Yoko vs. Yoko – Great Composers All Out Attack (Part 5)

I fall behind on this series of articles yet again because Final Fantasy XII managed to catch up on me.  Turns out the reason I was having trouble progressing was because at some point between my sporadic attempts at playing it over the past couple of months I neglected to realize that I was something like 6 levels behind in terms of raw character building and 2 levels behind in terms of basic equipment.  It really makes a difference in a game that has such a clearly tiered system of equips.  2 hours of power grinding later and some major loot gathering and selling to finance the massive cost of getting my equipment up to speed I am now owning the game and plan to continue doing so later on.

Anyway, anyone ever notice how I tend to refer to “Yoko Kanno tribal beats” from time to time while doing my OST reviews?  Well tonight I finally get the chance to show off an example of just what I mean by that.  Oh and Shimomura get’s to join in too.  Huzzah…..

Tribal Beat:

Pretty simple stuff.  Have you ever watched Discovery Channel and seen one of those documentaries about the African or Aborginal Tribes where they gather around a fire and play that style of music that makes use of makeshift drums and chants while some of the members also engage in dance rituals?  That’s what I refer to as a Tribal Beat.  It’s also easily one of the most enrapturing styles of music I’ve ever heard personally since it’s really hard not to get pulled into the rhythmic groove of the tribal performances just watching it.  I can only imagine what it would be like to take part in one of them.  Only time I’ve ever been jealous of anthropologists.  Anyway…..

Kanno’s Korner:

Chi No Fuchi No Genri From Turn A Gundam

Wow, Turn A Gundam’s is the OST that just keeps on giving isn’t it.  I don’t refer to it as one of Kanno’s best and most varied OST’s for nothing.  I miss those days.  Anyway, the very essence of what I refer to when I reference the Yoko Kanno tribal beat, this song is also probably one of her best ones.  Just looking at the musical flow of the song while I’m making the video for it I can see that it has a very ritualistic and rhythmic flow to it for the first fifth as it’s working us into the groove.  Here you also get to hear that style of vocal most commonly associated with Yoko Kanno in her made up language, except in this case it really feels like it’s made to fit with the idea of the Red Team (Sorry, no explanation as it’ll spoil the anime and it’s too complicated anyway) as a lost Moonrace Tribe living on earth. 

Yep, in Turn A Gundam Yoko Kanno’s gibberish speak/tribal beat is actually outright used as such and actually works perfectly as one instead of coming across as a gimmick for the sake of carrying on an associated tradition like it does now.  I’ve gotta move on before I start feeling even more nostaligic.

Shimomura’s Side:

Dhalsim’s Theme From Street Fighter II

Ah yes, it’s the original cheap ass fighter’s stage theme from the arcade classic that I think best represents Shimomura’s example of a Tribal beat.  It’s catchy, it’s definitely feels very “ethnic”, perhaps a little ritualistic too (YOGA!) and it works very well with the idea of Dhalsim as the leader of an Indian tribe.  I really can’t think of any other song in the Street Fighter II series that really gets me into the groove of it as I’m playing the stage and also causes me to lose more often then I should.  It also adds to part of Dhalsim’s mystique as a Yoga fighter I think since his style is supposed to be all about misdirection of the enemy and his own personal concentration and the hypnotic rhythm’s of his stage theme certainly work to that angle.  I think that about covers it. 

Well I guess I could also mention that it’s my third favourite theme in all of Street Fighter II after Guile’s theme and the grand champion of Street Fighter music that will be featured in a forthcoming update.

7 Responses to “Yoko vs. Yoko – Great Composers All Out Attack (Part 5)”

  1. 1 ghostlightning January 8, 2009 at 7:43 am

    This is a great series. I’ll document it on ani-tations because it’s just damn useful and a great alternative introduction to Kanno, as well as straight-up awesome introduction to Shimomura.

  2. 2 Kaioshin Sama January 8, 2009 at 7:59 am

    @ghostlightning: Really? I was starting to get the impression that the topic doesn’t really interest anyone, which is also part of the reason there have been such large gaps between the last few installments. I’ve actually been considering whether I should cut it short or not.

  3. 3 ghostlightning January 9, 2009 at 5:39 am

    I don’t know about other readers, but as a Kanno fan largely ignorant of Shimomura I find this useful. In any case, usefulness isn’t locked in time – sidestepping the current lack of attention. But by the time the next big anime scored by Kanno comes along, there should be a way to easily access this post series.

    Ani-tations, despite our best efforts, doesn’t make a big difference; at least not yet. But I think there will be a time when lurking/finding interesting posts shouldn’t be as random an activity as with my experience – especially early this year when I discovered anime blogs.

    The ‘history’ and past meets present aspect of your site caught my attention then, and coincidentally R2 and Frontier was just beginning (I was disappointed when you dropped Frontier, though I don’t blame you at all given how blogging R2 must have been like for you). I don’t want to imagine how my opinions would have been if I had discovered Derailed by Darry first. So it’s a crap shoot that I got lucky with.

    The intention is for us to filter interesting content. It’s still filtered by our biases (mostly lelangir’s, since I don’t post there a lot). But it’s something.

    So the question is, how many posts are there in this series – as I’d like to collect them and annotate when they’re complete.

  4. 4 zzeroparticle January 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    I blame my lack of attention on this series because I simply wasn’t aware of it, but I do like what you’ve done here. Shimomura’s soundtracks do have a fairly consistent musical style to it that becomes noticeable quickly though they’re different enough such that each one can be appreciated on their own merits. As of this writing, Legend of Mana is my favorite Shimomura soundtrack simply from the way the Mana World in that game is brought to life there. It also helps that pieces like “Darkness Nova” and the breathtakingly beautiful “Song of MANA ~Opening Theme~” really make it the epic soundtrack that it is.

  5. 5 Kaioshin Sama January 10, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    @zzeroparticle: Legend of Mana is one of those instances where I find Kanno and Shimomura’s styles cross over into what is indeed one epic soundtrack. Especially with the “Song of MANA” that you mentioned wherein of all things Shimomura showcases her own take on the made-up language with the lyrics.

  6. 6 zzeroparticle January 10, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    According to Chudah’s Corner (a fairly reliable VGM resource), the lyrics to “Song of MANA” are in Swedish.

  7. 7 Kaioshin Sama January 11, 2009 at 5:20 am

    @zzeroparticle: Okay, thanks for the correction. I still think that it’s similar in style to the way Yoko Kanno’s vocals sound though. Perhaps it’s the structure of the Swedish language itself that makes it sound similar.

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January 2009



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