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.

RahXephon OP

“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.

Electric Jazz

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).

Electronica Dance

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.

Conclusion

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.

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8 Responses to “Music Appreciation: RahXephon OST (Ichiko Hashimoto)”

  1. Shinmaru Says:

    RahXephon is a great series, and it has such great music. Even a complete noob like me was just blown away by it. If one of your series’ main themes is music, then you better have a kickass soundtrack, right? Haha.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      Yes. Music is a major theme in the series, and the soundtrack backs that idea up quite well. I have heard people saying it is just like Evangelion, but I think that one can go deeper than those superficial similarities, and find a rather interesting show.


  2. To Shimaru: Ironic then that K-ON has such a crappy soundtrack, eh?

    But yeah, I’ve been meaning to check out Hashimoto’s work for this series but I just can’t seem to ever get to that point. Hemisphere is, of course, always going to be a favorite, but I also like the jazzy stuff that you featured. My memory also says something about “The Other Stranger” also being pretty snazzy.

  3. Kyokai Says:

    Awesome stuff. I definitely need to check this out because this has been lying around my HD for some time.

    This makes me want to post about KnK soundtracks by Yuki Kajiura, which has mesmerized me to lengths.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      “This makes me want to post about KnK soundtracks”

      Do it, I like music a lot, so it really is a big part of why I like anime. I’ld be happy to read your thoughts on the matter.


  4. very good music !

    (good luck)

    thank you…

    yayınlayın ama çok ayıp

  5. f0calizer Says:

    An excellent post for an excellent soundtrack for an underrated anime that is — as you said in an earlier response — more than an Evangelion derivative. I’ve always felt that Rahxephon has more similarity in spirit with the Macross group of anime series than with Eva. As other dedicated bloggers have argued, Macross in its various incarnations is about J-pop/rock music first, and romance/mecha second. In the same way, Ayato’s role as the musical “Instrumentalist” in the series is very different from Shinji’s in the Human Instrumentality Project in Evangelion. I think music’s key role in Rahxephon is best captured in the ED of the movie, “Tune the Rainbow” — such a synesthesia in just the title!

  6. Haven Says:

    Indeed…

    Does anyone have a fairly hi-res HQ scan or pic of the OST album art? I’ve been scouring the net for ages and have never been able to come up with anything satisfactory, especially for the first one. All the high-res ones have stickers on them. T_T


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