Friday, December 30, 2011

Mariya Takeuchi: Expressions

As the year comes to a close, I made time for a final 2011 post. This year has gone by too fast but it has been a rough one for many, so hopefully 2012 brings some piece of mind and fresh starts. The greatest hits compilation in this post features 42 tracks spanning Mariya Takeuchi's career. Takeuchi is a fantastic singer-songwriter, whose songs are probably more well known for their renditions done by other artists. Takeuchi has written several hits for some of the top idols of Japan like, Akina Nakamori, Miho Nakayama, Seiko Matsuda, Yukiko Okada and more. Many of these songs were recorded by her as well and with most of her arrangements done by husband, singer Tatsuro Yamashita. However, Takeuchi has had her fair share of hits as well, many featured on dramas and commercials. Her career may not be as recognizable as some of the artists she has written for, but her music is just as great! Enjoy and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Expressions (2008)

1. 戻っておいで・私の時間
2. グッドバイ・サマーブリーズ
3. ドリーム・オブ・ユー~レモンライムの青い風~[Single Version]
4. 涙のワンサイデッド・ラヴ
5. September
6. 不思議なピーチパイ
7. 象牙海岸
8. 五線紙
9. Morning Glory
10. 僕の街へ
11. ボーイ・ハント (Where The Boys Are)
12. 恋のひとこと (Something Stupid)
13. Never Cry Butterfly
14. Let It Be Me [Studio Version]

1. リンダ
2. もう一度
3. マージービートで唄わせて
4. 本気でオンリーユー (Let's Get Married)
5. プラスティック・ラヴ
6. 恋の嵐
7. 元気を出して
8. 色・ホワイトブレンド
9. けんかをやめて
10. 駅
11. Forever Friends
12. シングル・アゲイン
13. 告白
14. マンハッタン・キス

1. 家に帰ろう (マイ・スイート・ホーム)
2. 純愛ラプソディ
4. カムフラージュ
5. 今夜はHearty Party (Single Mix)
6. 天使のため息
7. すてきなホリデイ
8. 真夜中のナイチンゲール
9. 返信
10. みんなひとり
11. チャンスの前髪
12. うれしくてさみしい日 (Your Wedding Day)
13. 幸せのものさし
14. 人生の扉

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kenji Kawai & Hajime Mizoguchi: ケルベロス・サーガ

Kenji Kawai: 紅い眼鏡 -The Red Spectacles SPECIAL- (1987)

1. 別れ
2. メイン・タイトル
3. 夜行
4. 逃走
5. 紅一とみどり
6. 文明のマンボ
7. C&W
8. 立ち喰いそば屋
9. 疾走
10. Diarrhea
11. 幻のスクリーン
12. 裏切り
13. 宣告
14. 脱出
15. 他人の街
16. 雨
17. 少女のテーマ
18. エンディング・タイトル
19. オープニング・テーマ
20. ソーダ水の泡
21. Le Temps de Reve-夢のとき
22. 新田とみほのテーマ
23. 再会
24. エンディング・テーマ

Kenji Kawai: STRAYDOG ケルベロス~地獄の番犬 オリジナル・サウンドトラック (1991)

1. ストレイ・ドッグ~プロローグ
2. 唐密(タンミー)
3. 追想
4. 漂泊
5. 迷宮
6. 陽炎
7. 黄昏
8. 惜別
9. CM
10. 戦闘回廊
11. ストレイ・ドッグ~エピローグ

Hajime Mizoguchi: 人狼 JIN-ROH ― オリジナル・サウンドトラック (1999)

1. a monologue
2. Jinroh -Main Theme- (オープニング・ヴァージョン)
3. dark star
4. sting
5. mad black
6. damp
7. gray black
8. blue clouds
9. silence & wind
10. fragrance rain
11. latest flame
12. curse
13. pride
14. unit one
15. long destiny
16. the force
17. keel
18. angel
19. shadows of rainbow
20. seal
21. the top
22. grace ~Jinroh-Main Theme-~ omega

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kenji Kawai: 人魚の森 ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK, 吸血姫 美夕 音楽編, 吸血姫美夕 ― オリジナル・サウンドトラック

While I have been meaning to post his works for some time, it was JJ's "PATLABOR CONCERT" post that pushed me to dedicated a few of my next posts to one of my favorite composers. Kenji Kawai is one of few composers that can seamlessly transition from composition to composition and sound completely original, while maintaining a touch of his signature sounds. Many composer often attempt to do this but often heavily fall back into a comfortable format. While this first post does not really capture the air I am speaking of, it does demonstrate what Kawai does best, atmospheric suspense and horror. While originally known for his work on the Maison Ikokku & RANMA 1/2 and later for such successes as Ghost in the Shell & Ringu, Kawai has also done some amazing work for some lesser known series and films that are on par with his others. 吸血姫美夕 ― オリジナル・サウンドトラック is one of my favorite soundtracks of all time for a multitude of reasons and just like the others in this post, Kawai melds Japanese traditional and modern music into haunting atmospherics and moving minimalistic pieces. I will be posting more of his works soon, including some mentioned above more! Enjoy!


1. 序章
2. 時の漂白 - Junko Hirotani
3. 昭和11年・東京…
4. 姉妹
5. 変形
6. 人魚伝説
7. 能登半島神無木屋敷
8. 登和
9. 彷徨の森
10. 予兆
11. 悪夢
12. 金色の海
13. 右腕の悪魔
14. なりそこない
15. 死闘
16. 狂気の儀式
17. 人魚塚
18. 人喰い人魚
19. 回想
20. もう1人の自分
21. 海へ還る
22. 終章
23. 森をぬけて~ボーン・トゥ・ラヴ・ユー - Eri Fukatsu

No tracks on Youtube, but Kenji Mase's compostion for the end theme is excellent!

吸血姫 美夕 音楽編 (1989)

1. オープニングテーマ
2. 女霊媒士・一三子
3. ラヴァのテーマ
4. 哀しい運命(さだめ)
5. 追跡
6. 神魔出現
7. しのび寄る影
8. 古都の街
9. 桂(けい)のテーマ
10. 美少女・爛佳(らんか)
11. 鎧怪人の襲撃
12. 闇の中の炎
13. ラヴァのテーマ・ワルツ
14. 神魔レムレス
15. 鎧怪人の最期
16. 終結の時
17. 宿命の母
18. エンディングテーマ
19. 吸血姫 美夕 - Namiko Watanabe

吸血姫美夕 ― オリジナル・サウンドトラック (1997)

1. 神魔の鼓動
2. サブタイトル
3. 宿命のカタルシス
4. 魔手
5. 闇笛
6. 逃避行
7. やすらぎの中で
8. 友達
9. 逢いたい - Hiroko Kasahara
10. 氷の微笑(ほほえみ)
11. 約束
12. 哀しみの調べ
13. セピア色のロマン
14. 超能力
15. 無尽の振舞い
16. さざ波
17. 死水晶の剣
18. 決意
19. 魔性の影
20. 神魔の闘い
21. 封印
22. 愛する想いに…
23.まんまる手まり歌 - Miki Nagasawa
24. 失くした愛は悲しくて
25. 花園のささやき
26. 女道士
27. 人形師のワルツ
28. 殺風歌
29. 優しさの時間(とき)に
30. 苦悩
31. 空の暗殺者
32. 美闘美
33. 運命(さだめ)
34. 美夕八千夜 - Saeko Suzuki

Monday, December 12, 2011

IU: 너랑 나

I recently have been mesmerized by K-pop singer IU's lead single,"너랑 나", off her new album, Last Fantasy. While having a typical upbeat/dance feel of many K-Pop songs presently, it is complimented by a superb orchestral arrangement, giving it a very nostalgic and dynamic feel. While I was not as impressed with the entire album, "너랑 나" is definitely worth a listen. Along with the video, it has proven to be one of the most original works of 2011 in K-Pop. Enjoy!

Last Fantasy (2011) [Track 4 Only]

4. 너랑 나


Friday, December 9, 2011


Like many suburban White kids in the U.S., I have been fascinated by Hip-Hop and R&B from an early age. Growing up in the 90's, I was lucky enough to experience the genres at their peaks and enjoy a diverse and inspiring age before it became over-commercialized, mediocre and insulting. While trying to find solace within underground artists, I eventually became annoyed with the ideology that "good" music should not be meant for the ears of many. Through the recommendation of a classmate in college, I checked out a Korean Hip-Hop trio, Epik High, and my life was completely changed. I became obsessed and from that point, I have happily scoured the internet for Asian Hip-Hop and R&B. While Korea does hold most of my favorite artists, it's Japan that practically pioneered its introduction into Asia and allowed many of favorite artists to exist today. Unlike the states, many artists (not all) have stayed true to the origins of the genres and made their way into the mainstream. This post features five artists from over the last 20 years that I feel represent the growth and roots of the genres. DJ Krush, an ex-yakuza, who became inspired by hip-hop and put the J-urban scene on the map in the early 90's. Coma-Chi, one of the few female rappers/singers to establish herself in Japan. Shingo Suzuki and 45, labelmates who utilize genre blending and musicians from all over the world to highlight the beauty of universal hip-hop. Last and not least, JASMINE, a fantastic R&B singer bringing a mature, soulful flare to modern J-pop countering the stereotypical "cutesy image". There is a whole range of artist, past and present, who have brought their finesse to the genres but I hope everyone takes a listen to these artists and check out their other works. Shingo Suzuki's group, Ovall, is awesome! Enjoy!

DJ Krush - Krush (1994)

1. AM 300 Tag
2. Keeping The Motion
3. Mixed Nuts
4. Roll & Tumble
5. Murder of Soul
6. E.A.R.T.H.-SOS
7. On the Dub-ble
8. Another Day
9. Underneath the System
10. Edge of Blue
11. Big City Lover
12. Down The Drain
13. Into the Water
14. Ruff-Neck Jam

Coma-Chi - DAY BEFORE BLUE (2006)

1. Intro
2. 放浪
3. skit-Cypher@丸子橋.
6. Bye bye my self
7. 夜間遊泳
8. Love music feat.TARO SOUL
9. skit
10. バイブレイション
11. 4seasons

Shingo Suzuki - The Abstract Truth (2008)

1. Voice Of The World
2. Flyable (feat. Moka Only)
3. Night Lights With Thirdiq
4. Sunrise (feat. Marina P & Blanco Nice)
5. Hi(gh) Music (feat. Blu)
6. Echo From The Sky
7. M.O.G.
8. Livin' Up (feat. 20syl, DJ Green from Hocus Pocus & Ol' K)
9. Inside Your Love
10. A Kind Of Metaphor
11. Red Earth
12. 1000 Nights
13. Eternal Sunshine
14. Shayo (feat. Ol' K)
15. Universe For H

45 a.k.a. SWING-O - Hello Friends

1. Hello Friends
2. Struttin'
3. Searchin' (feat. Tasita D'mour)
4. The Night Life (feat. Steph Pockets)
5. Underground Superstar (feat. Yuu Sakai)
6. Interlude Italiano
7. Tokyo Jazz Freak
8. Once Again
9. Wa
10. Can You Say Yes (feat. Marcellus Nealy)
11. P.Simon
12. Solitude
13. Hello Friends (Lark Chillout for A.Y.B.Force Remix)


2. sad to say
3. L.I.P.S.
4. Jealous
5. Bad Girl
6. dear my friend
7. stage ~interlude~
8. This Is Not A Game
9. 恋
10. what you want?
11. No More
12. Dreamin'
13. Why

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Music From the Films of Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa is one of the most prolific directors to ever grace the world of cinema. In fact he was named "one of five people who contributed most to the betterment of Asia in the past 100 years". His films were diverse, experimental, enigmatic and highly influential. Classic Westerns like the "Magnificent Seven" and "A Fist Full of Dollars" are undeclared remakes of his films and even George Lucas admits that he when he re-wrote the original Star Wars, he modeled Kurosawa's 1958 film "The Hidden Fortress". Kurosawa was a master at what he did but he also relied on the talents of his casts and crew to carry the films and he often built long lasting working relationships. The scores to his films were no exception and the two albums in this post feature the works of five composer over the span of Kurosawa's last 18 films. KUROSAWA~THE FILM MUSIC OF AKIRA KUROSAWA~, begins with his epic 14th film "Seven Samurai" (although his 13th is in there on track 2) and continues chronologically to 1990's "Dreams" (my personal favorite). Each track is a compilation of memorable pieces from each film and serves as a fantastic musical retrospective. The second soundtrack covers Kurosawa's last 3 films (all composed by Shinichiro Ikebe) and contains the complete soundtrack of "Dreams" and selections from the the others. Highly recommended! Enjoy!

Composed by:
Tracks 1-3 Fumio Hayasaka
Tracks 4-11 Masaru Sato
Tracks 12,15 Toru Takemitsu
Track 13 Isaac Schwartz
Tracks 14, 16 Shinichiro Ikebe

1. 七人の侍
2. 生きる
3. 生きものの記録
4. 蜘蛛巣城
5. どん底
6. 隠し砦の三悪人
7. 悪い奴ほどよく眠る
8. 用心棒
9. 椿三十郎
10. 天国と地獄
11. 赤ひげ
12. どですかでん
13. デルス・ウザーラ
14. 影武者
15. 乱
16. 夢


夢 (1990)
1. タイトル
2. 日照り雨
3. 虹
4. 宴
5. 桃畑
6. 桃の精
7. 雪女
8. 雲間より
9. 鎮魂ラッパ
10. 雨だれ1
11. 雨だれ2
12. 雨だれ3
13. 赤富士1
14. 赤富士2
15. 放射能
16. 廃墟の町
17. 鬼哭
18. 葬列
19. エンディング

八月の狂詩曲 (1991)
20. その心は嘆き(「スターバト・マーテル」より)
21. 野ばら1
22. 野ばら2
23. 悲しみの母は立っていた (「スターバト・マーテル」より)

まあだだよ (1993)
24. ヴィヴァルディ協奏曲集「調和の霊感」より