Akira Yamaoka – Silent Hill Soundtrack

Chancesare you’ve never heard of him, but even if you have, chances are you don’t ownany of his CDs. He’s not a singer, and he doesn’t play any instruments – unless,of course, a computer and a room full of synthesizers count.

Akira Yamaokais a Japanese composer who created the music for Konami in some of their videogames. (No, not “Metal Gear Solid.” Bug off, fanboys.) Besides”Castlevania: Symphony of the Night,” he has lent his hand in creatingthe scores for two cult classics, “Silent Hill” and “Silent Hill2.”

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In 1999, his work on the dark and ambient sounds in “SilentHill” was released as a soundtrack. This disc contains almost every piece ofmusic heard during the game, but it isn’t easy to find. Ordering online would beyour best bet.

The game is revered for its distinct sound. The music isdesigned not to scare suddenly, in B-movie fashion, but to slowly increase thetension and build on the psychological fears of the player.

The translation fromthe game screen to the headphones doesn’t lessen the impact.

Songs like”Kill Angel” and “My Daughter, the Devil” sound ominous for areason. Instead of the standard, tantalizing vocals over a melodic beat youusually hear in a normal song, Yamaoka’s music is full of grinding metal,irregular banging sounds, screeching white noise, and sudden stops accompaniedby, as strange as it might sound, sobbing.

“But that’s notmusic!” you say? I disagree. This soundtrack accomplishes everything it setsout to do. It gets your blood flowing and your heart pumping. But don’t takethese sounds as a bad sign – there are instruments. A characteristic guitar soundis there for many of the songs, as well as a general drumbeat. A piano also makesitself heard in a few of the songs, but not necessarily in the manner you mightexpect.

You might assume all this would be nothing more than horriblenoise. But, if you listen, you’ll not only feel a sudden rush of adrenaline,you’ll actually feel energized. This music is really scary, and nothing gets theol’ ticker going faster than a little fear.

While “She” and”Esperandote” carry tunes you might hum, the prize of the soundtrack is”Lisa.” This short acoustic piece is quite the tear-jerker, especiallyto fans who’ve seen the segment it accompanies. I won’t be a spoiler, butit’s pretty sad.

This soundtrack obviously isn’t for everybody,but for those who have the taste for it, it’s a wonderful bit of spooky music.Just keep it away from small children and dogs.

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