Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Yoko Kanno Reviews: Sousei no Aquarion OST II

I enjoyed the epic, Escaflowne-esque feel contained on the songs the first Sousei no Aquarion OST but I was quite surprised by Sousei no Aquarion OST II. This one is definitely a step above the first soundtrack and contains first-rate music throughout.

Like the first soundtrack, Yoko Kanno collaborates with composer Hisaaki Hogari for the music. According to the information found here, they worked together on three songs while Hogari composed one by himself and Kanno composed the rest. When Kanno and Hogari work together, they produce some of the best songs on the album. "Cyberfolk Music" is a tour-de-force that effortlessly combines their respective styles. The combination of electronic elements, orchestral sounds, and Kanno's signature rapid-fire bass and drums result in a song that you wish was 10 times longer. "Psychedelic Academy" has both electronic and orchestral elements like "Cyberfolk Music" but it has a stronger electronic feel that takes advantage of Hogari's talents and has Kanno clearly in Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex mode. The epic electronic feel of this song would not have sounded out of place in a Matrix film. "Interstellar Connecting Ferry," the last song that the composers did together, is mellow and haunting. Choral vocals, a Boards of Canada-esque ambient feel, and light piano combine for a wonderfully moody piece. Interestingly enough, Hisaaki Hogari's solo piece, "The Baron And The Sun," contains no electronic elements at all. It's a soft, relaxed piece dominated by piano and acoustic guitar. It's quite the contrast to the music he and Kanno worked on together.

The rest of Sousei no Aquarion OST II is pure Kanno. Some of the songs contained here are easily among the best orchestral pieces she has done so far. The classical music influence is very strong here and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra makes it all sound great. "Vatican Dance" is a lovely little piece while an organ gives a baroque sound to "Heavens Gate." The dark, choral vocals and themes present in "Exodus" and "Blaqarion" may sound a little too close to stuff from Escaflowne, but they are powerful and enjoyable to listen to. Kanno tackles opera again (she composed the music for the "Magnetic Rose" segment from the film Memories) with "Thoma's Oracle," a Phantom Of The Opera-esque piece featuring vocals by Dorota Lachowricz.

Kanno's non-classical pieces for this soundtrack are pretty good as well. "Dribble Dribble" is an exercise in Spanish-style guitar that works pretty well. "Diet Waltz" is an odd little ditty that combines electronic drums with a light violin. However, what really stands out is the talent of AKINO. She sings on several songs that show off her wonderful voice. My favorite in particular is "Genesis Of Aquarion" in which she sings in partial a capella with bless4. She sings in both English and Japanese and pulls it off very well.

Ultimately, Sousei no Aquarion OST II was a pleasant surprise for me. The music was consistently good and the collaborations between Hogari and Kanno were intriguing. The style for this soundtrack is very reminiscent of Escaflowne, but there is enough here to make it stand out. Here's hoping that a Sousei no Aquarion OST III is on the way.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:28 AM

    Sousei no Aquarion ost is amazing.....
    My favorite being First Love Final Love, makes me wanna swell up in pride and heroism