Certainly not on the level of Yoko Kanno's work on the Brain Powerd, Cowboy Bebop, or Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex OSTs, the Kuro No Keiyakush (Darker than Black) OST provides some lovely but mostly forgettable tracks. An interesting mix of jazz and easy listening (and a couple of random rock song thrown in just for fun), this album is great for background music while working, relaxing, or or hanging out online, but just doesn't convey the deep emotion, joie de vivre, or musical genius Kanno has shown in the aforementioned earlier works. Of course, there are a few gems here that shine and stand out from the rest.
No Ones Home
A sweet track with English vocals sung by Mai Yamaname, the crooner of "The Real Folk Blues" and "Rain" from Cowboy Bebop. Her deep, raspy voice is accompanied by piano, strings, and horns. Definitely a must listen for fans of her Bebop songs.
Another Mai Yamaname track, this one has her humming and scatting over a guitar riff. Very simple, and at two minutes and thirteen seconds, doesn't overstay its welcome. This song would have fit well into Cowboy Bebop, but does justice here as one of only a few really great tracks.
A Steve Conte track! Synthesizers, guitar, drums and some odd whistling at the end. Conte's vocals never overshadow the music in any of Yoko Kanno's work, and although a heavier emphasis on the vocals rather than the instruments might have made this song better, it's still one of the best on the OST.
In no Piano
As the name implies, a piano solo. It doesn't invoke any particular emotion as many of Kanno's piano pieces do, but stands alone well as just a beautiful piece of music. This one goes great with a glass of wine and a desire to just relax.
Other songs on this album aren't bad, but they're not as notable as the ones mentioned or as moving as songs from Kanno's other OSTs.
Should You Listen?
I recommend this one to newbies to anime OSTs (nothing really groundbreaking, so it's a good starter album), rabid Yoko Kanno fans who absolutely must have every OST with her name attached to it, and anyone who enjoyed the BGM while watching the series. I don't mind this OST at all, but I fear fans of her earlier works may be disappointed...
I'm giving this one 3 / 5. It's enjoyable, fun to listen to, and definitely worth a try. But as a fan of Yoko Kanno's works, this one just doesn't measure up.