Archipelago Infection - Original Soundtrack
International Title
Music By: Goro Yasukawa
Record Label: Avex Marketing
Running Time: 66:51 Discs: 1
Release: January 2009 CD Number: AVCO-36005
Anthony Romero
First, thanks goes to Jessica Stan for sending this in for review!

Pandemic, also known as Archipelago Infection or by its Romaji title Kansen Rettou, is the 2009 disaster film about a deadly virus outbreak. Given the subject matter, one expects a score that does give a sense of panic, and composer Goro Yasukawa delivers... kind of. Yasukawa's score doesn't quite capture that same feeling of panic that the earlier work for Virus (1980) by Kentaro Haneda did, but ultimately is an enjoyable experience despite suffering from some repetition issues and tempo on other cues.

The disc actually starts off with one of its more middle of the road tracks as "Village in the Northern Philippines ~ Main Title", which feels fairly low key and background at the start. It does, however, give a hint of Yasukawa's more unorthodox approach as it fades into a completely different, drum and synth heavy, approach that sounds unique. Other tracks that benefit from this include "Virus", which is a nice mix of violin with light synth effects to give an ominous sounding theme that builds as it continues. This general motif is continued through out the CD, getting more and more overt in its approach while introducing new instruments such as a piano in "To Lose Someone Close" which creates this interesting affect where the theme starts off unnerving, becomes tragic, and then sounds menacing and the piano work becomes more pronounced before shifting again to an almost soothing melody. Still, the real show-stopper on this CD is "Tachibana's Notebook ~ Virus Identified", which contains the virus theme to start off before basically diving into a suite of some of the better themes created for the film. The track is almost four minutes long, and really, with some fantastic violin work and pacing, is almost worth searching out the disc for alone.

Sadly, the soundtrack does have a few, for a lack of better words, less appealing tracks. "For a Moment, Snow and Relief" is a great example, as it should be a nice and soothing track as its string and violin heavy. However, the pacing just feels off and the track seems to lag. This is the same problem with the similar "Death's Reward", which also never finds that good balance between creating a soothing track and one with good pacing as it moves too slow to the point where it feels like its dragging out the material to try and make it more sorrowful. "Preparing for the Worst" also deserves some scorn, as the overlapping track beat is supposed to elevate the tension, but it falters to create that sense of urgency and really feels like its just drowning out the more interesting orchestration happening in the background. "Misinformation" also deserves a bit of scorn for a painfully slow version of the virus' theme which takes all the interest out of the track.

Overall, this score is more positive than not, and I really enjoyed a few cues like the general motif for the virus. Yasukawa tries to get away with repeating themes a bit too much here, and while some of these are carried by his varying approach to the material, a few cues like "Misinformation" feel like desperate attempts to make the same theme feel different.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Village in the Northern Philippines ~ Main Title
  2. Emergency Center
  3. Virus
  4. Akane
  5. Medical Officer
  6. To Lose Someone Close
  7. Poultry Farm ~ A Suspicious Figure
  8. Cause Investigation
  9. As a Doctor
  10. Unity
  11. City in Turmoil
  12. Death's Reward
  13. Misinformation
  14. Blame
  15. Asami's Recollection
  16. Preparing for the Worst
  17. Helpless to Rescue
  18. Undesired Mass Death
  19. Minasu Island
  20. Despair Over the Disease
  21. Tachibana's Notebook ~ Virus Identified
  22. Fight Against the Infection
  23. For a Moment, Snow and Relief
  24. Request for Salvation Granted
  25. The Last Wish
  26. Revival
  27. Promise
  28. Were You Not Told? ~ Recollection
  29. Archipelago Infection ~ Epilogue