Signing off on – to say the least – my least productive year ever, is the first writing for this blog in months. They do say killing productivity is a slippery slope. Let my slump be a testament to that.
One of the only legacies that this blog had managed to maintain since its founding was my yearly long-winded reflections on the best of film music, video game and screen media soundtracks. So, despite how I watched fewer movies, TV shows and listened to less albums this year (MUCH less in fact), I saw fit to at least write a bit about everything I listened to, watched and played.
(This WILL be a multi-post, multi-part affair. If I really am going to write about everything I’ve consumed during a year of NEET-ing, I prefer to stretch that out instead of writing and dumping a whole novel at once).
Listening to Arthur Hnatek’s album ‘Melismetiq’ drove me to sleep one afternoon. The pianist’s fingers tenderly brushing the ivory keys. The trumpet beaming a yawning melody, gliding weightlessly above the warm pop and crackle of bass, drums and sprinkled electronics.
I didn’t fall asleep because I was bored to tears. The album silenced the haphazard noise in my brain. It calmed every fibre of my body. It was perhaps the first hour I spent doing nothing in months. It was perhaps the best nap I had in years.
I’d imagine that the first paragraph might’ve provoked you to let escape a yawn as well.
If I were to think back to where I was in 2009, as a reference point for the decade that has just gone by…time REALLY didn’t go by THAT quickly huh?
This year’s contemplation came a few weeks late, because of the seriously bipolar weather suffered by Australia: bushfires in December/January quickly gave away to thunderstorms and flash flooding, which promptly knocked out our broadband.
A lot has happened. A lot of stories I got to witness and tell. A lot of triumphs and a lot of bullshit. Music enjoyment-wise as a fan of film music and soundtracks, the gold plunder is evermore deep, and I always relished in finding new names making it big in the spotlight.
2019 was also a year of goodbyes, as multiple years-long franchises close their curtains on a bygone era. How To Train Your Dragon. The MCU. Star Wars.
In continuing one of this blog’s last longstanding traditions, I present to you: the best in soundtracks of 2019.
The [enveloping sounds/noise] of the keyboard and the creaking sounds of the guitar – that’s what surprised me the most in the first episode of this show. Of course, the animation by Studio Bones was also fantastic, but what hooked me were the boisterously dancing sounds that floated out of those visuals into my living room from beginning to end. Had I ever heard such lively and tangible notes coming from a TV anime before? Then came the second episode, where the BGM created by Mocky was simply overflowing with a sense of adventure. Make no mistake about it. This is Shinichiro Watanabe, no holds barred.
As September 2018 draws to a close, the TV anime Shojo Kageki Revue Starlight has, for the moment, come to an end. Now that everything has come to light, we are able to deliver the second half of the roundtable discussion between the music producers, Teppei Nojima (Pony Canyon) and Kohei Yamada (UPDREAM), and the lyricist, Kanata Nakamura. In it we look back on the revue songs that have accompanied the dramatic developments of the second half of the series, and ask about their overall thoughts as they strove to produce a ‘musical x anime mixed media’ project – something that has never been done before.
Shojo Kageki Revue Starlight: the franchise that has taken its ‘musical x anime mixed media’ concept and turned it into a myriad of different projects. The TV anime, which has been one of the franchise’s main pillars, will soon be coming to an end. What are the secrets behind the revue songs that have appeared in nearly every episode, leaving a strong impression on the viewers in their wake? LisAni will attempt to answer this question by diving into a roundtable with the show’s staff. In part 1 of this talk between three of the music production team – the music producers, Teppei Nojima (Pony Canyon) and Kohei Yamada (APDREAM), and the lyricist, Kanata Nakamura – we will be looking back on the songs that featured in the first half of the series.
The following is an official translation of an interview conducted with composer Tsuneyoshi Saito regarding his work on the mecha anime franchise Fafner in the Azure. It was published in the liner notes of the now out-of-print soundtrack album ‘NO WHERE’, released by Geneon for the North American market.
The music composed and produced for Fafner in the Azure presents an unique viewpoint on the international traffics of anime production: Saito opted to record the soundtrack for the anime series abroad with the renowned Polish orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, for what he refers to be a willfully classical compositional process, and thus providing Fafner in the Azure with a sonic experience that references the symphonic scope of a Star Wars score.
(Note: the interview also featured producer Go Nakanishi from King Records.)
The slogan ‘Cool Japan’ was first used by the Japanese government in reference to its nation-branding projects back in 2005. Since then, the Cool Japan phenomenon has become a site of intensive focus for scholars in Japanese studies, particularly from the points of view of popular culture and creative industries (e.g. Sugiyama 2006, Dinnie 2009, Fujita 2011) and nationalism and nation-building (e.g. Iwabuchi 2007, 2008) (Valaskivi, 2013). Indeed, such saturated focus on this phenomenon has covered extensive and ripe ground from relatively regional frameworks, which examined its impact within Japan, as well as Japan’s influence within the East Asia sphere. In turn, Katja Valaskivi proposed to extend its study paradigms by contextualising Cool Japan through the transnationally circulating practice of nation branding. And thus with this essay, I will approach the study of the Cool Japan branding project by extending upon Valaskivi’s frameworks in her paper ‘Cool Japan and the social imaginary of the branded nation’; and by extension Taylor’s concept of the social imaginary (Taylor, 2002), through their integration into a semiotic and cinematic analysis of director Makoto Shinkai’s 2016 anime film ‘Kimi no Na wa’ (will be referred to as ‘Your Name’ from now on), which I argue will introduce unique observations that may ground Cool Japan’s main circulating features; namely 1) nation branding, 2) the concept of ‘Cool’ and 3) the idea of ‘essential Japanese values’, within a diverse collection of symbols, message streams and candid imagery that can be better appreciated and more readily understood.
In this latest series of interview translations, ATMA & Funomena will be presenting comments and observations of three prominent voices from the production of Violet Evergarden, concluding with Chief Animation Director Akiko Takase.
These translations are offered to fans of the series as material supplements for the making-of documentary-style video by the YouTube channel Under the Scope.
The original interviews were conducted and published in the Violet Evergarden Official Fanbook.