Experimenting with soundtracks must be kept in Magic: The Gathering

Experimenting with soundtracks must be kept in Magic: The Gathering ...

Wizards of the Coast has been working with different approaches of getting the set. While we''ve had the usual cinematic trailers and preview seasons, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty''s impressive manga and anime tie-ins, but also a weird promotion with Ross Kemp for Streets of New Capenna. I suppose you can''t win them all.

One of the most interesting things to do in this exciting marketing campaign is the two soundtrack albums by Jonathan Young, who include Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, and one for Streets of New Capenna. Both included a host of tracks by Young, including Caleb Hyles, Annapantsu, and even Trivium''s Matt Heafy. Although the results were mixed, it would be a huge shame if there weren''t any more Magic music in the future.

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty was the first time a set had a true "official soundtrack" after a set''s unique Japanese style and cyberpunk, as well as hard metal (the genre Young is best known for) and electronic music that only sounded sometimes.

In an attempt to make this album a true Magic: The Gathering, it essentially retold the Neon Dynasty''s story with melodies, like Kaito and Tamiyo''s Phyrexian compleation (One With Phyrexia) but it''s just not that clever, and the result is some truly horrifying lyrics that would be more at home in a cartoon opening theme than here. A particularly disturbing example is the first song, Light It Up, which explains

For all the sluggish vocal lines, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty''s album still had a lot going for it. Especially in the instrumental pieces like Shadow of Boseiju, And We Glow, and The Future Is Bright, which played a major role in the film. Instead of being focused on Kaito and his spark or The Wanderer doing great things with swords, these tracks simply permit the music to portray Kamigawa as a blending of tradition and technology.

While most people believed Kamigawa''s soundtrack would be a one-off component of the set''s significant marketing push, we ended up getting a second one for Streets of New Capenna. The fact that Jonathan Young had any of the ''difficult second album'' worries when making it, isn''t that impressive in the work itself. New Capenna''s soundtrack is so much more confident, cohesive, and, crucially, less embarrassing than his first time around.

Instead of adding the album to the set''s story, New Capenna''s soundtrack delves into the vibes that inspired Neon Dynasty''s instrumental tracks. A brassy, jazzy, and swingy affair, we''re introduced to each of the five families with a sexy Old Money and Nails and Kneecaps, as well as a big band spectacle with the Cabaretti''s theme Family Means Business. Young even got to show off his metal chops once more

Despite the bangers, A Deal You Can''t Refuse throws the intimidating aura too hard, and instead it''s outperforming one of the English-language anime themes that plague YouTube. Last Train Home and Angel Inside reel back into Kamigawa''s story-focused-cringe flaw, but in a much, much lesser degree.

It feels like Young is moving ahead of Magic music, and why it doesn''t need to be explicit about the game. We don''t need Tamiyo, Tezzeret, or Jin-Gitaxias to express the concept as a Magic: The Gathering album; we must only make it consistent with the overall appearance and feel of the set it''s based on. We don''t want a musical (well, we do want a good one with an Ajani solo moment), but we

It''s hard to predict whether this type of project will continue for a while. Dominaria United, a medieval fantasy-themed game, might debut in September, but Wizards might choose to stay away, and that''s not the case. Leaving Young to the task of directing an older Magic setting like Dominaria musically would be a real pleasure to him.