2006 Lawrence Tuczynski

Title: BOLD MITSUBISHI FUTURE BUILDING (Godzilla vs. Gigan)
Japanese Title: GOUKAI NA MITSUBISHI FUTURE BUILDING
CD Label: BKM
CD Number: G.R.F.017
Music by: Akira Ifukube
Music Performed by: Bukimisha Weird Secret Society
Takeo Yahiro & Friends
Number of tracks: 14
Running time: 73:57
Number of discs: 1
Year of release/manufacture: December 29, 2005

REVIEW

September 4, 2006 courtesy of Sam Scali (revised 3/3/08)

In the past few years, the Japanese vocal group Bukimisha has recorded an impressive body of unique a cappella interpretations of the music of Akira Ifukube - not only the maestro's legendary monster film themes, but also some of his highly regarded orchestral works. The group delves even further into obscure territory with this 2005 CD, and though the disc is subtitled "Godzilla vs. Gigan", its main attraction is actually Ifukube's wonderful, if little-known score for "NATURE OF JAPAN AND THE JAPANESE DREAM", an innovative multimedia exhibit held at EXPO '70's Mitsubishi Pavilion.As observant Ifukube fans know, two of the exhibit's musical cues were reused for the soundtrack of the 1972 GIGAN movie, but for this release Bukimisha assembles a scrupulous and spirited reconstruction of the exhibit's entire score.

Fittingly, Bukimisha begins the CD with a vocal rendition of the alternate "Main Title" from GODZILLA VS. GIGAN. The original cue, like most of the GIGAN soundtrack, was recycled from existing Ifukube film music, in this case pieced together from three different sources (including the title march from 1959's BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE). Unfortunately the theme is all but drowned out by a spoken Japanese narrative, which pushes the melody into the background and masks the group's fascinating vocal interplay. Happily this distraction is limited to the first track, clearing the way for the complete EXPO '70 score.

Bukimisha's multi-layered vocal performance effectively captures the melancholy beauty of Ifukube's "Four Seasons" (Track 2), while "Storm" (one of the two GIGAN cues) sounds appropriately ominous and forbidding. "Volcano" (also featured prominently in GIGAN), is one of the maestro's most spectacularly memorable themes, and Bukimisha gives it their all, employing rich harmonies and rapid-fire vocalizations to emulate the composition's relentless assault.

"Space" (Track 5) is imbued with a suitably eerie tone, thanks to the group's imaginative arrangement. The lush, introspective feeling of "Clear Sky" is also faithfully reproduced, as is the hypnotic strangeness of the two "Sea" tunes (Tracks 7 and 8). The "Health Resort" tracks (9 and 10), which are actually sparsely rewritten variations on the DESTROY ALL MONSTERS march, retain the whimsical touch of the original cues and further showcase Bukimisha's vocal versatility.

Without the benefit of the exhibit's visuals, the listener can only imagine how its imagery is enhanced by the music. Though the title of Track 11 refers to "Land", its dreamy melody also suggests a boat lazily drifting on the open sea. The score's achingly beautiful final cue, also called "Land" (Track 12) is wonderfully realized by Bukimisha's majestically rendered harmonies.

Track 13 reinforces the GODZILLA VS. GIGAN connection with a lengthy montage (lasting over 30 minutes) of well-known Ifukube themes that were recycled for the film, interspersed with occasional (and less obtrusive) narration. The track begins with a reprise of the GIGAN "Main Title" (the film version, which uses "Volcano" in place of the BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE march) followed by a medley of some of GIGAN's other stock cues, such as "Monster Land" from DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, "Search March" from FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD, "Element X" from KING KONG ESCAPES, individual monster themes for Godzilla, Rodan and King Ghidorah, and many other familiar motifs. The track draws to a close with a reprise of "Storm" and an extended, more frenetic performance of "Volcano". The CD's final selection is a curiously solemn reading of GIGAN's pop song finale "Godzilla March" , composed by Ishikawa Susumu and Sekizawa Shinichi.

While GODZILLA VS. GIGAN introduced the Mitsubishi exhibit's more spectacular musical motifs to generations of unsuspecting G-fans, the complete EXPO'70 score is rarely heard, having only appeared on CD in 1988 (LD25-5065~6) and reissued in 1992 (TYCY-5213~14). Bukimisha does Ifukube fans a great service by performing the underrated score in its entirety for this release. As always, the group's devotion to Ifukube's music is truly inspiring, and while they clearly take the maestro's music very seriously, their recordings also exude an irrepressible sense of humor and fun. GOUKAI NA MITSUBISHI FUTURE BUILDING is another fine example of Bukimisha's creativity, and is highly recommended to adventurous listeners who are looking for something a little different.

As with previous CDs in the series, this disc can be ordered directly from the artists. Visit their English webpage at: http://www.bukimi.com/maal/hanpu_english.html , or email Takeo Yahiro (yah@bukimi.com) for more information.

Special thanks to Anthony Romero at Toho Kingdom for uncovering some fascinating details about the 'EXPO '70 exhibit. Check out his review at http://www.tohokingdom.com/tv/mitsubishi_pavilion.html

English Title: BOLD MITSUBISHI FUTURE BUILDING (Godzilla vs. Gigan)
Japanese Title: GOUKAI NA MITSUBISHI FUTURE BUILDING (Goukai Na Godzilla vs. Gigan)
Track translations courtesy of John Cassidy

  1. Bold Earth Attack Command
  2. Bold Four Seasons
  3. Bold Storm
  4. Bold Volcano
  5. Bold Space
  6. Bold Clear Sky
  7. Bold Deep Sea
  8. Bold Sea
  9. Bold Health Resort (1)
  10. Bold Health Resort (2)
  11. Bold Land Introductory Remarks
  12. Bold Land
  13. Bold "Gojira Tai Gaigan" (Godzilla Vs. Gigan)
  14. Bold "Gojira Koushinkyou" (Godzilla March)