Perfect Selection Gradius – “Cosmo Plant” (Nazo^2 Project)

December 16, 2009

Ahh… I think it’s time for some more Gradius love! This one is one of my favorite pieces from the album Perfect Selection Gradius (which had a Daily a couple months back). Actually, the entire album is completely fantastic, with excellent early 90s synths that feel like NES chiptunes on steroids. Couple this with live guitar, strings, and sax, and you’ve got a great lineup.

Perfect Selection Gradius – “Cosmo Plant” (Nazo^2 Project)

“Cosmo Plant” is the plant stage of Gradius III (1991; Stage 8 in the arcade, 6 on the SNES). As such, it has a nice organic feel to it, brought through by the strong cello (Hajime Mizoguchi) with the “Cosmo” part provided by the synths. When the two get together, it’s a real tasty combination, particularly with the positive major scale – it’s a nice sense of wonder as you fly past. At about 1:25, there is a nice break with a guitar solo from Nazo^2. The layering of instruments is simply enjoyable and there’s a great beat. Just another fun day flying through outer space!

Gradius III was composed by a bunch of guys: Kazuki Muraoka, Kazuhiko Uehara, Harumi Ueko & Yukie Morimoto. In those days, Konami didn’t list who composed what (not even on the album soundtracks), so I guess we’ll refer to the original as ‘Konami Kukeiha Club’. This piece was arranged by Jun Irie, responsible for practically all of Konami’s Perfect Selection series of mix albums – they’re all worth looking into, actually. Nazo^2 (Nazo Nazo Suzuki) is on the guitar, Jun Irie on keyboards, Hideki Matsutake on synthesizer, Hajime Mizoguchi on cello, Jake H. Concepcion on the sax (love it!), and Hiroki Tamaki on violin. Matsutake, Irie, and Suzuki are the three main members of Nazo^2 Project, with the other musicians as guest performers. I personally find the first Perfect Selection Gradius better than the second version, and I think the musician selection is a big factor in that.

On a final note, the album artwork for this piece is also stupendous. It’s the oil painting of spaceships that I think is done by the same artist who did the original Gradius cover. This type of art typified science fiction of the 80s with its artistic detail recalling the glory and promise of space travel. There are many science fiction books with this similar style, such as Ender’s Game.

One comment

  1. reading science fiction books is the stuff that i am always into. science fiction really widens my imagination :~`

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