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Gatekeepers Vocal Album

[back cover]
Catalog Number: PCCG-00514
Released On: December 17, 1999
Composed By: Kouhei Tanaka
Arranged By: Fuminori Iwasaki, Takayuki Negishi, Akifumi Tada
Published By: Pony Canyon
Recorded At: Sonata Club, Linen West, MIT Studio, Cherry Island
Format: 1 CD
Tracklist:

01 - Gatekeepers 1970
02 - Eternal Boy
03 - Love Voltage ∞
04 - Late Autumn Tolstoy
05 - Love is Like a Balloon
06 - The Long-Haired Commando
07 - The Land of Sleeping Dreams OH! America
08 - A Love Like Almond Jelly
09 - Dreaming of a Date
Total Time:
39'59"

The corresponding vocal album to the OST released for adventure/RPG Gatekeepers celebrates the PlayStation game's characters, though this game was originally spawned from an Anime. Veteran composer Kouhei Tanaka (Sakura Taisen, Alundra) is no stranger to composing music for franchises that cross back and forth from game to anime. He is, however, a bit of a stranger to these pop-rock-infused vocals, and I didn't know quite what to expect to hear his compositions mixed with these songs.

Tanaka and crew have written plenty of vocal albums before and after this one, and I'm immediately prompted internally to compare this album to the others I've heard, particularly the spectacular Sakura Taisen vocal albums. Doing so would be, honestly, more than a little unfair. The game's mood and atmosphere are different, and the music has matched this difference so that we can't expect more "typical" Tanaka. We should expect something that sounds at least a little different. The question from there, then, is "does this different sound have any of its own merits?"

There's a bit of stuff on here worthy of praise, most of it in the composition department. Most of the vocalists are not quite worthy of admiration; they're part of the hundreds that blend in with the crowd. The music itself, however, isn't bad at all. The opening theme "Gatekeepers 1970" has some excellent instruments backing up the album's only male vocal piece. Tracks 7 and 8 demonstrate strong country western followed by strong traditional Asian styles, respectively. Going the path of extreme ethnic sound can be a cop-out, but in this case, I'd say that Tanaka executed the songs appropriately.

The only vocal piece that really satisfied me was the ending piece. The song is soft and subtle, perfectly fit to end any J-pop album. It's a pretty piece, to be sure.

This album doesn't even attempt to grasp a sublime form of beauty, and it won't be remembered as some excellent vocal album, fans of the Gatekeepers franchise will probably enjoy it. If you're looking for better game vocal albums, I promise you that there are plenty out there; if you like Tanaka, start with Sakura Taisen.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann



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