Title
 The Devil's Temari Ball Song - Original Soundtrack
International Title
 Lullaby to Kill
Music By: Kunihiko Murai
Record Label: Culture Publishers
 
Running Time: 42:07 Discs: 1
Release: December 1998 CD Number: CPC8-3011
Comments
Anthony Romero
First off, huge thanks goes out, once again, to Robert Storch for sending this disc for review!

This disc, released by Culture Publishers under their Volcano label, contains the score to the 1977 movie Lullaby to Kill, an entry in what is now generally regarded as the Kosuke Kindaichi series. I will be honest: first time I heard this soundtrack I wasn't too impressed. Nothing really grabbed me except the fairly creepy "The Temari Ball Song of Onikobe-mura", which falls into line with other similar slightly unnerving melodies heard in many horror films. The singer has a sweet voice, but just something is distinctly off. Perhaps due to the lack of background music, but it hits the desired effect of seeming out of place and strange. The second song, "Temari Ball Illusion", is even creepier. The lyrics are enunciated in a very slow tone, almost like speaking rather than singing. This song does have music in the background, that slowly builds until it overtakes the lyrics before a chorus kicks in.

Songs aside, thankfully upon further listens I did start to gain appreciation for Kunihiko Murai's work on the score itself and the themes he composed. His melodies started to stand out and become more distinct amongst each other, while clear favorites started to present themselves.

Of the themes present, the opening "Ballade of Pathos" would have to be the stand out. It has that rustic feel to it, very distinct for the period that the movie was released, while the background chorus does a nice job to make the theme a memorable one. The score on a general is a bit on the slow side in terms of pacing, outside of the slightly more rousing "Blood" and "Murderous Intent" themes. It's a pleasant listening experience, as Murai uses a lot of chorus work sprinkled throughout to good effect, such as in "Between Love and Hate". A number of the cues also have a nice "countryside" type of flavor to them, a type of theme that would feel right at home while driving through a rural stretch of road at a leisurely pace. Themes like "Sen-nin Pass" and "A Day at Onikobe-mura" fall into this category, and simply excel at conveying a laid back sense. On the downside, a few of the trumpet heavy cues, like "A Time of Twenty Years", kind of clash with the other soothing themes present and present a slightly "clunky" feel to the disc as a whole.

Overall, its a fairly diverse body of work, but doesn't always transition too well from theme to theme on the disc itself. The running time is also on the short side. Despite this, anyone who loves contemporary music from the 1970's would be well off to check this out, as it's unmistakably from that period and Murai does well to make a few cues here hallmarks in the Kosuke Kindaichi series, to which this is the second entry behind The Inugamis (1976).

Now, in regards to this release in particular, it's not the first time this score has been issued on CD, with the first instance being back in 1993 (SLCS-5012). This reissue was part of an effort on Culture Publishers' part to re-release the series, under the "Ko-suke Kindaichi series" branding, for those who might have missed it the first time. Unfortunately, while other CDs in the new line tended to have additional content added to them, the one for Lullaby to Kill has the exact same 16 tracks across the disc that its 1993 counterpart did.
Rating: Star Rating
Tracks
  1. Ballade of Pathos
  2. Old Woman's Shadow
  3. Sen-nin Pass
  4. Six-way Crossroads
  5. Swamp
  6. The Temari Ball Song of Onikobe-mura
  7. Combing the Mountain
  8. A Day at Onikobe-mura
  9. A Time of Twenty Years
  10. Between Love and Hate (Interval)
  11. Murderous Intent
  12. Temari Ball Illusion
  13. The Farthest Reaches of Hate
  14. Storehouse
  15. Blood
  16. Separation