I haven’t heard a Shinji Hosoe score in awhile. I’m glad to be listening to one today.
In this case, it’s the soundtrack to the horror-themed graphic adventure DS game that Aksys is bringing to North America: 999.
Being a horror title, much of the “music” here is tantamount to creepy ambient sound effects and other forms of atonal composition. Many will find that they don’t like it, perhaps even within the context of the game, and certainly without context it is at times irritable.
But then, there are these beautiful moments where Hosoe’s talent for melody-making peeks through. I submit, for examples, the piano part in “Riddle and Puzzle,” as well as the entirety of “Morphogenetic Sorrow,” as evidence upon which to rest my case. That case, of course, being that anyone can find something to enjoy in even the strangest forms of music. More and more over the years I find this to be true.
Those who have followed Hosoe’s work for the past two decades know that he is a king of electronic music. Adding the limitations of the DS sound chips makes for a strange and distinctly new experience. If I had to make a summary statement about what 999’s music sounds like, I’d say this: it’s Phoenix Wright on a bad acid trip. Consider yourself warned. But don’t be too afraid. There are enough palattable moments, enough “Phoenix Wright” moments, to drown out the drug-induced effects (the aforementioned “drugs” being only in the sense of metaphor).