Boogiepop Phantom Original Soundtrack

Yushiro (Former Staff) — March 26th, 2003
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No other form of music could have complimented Boogiepop Phantom as well as a full-blown electronica soundtrack. The ideas and atmosphere would not allow for anything less 'ordinary'. The problem lies in the fact that the songs on this record belong in a nightclub, or as accompaniment to visuals in the case of Boogiepop, not in my stereo as stand-alone music. They fit extremely well into the show, and the music was used very well by the animators, but the songs are hardly light listening. The album is mostly composed, by the various artists enclosed in parentheses in the tracklist below, of hard trance and minimal techno, and while I sometimes find songs I enjoy within the genres, much of it doesn't appeal to me. Be aware that I went into this record with a personal preference against some of styles employed.

Looking at the track list, one may or may not noticed that there is a significant amount of music missing from the soundtrack, mostly in the form of the few instrumental and vocal pieces that were in the anime. (And this is not unique to the US release, in case you were wondering - the Animetrax release is identical to the Japanese release.) The loss of a few isolated pieces doesn't phase me as much as one glaring omission does - the opening, Yuudachi, one of my favorite anime openings, isn't included on the album. The song can be found on Shiako Sugo's album, Sweet (KTCR-1652), but having the song on the soundtrack would have added greatly to its value, especially to Boogiepop fans. (Though it would have been quite out of place, being more mellow than the rest of the OST.)

A lot of the songs on the record utilize the two things I find myself disenchanted with the most in techno music - repetition of the a short hard beat and over-use of ghostly ambient noise. This is a personal dislike, and I imagine there are a lot of people who enjoy this, but I find it hard to actively listen to and enjoy hearing either the same obnoxious beat over and over and over again or wisps of noises. The entire first disc is primarily comprised of this kind of music, with a few highlights within songs - rises and falls or variations in beats. The one song I did find myself enjoying from the first disc was SiLC's In Heaven. The song may actually have more repeating elements and indistinct noise than most of the other songs, but the song stands out from the background the others fall into through its angelic vocals and percussion subtleties.

The second disc contained a number of songs that not only didn't appeal to me, but felt like a chore to listen to. Torso with its harsh, grating synth. Boogiepop Me Up being the epitome of everything I find repetitive in most techno. Snow Coast's detached noises. Unstability, easily recognizable as appearing in snippets the show, but seemingly composed by random selection of various synth sounds into a kind of a underlying stuttering melody - certainly unique, but it doesn't exactly make for good music.

Short of completely disparaging the second disc, I did find myself drawn to a few song on it, all of which were songs that were often heard in the anime. These are what I associate with Boogiepop Phantom, and the songs are ready, willing, and able to live up to the task. Angel in the Dark, probably the moodiest song on the album, uses more variety in the methods and composition than the rest of the record, all of which compliment one another extremely well. A Furrow Dub, easily recognizable by the familiar xylophone tone, is a very light and non-presumptuous song - no evil foreboding or other motives, just a nice song to lose yourself in. Pone is probably one of the greatest offenders of using the ghostly tones I mentioned earlier, but it is one of the few cases where I find it used well in conjunction with a moderate level of light percussion. The melody, as long as it may take to get it across each repetition, is interesting enough to make the listener want to hear it out.

The album is pretty standard fare for the most part, as far as background music and light techno goes, but there isn't anything that outstanding, and even a few that might downright repulse you. A few of songs caught my ear, like Angel in the Dark and In Heaven, for their quality or uniqueness, but the album is largely forgettable. I'd easily recommend the Boogiepop and Others OST over this one, despite it being comparatively less Boogiepop-like. Boogiepop Phantom and electronica fans will find the album worthwhile, or a few songs at the very least, but with such a notable exclusion like Yuudachi, it isn't exactly essential to fans of the series.