Ooo! More music!
CD: Ringu / Rasen (1998)
Review Rating:   Mediocre
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Warner Bros. Japan
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January 1999

Tracks / Album Length:

12 Tracks / (64:05)


Composer: Kenji Kawai/songs

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Comments :    

With the music for the American remake of Ringu getting most of the attention, it's worth taking a quick peek at the music for the original Japanese film, which is markedly different from the minimalist orchestral approach of Zimmer & Co.

Like the US album, the Japan-only CD contains music from both films, Ringu, and Rasen, and features 4 original score cuts by Kenji Kawai, totaling about 23 mins. Arranged in moody suites, Kawai's music is synth-heavy, and features some retro sounds and effects along the lines of Michael Rubini (think Manhunter lite), Tangerine Dream, and post-Goblin Claudio Simonetti.

"A Discordant Split" (8:19) stitches together ambient textures, piano tinkling, and some effects heard when the video is watched before the first victim dies - basically quick, mid-volume waves of electronic shrilling, which Kawai samples and mimics in the cue's final third. There's also a sparse thematic fragment on synth violin - semi-tragic, with a pulse beat - that's effective in establishing the tight emotional bond between the reporter, and the young son, whose own life is soon endangered.

"The Cursed Video" (3:51) evokes the ambient whale sonorities of Eric Serra, and layers forward-slithering, digitized vocals. Most of Kawai's film credits are various anime productions (with soundtracks released almost exclusively in Japan), and the composer must have welcomed the low-key tone and slow pacing of the Ringu films, which pile on moodiness, and extract terror from errors in character judgment, or hauntingly simple visuals effects.

"Genes" (5:05) contains a few more eerie sound effects - panning voices, watery effects, and unnerving little scrapes and moans - and draw the listener further into the merciless Ringu curse. Most of the pulsing motifs are repeated verbatim, making "Genes" just a functional shock cue.

The suite's final cue, "Ring," (6:03), is a mix of ambience, and a persistent drone that's not too distant from the old War of the Worlds sound effect, used for the Martian eye that later nukes a trio of locals waving a white flag. Unlike prior score cuts, "Ring" goes out with a whimper, as a short theme quote finishes off the cue, and reveals most of the Ringu score as a richly ambient but largely unimaginative work (at least that's the impression from the few score samples).

The album's remaining 40mins. are reserved for techno cues, with HIIH's "Feels Like Heaven" and the full-vocal "Distorted Clock" bookending the album. Juno Reactor, whose music was interlaced with Chris Young's score for Virtuosity, has "Guardian Angel" and "Feel the Universe," and La Finca's stylistically jarring four cuts - jazzy, groovy, bass-heavy, with sax or vocal solos - pad out the rest of the album.

A completely average score, with decent source songs that still reduce the album's overall worthiness, and pale compared to the Ring/Ring 2 album (reviewed HERE, by


© 2006 Mark R. Hasan

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