Soul Hackers, one of the finest musical moments of Atlus, gets arranged in the Hyper Rearrange album.
I’ll just get this over with and say, while it is a fun and unique album, it’s not what I was hoping for. SH had wonderful music that was crying out for a live performance, or even just a synth upgrade. Instead, we got a Brink of Time-esque experiment which has some hits and some misses.
‘Soul Runnaz’ is a cheesy but enjoyable rap version of the Spookie’s hacker HQ. Okay, that’s fine. The style makes sense. ‘Hard F’ is a repetitive but serviceable dance remix of the already-dancey Airport tune. Alright, cool.
Then…track three. Oh, track three. If the name isn’t weird enough already, wait until you hear the thing. It starts out really cool, but then comes in – this my favorite part – the screaming man! I can’t really tell what he’s yelling, but it’s incredibly angry, scary, and (to me) funny. I can make out “Shut up!!”, “Go! Go!!”, “You! You stupid coward!” and “Ooooouuuchhhh!!!!” Beyond that, it’s probably good that I can’t tell what he’s saying, because it sounds incredibly vulgar…hehe… The whole thing will probably induce headaches around the globe, but I do have to give them credit for having fun with it. Following that lovely tune, the next three tracks are all fine, non-intrusive techno tracks. The only problem I have with them is that the original melody is almost completely lost. Normally that would be a major problem, but at this point I’m used to having the source material ruined.
‘Le Monde à Glace’ is the best track, and a very, very good one in or out of context. French lyrics sung by a soft, sorrowful female voice linger over a dark soundscape, highlighted by the perpetual piano riff. The song is actually quite similar to its original version, including the lovely piano, but different enough to stand out. Really excellent track. I recommend checking out the source tune, ‘Algon HQ’, on the original soundtrack also.
‘Snow in Jamaica’ was such a stupid and minor track in the original soundtrack, it’s surprising they arranged it here. They turned it into a laid back pseudo-reggae tune, and it’s not half bad.
After another techno tune, ‘Transvestite’ lulls you in. Say what you will about the track name, the lyrics don’t have anything to do with it (it’s about Nemissa in the boutique, if you’ve ever seen that scene you’d know.) Regardless, it’s an awesome track. Drum and bass with a hint of jazz and more smooth female vocals makes for a good time.
Wrapping it up, ‘Home’ is the cheesiest song on the track, emitting some kind of 80’s rap vibe…but it’s also harmless and charming. ‘Amami-city’, a blistering drum’n’bass number, is my favorite tune after ‘Le Monde’ and ‘Transvestite.’ A nice and unusual way to end the disc.
The packaging I should take note of as well. It’s quite nice, and VERY stylish, much like everything else surrounding Soul Hackers.
So, while the Hyper Rearrange strays from the source material quite a bit, it’s still an enjoyable album. It would have been nice to hear some more straight up arrangements of the music, but you gotta take what you can get. I still think SH deserves a full, live arrange album, but thanks to tracks like ‘Le Monde’ and ‘Transvestite’ we still have a respectable string of songs.
This album is getting increasingly rare by the year. You probably won’t see it on eBay too much, but if you do, you may get a nice price due to the unknown status of the album. Otherwise, expect to pay a wide range of $20-50 for it on YJ.