|Album Title:||Aquarion EVOL Psalms of Eve|
|Anime Title:||Aquarion EVOL|
|Artist:||AKINO, bless4, Yoko Kanno, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Yui Ogura|
|Release Date:||May 23, 2012|
|Purchase at:||CDJapan, Play-Asia|
|01. Pandora, Pandora||Yoko Kanno||1:32|
|02. Paradoxical ZOO||Yoko Kanno||4:34|
|03. Fragments of Eve||Yoko Kanno||4:58|
|04. Beast Beat||Yoko Kanno||2:50|
|05. Your Legend ~ Aquarion Chapter Two||Yoko Kanno||5:30|
|06. Pop-up Holy||Yoko Kanno||1:30|
|07. a jealous flapper||Yoko Kanno||3:32|
|08. Yunoha’s Forest||Yoko Kanno||4:55|
|09. Jet Black Cadenza||Yoko Kanno||1:06|
|10. Holy Angel Academy Song||Yoko Kanno||2:11|
|11. Moonlight Symphonia||Yoko Kanno||3:52|
|12. Holy Sound Wave||Yoko Kanno||1:56|
|13. Moonlight Requiem||Yoko Kanno||3:46|
|14. Kagura in the Wilderness||Yoko Kanno||3:36|
|15. A’||Yoko Kanno||2:48|
|16. Genesis Carnival||Yoko Kanno||4:00|
|17. Altair Invasion||Yoko Kanno||3:08|
|18. Outerspace Fanfare||Yoko Kanno||1:36|
|19. Genesis History #2||Yoko Kanno||1:49|
|20. My Dear, Your Name is…?||Yoko Kanno||3:20|
|21. Aquaria Flying in the Sky||Yoko Kanno||6:08|
|22. [Untitled]||Yoko Kanno||0:42|
Review: Like the legend of Apollonius and Celiane that forms the foundation for the anime’s plotline, the Aquarion franchise seems destined to also go through iterations. And in each turn, you can definitely count on the silliness inherent in having giant robots powered by teenagers’ libidinal hormones and all the jokes that spill forth from that premise to remain. Thank goodness, then, that the latest entry, Aquarion EVOL, preserves what is perhaps the best element of the franchise: Yoko Kanno, who, once again, composes a stellar score that carries with it a dignity that is oh-so-slightly at odds with the show’s wonky premise.
Apart from the mysterious-sounding choral opener titled “Pandora, Pandora,” Yoko Kanno immediately gets to work by unleashing her pop-ish energy and making full use of Akino Kawamitsu’s vocals to dazzle the listener. Aquarion EVOL’s “Paradoxical ZOO” and “Fragments of Eve” are reminiscent of many of Kanno’s past songs; the former bears traces of the vocal flourishes that marked Genesis of Aquarion’s “Go Tight!” while the latter’s chorus brims with so much energy that it can overbearing at times. There’s no denying the strong stamp they make upon this album and much of that credit is courtesy of AKINO and how unrelenting she can be when she’s belting it out.
Fragments of Eve
With two high-energy tracks placed back to back, the whole affair feels like a vocal and instrumental extravaganza that is thrilling and exhausting without any end in sight. The bass solo in “Beast Beat,” featuring KenKen, doesn’t do much to calm matters as the cacophony of sound from the bass and synth descends with an emphatic, syncopating rhythm. The combination of KenKen’s virtuosity is riveting in the way he maneuvers deftly through the rhythms and sculpts that infectious energy; there were times where I wanted to participate by clapping along to that hypnotic display. It’s not until “a jealous flapper” that we see Kanno’s orchestral flavors arrive. Here, the melody sashays along exquisitely, carrying a hint of mischief before transitioning to a bold Eastern European sound that serves as the piece’s mainstay with only a slight detour towards a dreamier section.
a jealous flapper
As with most Kanno scores, the sheer variety of genres and ethnic styles is part of what keeps Aquarion EVOL’s soundtrack exciting. “Pop-up Holy’s” synth track offers an absorbing atmosphere as those eclectic sounds merge together to create a pleasant array of whimsical music while “A’s” guitar introduction eventually gives way to a grimmer Irish melody. And then there’s “Altair Invasion,” which is interesting in that it starts off with a heavy march, adds a few Middle Eastern inflections in the strings to give it an exotic, alien tilt, before finally throwing the electric guitar into the mix to up the dissonance.
Given the events in the anime, “Altair Invasion” isn’t the only grim track to rear its head. “Moonlight Requiem” rains down a menacing piano melody right from the get-go before Kanno adds a synth layer to accompany the piano, giving the entire presentation a sci-fi feel that is borderline cacophonous. Better still, “Kagura in the Wilderness” amplifies the tension through Sachie Oonuma’s viola solo. Her performance is absolutely discordant as her viola scratches bestow an uneasy aura upon the piece to the point where it continually grinds away at your sanity because of how wonderfully unpleasant it is.
But somehow, I can never seem to let go of the past and still find myself gravitating towards the familiar tracks that graced Genesis of Aquarion’s score. Starting with “Holy Sound Wave’s” familiar choral lilt, Aquarion EVOL grabs melodic snippets from the first installment and are inserted or arranged for your listening pleasure. One prominent example involves taking “Aquarius’s” melody and setting it to an organ arrangement in “Genesis Carnival” to create a more rousing atmosphere once the organ lets the orchestra take over. Still, nothing quite captures the feeling of majesty like “Genesis History #2” which uses the ending segment in “First Love, Final Love” to, once again, exudes a stirring aura filled with hope and optimism as humanity progresses towards a more glorious era.
Genesis History #2
What stands out to me the most about Aquarion EVOL’s soundtrack is that it manages to use enough of the themes from Genesis of Aquarion to clearly suggest a tie to that first installment without making it feel like a disc filled with stuff I’ve heard before. Finally, as far as Yoko Kanno is concerned, this is about par for her generally lofty standards with the obvious implication that it doesn’t surpass some of her grander works. With that in mind, here’s hoping the second Aquarion EVOL disc (if they make one) carries a finale piece that’s as momentous as Genesis of Aquarion’s “First Love, Final Love.”
Rating: Very Good