|Album Title:||Kuroshitsuji Sound Complete Black Box|
|Artist:||Taku Iwasaki; Daisuke Ono; SID; BECCA; Kalafina; Yuki Kajiura|
|Release Date:||August 26, 2009|
|Purchase at:||CDJapan or Play-Asia|
|1. Nigram Clavem||Taku Iwasaki||1:31|
|2. Prologue||Taku Iwasaki||0:10|
|3. Master of Tea and Scones||Taku Iwasaki||2:47|
|4. Die Hasen!||Taku Iwasaki||2:28|
|5. La gardenia||Taku Iwasaki||3:24|
|6. Shitsuji taru mono||Taku Iwasaki||2:36|
|7. Ura shakai no chitsujo||Taku Iwasaki||2:59|
|8. The butler||Taku Iwasaki||3:25|
|9. Coffin Man||Taku Iwasaki||3:07|
|10. The Dark Crow Smiles||Taku Iwasaki||5:24|
|11. Ciel||Taku Iwasaki||2:19|
|12. Faint Smile||Taku Iwasaki||3:24|
|13. Jazzin’||Taku Iwasaki||2:35|
|14. Di’a’vertiment||Taku Iwasaki||2:42|
|15. Home Again||Taku Iwasaki||3:32|
|16. Eikoku no Yami||Taku Iwasaki||2:50|
|17. Nidoto modora nai taisetsu na||Taku Iwasaki||3:01|
|18. Oute o Checkmate||Taku Iwasaki||2:47|
|19. Wie schon!||Taku Iwasaki||2:49|
|20. In memory of Madame Red – Lady in Red||Taku Iwasaki||2:41|
|21. Color of Licorice||Taku Iwasaki||2:01|
|22. A diabolic waltz||Taku Iwasaki||3:11|
|23. Intermission: Sebastian Michaelis Version||Taku Iwasaki||0:09|
|1. Intermission: Ciel Phantomhive Version||Taku Iwasaki||0:10|
|2. Si deus me relinquit||Taku Iwasaki||6:55|
|3. Doll House||Taku Iwasaki||1:42|
|4. Lizzy||Taku Iwasaki||2:53|
|5. The Stranger from India||Taku Iwasaki||2:48|
|6. Jyo Agya||Taku Iwasaki||2:47|
|7. “Kami” ni tsukaeshi sha||Taku Iwasaki||3:09|
|8. Rudra||Taku Iwasaki||2:41|
|9. The right hand of God||Taku Iwasaki||3:06|
|10. Small wild flower||Taku Iwasaki||2:30|
|11. Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen||Taku Iwasaki||3:58|
|12. Never More||Taku Iwasaki||3:29|
|13. Hokori takaki Joou no inu||Taku Iwasaki||2:58|
|14. The Dark Crow Smiles [remix]||Taku Iwasaki||4:02|
|15. Call Thy Name, “Stella Mystica”||Taku Iwasaki||3:53|
|16. A Gleam in the Distance||Taku Iwasaki||5:10|
|1. Kiss of Monochrome||SID||1:54|
|2. I’m ALIVE!||BECCA||3:14|
|3. Lacrimosa||Kalafina; Yuki Kajiura||4:14|
|4. Anata no Koe ga Iroaseyou tomo,
Meiyaku no Uta ga sono Mune ni Todokimasu you ni
|5. Tsuki no Ame||Daisuke Ono||5:10|
Tracklist provided by Ayumikat at the Brownie Post.
Review: Taku Iwasaki, while still a strong composer, hasn’t delivered as consistent an effort as he had in the past. Whereas before, he had composed the excellent Rurouni Kenshin OVAs, Read or Die, and Witch Hunter Robin soundtracks, nowadays, the quality of his work has varied, from the highly-acclaimed Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann to the completely lackluster Black Cat. Kuroshitsuji’s soundtrack falls in the upper-middle part of the quality spectrum. The first disc on the soundtrack manages to depict the elegant, yet ominous aura of the anime’s setting, though it doesn’t strive to do much more than that, saving the best parts for the second disc which mixes some of the better orchestral tracks along with some Indian-themed music. The variety to be had in the second disc makes it engaging and through that, the soundtrack as a whole feels fresh and enjoyable as a result.
So while the first disc doesn’t include the best that Iwasaki has to offer, it is nevertheless a competent effort, especially in sculpting the tone for the anime’s setting. “Nigram Clavem” sets up that dark, ominous aura through a Gregorian chant to make one feel a sense of unease through the female vocalist’s stuttering, halting delivery and tracks such as “The butler” reinforce the unease through a melody that that cloaks the subject of the piece in a shroud of enigma. “A diabolic waltz” furthers the enigma through a smooth dance that combines an upper-class feeling of elegance and grace that carries a foreboding tone and in doing so, manages to capture both the aristocratic aspect and the supernatural elements of the anime series.
A diabolic waltz
As you might expect, the lofty, aristocratic auras are given their chance to shine. “Master of Tea and Scones” works through a Baroque melody that brings to mind a scene in which a group of aristocrats are mingling about and talking about the issues of the day. What I find interesting about this piece’s execution is its use of the saxophone which, though it’s not commonly looked upon as an instrument one would use to depict the aristocracy, draws out an aura of sophistication and snobbery. “La Gardenia” aims more for majesty than sophistication, but its stirring, operatic delivery projects an aura of grandiosity so well that it’s one of the more enjoyable tracks if you like the pompous operatic songs. And if “La Gardenia” is your type of piece, you’ll also appreciate “Wie schon!” where the singer’s sense of urgency meshes well with the foreboding violin section in the background.
Most of the other tracks on that disc are enjoyable enough and if you happen to enjoy ambient tracks, the first disc should suit you just fine. Nevertheless, there are a few that you should watch out for and maybe skip altogether because they are downright terrible. The biggest offender is “Die Hasen!” which I’d charitably describe as a banshee wailing because the singer’s execution is so discordant and out of tune that I suspect that it was deliberate and done for a comical purpose. That, unfortunately, is of no comfort to those of us who have to actually sit through the whole thing and it’s better to pass over altogether. Thankfully, “Die Hasen!” is about as bad as it gets; the others are lackluster at worst. For example, “Shitsuji taru mono” feels as though it should be a comical piece, except that it doesn’t capture the goofy atmosphere all too well because its jazzy saxophone melody sounds kitschy, like the music you’d hear in a room full of video poker machines. “The Dark Crow Smiles” also isn’t too compelling, mostly because it fritters away its opportunity to nail the dark atmosphere through a campy-sounding narration.
The Dark Crow Smiles
The second disc is where most of the better tracks lie and the disc wastes no time in getting you into the mix of things with “Si deus me relinquit’s” mournful melody that creates a God-forsaken feeling. Once the track reaches the 1:35 mark, the piece really opens up with a majestic melody that hides within it a tone of loneliness and despair that can be overwhelming at times. “Si deus me relinquit” goes through a few transitional interludes which help to keep the listener engaged through its intensity and dramatic flair, leaving the listener in awe by the time it ends. Although some pieces like “Never More,” which uses a flute to create a despondent, unnerving feeling, and “Call thy name, ‘Stella Mystica,'” whose menacing tone done through a singer and a piano in the background captures the feel of a forbidden dark ritual, none of them are as enjoyable as “Si deus me relinquit” which grabs you through the raw power of its emotions.
Si deus me relinquit
Call thy name, “Stella Mystica”
The Indian tracks also bring a bit of character to the soundtrack. Though the music doesn’t strive for something beyond stereotypical traditional Indian music, its strength lies in the novelty factor. It’s not often that one gets an opportunity to listen to Indian music, and being able to do so makes for a nice change from all the ominous orchestral tracks. For that, these tracks are worth checking out, especially if one is fond of ethnic tracks that cover the gamut of soothing sitar melodies to energetic Indian chants that convey an exotic aura.
Although the third disc includes an excellent set of tracks ranging from SID’s “Kiss of Monochrome” to Kalafina’s “Lacrimosa,” Kuroshitsuji’s soundtrack’s strengths still lie in the BGM on the first two discs. Iwasaki has done an excellent job of bringing together the aristocratic tones and the ominous, foreboding auras that makes up a large part of the show’s supernatural side while also mixing in Indian rhythms, chants, and melodies. The effort is solid all around and though there are a few earaches, those comprise a few tracks which are easily compensated for by tracks like “La gardenia” and “Si deus me relinquit.” So whether you’re a big fan of the series or of Iwasaki, you should find this album to be an enjoyable listen since Kuroshitsuji is one of his better works as of late.
Rating: Very Good