© 2011 Lawrence Tuczynski
|Title:||GOUKAI Na The Little Prince And The Eight-Headed Dragon|
|Music Performed by:||Bukimisha Weird Secret Society|
Takeo Yahiro & Friends
|Music Composed by:||Various|
|Number of tracks:||2 (1 hidden, track #2)|
|Number of discs:||1|
|Year of release/manufacture:||December 29, 2010|
September 24, 2012 (Review courtesy of Sam Scali)
Bukimisha presents yet another fine a cappella foray into the music of Akira Ifukube, with an ambitious reading of the maestro's score for the 1963 animated film, THE LITTLE PRINCE AND THE EIGHT-HEADED DRAGON. The soundtrack from this film is one of the most epic and varied in the maestro's canon, and is perhaps most notable for its lively main theme.
In an unusual twist, the CD consists of only two tracks, the first one clocking in at over 68 minutes. Rather than dividing it into individual parts, our vocal heroes opt for the decidedly perverse approach of presenting the complete score (all 65 cues!) as one continuous piece of music. While this encourages the listener to enjoy the work in its entirety, it does make it difficult for those who prefer to access specific themes. Helpfully, a breakdown of each cue is printed in Japanese (along with the timings where each appears) on the inner back insert - which, in true Bukimisha style, is secretly hidden beneath the opaque white tray (see translation below).
Aside from the familiar main theme, this is the first time Bukimisha has presented THE LITTLE PRINCE's opulent music, and it gives the group quite a workout. Their vocal technique has become more sophisticated and intricate with each recording, and the various orchestral sounds, mood swings and tempo shifts are rendered with masterful skill and subtlety. Nevertheless, Bukimisha's sense of fun remains undiminished - the music was probably as enjoyable for them to record, as it is to listen to.
Needless to say, the "Main Title" is tackled with Bukimisha's usual flair and exuberance, beginning with gentle, melodic "loo-loos" which give way to a sharp, percussive attack that ably mimics the theme's marching tempo. This motif is later revisited with ramped up intensity in "Fire God Vs. Susano II". The brief "Akahana & Taro" is even more ominous and frenetic, while the meditative "Lullaby of Naiko's Mother" includes an effective falsetto rendering of the original cue's female vocal, which is subsequently reprised in "Izanami's Illusion".
Other highlights include the jaunty flute melody of "Sumo", which is convincingly emulated in a rich tenor voice with percussive baritone backing. This theme sets the stage for the heavenly choral readings of "Izanami's Ascension" and "Izanagi & Susano". "Akahana's Worry" features the unmistakable melodic strains of KING KONG VS. GODZILLA's "Seahawk" theme, while "Journey" and "Road to the Fire Kingdom" invoke a spirited march that Ifukube previously used in 1958's VARAN THE UNBELIEVABLE. "Yoru-no-osukuni", "Tsukuyomi's Sword" and "Ice Ball" offer kinder, gentler renderings of another familiar theme, later developed into an iconic motif for King Ghidorah, while "Blood River", "Boss" and "Princess Kushinada's Crisis" utilize a dark, guttural dirge that reappeared in Ifukube's 1966 MAJIN scores.
Bukimisha unleashes a relentless vocal barrage in "Akuru vs. Susano", and the two "Susano's Anger" cues aptly sustain the excitement with a fierce staccato approach. "Fire God vs. Susano I", which also reprises music from VARAN, is equally robust, and the regal "Fireball Power" further benefits from an imaginative vocal arrangement. The bracing strings of "Wild Horse ~ Shrine" are thrillingly mimed with cascading "daba-daba's" and hissed percussive sounds - an approach that is repeated even more frenetically in "Flood ~ Shrine". The exotic "Ame-no-uzume's Dance" cues blend richly layered percussive and melodic vocals to striking effect.
The dragon's introduction is powerfully presented in "Yamata-no-Orochi Appears", and "Susano Sets Off" is sung so dynamically that it arguably surpasses the brass-driven arrangement on the movie's original soundtrack. "Prince Wanpaku Slays the Great Serpent" offers another spirited reading of the title theme, and "Kama 1 Vs. Susano" and "Kama 2 Chase" up the ante with an exciting version of Ifukube's immortal march from 1957's THE MYSTERIANS, which Bukimisha has performed many times in the past. The final "Fight" cues bring the battle to a resounding conclusion, and a hopeful future is assured in "Victorious New Day". The falsetto "Lullaby of Naiko's Mother" motif makes a final glorious appearance in Ifukube's distinctive "Ending" theme.
The CD's unlisted second track is relatively brief, at less than 6 minutes. It summarizes the score's musical highlights, interspersed with spoken Japanese commentary and dialogue - which are delivered in a mock-serious tone by an amusing variety of voices.
Bukimisha continues to harness an incredible range of vocal tricks, drawing from an impossibly varied repertoire of yodels, yelps, percussive clicks, gallops, hisses, whistles, growls, "dum-dums", "la-la's", "bop-bops" and every other nonsense syllable ever to appear in song form - as well as many that haven't. Nothing is beyond their grasp, whether it's heavenly harmonies, guttural shouts or plaintive wails, and their talented voices evoke a wide range of moods from beautiful to ominous to sad. If a musician composed it, Bukimisha can "sing" it.
The LITTLE PRINCE soundtrack itself is currently out of print, having only appeared on CD twice before (LD25-5065~6/TYCY-5213~14 and COCC-13504) as well as on an earlier vinyl LP. Unsurprisingly, Bukimisha's interpretation is a treat for Ifukube fans, and should not be missed. Regardless of the source material, the group's vocal performance is impressive in its own right, and newcomers to the work of this talented ensemble will be pleasantly surprised. Just don't forget your sense of humor!
As with previous CDs in the series, this disc can be ordered directly from the artists. Visit their English web page at: http://www.bukimi.com/maal/hanpu_english.html, or email Takeo Yahiro (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
GOUKAI Na The Little Prince And The Eight-Headed Dragon
Track 1 (68:10) 00:00 (M1) Prologue ~ Main Title 02:13 (M2) Butterfly ~ Akahana & Taro 03:28 (M3) Susano Entrance 04:17 (M4) Izanami 04:48 (M5) Lullaby of Naiko's Mother 06:05 (M6) Sumo ~ Izanami's Ascension 07:45 (M7) Izanagi & Susano 08:30 (M8) Weeping Susano 08:46 (M9) Izanami's Illusion 11:38 (M10) Decision to go on a journey 12:11 (M11) Akahana's Worry 13:14 (M12) Journey ~ Moonlit Night Sea 14:44 (M13) Strange Fish Akuru 15:38 (M14) Akuru vs Susano 16:21 (M15) Yume-no-hirasaka 16:49 (M16) Yoru-no-osukuni 18:16 (M17) Tsukuyomi 18:35 (ME134) title unknown 19:22 (M18) Ice Mirror 19:30 (M19) Susano's Anger I ~ Freeze 20:45 (ME137) Kaito 20:50 (M20) Susano's Anger II 21:35 (M21) Tsukuyomi's Sword 21:48 (M21B) Ice Ball 22:09 (M22) Road to the Fire Kingdom 22:59 (M23) Titanbo 23:35 (M24) Fire God 23:41 (M25) Fire God vs Susano I 24:46 (M26) Fire God vs Susano II 27:14 (M27) Fireball Power 28:02 (M28) Titanbo joins Otomo 28:38 (M29) Ame-no-torifune ~ Takamagahara 30:10 (M30) Amaterasu O-omikami 31:03 (M31) Fieldwork 31:29 (M32) Wild Horse ~ Shrine 32:39 (M33) Field Path ~ Shrine 33:14 (M34) Susano's Making of a Rice Field 33:44 (M35) Flood ~ Shrine 34:27 (M36) Shrine Melee ~ Rock Door Shuts 35:52 (M37) Omoikane's Trick 36:18 (M38) Taper to a God 36:27 (M39) Ame-no-uzume's Dance I 39:50 (M40) Ame-no-uzume's Dance II 41:43 (M41) Rock Door Opens 42:07 (M42) Shrine 42:25 (M43) Takamagahara Departs 43:55 (M44) Road to Izumo's Kingdom 44:28 (M45) Princess Kushinada 45:24 (M46) Blood River ~ Yamata-no-Orochi's Speech 46:34 (M47) Ame-no-hayakoma 47:54 (M48) Princess Kushinada and Susano 49:32 (M49) Preparation for Fighting 50:04 (M50) Before the Storm 50:43 (M51) Yamata-no-Orochi Appears 51:34 (M52) BOSS 52:24 (M53) Sake-drinking Yamata-no-Orochi 52:55 (M54) Susano Sets Off 54:41 (M55) Prince Wanpaku Slays the Great Serpent 56:07 (M56) KAMA 1 vs Susano 57:47 (M57) Akahana and YAGI 58:17 (M58) Princess Kushinada's Crisis 59:35 (M59) KAMA 2 Chase 60:35 (M60) Fight 61:04 (M61) Last Fight ~ After the Fight 63:03 (M62) Victorious New Day 63:58 (M63) Ending Track 2 (5:47) Uncredited hidden track