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Samurai Champloo Original Soundtrack :: Review by Zane

Samurai Champloo Original Soundtrack Album Title: Samurai Champloo Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Scitron Digital Contents
Catalog No.: SCDC-00507
Release Date: March 1, 2006
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Masafumi Takada. The man, the myth... the emcee? With the release of Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked Takada and his sound-programming partner in crime, Jun Fukuda, were tasked with writing straight-up instrumental hip hop music for the game. You won't find the usual gamut of Takada's influences and mish-mashing of genres on this album; almost every track is stocked to the brim with sampled beats and uncharacteristically lacks the layering and progression that are usually associated with Takada's compositions. Come with me as I loosen my pants and walk with a gangsta lean, for this is one review that's unlike any other that you've ever seen!


First things first: worse to worse, if you're looking for another killer7, Champloo won't quench your thirst. This soundtrack is phat, no doubt about that, but when it comes to substance the album tends to fall flat. If you listen to all of these songs back to back you'll probably lose interest and will turn the CD off at the drop of a hat. But some of these songs are fresh, no doubt about that. Check it!

"Strange Flower" is a track that'll keep you coming back for more. Its heavy groove and deep bass will make you want to hit the dance floor; you'll be tapping your feet to the beat and bobbing your head until your neck gets sore. Songs like "Out Like a Log" are inventive, for sure, featuring a crazy off-time beat and distorted organ riffs on the score. "Sinister Moon" is pure, with a reggae beat on the four, and "Blood and Site" is almost jazzy, turning down the hip hop for some bluesy allure.

"At the End of the Journey" and "Snow Song" are saviors and imbue the tiresome hip hop with some true emotional flavor. The piano riffs are great and aren't up in your face; they slide into the tracks and flow with impeccable grace. Before the disc comes to a stay "100 STARS DX" comes your way, and takes the melodies from those two tracks and trancefully saves the day!

But some songs are sure to bore, like the meandering "KUWAGATANK" that precedes track four; a minute and a half of generic hip hop music that's sure to induce a snore! A lot of the songs meander about and will make you want to skip ahead before their track times play out. "Bird of Passage" is cool, no doubt, but after almost four minutes the experience starts to go south. The same goes for "Back Side 540", "Lila Fully Chilled" and "Jumble Song", no doubt — all those songs left a bad taste in my mouth.

A lot of the songs are built with the fruits of prerecorded Apple Loops, so with the help of Garageband you can write songs like "Fox Trap", too! It's disappointing to know that some of these beats aren't true, but there are thirty six tracks on the album; what are you gonna do? I can barely see this review through, never mind write a bunch of hip hop tracks for people to groove to! I know composers use samples, and that's all good, but I know that Takada has more than sampled beats under his hood.


So should you purchase this disc, even though it's a bit hit or miss? I'll leave that up to you, but my advice is this: if you like hip hop music or writing your own rhymes then Samurai Champloo is well worth your time. My score's not that high, but some of these songs are fly, and it'd be a shame to miss out on what Takada produced on the side. But if you're into thick compositions with slick transitions, then I'd say it's your mission to blow this one off and make the decision to seek another addition. Word to your mother!

Overall Score: 6/10