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October 4, 2023

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Music To Duel By (Dreamworks Records)

By: Vinnie Apicella

Music to duel by-- music to duel by? Of course, and Errol Flynn would be damned proud. Of course if he ever witnessed the unlikely marriage of Japanimation to soundtracks, to loops, samples, and clusters of bits, bites, and body parts that make up the whole, he'd have probably cut his own throat for fear of interplanetary invasion! My first thoughts on embarking on this Yu-Gi-Oh journey is bewilderment and wonder; Yes, this will appeal to the kiddies who'll get their parents to shell for the $15-18 bucks to get their favorite superheroes of the deck in full digital surround; limited edition comes with cool sticker sheet...perfect for spiral notes or cute little Stacy over there in the corner of class with the empty pocket on her pencil case. But just cause I've never played the game or watched the series, hey, being a kid never stopped being fun, so damned straight I'm getting every last ounce outta this-- Been a while between cartoon S/T's I gotta admit -- that's if you're not counting Gorillaz which somehow created a genre all to their own. Okay so "Music To Duel By's" not your average kiss the girl and make her cry sort of adolescent drama, but it's "drama" that a majority of this fourteen track audio flight begins and ends. "Yu-Gi-Oh!" joins hands with the expected kiddie kulture and musical digi-rat with the futuristic view led by heavy electronica beats and soundtrack style subtlety with the full range of orchestral interplays themselves offset, say every other turn here, by drum and bass dynamics, rock guitar, and fiery atmospherics without overwhelming with Disneyland dust. Plug Jan Hammer through an up to the minute mutant mixing console, tweak and trill to exhaustion, and go ga-ga over having "Viced," sliced, and diced "Miami" to the point where's left only a feral freeverse of bits and bytes. And like all good series soundtracks there's the thematic tie-in of drama, danger and dabbling with the daisy faced choir, you know, so the bases are covered. "Music To Duel By" is cool unto itself; there's plenty o' "Blues Clues" type sing alongs for the kids, not to mention the many RPG alum with a taste for battle, and the state of the art FX and full bodied legitimacy of the songs make it fair game for most adolescent grown ups looking for a little more than the Pokemon's portraying.
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