Written by TheBigN
I’m a peculiar person with peculiar tastes. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to you if I consider the Sketchbook ~full color’s~ OST, sound sketch book, to be one of my top 3 favorite albums of the year (the best still goes to TTGL, but I might expound on that another time). For a show that focuses on an art club, and more on the club itself than the art (though we never usually see the art produced, save for Natsumi’s drawing of Sora and whatever Kuga-sempai has on her mind), the background music does it’s job, providing a proper accompaniment to everything else but never really taking our attention away from the rest of the show. Despite this, I don’t think that sound sketch book needs the show to completely work, and I find it a pretty good standalone album.
My first thoughts after listening to the soundtrack by itself echoed ones I had watching the show: that the music is reminiscent of the Vince Guaraldi works from the Peanuts animated shows and movies. In the case of our Good Ol’ Charlie Brown, the music was mostly pianocentric (yay new word), jazzy (awesome uses of the bass, BTW), and could adapt with whatever situation he and his friends went through. This same sort of style pervades sound sketch book, as tracks like “Balloon Mode ~Yume Kara Samete Mo~”, “Speed 2”, and “Harukaze no Okurimono” are tunes that I could easily hear in Peanuts cartoons. This type of music also fits well within the Sketchbook world, as in both cases, we have a laid back atmosphere of people doing ordinary things (often extraordinary ways) with no real urgency anywhere. Nothing is too flashy, too epic or too depressing, and everything is on an even ground while interesting, aurally stimulating things are still done with them. That comparison is something that gives me more familiarity with Sketchbook, and is another example of why music can be that nice little X-factor for me in liking series a bit more than others.
The music isn’t entirely reminiscent of Vince’s pieces, however. Ken Muramatsu places an East Asian (if you can call it that) influence on the music, which I think gives the final pieces a little more substance to them. Pieces like “Chiisana Shiawase” (one of my favorite pieces on the CD, and background to one of my favorite moments in the series so far, “I couldn’t save them”.), “Yuumagure no Kuni” and “Yuuyake wo Arita ne” are examples of how Muramatsu places that spin on to that jazzy piano, creating his own musical style. And then there are completely different pieces like “Hohoemi no Moto” (Tanabe and Kimura’s “theme”; the duo that cracks puns for those who don’t know) and “Kusatsumi no Uta” which employ a ukelele in taking center stage and are an interesting change of pace often in both the theme of the music and the situation at hand. Overall, the variations in pieces combine to a whole that isn’t a completely cohesive OST in terms of theme, but works well for what it’s worth.
We also have the TV versions of the OP and ED on the album, which serve as nice ways to open and end the CD. The OP, “Kaze Sagashi”, easily the better of the two songs IMO, evokes feelings of the OP for Kokoro Library, “Beagle” for me. The lyrics in both songs tell stories about nothing happening, and in the case of Sketchbook‘s OP, we seem to be seeing Sora in a renewed quest to find something (based on the title, probably a special wind for her) after getting a second wind (lol) to continue. “Kaze Sagashi” fits in well with the tone of the show, both by the music and by our narrator’s viewpoint as conveyed by the lyrics. The ED, “Sketchbook wo Motta Mama” is sung by Yui Makino, the voice actress for Hazuki, and isn’t one of her stronger works, but still a decent song. According to some, the song is sung from the perspective of Hazuki, who wonders what Sora sees when she looks at the world. Based on how it seems that Hazuki understands what Sora is thinking when compared to others from the few times the latter is the main discussion point, it’s an interesting look at a character that we really don’t know much about although she’s one of Sora’s closest friends.
sound sketch book overall isn’t an album that transcends the means or its genre when you think about it, but if you like Jazz or Easy Listening music, it should be a nice, solid album to listen to. As I haven’t really heard/paid attention to Ken Muramatsu before now, I’ll be keeping an ear out for him from now on, since he brings a new perspective to music for me. Certainly the music used here is a nice break from what we usually hear in anime, and that’s usually a plus. I believe the music benefits Sketchbook, and helps it become an anime that I’ll remember years down the road.