Have you heard? 07. Route 209 (Day)

Have you heard? is a showcase for the unconventional, unique and inspiring music out there that never seems to get the limelight it deserves.

Route 209 (Day) - Ken Sugimori/Hitomi Sato (2006)

Pokemon. This is not the Pokemon theme song. In fact, Route 209 (Day) is simply one short piece in a huge catalogue of music written for Pokemon games. In this case, the music features when travelling along Route 209 between Hearthome City and Solaceon Town, in Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum during the day. The best description of these two places is a bustling city for the former, and a retirement village for the latter, with a popular off-road cycle path in between.

So how does generic background music for a Pokemon game where there is hundreds of pieces to listen to constitute an unconventional, unique or inspiring piece of music?

Well, for a start it has that beautifully simple and classic retro feel. It is straight to the point. It dances like sunlight with it’s lightweight piano ballad. Now when you’re adventuring through the Pokemon world to become the very best, there could be nothing more relaxing.

But if we take away the context of the piece (the Pokemon) and just examine the music itself, we have a short fanfare for an electronic orchestra. At its core, it’s remarkably simple. But it’s the small details and flourishes that really make it a joy to listen to: cheerful A-major key, long wholesome notes, little piano twirls, bouncing string scales, gentle drum beat. The piece is short, but written cleverly to fit three very different, but similar, themes together in one place, each with their own distinct character and feel. You have the initial fanfare to announce your arrival, then you have curious ‘old-timers’ melody before finishing with a more upbeat tune to return it to the fanfare. It’s like a convergence of all ages of life. Throughout the entirety of the piece there’s various counterpoints and counter-melodies. Like the piano counter-melody that plays over the top of the trumpet fanfare at the beginning of the piece or the string counter-melody in the middle section. The chord sequence is constantly rising, giving the feeling of elation and joy. The piece also does not restrict itself to any preset sequence or mode or structure. it just goes where it needs to go to express the many different experience from within this one portion of the Pokemon world.

Personally, I think it’s a fantastically crafted piece of music and a joy to listen to. Especially so given that it’s a electronic composition with a retro feel for a Pokemon game.

This piece has had some influence on my music. I used it as inspiration to write my own light-hearted and joyful adventure music in the Adventure_RPG album, particularly for the piece: “A Day of Adventure”.

Happy listening and enjoy!