Back in 2004 I played this mod for UT2004 called Neotokyo, which, in addition to being a really fun futuristic shooter with a good community, had an excellent soundtrack. Over the last five years they’ve been busy porting the game over to the Source engine, and are almost (fingers crossed) to a first release. One of the coolest things to come out of their efforts so far has been the just-released soundtrack put together by the talented Ed Harrison: a two-disc album which I now have the pleasure of owning.

First impressions: astounding. There is not a single track among the 26 that is not worth listening to carefully. The album has a characteristic “Neotokyo” design: ominous scale and atonal drones, punctuated by sampled vocals and driven by electronic baselines. Soaring orchestral movements empower tracks like “Scrap I/O” and “Tachi”, while spacious drums and harsh cello drive the centerpiece “Pravhaba” to inexorable conclusion. “Footprint” evokes a more contemplative mood, with light percussion and querulous synth piano taking time to explore the landscape, building to discontinuous crescendo. The bass sometimes feels lacking, and at some points the layered sound can become so complex it’s hard to tell what’s happening, but these are minor flaws in an all-around solid release, full of high-quality material. For $11, it’s a bargain. Go get it while it’s still around.

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