Soul Cradle’s soundtrack featured an interesting blend of Asian and Celtic fusion inspired songs. Although that soundtrack was solid and employed a wide array of instrument sounds, it seemed to lack a certain intangible organic “mojo” for lack of a better term. So imagine my joy upon hearing this arrange CD with actual instrumentation and vocalists. Songs that were nice in their original form now burst with vibrant sonic colors and rich sonic flavors that the original compositions and arrangements probably intended but could not quite capture.
The first song “Requiem of Gemini” comes out strong with rich instrumentation and organic choir vocals. With the rest of the songs too, the difference between synthesized and actual instrumentation is like night and day. Real brass, real strings, real vocals… man this is the good stuff right here. It’s amazing how real instruments and a cutback on the vocal effects even make the final song “Cradle of the Ivory Moon” sound a hundred times better than on the OST. The OST uses strings in many of the compositions and the synthesized violin does not compare to the real violin in “Flaxen Necklace” for example. Of course, the compositions would not have come alive were it not for the skillful and spirited musicianship on this CD.
The production is excellent with great balance between clarity of the instruments and that rich, organic feel. The only thing I felt was lacking was the trumpet in BAD BOYS. I felt it was rather thin sounding in that song and would have preferred a fuller bodied trumpet sound. Was the trumpet player using a mute? I never liked the thin, nasally sound of muted trumpets. I also didn’t like the vocal effects used in some parts of “Crying for the Dark Moon” but then again, I’ve never been a fan of processed vocal effects anyway.
My biggest caveat with this CD, though, is that with only 14 tracks, it only covers about 1/3 of the OST and within those 14 tracks, some of my favorite tracks like “Dragon’s Eye” did not receive alternative arrangements. I’d have loved to hear an arranged version of “Dragon’s Eye.” As it stands, this arranged album of Soul Cradle music is a wonderful album, but I’m really left wanting more. Despite that, though, in my mind this arranged CD is the Soul Cradle soundtrack to get.