Gokusen : Original Soundtrack Review

Album Title: Gokusen : Original Soundtrack
Drama Title: Gokusen
Artist: Ooshima Michiru
Catalog Number: AVCD-17124
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: June 19, 2002
Purchase at: CDJapan

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A Breakdown of Sakamichi no Apollon’s Preview Trailer, and Introducing Our First Episodic Post Series

The last time Shinichirou Watanabe and Yoko Kanno worked on a show together, it resulted in a little-known show you might have heard of: Cowboy Bebop. I’ll get straight to the point; they’re back. Doing a show together.

About jazz.

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Arrangement: Rasmus Faber Presents: Platina Jazz ~Anime Standards Vol. 3~ – Review

Album Title: Rasmus Faber Presents Platina Jazz ~Anime Standards Vol. 3~
Anime Title: Various
Artist: Rasmus Faber
Catalog Number: VICP-65036
Release Type: Arrangement
Release Date: February 8, 2012
Purchase at: Amazon, CDJapan, iTunes

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Monday Melodic Musings: Suna no Utsuwa – Piano Concerto ‘Shukumei’ 1st movement

And you thought this was all an April Fool’s Day joke…

Now that we have the shocking announcement out of the way, let’s move on to this week’s piece by starting off with the source. If you’re like me at all, you probably haven’t heard of Suna no Utsuwa, a J-drama that aired in 2004 and revolves around murder and a pianist, subjects that aren’t normally bedfellows, but I’m told it works well here.

But if there is something about this show that I have heard of, it would be composer Akira Senju. I first became aware of how well Senju can channel drama and melancholy when he scored the Red Garden soundtrack (I rated it a rare masterpiece) though I’m sure most people really know him best through his Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood soundtrack (not as well-regarded by me, but I seem to be a minority opinion-holder). Through Suna no Utsuwa, Senju gives us a firm reminder of his ability to capture the mix of hope and despair, and nowhere is that displayed more brilliantly than in the piano concerto that he composed for the show (Speaking as a fanboy for piano concertos, one need only look at the number of piano concertos in anime to quickly see why J-drama OSTs are superior).

Piano Concerto ‘Shukumei’ 1st movement

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Anime Instrumentality to Become J-Drama Instrumentality

After nearly four years of writing about anime soundtracks, we at Anime Instrumentality have collectively come to a realization that in order for us to continue our evolution as J-music fans and hone our insights and analysis, it is necessary for us to explore other media. The only criteria is that it would have to be Japan-specific, so after combing through the gamut of J-music from bunraku scores to visual-kei to Ainu music, we’ve ultimately settled upon J-drama soundtracks.

Part of our goal is to fight back against the rising tide of moe (which is a cancer) and “2D > 3D pig disgusting” sentiments. The most meaningful way to counteract these phenomena is by focusing on a medium that features real people in real-world situations. Thankfully, in analyzing the music, J-drama scores aren’t too wide a leap from anime soundtracks. With so much cross-pollination in the composer department, we feel that exploring J-dramas provides us with a “similar, yet different” feel that we seek.

It also helps that many J-dramas tend to stick to romantic polyhedrons or comedies, giving plenty of opportunities for composers to show off their ability to write soft, tinkly piano music or ratchet up the emotional flow with sustained, harmonious strings that are beautiful and dynamic, with a complexity that rivals Bach’s counterpoint. In fact, we’re confident that these works will be able to withstand the test of time; it’s just that people haven’t had the exposure to them and we’re looking to change that. [Read more…]

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