Rainbow Silkroad Image Album ~ Windy Road


Review by · November 8, 2009

I’m not sure I even have to write this review. Listen to the audio sample of the first track, and I think you’ll realize just how disturbing this album is.

But heck, let me at least give you some history. This Japanese-only RPG for the Nintendo (Famicom) featured a little orphaned prince who travels the Silkroad (starting in the Middle East, ending in China and Japan) to get revenge on the evil ZROOL who killed his parents. It plays like a traditional Dragon Quest kind of RPG, but it has some of the same quirks as the Mother (Earthbound) series.

This soundtrack opens with seven arranged tracks (the “image album” portion) and then includes a scaled-down OST portion from tracks 8 to 19.

The image album portion is both hilarious and painfully stupid. What I hear, on almost every track, is a clashing mix of late ’80s and early ’90s “house” dance pop, very poorly executed, mixed with ethnic instrumentation fitting whichever source track is being used for the melody. There’s also some cheesy anime-inspired J-pop to be found. The vocal performers aren’t talented, but they sure are funny to listen to!

The longest single track, and perhaps the most interesting track in terms of performance, is the Silkroad Musical Suite. The third track of the album runs for a solid twelve minutes. Yikes! It has some boring moments, but there were some memorable and enjoyable moments on the track as well.

I kind of liked the ending track of the image album. It’s an ethereal sort of J-pop ballad. It still has elements of annoying “house” dance arrangements, but they are overshadowed by what is a pretty decent female vocal performance. It stands out quite a bit from the other image tracks, to be sure.

After the image portion, it’s time for chiptune goodness. Asei Kobayashi didn’t write the world’s most memorable Famicom tunes, but there is some catchy music to be found here. Unfortunately, the tracks aren’t looped. Each one of these tracks is under a minute in length (the “Title” track goes to exactly 1:00, and that is the longest OST track on the disc). I’d have liked to hear more OST work.

“Alright home boys and home girls, that’s what I like!” Actually, all told, I didn’t really like this album. Even so, its obscurity and absurdity has afforded it a sort of “holy grail” status to the select few who know about it, particularly in Japan. In other words, it’s an expensive collector’s item. You’ll want to take my advice and avoid this one. “Oh yes! Get on board the Rainbow Silkroad!”

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.