Monday, October 09, 2006

Sterfish Shares: Rare Yoko Kanno

If you look at how many posts have the Yoko Kanno label, you will see that I'm somewhat of a big fan of this Japanese composer. So, for the second installment of the new Sterfish Shares posts, I figured I'd share some harder-to-find Yoko Kanno tracks.

First up, are a couple of tracks from the album 23 Ji no Ongaku (Music For The 23rd Hour), a soundtrack to a live action drama series (see my review). The album is pretty much a collaboration with singer/actress Maaya Sakamoto and it's gradually become one of my favorite Yoko Kanno albums. I used two tracks from this album on the last mix I made and they are two of the three tracks I will be sharing from this album.

“Pepper Stretch” is an unusually catchy little song. It has a nice, light jazz feel to it and features vocal parts that are likely by Gabriela Robin, the singer who is rumored to be Yoko Kanno's alter ego.

Yoko Kanno - “Pepper Stretch” from 23 Ji no Ongaku (Music For The 23rd Hour)

“Trust Me” is a smooth, moody, smoky song with a nice sound to it. The lyrics are sparse but Maaya Sakamoto sounds very good here.

Yoko Kanno feat. Maaya Sakamoto - “Trust Me” from 23 Ji no Ongaku

The final song I'm sharing from this album is “Danielle,” a midtempo pop song. Kanno does these types of songs very well and this song, while a little more straighforward and conventional than her best pop stuff, is very good nonetheless. Maaya Sakamoto also delivers some good vocals here as well.

Yoko Kanno feat. Maaya Sakamoto - “Danielle” from 23 Ji no Ongaku

Next up, here is a track from Kanno's only non-soundtrack solo album, Song To Fly (see my review). “The Man In The Desert,” which features the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra And Chorus, is one of my favorite songs on this excellent album. It has a great classical sound and I love the way the chorus and orchestra sound so good together.

Yoko Kanno feat. The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra And Chorus - “The Man In The Desert” from Song To Fly

Finally, here is a track from a really rare album. The album is the NHK Special Chuugoku~12 Oku-jin no Kaikaku Kaihou OST (NHK Special China~1200 Million People's Liberation and Reform OST). This is a soundtrack to a TV special about China that aired on Japanese television (see my review). This album is out of print in Japan, so you can't get this as an import even if you wanted to.

The track I'm sharing is called “Mugen” (Dreams) and features vocals by Wuyontana. It's a nice fusion of traditional Asian sounds and more modern ones.

Yoko Kanno feat. Wuyontana - “Mugen” from NHK China Special OST

A few of Yoko Kanno's soundtracks are available domestically if you are interested in hearing more. They include soundtracks to Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Arjuna, Macross Plus, and Wolf's Rain. These soundtracks are damn near impossible to find in an actual store. Your best bet is either Amazon or The Right Stuf. If you want to get actual copies of her CDs not yet released in America, try CD Japan. You can find just about every major album of hers online through various means as well.

That's it for this edition of Sterfish Shares. I don't know what I'll put up next time. You'll just have to wait and see.

1 comment:

  1. Arielle2:28 PM

    You don't know me, but I have been in search of one bloody song off of The Other Side of Midnight cd. Fad, sung by Maaya Sakamoto. I can't buy the cd, because I'm at college and am completely and utterly broke. Is there anyway you could upload that song for me? It would be the most amazing thing ever. My email is I would be forever in your debt. Thanks!