|Album Title:||Gatchaman Crowds Original Soundtrack|
|Anime Title:||Gatchaman Crowds|
|Artist:||Taku Iwasaki, Yutaka Shinya, WHITE ASH, Yuri Kasahara, Maaya Uchida|
|Release Date:||August 28, 2013|
|Purchase at:||CDJapan, Play-Asia|
|01. Gotchaman ~ In the name of Love||Taku Iwasaki||3:52|
|02. The core of Soul||Taku Iwasaki||2:52|
|03. Milestone||Taku Iwasaki||2:56|
|04. Firebird||Taku Iwasaki||3:11|
|05. Tutu||Taku Iwasaki||2:19|
|06. Pandaman||Taku Iwasaki||2:07|
|07. Music goes on||Taku Iwasaki||3:39|
|08. Phenex||Taku Iwasaki||3:05|
|09. Un beau léopard violet||Taku Iwasaki||2:32|
|10. Gatchadance||Taku Iwasaki||3:21|
|11. Galax||Taku Iwasaki||0:09|
|12. The bird can’t fly||Taku Iwasaki||3:04|
|13. Are you Gatchaman?||Taku Iwasaki||4:07|
|14. Destruction by rumor||Taku Iwasaki||2:55|
|15. Why I kissed him?||Taku Iwasaki||3:14|
|16. Fat guitar||Taku Iwasaki||3:30|
|17. Ziel der Hydra||Taku Iwasaki||3:38|
|18. Sacrifice||Taku Iwasaki||4:57|
|19. Crowds||Taku Iwasaki||3:21|
|20. Unbeatable Network||Taku Iwasaki||4:18|
|21. Love||Taku Iwasaki||3:28|
|22. INNOCENT NOTE||Yutaka Shinya, Maaya Uchida||3:54|
|23. Crowds (TV size)||WHITE ASH||1:20|
|24. INNOCENT NOTE (TV size)||Yutaka Shinya, Maaya Uchida||1:22|
Review: Two factors in Gatchaman Crowds’ soundtrack make it an unlikely candidate to herald its composer’s return to quality form. First of all, Taku Iwasaki’s penchant for experimentation hasn’t been fruitful recently; I wasn’t too fond of his work on Jormungand’s soundtrack and even Iwasaki himself was displeased with the way his music was used in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Secondly, genres like dubstep are an anathema to me seeing as how I find the grinds, wails, and blares to be generally obnoxious, unmemorable, and unappealing.
But in Gatchaman Crowds, Iwasaki’s work defies such expectations. His experimental forays into dubstep and electronica, amazingly enough, fall under the tolerable end of the spectrum. If that wasn’t enough, the melodic tracks are a force to be reckoned with. It’s through this latter aspect of Gatchaman that we get a glimpse of the Taku Iwasaki of old; the Iwasaki who wowed us with immortal classics like the scores to Gin-iro no Kami no Agito and Rurouni Kenshin ~Tsuiokuhen~, the Iwasaki whose sweeping melodies tickled our senses, drawing us into the anime and rendering us captivated by the emotion and energy that flowed so effortlessly through his music.
Having an energetic starter where the vocalist belts out an enthusiastic “G-G-G-G-G-Gatchamaaaaaaaaan” to grab your attention never hurts either! With that outburst, “Gotchaman ~ In the name of Love” gets underway. The pumping beat, synth channeling, and screeches and grinds are effective in setting the pace and tone for the piece, imbuing it with boundless energy to take our imaginations for a wild ride. Strings, electric guitar, and spoken word roll along effortlessly, punctuated by dubstep that, while harsh, isn’t wholly unpleasant as the excitement lingers to infect many of the subsequent tracks. Together, this blend is one of the better results from Iwasaki’s endless experimentations and certainly generates the right amount of intensity for the road ahead.
Gotchaman ~ In the name of Love
And as the intensity weaves in and out, it picks up in “Firebird,” where the discordant tone, complete with typified dubstep stutters and blares bring about a sense of danger and havoc through a harsh tone cranked to maximum. Iwasaki even throws in a brief chiptune measure to give the piece a video game-y feel before launching back into a harrowing melody that oozes tension in a way that’s compelling even if it teeters upon being overbearing. More palatable is “Music goes on,” where the string introduction segues to a vocalist whose voice is compelling through her persistent exhortations. Furthermore, the lines of dubstep are well-executed as it hits all the right spots simply by limiting their harshness while setting a clear direction, thereby sounding less like cacophony and giving them a melodic quality. Finally, the strings succeed in elevating the overall grandiosity of the conflict and maintaining the sense of struggle every step of the way as the heroes seek to bring about a better world.
Music goes on
Where Iwasaki’s experiments falter just a bit is when he tries to cram too many genres into one piece. Nowhere is that more evident than in “Ziel der Hydra” where we see orchestrals and opera (with longtime Iwasaki collaborator Yuri Kasahara) trying to mesh with dubstep. As bold and captivating as the piece is when it first starts, the electronica detracts from the other instruments’ fineries, preventing it from being the more polished effort it could have been. The most blaring example would be when the dubstep groans try to integrate with Kasahara’s operatic delivery around the middle, resulting in a messy rather than complementary affair. Nevertheless, the dramatic aura it gives off is sufficiently decent and even with its faults, still worth a listen.
Ziel der Hydra
So even though the dubstep rules many of the pieces, Iwasaki dispenses with a notable track that departs from the intensity and urgency to cater more to the whimsical moments in the anime. “Tutu” is by far one of my favorites and I find myself entranced by its hypnotic tones which lull me into a pleasant dream. While the vocals, which float about with the seemingly aimless “I’m busy lalalala~,” draw most of the attention, you shouldn’t discount the instrumentals which envelopes you in its warm, endearing atmosphere of childish naivete, one that blossoms before receding back to its charming sleepiness.
But the strongest tracks by far rely on Iwasaki’s skill in composing string and piano melodies. “Why I kissed him?” is one that stands out with regard to how poignant it is. The violin solo opens with a wistful tone that draws out a profound heartache, especially during the sustained notes which heighten the feelings of regret so as to worm its way into my heart. The resulting bittersweetness is touching and I find myself won over by the quiet desperation that seeps out of every measure. As melancholy as it is, the track does proffer a small helping of hope that things will turn out for the best. The piano that opens “Unbeatable Network” is also engaging as its motif exudes a growing optimism in the way it builds up, adding more instruments, before letting loose with a sweeping orchestral/chiptune mix that inspires much hope as people step up and strive forward in their dedication to bring about positive change. Finally, “Love” is a fitting ending, as the strings weave a melody seeped in quiet contentment, in a way that’s honest as the happiness comes across in a lovely fashion.
Why I kissed him?
Under no yardstick is Gatchaman Crowds Iwasaki’s best effort, but it’s certainly a big step up relative to his recent work. While the dubstep tracks vary in their quality, none trip across the line into obnoxiousness as they succeed in being fittingly intense and exciting. More importantly, Iwasaki’s orchestral pieces demonstrate his capacity to write compelling compositions that tug upon those heartstrings and captivate listeners with their beauty. The only regret, perhaps, is that there aren’t more of them.
Rating: Very Good