Durarara!! Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 – Psychedelic Dreams – Review

Album Title: Durarara!! Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 – Psychedelic Dreams
Anime Title: Durarara!!
Artist: Yoshimori Makoto
Catalog Number: ANZB-9527 (packaged with DVD)
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: May 26, 2010
Purchase at: CDJapan, Play-Asia


Tracklist

Show »

Track Title Artist Time
1. DURARARA!! 7. Kokushimusou
2. Ikebukuro nishiguchi go mata-ro kosaten Yoshimori Makoto 3:09
3. DURARARA!! 8. Nankanoyume
4. Akogare no hi nichijo Yoshimori Makoto 3:51
5. Naname-jo o aruke Yoshimori Makoto 2:18
6. Waraeru hodo hikyo na yatsu Yoshimori Makoto 3:26
7. Russia no youjinbou Yoshimori Makoto 5:41
8. Ikebukuro saikyo densetsu Yoshimori Makoto 3:52
9. Koe no nai sakebi Yoshimori Makoto 3:32
10. Kayobi no yoru ni Yoshimori Makoto 2:19
11. Tsumazuki sanba Yoshimori Makoto 1:45
12. E no naka no shojo Yoshimori Makoto 4:47
13. Futari no dokei Yoshimori Makoto 3:17
14. Binzume no tenshi Yoshimori Makoto 4:33
15. Kawai ta maebure Yoshimori Makoto 2:39
16. Yami o saku yami Yoshimori Makoto 3:04
17. Tokai no shoso Yoshimori Makoto 3:33
18. Kuruizaki no Masayoshi Yoshimori Makoto 3:30
19. Midoriiro no kioku Yoshimori Makoto 4:23

Review: As underrated as Yoshimori Makoto is, he can’t seem to not compose good music when he puts his mind to it. Though I did not think highly of Baccano! soundtrack, he’s has shown improvement, most noticeably in his Natsume Yuujinchou soundtrack, followed by a solid effort in the soundtrack for Natsume Yuujinchou’s second season.

With Durarara!!’s soundtrack, Yoshimori Makoto gives us his best soundtrack yet. Gone are the indistinct, melodies that plagued his Baccano! score as Makoto’s compositions have matured and he’s become more comfortable with jazz to put forth a solid effort that captures the essence of the anime. From the very start, “Ikebukuro nishiguchi go mata-ro kosaten’s” cacophony of instruments creates multiple layers that are weaved together into a jazzy fabric with a Middle Eastern touch that depicts the plots taking place in the show’s setting of Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district. This distinct sound works to sculpt the show’s atmosphere and as you continue going through the soundtrack, you’ll find that cacophony, along with dissonance, is the order of the day.

Ikebukuro nishiguchi go mata-ro kosaten

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And it works! Jazz sets the right tone for a show highlighting subterfuge and a not-insignificant amount of thuggery in an urban environment. “Waraeru hodo hikyo na yatsu” offers a mix of industrial and jazz which proceeds in a manner that evokes an image of one of the show’s shadier characters prowling about town at night. The feeling of the cityscape in a state of decay is what comes to mind while listening, and the random snippets of conversation sound like people engaging in underhanded dealings as well as swapping rumors about the oddball occurrences. What really clinches it though is the random laughter that surprises you during the middle of the track, which immediately takes you out of your comfort zone and into the unpredictable, menacing underworld.

Waraeru hodo hikyo na yatsu

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In addition to the atmospheric instrumentals, the shrill chuckle in “Waraeru hodo hikyo na yatsu” highlights a characteristic of Makoto’s compositions: random sound effects. Though it’s had mixed results in the past, this time, all of the tracks that employ this technique are bearable. “Koe no nai sakebi” is a good example of this in that the wailing that resounds through the track keeps you on edge, but does a good job depicting a multitude of scenarios without being overly grating. For example, it could be the wind whistling through the deserted alleyways of Ikebukuro or some vengeful spirit crying out over something it’s lost and is desperately trying to discover (totally talking about Celty here). If you don’t find the chilling, discordant sound to be your thing, that’s about as bad as the Yoshimori Makoto-isms get in this album; you’re not going to find any annoying mosquito noises. Not in this Makoto soundtrack anyhow.

Koe no nai sakebi

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But what I’ve always enjoyed from Yoshimori Makoto’s music is the way he composes beautiful piano and violin melodies. We get a taste of that early on through “Akogare no hi nichijo’s” piano and recorder which convey the emotion of first love at first sight. The melody blooms wonderfully, signifying just how much the love has strengthened while incorporating the usual tentativeness and awkwardness associated with that love. Better still is “E no naka no shojo” which consists of a violin and piano duet where the piano sets up a lovely rhythm and cascades down a poignant air, filled with yearning feelings from the violin. The depths of emotions into which it brings forth fills me with awe, making it one of the strongest memorable pieces on the album.

Akogare no hi nichijo

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E no naka no shojo

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Even with something as beautiful as “E no naka no shojo” in tow, nothing can really beat out “Midoriiro no kioku” which demonstrates Yoshimori Makoto’s talent with Irish melodies! From the start, the fiddle demands your attention as it takes you far away from the hustle and bustle of modern life and into the lush, rustic landscape of Ireland. Once the tin whistle enters, I can’t help but feel relaxed as I look upon the sights and sounds of the pastoral Emerald Isle and take in that magnificent sight. The way this piece lilts, ebbs, and flows creates a joyous, upbeat mood that assures you all is well. Endings don’t get much better than that, and in the realm of happy endings, this one’s fantastic!

Midoriiro no kioku

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In Durarara!!’s soundtrack, we have Yoshimori Makoto’s best work yet as he raises his game to a new level. The scary part of it is that I don’t think he’s reached his peak form yet, and so, given this steady rate of improvement, believe that his best soundtrack is yet to come. In the meantime, Durarara!!’s soundtrack is a very engaging experience, with its diverse blend of industrial, jazz, orchestral, and of course, folk music to make it a must-listen.

Rating: Very Good

Note: Though it doesn’t affect the quality of this album in any way, I’ll say this: I really really hate it when the soundtrack is bundled with the Japanese DVDs/Blu-Ray discs. This effectively means that I’m priced out of it, since paying $60+ for a bundled product when all I really want is just the soundtrack. Suffice to say, this practice is ridiculous (if understandable), and so, though I do have the affiliate links on here, I cannot, in good conscience, tell you to take the plunge.

About the author

zzeroparticle Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

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19 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Omurqi says:

    I loved the soundtracks, they’re exciting without being pompous. Makoto really is a widely talented artist, I hope he keeps up the progress ^_^

  2. @Omurqi
    I do too. If this represents his peak form, I’m going to be sorely disappointed!

  3. Kc says:

    Whilst watching the series I was most impressed by “Koe no nai sakebi”, I just find it so unsual, it reminds me of city I grew up in, which was almost always strangly empty in the evening.

    I think I hated “Midoriiro no kioku” but now its really grown on me.

    Oh so the soundtrack is bundled with the dvds? that explains why I cant find it anywhere.

    • Kyo says:

      The soundtrack is bundled with the DVDs? I see. Then perhaps, do you know where to buy it? I tried multiple websites, but I couldn’t find it. :(

  4. Yi says:

    So this is the soundtrack in your many tweets earlier. It’s very good! Love the strings in the last two pieces.

  5. @Kc
    Yup, I love just how different it sounds compared to anything else in that it gives that abandoned-yet-dangerous/creepy kind of vibe that I like a lot. The imagery you cited fits with that urban setting wonderfully!

    As for “Midoriiro no kioku,” that piece won me over the first time since I enjoy slow, melodic stuff.

    And yeah. I’d have been all over acquiring a physical copy if this actually existed as a standalone soundtrack.

    @Yi
    You know how much I love strings :3 I don’t know whether this is just luck, but I’ve stumbled on a lot of good music this year. Let’s hope this keeps on going!

  6. Fabrice says:

    Im thinking of buying this actually O.o///but its bundled with dvd XD
    Waraeru hodo hikyo na yatsu is lovely. so atmospheric like you mentioned.
    Akogare no hi nichijo is also XD haha loved that one

  7. @Fabrice
    The album is lovely to listen to since it offers so much diversity that there’s no way to get bored. Still, do want a physical copy. Urghhhh….

  8. Reltair says:

    I recall “Ikebukuro nishiguchi go mata-ro kosaten” and “Akogare no hi nichijo” most vividly from the anime.

    “Psychedelic Dreams” is such a fitting title.

  9. @Reltair
    Ambiance, in my opinion, at its finest. Yeah, it’s a crazy world, but it wouldn’t be DRR without it!

  10. KayDat says:

    When I heard the music in Durarara, I knew instantly it was the same composer as Natsume. I do wonder though, I swear one of the pieces is almost identical to one in Natsume…

  11. @KayDat
    I do think that quite a few tracks, especially those that have the piano thrown in there, really sound like Natsume’s music. Same goes for the ones with weird noises since Makoto really likes putting those effects in there, but they work well, so no complaints from me!

  12. Zenbaka says:

    Personally I loved Futari no Dokei the best, but Akogare no hi nichijo and E no naka no shojo definitely make it up there on my list.

    The moment I watched (well more like /heard/) Durarara I knew I would love the OST. It’s diverse and different but in an amazingly awesome never-knew-this-could-work way. I would definitely buy it if it wasn’t all bundled ffffff

  13. @Zenbaka
    Very good piece indeed. I do love the way the piano just starts out with those soft tones that have this shy aura about it before it comes out more strongly with just the right amount of dissonance before settling back into its soft original melody.

    Unlike you, I wasn’t too sure when I paid attention to the background music because I only heard dashes and snippets, which pretty much meant I’d have to reserve judgment when I listened to each piece in its full length. Yeah, this album would be on my buy list too if they had decided to release it as a separate entity.

  14. Miss Alice says:

    love each song ^^
    anyone else notice the moaning
    in waraeru hodo hikyo na yatsu?
    kinda creeped me out..but still a good song :D

    • zzeroparticle says:

      @Miss Alice
      Yup, I think the moaning sounds are hard to miss, and that’s been a staple of Makoto Yoshimori’s music. It matches with the mystery of the show’s setting though, so in context, it makes a lot of sense. Glad you enjoyed it!

  15. Mitsu says:

    @Zenbaka

    I agree with you, Futari no Dokei is one of the best on the soundtrack! Its my top played song on itunes I love it so much! XD

    The soundtrack is one of the best I know, I really love Ikebukuro nishiguchi go mata-ro kōsaten. It really sinks me into the whole cityscape.

    I also love waraeru hodo hikyo no natsu. it has a jazzy/funky edge to it and reminds me of the comical moments in the series and once again, the ikebukuro setting.

    • zzeroparticle says:

      @Mitsu
      One of the biggest pleasures that I derive from Makoto Yoshimori soundtracks is how much they deviate from the usual. DRR’s isn’t nearly as outlandish as some of his other works, but it does strike all the right chords to yield some tracks that are divergent enough from the norm so as to be rendered as fun, enjoyable music.

  16. chu says:

    i wish you would have posed a bit from (the title I found was) Kyujitsu no Shufuku. The piano is simple beautiful, with just enough redundancy before it would get irritating. If you haven’t heard this song yet, I completely recommend it. :)

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