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Memories Off #5: Unfinished Film Audio Collection

[back cover]
Catalog Number: VGCD-0005
Released On: November 10, 2005
Composed By: Takeshi Abo, Chiyomaru Shikura
Arranged By: Takeshi Abo, Toshimichi Isoe, Koji Ueno
Published By: Five Records
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 2 CDs
Buy this CD from Play-Asia
Tracklist:

Disc One
01 - ORANGE ~Short Ver.~
02 - Screen wiz you -main theme-
03 - MAHIRO -the wind-
04 - Saw sea always
05 - ASUKA -petit devil-
06 - Know my heart,please...
07 - KAZUKI -unyielding-
08 - Madder
09 - MIUMI -dreamy maiden-
10 - Fading memory
11 - MIZUHO -monotone-
12 - Crybaby
13 - SHIN -namasute #5-
14 - Namasute,Japan
15 - HARUTO -peaceful scene-
16 - Romancing Story ~Short Ver.~
Total Time:
44'16"

Disc Two
01 - Screen wiz you -piano-
02 - 'CUM'
03 - Campus -sunshades-
04 - Cloudy view
05 - Indecision
06 - Time -remembrance-
07 - Grievous raining
08 - Strain
09 - Crisis
10 - Wave -psychological distortion-
11 - Run!
12 - My precious
13 - Crossroads -love and paradox-
14 - Restart
15 - Epilogue -revival-
16 - Afterward
17 - Bygone memories
18 - Screen wiz you -memories off-
19 - Strain -ambience-
20 - Crisis -ambience-
21 - Wave -ambience-
22 - My precious -piano-
Total Time:
68'16"

Memories Off #5: Togireta Film (Unfinished Film in English) follows the love adventure of a college student in film school. The plot direction of the series has certainly evolved over time, but two stalwarts remain: the main character's best friend is still named Shin Inaho and Takeshi Abo is still the series composer. In a nutshell, if you like Takeshi Abo's compositions, you will like this soundtrack, as it features some of the strongest music he's written for the series. However, if you cannot get into Abo's style, this will not change your mind. Throughout the Memories Off series, Abo has never tried to reinvent the wheel compositionally. However, this soundtrack does see him taking a few mild compositional risks with the occasional darker piece that would not be out of place in an Infinity game such as Ever17 or Remember11.

The first disc is an interesting one. Not only does it feature character themes, but following each character theme is an emotional event theme based on that character theme. I like when composers do that. For example, I loved how Persona 2: Innocent Sin had both normal and sad versions of character themes. One piece I was really looking forward to hearing was MAHIRO -the wind- because I absolutely loved that piece in the 8-bit collection soundtrack. It was terrific in its natural form, but even better was the more lugubrious, piano based "Saw Sea Always" based on Mahiro's theme. A pleasant surprise was Shin's theme, which had a very Indian influenced sound. This was something fresh and gave an exotic feel to a stalwart character. The piece following it was a faster paced take on that theme and reminded me of something I would hear in an Atelier Iris game. This is a compliment as the Atelier Iris games all have very good music.

Vocal themes start off end end disc 1. The beginning theme "ORANGE" is excellent. The instrumental has substance to it and the vocal is well done. The ending theme "Romancing Story" is a decent but unremarkable plain vanilla J-pop song. However, only the short versions of these vocal themes are present on the soundtrack. I would have loved to hear the full length version of "ORANGE" as well as karaoke versions of these songs without the vocals. The lack of these was slightly disappointing. "Romancing Story" felt like it was chopped off at the end. To note, these songs were composed by Chiyomaru Shikura and not Takeshi Abo.

Disc 2 is a good deal longer than disc 1 and has more tracks. And no, you are not misreading the second track's title. It really is "CUM." However, despite its daring title it's a pretty innocuous sounding upbeat track. I really liked track 6 "Time -Remembrance-." Tracks like it, "Crisis," and "Wave -Psychological Distortion-" would not be out of place in an Infinity series game; a series I think Abo creates much better compositions for. These darker pieces made this Memories Off soundtrack deeper and more compelling than other Memories Off soundtracks before it. Ambient versions of "Strain," "Crisis," and "Wave" are also on the CD. The ambient version of "Strain" has some cool watery sounding synths and parts of it would not be out of place in Megami Ibunroku Persona.

There are also the sparser synth and piano pieces that Abo composes for emotional scenes. The fresh arrangement of "Bygone Days" is quite good. The characteristic upbeat pieces that absolutely scream "Memories Off" are here too, but this soundtrack tends to feature slower, deeper, and more mature sounding pieces. This is definitely Takeshi Abo's strongest Memories Off soundtrack I've heard. It's nothing revolutionary for Takeshi Abo, but it provides one of the better examples of his compositional talent.

Reviewed by: Neal Chandran



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