Of Music and Composers

Most of you know that I’m a fan of Japanese music, especially of the artist Angela Aki, and my current favourite soundtrack would be the soundtrack for Blood+, the anime. Those who’ve had a listen to my Writing playlist will notice that it also features the instrumental goodness that is the Tsubasa Chronicle Soundscapes (what number are they at now? Last I had was Soundscape 4). That said, my favourite composer at that point of time was Yuki Kajiuura, who did a fantastic job with the songs. I especially loved Silly Go Round, which was written by her and performed by the ever-talented duo that FictionJunction and first made its appearance I believe on the anime .//hack Roots.

The thing about composers in Japan, especially of anime music, is that they elevate what could have been a normal, dreary soundtrack there just to provide background noise (animation films and series everywhere else, I’m looking at you!) to something nothing short of a masterpiece. If you do your job right, the song you choose, that little bit that may seem inconsequential, can do a lot to change the mood. Music like Tsubasa Chronicle’s Through the Gate actually brings up such an image (even if you’ve never seen the anime) while Saya’s Love from Blood+ sounds more haunting the more one listens to it. I suppose for some my word can’t really be taken at first glance because I’ve watched both animes and have heard the song in these anime, so I know where to place them.

Can’t really say the same thing with Yoko Kanno’s Kagirinaki Tabiji, or translated as “Endless Journey.” Simply listening to the song already evokes the feeling of travelling, of opening a door to discover. And in case you want to know the main difference between this and the songs I quoted in the last paragraph, I’ve never watched Turn-A-Gundam, which was where this song made it’s appearance (I tend to avoid anything with the name Gundam. Watch Gundam 00 for extra reason as to why I avoid it). But it’s already caught me. If you’ve been following my short FST forays, you would also know that I tend to favour Origa’s Rise, which is from the Ghost in the Shell: 2nd Gig OST. I’ve not watched the anime before listening to the song and I was already hooked.

Composers in Japan also fire up the same devotion one might have seen reserved for music stars. For instance, I know of fans who would travel down to Singapore several times a year just to meet composers such as Yasunori Mitsuda, who wrote the epic OST that was Xenogears, including my favourite, Small of Two Pieces (parts of which were used for the title of this blog). I know I would drop everything to catch Yuki Kajiuura or Yoko Kanno or Angela Aki or FictionJunction performing (in Singapore or something. I don’t think I can afford to fly to Japan at the drop of a hat yet :p).

So, what modern composer do you enjoy?

*Please note: Composer used in this context refers to not only those who write the songs, but who actually arrange the scores and the like, something you don’t see very often these days.

1 thought on “Of Music and Composers”

  1. It’s Yoko Kanno for me. She continues to surprise me with the breadth and width of musical compositions.

    All of Yuki Kajiura’s compositions seem similar to me. It’s either full-on techno or a mixture of orchestral music and techno, with the vocals of Margaret Dorn.

    Geminianeyes: I prefer her orchestral music to pure techno. I know the Soundscapes sound familiar, but it’s more of the tune that catches my ear, rather than the sounds made by the instruments.

    I apologise if I make no sense.

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