Monday, October 5, 2009


Let's get one thing straight: I'm no fucking anime nerd. The intricacies of cosplay, Gundam, furries, and Pokemon are far beyond me, and that's where I like them. To quote the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, the world of anime "frightens and confuses me". But that doesn't mean that there aren't certain Japanimation movies that rule. Fist of the North Star is good shit, as well as the works of Hayao Miyazaki and stuff like Vampire Hunter D and Ninja Scroll. But the grandfather of the whole genre is Akira.
Much like At The Gates pioneered the "Gothenburg sound", opening the doors for a multitude of inferior bands to muck up the scene, so did Akira open the floodgates for a million billion other anime offshoots, from annoying children's fare to tentacle porn to teenage-girl-school-dramas to horrific gore flicks. But Akira was the first BIG anime flick. And also the best.

Ever since the first time I saw the film in the early 90's, the soundtrack has been one of the main elements for me. Much like Vangelis' soundtrack for Blade Runner six years earlier, Geinoh Yamashirogumi's haunting, electronica-meets-choral-ensemble recording for Akira somehow becomes an integral part of the story itself, a colossal, ever-present trip-out underscoring the weirdness playing out accross the screen.
But who -- or rather, what -- is Geinoh Yamashirogumi? Well, I'm glad you asked. Let's consult our old friend Wikipedia for an answer:

"Geinoh Yamashirogumi is a Japanese musical collective founded on January 19, 1974 by Tsutomu Ōhashi, consisting of hundreds of people from all walks of life: journalists, doctors, engineers, students, businessmen, etc. They are known for both their faithful re-creations of folk music from around the world, as well as their fusion of various traditional musical styles with modern instrumentation and synthesizers."

A picture of the Geinoh Yamashirogumi collective is shown below, with the three-inverted-trapezoids logo they use as their unofficial seal.

And yes, this particualr soundtrack is every bit as odd, hypnotic, trancelike, spaced-out, fucked-up, experimental, and brilliant as you are expecting it to be. Part ambient synth, part gamelan ensemble, part cavern of chanting monks, part minor-key space odyssey.


Download HERE
Purchase HERE


Below: Neo-Tokyo bites it.


Helm said...

I really like this too. The scores for the characters also go KANEDAAA KANEDAAAA, TETSUOOO TETSUOOO in some pre-englightenment literalist sense that appeals to me.

That I remember specific emotional cues in the film with the particular bit of the soundtrack in mind says a lot. Great recommendation.

Seth J G Goodkind said...

I like this film a lot, but I'll admit my comic nerdiness and say that I refer to the original manga a lot for "advice" on how to draw things well for my own work.
For the record part 2 of the Vangelis soundtrack download you have seems to be broken. I keep trying to get it because I bought the abridged version years and years ago, but you have the extra good version. But part 2 not working.

Helm said...

Seth, do you make comics? If so, anywhere on the internet I could catch a glimpse?

Shelby Cobras said...

Seth - FOR SHAME. You know as well as I that NERDS are quite simply NOT WELCOME here at I.C.!!! I'll make an exception, though. Just this once. Also, are you aware of the '12 minute rule' on Rapidshare? i.e. you've got to allow 12 minutes to elapse between downloadS (free users only). Because the link worked for me.
Just in case, I moved 'Part 2' over to Mediafire anyway. Here's the link:

Helm - I am particularly fond of that one song that just goes "BAAAAHHHM. BAAAHM BAAHM BAAAAAAHHHHM." over and over. Completely epic. "Battle Against Clown" is a keeper, too.

Helm said...

I *think* that's Tetsuo's theme. Every time he's about to fuck shit up, D'NAAAA! NAAA! NA NA!.

Hey I need to listen to this now. And look at that, this blog Illogical Contraption has it uploaded, what do you know

Seth J G Goodkind said...

Helm- no comics, just illustrations;
Shelby- yeah, successfully downloaded the original part 2 post several times only to find that the file was "damaged" or unreadable/openable or something. Part 1 worked fine though.
And,well, I sneaked one past you with the nerd thing but there's no denying it.

Shelby Cobras said...

Weird. And the MF link didn't work either?

PS Seen Zombieland?

Shelby Cobras said...

Okay Seth, should be good now: