Einhander Original Soundtrack
- "A truly excellent techno game soundtrack that will not fade quietly into the ranks of the mundane."
- "Square + Techno Music = Another Awesome Soundtrack"
- Kenichiro Fukui (composition)
Tracks (65 minutes total)
- Released Dec 21, 1997 by DigiCube (catalog no. SSCX-10015, retail 2039 yen).
A truly excellent techno game soundtrack that will not fade quietly into the ranks of the mundane.
Reader review by Eric Eickhorst (1999-03-18)
Upon playing Einhander for the first time, the thing that immediately struck me was neither the flashy graphics nor the fast gameplay, but rather the music. Dropping you in the middle of a futuristic melee, the first level begins with an opera-like sound as track 3, "Capital," plays. Quickly making a transition to track 4, "Street," the music turns to pure techno/electronic.
I am aware of many who complain that techno is now the most hackneyed style of video game soundtracks, and I concur that techno has become cliche as the genre of choice in racing games and the like. While a few games have managed to pull off a successful techno soundtrack without sounding trite, such as WipeOut XL, many generic techno soundtracks have faded into obscurity, offering nothing truly memorable to the realm of game soundtracks.
Einhander Original Soundtrack, on the other hand, serves as a brilliant example of how techno can be used effectively in a game soundtrack, as it avoids the pitfalls which other game soundtracks attempting to utilize techno as their unifying theme have fallen victim to. Composed and arranged by Kenchiro Fukui, Einhander OST is another inspired addition to the long line of excellent Square soundtracks.
One of the most unique things about Einhander OST that separates it from the crowd of failed techno soundtracks is the way it utilizes various subgenres of techno. "Dawn", "Breakthrough", and "Conflict", are all reminiscent of previously existing styles without being shameless rip-offs of these styles. Track 11, "Breakthrough", a dark and moody ambient piece, uses a percussion system similar to the conga drums used in Juno Reactor's "Conga Fury". Track 13, "Breakthrough", and track 15, "Conflict", are both similar to progressive house in their sound, building to a climax through steadily increasing tempo.
In addition to the three aforementioned tracks in the above paragraph, the two real standout tracks are number 8, "Badlands", and number 23, "Bloody Battle". Both tracks are incredibly fast-paced and offer a truly frantic atmosphere within the context of the game. Outside the realm of Einhander, however, these two tracks stand on their own as brilliant examples of techno and do not grow tiresome through repeated listening.
My only real complaints about Einhander OST center on the recycling of sounds for multiple tracks, which is apparent throughout the entire CD. For example, the majority of "Bloody Battle" is recycled in the reprise of the final track, 29, ironically entitled "Beginning". The only other complaint I have is the length of the tracks. Few tracks last longer than two minutes, although the ones that do are truly brilliant. This, too, is forgivable, however, as the 29 tracks sprawl across nearly 66 minutes.
Einhander Original Soundtrack is quite simply one of the finest techno video game soundtracks available, offering some of the catchiest loops I have heard in any CD - techno, video game soundtrack, or otherwise. Kenchiro Fukui's work on here should earn him a place on a pedestal next to Nobuo Uematsu as Square's most talented composer. Although Fukui is hardly a household name, and I had not previously heard of him before the Einhander OST, I can hardly wait to hear Fukui's next work.
Square + Techno Music = Another Awesome Soundtrack
Reader review by Stephen
Although I have not yet played the game Einhander, since it is known to be a shoot-em-up game I expected the music to be like techno. Well, I was right, and I am not the least bit disappointed. Square has yet again created a soundtrack fully worthy of the game for which it was made.
Many of the tracks are adrenaline-pumping techno, but there are a few other tracks that sound like new age or contemporary music (e.g. Mortal Kombat meets Yanni). With tracks like these, I can easily imagine how the game will play - rocking.
Kenchiro Fukui seems to be well-versed in several musical styles as he makes good use of instruments that one probably would not find on a typical techno soundtrack. For example, the aptly-titled "Thermosphere" track has a section in which the techno beat is combined with a piano to create an "airy" melody. In "Earthlight" Fukui provides a very nice contemporary piece.
One should definitely buy this soundtrack if he or she likes techno music. This is the type of music that's great to play while working out or driving. While total techno music-phobics should stay clear away, Square fans should definitely add this soundtrack to their collection and add musical variety. Square has once again shown that they are musical masters, regardless of the genre.
Square goes techno... and a good job they did.
Reader review by Jason Strohmaier
Why is it that the musicians at Square always excel in nearly every musical style out there? Orchestral, progressive rock, fusion, and - with Einhander - techno. Fukui created an excellent soundtrack with the Einhander OST, pushing the boundaries of techno music to create one of the best shooter soundtracks in recent memory.
In Einhander, it seems that nearly every song longer than 90 seconds is excellent. This may sound like a strange generalization, but it is true, for the most part. About a dozen or so songs on the disk are short clips that act to transfer gamers from one area of the game to another, and therefore don't really have the power of some of the longer songs.
The rest of the tunes are mixes of traditional techno beats with some rock and classical motifs. One of those traditional techno songs is the furious "Badlands", one of the first tracks on the disk to truly exhibit Fukui's talents as a composer. Fast beats give way to a haunting background chorus followed by a mechanical voice beckoning you to "Remain where you are." That may not be a bad idea.
Many of the songs in the disk break the techno mold, such as the mellow "Earthlight", to add a to the unique feel to the OST. There is even one song that can nearly be described as vocal, the powerful track "Shudder", one of the first boss battle themes in the game. Shudder contains about 30 seconds featuring a rapper singing lines at a furious pace that makes most of the words hard to understand. Even so, the rapid speed keeps the pulse running.
Einhander itself was an excellent game and contains one of the better OSTs to be found in a shooting game. Let's just hope that if Square ever makes another shooter, Fukui will be there to create another memorable soundtrack.
- Einhander OST Gets Reprinted (12 posts, last Jun '07)