Knowing that Mondo’s Castlevania 10-inch vinyl release is just the first of five releases only makes it that much sweeter to put on the turntable. While hearing the theme music coming from a quality, non-bootleg release is amazing in and of itself, the work the label did on this release is just wonderful.
While video game music on vinyl is the hot thing these days, an entire LP starts to feel a little exhausting. Twelve tracks and about fifteen minutes is just about the right amount of time for these tracks, and putting them on a 45rpm 10-inch vinyl EP might be the most hipster thing ever, but it sounds so good, it’s impossible to hate. The fact that the tracks are cut at 45rpm lets the grooves be a bit wider, and this sounds impossibly large for music which was - for most of us - only ever heard coming out of one tiny, tinny television speaker.
The music, as composed by Kinuyo Yamashita and Satoe Terashima, still holds up. The building blocks of what would flow through every game in the series were laid here, and Vampire Killer will bring memories flooding back the instant its familiar strains come out your stereo’s speakers. And, something we thought seemed patently ridiculous upon first hearing of it actually ended up being an album highlight.
That would be the last track on the first side, Walking on the Edge, which features not only music, but sound effects from the game. It's as if you're hearing part of a level recorded onto vinyl, and yes, that does sound fairly silly – but it absolutely works. The whip cracks, kills, and power-ups sound like musical stings, and damned if it isn't the most joyful thing on the whole record.
The artwork by Becky Cloonan might look a little anime-ish on the cover, but the more you look at it, the more the background details start to pop out. Plus, once you open the gatefold (a gatefold sleeve - on a 10-inch!), and see that gorgeous reproduction of the game map, you’ll fall right in love. The grey vinyl with black and white splatter for the commercial release isn’t quite as exciting as the red and white split Mondo did for San Diego Comic-Con, but it sounds fantastic, so we’re cool.
All told, this is a release that has us constantly refreshing Twitter and Facebook to see when the label’s going to announce the next installment. We’ve been bitten, and we need more.
CASTLEVANIA (1986) / COMPOSER: KINUYO YAMASHITA, SATOE TERASHIMA / LABEL: MONDO / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW