Friday, May 30, 2008

3/8/08 CMT II Soundtrack: "Drawing Mad"

This is the third of four soundtracks from the second Comic Making Tournament: "Drawing Mad." This CD takes its name from the final boss battle theme of Final Fantasy VI, "Dancing Mad." This CD is comprised of numerous highly dramatic songs from various series, so the whole disc is like one epic battle.

Track list (artist/source - song name):

1. Hotei - Kill Bill Theme
2. John Williams - Imperial March
3. Jigoku Shoujo - Jigoku Rock
4. Fate/Stay Night - Tenchi Hou Take
5. Final Fantasy 8 - Liberi Fatali (Orchestral)
6. Death Note - Low of Solipsism
7. Vision of Escaflowne - Black Escaflowne
8. Final Fantasy 7 - One-Winged Angel (Orchestral)
9. Vision of Escaflowne - Dance of Curse
10. Matrix Revolutions - Navras
11. Final Fantasy VI - Dancing Mad (Black Mages Version)
12. End of Evangelion - Komm, Susser Tod
13. Jigoku Shoujo - Jigoku Metal
14. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children - One-Winged Angel
15. Adolescence of Utena - Decisive Battle, Beelzebub's Royal Castle
16. Adolescence of Utena - Rinbu Revolution (Adolescence Rush Mix)

Track 1 seemed like a natural opener, since it has the feel of approaching armies and building tension. Track 2 is familiar to everyone and helps set the tone further. Tracks 3 and 4 are short pieces that build on the menace in 2. Track 5 is the first of several classical-style pieces that were originally used during battle sequences. It's slow relative to the others used, so this made it more compatible with the beginning, as pace was being established. It ends on a single held note, so track 6 starts from there with a quiet build to suggest something looming on the horizon.

Track 7 starts the first set of action songs. It's quicker and more intense than track 5, like a stampeding army charging in. Track 8 is the first of two "One-Winged Angel" versions, here meant to represent the primary conflict of sorts. Track 9 speeds the pace up again, leading neatly into 10, the first of several "extended length" tracks. I liked "Navras" because of its unique sound.

Track 11 is the longest track on the album. At 12 minutes, it's a rock-influenced mix of multiple themes that are original stated with classical instruments. The advantage of the track's heterogeneity is that it never becomes boring to listen to by becoming repetitious. It starts with a strong battle statement, slows down into something more reflective, before concluding with ominous bell ringing.

Track 12 is a 7 minute break, a "fake" resolution. Used as the movie's "end of the world" song, it was a fitting false ending. Track 13 is meant to jar the listener. Like track 3 it's a short but punchy transition to action. Track 14 is the true climax of the album. It takes the theme of track 8 and adds to it a new dimension with forceful guitars. A kind of "you thought it was over, but now here's THIS" kind of song.

Tracks 15 and 16 are the resolution. 15 is a 7 minute instrumental "chase sequence." Track 16 is the true resolution, an uplifting song that signifies the moment when the good guy pulls the sword from the stone and smites evil once and for all. The song is split roughly into two halves and contains its own wrap-up, so another final track wasn't necessary. Looking back, I probably should have put 14 between 15 and 16, so the sequence would go "being chased by an unknown, revelation of the main villain, and final heroics."

Just as the second CD sought to pump the kids up with "hot blooded" rock, this CD also sought to keep them enthused by using grand sweeping themes. I didn't really get a chance to test this album, as I forgot to pop it in after the lunch break until late and wanted to get to the fourth disc. Track 14 was pretty popular, so it'll definitely be used again.

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