated in many of the other songs present.
The investigation scores are much slower tracks that showcase the tediousness of detective work. Depending on the locale of the scene in the anime, the tune changes to match it. For example, "Honya Nite - Fukaku Shizukani Senkou Seyo" is the song played when the characters are India. A key element of the song is its ethnic percussion in the background that accompanies the main theme, setting the mood for listeners.
The jazz compositions are my favorite tracks. Fused with a sense of style and class, these tracks ooze grooviness and the 'spy' quality in them, while not portraying themselves as too corny. The "Read or Die no TEEMA ~long version~" track is a longer version of the opening theme, and it is one of my favorite anime songs. With an impressive guitar riff introducing the piece, the strings step in to finish up the tune and to give it that extra elegance expected of an anime of such calibre. "Shou wo Itoshite Kuruumono Nichi ku, Kami ha Tsuneni Warera to Tomoni" is the anime's ending song, and it's absolutely divine. A fast-paced waltz, this track is mischievous as well as groovy. There is an innocent tone to it, perhaps highlighted by the xylophone solos. With the other fabulous instruments involved (flute, strings, oboe and drums), this is an instant favorite as well.
Another piece that I thoroughly enjoyed was that of track eleven, "Nijin Kumikyoku Part 1 Onisoto Naru Sei, Minamotouchi." A complex nine minute song, it has all of the different elements put together. Starting off slow, it suddenly takes off with the battle theme heard often, and then it quietens down again. A piano cuts in, a sorrowful tune plays before the strings accompany it to add even more feeling. When it ends, there is really a sense of loss, such is the skill of the composer.
Taku Iwasaki has produced a magnificent piece of work, with a soundtrack that incorporates all manners of music style within. While I veer more towards the many jazz compositions, the other tracks seem to fit in and engage with me very well. The only gripe I have with this CD is its short playing time, and I really desire more. Other than that, this is the CD to take with you while you're out playing spy and defending your nation, or just driving to work.