Here comes portion five of our Yoko Kanno feature artist week (the loosest definition of a week here applies). Today we’ll be looking at some electronic and ambient pieces. I mentioned in the previous entry how Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex planted the seed of what today has become my propensity towards electronica, ambience, trip-hop whatever you want to call it. Consequently, you’ll be seeing a couple tracks from GITS, but you can frequently find little electro-oddities on her other OST works as well.
Here’s some in Cowboy Bebop! Now, like many Kanno pieces, this track is hard to place in terms of genre (it sounds like a music box. Music box is not a genre). I may be stretching the term ‘ambient’ here, but it’s all in the details to me. The huge echo applied, for instance, the hesitancy of the rhythm, and the general sensation of weightlessness and vastness. That last point is especially relevant in a series about bounty hunters in space.
Cowboy Bebop OST III (Blue)- Stella by Moore
Earth Girl Arjuna (or Earth Maiden Arjuna, depending on how you wanna be about it) is a good example of the Magical Girl anime archetype, and a good example of something I would have never discovered had I not done this Yoko Kanno feature week. I had never heard any of the music she wrote for this series, and likely never would have due to my general distaste for Magical Girl and Harem anime series (Sailor Moon and Ranma 1/2 notwithstanding) I may have to watch Arjuna, though, because I am dying to see what kind of visuals this outstanding original score was paired with. Take your time with this track, it’s a slow build, but it’s building up to something good.
Earth Girl Arjuna OST I- Time to Die
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is chock-full of these short, mechanical little songs that leave me wanting (which I love), and the album with the best collection of these pieces has got to be the fourth album, be Human. It was supremely difficult to choose which song to include, and I encourage you to listen to the entire album, but Let’s Oil is a fair representative.
be Human- Let’s Oil
Okay, so I have this weakness for genre perversion. Gonna Rice could have very easily been included in the ‘rock’ category posted recently, but I saved it until now. I love those almost irrhythmic clicks and snaps and the gradual wax-and-wane of the distortion on the guitar. It takes an otherwise average grunge-rock sound and makes it something really nicely distracting to listen to.
Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex OST II- Gonna Rice
Before you listen to this last track (from Bebop again), I want you to think of the last time you laughed so hard you couldn’t stop, even though you were going to get in trouble if you didn’t. You know, one of those hysterical laughs where the longer you laugh, the funnier it is; the funnier it is, the harder you laugh until it devolves into pure, uncontrollably manic joy. Are you there? Are you remembering the last time? This is the song that was playing when it happened.
Cowboy Bebop OST II (No Disc)- Cat on Mars
(Bonus note: it is especially pleasing to me to see how poorly the exaggeratedly happy music matches the cover art displayed during the video. “OH GOD” she sobs “This is tragic, I am so depressed!” Meanwhile, the music: “Ba ba baaa! Ba ba baaa! Neko mitai ni!”)