Music Appreciation: RahXephon OST (Ichiko Hashimoto)
August 16, 2010
This series of posts is my attempt to appreciate some of the great contributions to music that come from anime. I really liked RahXephon and this amazing soundtrack is a big part of that feeling. From early 70s style electric jazz, to large-scale symphonic studies, this soundtrack has it all! By focusing on the RahXephon OST we are mostly looking at music of Ishiko Hashimoto, but we’ll start with the OP from the wonderful Yoko Kanno.
“Hemispheres”: A Yoko Kanno composition, with vocals by Maaya Sakamoto. That’s a pretty good way to kick off a show, but does Ichiko Hashimoto have what it takes to follow?
Giant Robot Battle Theme
And here we have “the Chariot”, whose polyrhythmic dissonance seems to be Ichiko Hashimoto’s answer to Dance of Curse. By polyrhythmic I mean the way much of the orchestra is playing 3+3+3+3+4, which is a very unnatural way of playing 16 beats, and creates a cross-rhythm to the piano chording as it plays it straight, in 4/4.
Quite a number of the tracks are reminiscent of Miles Davis in the period that started with In a Silent Way (1969).
“Misty Midnight” sounds like it came straight off of side C of In a Silent Way.
“Member’s Only” has more of the Funk sound Davis adopted in On the Corner (1972).
“Avant, ren des vous” aggressively employs the experimentation (for example with electronics) that is characteristic of Davis’ work throughout the whole period, for example, Bitches Brew (1970).
But Jazz and Classical aren’t the only sources for inspiration evident on these albums. “Winning sound of her” is an example of the occasional Electronica (and Rock) numbers sprinkled throughout.
Quiet, Introspective (even Dreamy) Chamber Works
As those who have watched RahXephon know, much of the series isn’t appropriate for the aggressive, rhythmic music that I just featured. Much of the show is about memories and illusions.
“Their Secret” pairs an acoustic guitar (played through a delay box) and a piano accompaniment.
“Protocols” suggests a late-romantic or impressionist prelude, such as something written by Claude Debussy (1862-1918).
Big Symphonic Studies
Finally I present just a couple of the big studies that feature a full orchestra. There’s a bright side, and a dark side, and they both receive symphonic treatment from Ichiko Hashimoto.
“Huge Suites” starts with a march, and develops its theme into a mysterious, but exhilarating swell.
“Synchronic Breakdown” menaces the auditor from the beginning, and heaven help you, because it’s only gonna get worse. The lumbering pace (and deeper octaves) used in the brass really help sell the idea of something enormous moving ominously into view.
There is only one conclusion, if you haven’t watched RahXephon … watch it. Watch it even if only for the music. Multiple discs of soundtrack are also available for sale in some places, including Amazon.