Posted in Music

Top 1000 Anime Songs – Part 13: Ra-Zee-Fun! Part 2

Ring ring.

And we back. Man, it’s been a while. In case you don’t remember, my last entry in the anime songs list was on Rahxephon OST 1. This part will cover the 2nd OST. One thing to keep in mind before we start off, Ichiko Hashimoto, the composer, felt that in comparison with the first OST, the songs on the second OST formed more organically. Let’s just have that in the back of our mind as we traverse the second soundtrack.

#903. “l’Aile” by Ichiko Hashimoto

A sad lamenting kind of song, it reminds me of something like something from a bar lounge. The woman in the fancy dress next to the guitarist and the pianist, a single spotlight on the stage, the full moon outside.

The one thing that seems to start to become more apparent as the song goes on is that the three instruments are both in tandem and separate from one another. Their general chord path and progression is the same, but they rebel on occasion and start to drift apart. It’s a level of freedom in the instrumentation and play that wasn’t present in the first soundtrack. It’s nice to see and works to set an altogether different tone for this soundtrack.

#902. “Protocols” by Ichiko Hashimoto

“Protocols” is a song which does much to show the scope of Hashimoto’s abilities. Variety in music can be achieved through many means, and complex instrumentation is the one which we have seen quite a bit. Taking different sounds and different instruments and distributing them in wild and creative ways to depict emotion is something which we have heard in this OST many times.

However, in “Protocols”, we see Ichiko Hashimoto’s piano chops. As far as instruments are concerned, this song is simple; piano only. The composition of the song fits well into the category of modern piano composition, which is starkly contrasting with classical piano music. The songs nowadays composed for piano are less formulaic, but more importantly less rigid and regimental. It feels like the musical walls have been torn down that once existed to within classical music. Now, it’s okay to betray the chord change to create temporary dissonance. Now, it’s okay to change time signature during the piece for pacing effect. This gives the songs a more “emotional” feeling to them, as if the emotion is carrying the music rather than the music being expressly tailored to represent a specific emotion. “Protocols” style really has that more emotional presence of a modern piano song and it goes a long way to showing that Hashimoto is far from being just a whiz at combining various instruments. Her technical skill and creativity allow her to stretch the limits of each individual instrument at her disposal.

#901. “La, La maladie du sommeil” by Houko Kuwashima and Ichiko Hashimoto

Three things interesting about this song. First, is the use of shorter length beats/notes in the background track to create a faster pace without increasing the apparent pacing of the foreground vocals and piano. It’s good because the vocals really lose their effectiveness with speed, as the emotion is captured in the smoothness.

Second, note the fact that almost the entire first half of the song is the exact same. The same woman singing the same thing, with the same synth backing track. This goes on for a good amount of time, and I think it works well. It’s like telling a story. At the beginning, we are given an introduction. It takes time and can get a bit boring. However, every slight deviation afterwards grabs our attention immediately, like being woken up. This is accomplished by changing the pattern after several repetitions of the same theme.

The last thing to look at is the symmetry of the songs vocals. For the first half, we have Kuwashima’s vocals being the focal point. She sings softly and sweetly, almost as if she was speaking the lyrics rather than singing. Hashimoto has a brief whisper but that’s it. However, by the end we see a role switch. Hashimoto is ending the song with changing lyrics while Kuwashima is in the background. It’s a cool little thing that is done here that is not really clear at first listen. By having the listener hear one stream of lyrics, they set a pattern to listen to one thing. Then, ever so subtly, they offer hints of a second stream. The introduction is very subtle, and then it becomes more and more clear. It’s nice and keeps things interesting, and I thought I’d note it here.

#900. “Huge Suites” by Ichiko Hashimoto

I’m a little sad actually, because I feel like the Wikipedia page on the Rahxephon soundtrack does a way better job of explaining my thoughts about this song than I can, so I will just link it here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_RahXephon_albums#Content_and_use

#899. “Vanishing Jupiter” by Ichiko Hashimoto

Well that came out of nowhere.

“Vanishing Jupiter” all of a sudden turns into this crazy mix song that combines a number of instruments in the weirdest way possible. I really cannot comprehend it, but I really like the sound. Maybe it’s just me.

#898. “Flying Fighter” by Ichiko Hashimoto

What a crazy song. Again, hard to describe, but I will try to this time. Imagine going to the basement of some grunge music dungeon. The drummer is clearly on something and wearing sound-proof earphones so he can’t hear everyone else. He assumes everyone else is listening to him so he just keeps up the beat. The person “singing” decides to scream some avant-garde beat poetry instead. The lead guitarist is not part of the band, he is a leftover from the act before and he just decided to stick around and mess with the others. It’s so dark, so no one notices. The bass guitarist is the only one who really gets what’s going on, so he decides to weave some decent bass line and lead the group towards some level of cohesion by the end of the song.

So that’s my take on it. And I love it. 10/10.

#897. “The Other Stranger” by Ichiko Hashimoto

Wow. Remember what I said about her range in terms of music earlier? Her range on the piano alone is amazing. She goes from somber, almost classical drab music to a straight-up moonlit night, highball sipping evening out jazz piano tune. It’s amazing, very well done.

#896. “Yume no Tamago” by Ichiko Hashimoto

This is the English version of this song, which appeared at the end of OST 1 as well, albeit that was the Japanese version.  I actually like the English version a little better, and it was the first version I heard. I don’t mind the broken lyrics (I basically never do) and the song is one of my favorite ever so there is no wonder that it makes the list.

Okay folks, are we done here? I think so. For now at least. Until next time, thanks for reading and have a great day!

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