The Complete Sounds Of Katamari

The Complete Sounds Of KatamariThe final release in a trilogy of soundtracks accompanying the trilogy of Katamari games (Katamari Damacy, We Love Katamari and the PSP title Me And My Katamari), The Complete Sounds Of Katamari is an unusual combination of material, ranging from the music of Me & My Katamari to previously unreleased tracks from We Love Katamari to tunes from other Namco video games with no Katamari connection at all. But as with the previous two soundtracks in the series, Complete Sounds has enough gems of pure musical cheerfulness to offer that it’s easy to overlook any lack of cohesiveness.

As one might expect, the first disc – featuring only music from the Katamari games – has moments of pure gold, as well as moments that really work better as in-game music than stand-alone listening material. “Shine! Mr. Sunshine” is a highlight of the tracks from Me & My Katamari, with a soulful, southern gospel feel that’s almost unexpected after its opening, which is a short, NES-style rendition of the Katamari theme. That theme is reinterpreted and experimented with endlessly, in such tracks as “Katamari On The Moog” and “Katamari On The Funk” (to name just two of the better tracks). From track 10 onward, the first disc presents music from We Love Katamari that didn’t make it onto that game’s soundtrack CD; a favorite among these is the quirky “One Tip March.”

Disc two’s tracks are more symphonic in nature, and hail from such games as Splatterhouse and Tales Of Eternia Online – an interesting mix to be sure. There are also a few tracks of ambient Rating: 3 out of 4outdoor sound effects. It’s almost like a Namco “best of” collection, but given how expensive this 2-CD set can be (depending on where one gets it), one wonders why Namco didn’t just divide this package into two separate releases and save some of us who are really after more Katamari music the money.

It’s all a nice package of music, but certainly a strange collision of styles and sources.

    Order this CD in the StoreDisc One

  1. Overture III (2:35)
  2. Katamari On The Funk (10:22)
  3. Katamaresort (3:04)
  4. Shabadoobie (3:01)
  5. Jesus Island (4:47)
  6. Family Damacy (4:41)
  7. Katamari On The Moog (0:32)
  8. Shine! Mr. Sunshine (5:36)
  9. Katamarhythm Box (1:41)
  10. Dan Don Fuga (2:14)
  11. Tron The Grasslands (4:27)
  12. One Tip March (2:43)
  13. Do Re Mi Katamari Do (3:13)
  14. Starlight Jamboree (2:56)
  15. Everyone Dancing Katamari Damacy (1:00)
  16. Love & Peace & Katamari Damacy (0:43)
  17. Big Cosmos Salon (3:03)
    Disc Two

  1. In A Muddle (7:05)
  2. Kanewood Edge – Morning (0:40)
  3. None But the Lonely Heart (Op. 6-6) (2:51)
  4. Presto Scherzando (1:35)
  5. Appassionate, Allegro Moderato (2:15)
  6. Super Taiko Damacy (0:59)
  7. None But the Lonely Heart (Op. 6-6) (2:58)
  8. Super Taiko Damacy (Refrain) (0:26)
  9. Sadness (1:42)
  10. Stizzoso (1:08)
  11. Kanewood Edge – Day (0:33)
  12. Con Energico (5:49)
  13. Sento Nel Core (Arrange Version from Splatterhouse (4:24)
  14. Kuttsuki Taro (2:43)
  15. Misterioso (3:03)
  16. Chaotic Ambience (0:54)
  17. Andante, Con Moto, Grandioso (1:41)
  18. Big Fire (1:55)
  19. Night Moo Moo (0:41)
  20. Kanewood Edge – Star (9:55)

Released by: Columbia Japan
Release date: 2005
Disc one total running time: 56:38
Disc two total running time: 53:17

Minna Daisuki Katamari Damacy

Minna Daisuki Katamari Damacy soundtrackWhen it hit the U.S. in 2004, Namco’s offbeat Playstation 2 sleeper hit Katamari Damacy had barely undergone the rigorous “localization” that most games from Japan are put through before hitting the English-speaking market. Numerous objects in the game were covered with Japanese lettering (nothing essential to the game play, mind you), and the game’s distinctive soundtrack was sung in Japanese as often as it was sung in English. And somehow it worked. So the question is: how do you top that?

The sequel game, Minna Daisuki Katamari Damacy, deftly sidesteps a lot of sequel expectations by being a self-referential tribute to the original game – and to some extent that includes the music as well. Several of the new tracks are tributes as well, putting a new twist on the signature tune of Katamari Damacy, ranging from a hilarious a capella rendition to a medley of all of the original Katamari songs as “sung” by sampled animal sounds – dogs, cats, ducks, elephants, etc. It’s a nice acknowledgement of the original, and at the same time, it’s having some fun and not overdoing it. Other songs like “Katamari On The Swing” split the difference, dropping references to the Katamari theme in during the chorus of an otherwise original number.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t some cracking good original songs though. In particular, I have to single out “Everlasting Love”, a punchy, upbeat number by Alisa (of Sailor Moon fame) with occasional bits of English peppered in throughout its Japanese lyrics, and featuring some fantastic guitar and vocal work. English or not, video game music or not, “Everlasting Love” is, hands-down, one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard this year, and it’s hard not to have a smile on one’s face while listening to it, and perhaps even harder to resist the urge to go back and listen again. “Disco Prince” throws a solid dance beat into the works, and other tunes repeat Katamari‘s effective use of styles that just don’t get a lot of airtime these days.

rating: 4 out of 4As good as the music is, now that I’ve heard it, I can’t help but wonder how much fun the game is. The good news is that, while the soundtrack isn’t likely to see domestic release in North America, the game itself is slated for a fall release. Even if you don’t feel like having the CD shipped from Japan (even though, if you liked the original Katamari soundtrack, it’s worth it), you’ll soon have a shot at hearing the music in the game itself.

Order this CD

  1. Introduction (0:24)
  2. Dokaka – Katamari On The Rocks (6:37)
  3. Asuka Sakai & Yu Miyake – Overture II (1:16)
  4. Shigeru Matsuzaki – Katamari On The Swing (4:40)
  5. Illreme- Kuru Kuru Rock (5:10)
  6. Alisa – Everlasting Love (4:45)
  7. Kirinji – Courageous Soul (5:32)
  8. Beautiful Star (3:08)
  9. You – Angel’s Rain (7:11)
  10. Katamari Robo – Houston (4:16)
  11. Kahimi Karie – Blue Orb (5:00)
  12. Yuusama – Katamari Holiday (5:37)
  13. Nomiya Maki – Baby Universe (5:06)
  14. Kenji Ninuma – Disco*Prince (7:01)
  15. Scorching Savanna (5:32)
    (featuring John the Dog, Bigmouth the
    Duck, Yuuhi the Cow, Pe the Goat, Booby the Pig, Sexy the Cat and Nyuu the
    Cow)
  16. Katsuro Tajima – The Royal Academy of Katamari (3:36)
  17. Kitomu Miyaza – King of King’s Song (4:41)
  18. Hidden Track (0:15)

Released by: Columbia Records Japan
Release date: 2005
Total running time: 79:47

Katamari Fortissimo Damacy

Katamari Fortissimo DamacyThe soundtrack to an almost unreasonably fun video game, Katamari Fortissimo Damacy is one of the most varied soundtracks I’ve ever heard to any multimedia entity, and it’s also one of the few soundtracks consisting of the works of multiple artists that I’ve ever heard rise to this level.

To give just a little bit of background on the game itself, Katamari Damacy is a Japanese import from Namco, the folks who brought us Pac-Man, Dig Dug and other almost illegally addictive video games down through the ages. You control a diminutive Prince, whose father, the King of All Cosmos, has apparently obliterated all the stars in the sky. You’re sent on a mission to create “katamari” – balls of objects all rolled up into a big clump. In the early stages of the game, you pick up pencils and paper clips and other small objects, but if you’re good enough you can eventually roll your katamari over entire oceans, picking up giant squids and islands. Nothing is safe. Everything can be accumulated. But if you try to pick up something that your katamari simply doesn’t have the mass and momentum to accumulate, you’ll either dislodge a few precious items from it – or lose it altogether. The object is to grow the katamari big enough to launch it into the night sky as a new star.

This zany, cartoony fun takes place against the backdrop of some simply wonderful music, making the package even better. (I highly recommend the game too – unsure of whether or not anyone outside of the Far East would “get it,” Namco dumped this game in the U.S. at a budget price of $20 and it promptly sold out its first print run just on word of mouth alone.) The music is whimsical, light-hearted, and has a great energy to it. Few CDs have made me smile as much while listening as this one does on a regular basis.

Yu Miyake’s “Katamari On The Rock” serves as a recurring motif throughout the various songs, and it’s as versatile a tune as you could ask for. Not every song features that element, though. Highlights range from the J-pop stylings of “Lonely Rolling Star”, “You Are Smart” and “The Moon And The Prince”, to the almost Sinatra-esque “Que Sera Sera”, to the New York jazz-flavored “A Crimson Rose And A Gin & Tonic”, to the meandering remixed guitar of “Angel Flavor’s Present”, to a Michael Bolton-style power ballad called “Katamari Love”, to “Last Samba”, which sounds a bit like someone’s been listening to John Williams’ Naboo celebration from the end of Star Wars Episode I. That every syllable of every lyric on the album is sung in Japanese doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of it one bit. Frankly, if anything, this CD gives me a nice, long list of artists whose other works I’ll be keeping an eye out for, if their work here is any indication of their usual output.

rating: 4 out of 4It’s a wildly infectious listening experience and, like the game itself, it has the almost inexplicable effect of brightening my day every time I come into contact with it. It’s almost hard to explain. Even harder to explain is how Namco might possibly top this collection of music for the upcoming sequel, Everybody Loves Katamari Damacy. My first Damn Near Perfect Album List addition in a long, long time. Katamari Fortissimo Damacy is that good.

Order this CD

  1. Nananan Katamari performed by Yu Miyake & Yuusama (1:21)
  2. Katamari On The Rock: Main Theme performed by Yu Miyake & Masayuki Tanaka (5:57)
  3. Overture performed by Yu Miyake & Asuka Sakai (0:49)
  4. The Moon And The Prince performed by Kenji Ninuma & Akitaka Tohyama (5:30)
  5. Fugue #7777 performed by Asuka Sakai (1:22)
  6. Lonely Rolling Star performed by Yohihito Yano & Saki Kabata (5:44)
  7. The Wonderful Star’s Walk Is Wonderful performed by Yuri Misumi (3:12)
  8. Katamari Mambo (Katamari Syndrome mix) performed by Nobue Matsubara, Yuri Misumi & Sakamoto-chan (5:35)
  9. You Are Smart performed by Akitaka Tohyama (3:32)
  10. A Crimson Rose And A Gin & Tonic performed by Ado Mizumori & Asuka Sakai (4:29)
  11. Wanda Wanda performed by Yu Miyake (3:23)
  12. Que Sera Sera performed by Charlie Kosei & Asuka Sakai (5:31)
  13. Angel Flavor’s Present performed by Yu Miyake (5:08)
  14. Katamaritaino performed by Yui Asaka & Hideki Tobeta (5:54)
  15. Katamari Stars performed by Hideki Tobeta (2:28)
  16. Cherry Blossom Color Season performed by Yu Miyake & Katamari Company Jr. (6:14)
  17. Lovely Angel performed by Yu Miyake (1:27)
  18. Stardust Fanfare performed by Akitaka Tohyama (0:08)
  19. Last Samba performed by Yu Miyake, Asuka Sakai & Katamari Samba Company (1:00)
  20. Katamari Love (Ending Theme) performed by Shigeru Matsuzaki & Yohihito Yano (4:09)
  21. Katamari March Damacy performed by Yu Miyake (2:21)

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