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INFO FILE
Title:
Macross Plus: Original Soundtrack II
Format:
CD
15 tracks
Production:
Rightstuf
ANIMEtrax
Comments:
Yoko Kanno, well known for her work on the Cowboy Bebop is the wizard behind the Macross Plus OST II. How does it stack up against Cowboy Bebop?
Overall Rating:
85%

Animefringe Reviews:
Macross Plus: Original Soundtrack II
By Ridwan Khan

I must confess; I love Yoko Kanno. How someone could be so talented (and cute, to boot) is beyond me. So when I got the soundtrack for Macross Plus, I was eager to give it a listen. Having been familiar with Kanno largely through her work on Cowboy Bebop. The Macross Plus: Orginal Soundtrack II stands up very well to Kanno's more popular, Bebop related work.

The CD starts out with the quick and almost sensual "Idol Talk". The song features "Gabriela Robins" (most likely Kanno herself, more on that in a moment) and Akino Arai. Track 2, "Jade" starts with an upbeat whistle, with a beat. It gradually shifts into a guitar oriented song. "Nomad Soul", track 3, is Middle Eastern in style, conjuring up pictures of bazaars and belly dancers. The next track, "Welcome to Sparefish" is country western in style. It's very reminiscent of similar of the lighter tracks from the Cowboy Bebop ("Spokey Donkey" comes to mind). "Go Ri A Te", track 5, starts with what I can only assume are bird's cries, works into a chant (similar to "The Doggy Dogs" also from Bebop) and after that brief stop, goes into a synthetic, faux Oriental style. As eclectic as the one song is, it is quite catchy. "Let's News" is a quick (26 second) rush, sound effects and drums.

Track 7, "Pulse" is quite engrossing. It sounds vaguely like Enya. The song's sultry vocals are by Wu Yun Ta Na. It seems to have some of what appears to be the Islamic call to prayer intermixed (Future Blues had a track in a similar vein). "3 cm", track 8, a simple duet with a saxophone and piano, is beautiful, the melody is almost unassuming, but sweet. Track 9 "Voices" is probably the best song on the whole album, a difficult feat, considering the last two songs. Featuring Akino Arai's gossamer vocals (those familiar with her work, including the two ending themes to Outlaw Star know the style) and a piano (this is the acoustic version) it's everything Arai is known for; haunting, beautiful, absolutely perfect. The lyrics by Wakako Kaku are beautiful.

Number 10, "Pu Qua O" is another piano track, though very in different in character from the previous ones. It could best be described as cheerily pensive. Track 11, "Sweet Feather" seems to hint at Kanno's past work in video game music. It immediately calls to mind the dungeon levels in games like Final Fantasy VII or Chrono Cross. "A Sai En," track 12, performed by Raiche Coutev Sisters, sounds like a religious chant, similar to those monks that became so popular in the early 90s. Track 13, "Bad Dog" is a bizarre almost hip hop vocal; it would fit perfectly into any number of sports shoe commercials. However from there it fades into a deeper, more soulful instrumental. This juxtaposition of two styles is quite striking. "Child MYUNG" track 14 is a simple harp based theme, somewhat amorphous. The final track, "Coma" is similarly abstract, yet beautiful.

A note on "Gabriela Robins"; Robins is credited with lyrics for tracks 1, 7, and 12. However, many conjecture that Robins is Kanno herself; on one Macross movie, the film itself credits Kanno with a vocal track, while the OST credits Robins. For someone with a name like Gabriela Robins, her Japanese is quite good, her voice very similar to Kanno's. Plus, no one's ever talked to or interviewed Robins. When Kanno is asked about it, she artfully dodges with a "No comment." Your best bet's on Yoko being Gabriela.

This CD is as good as any of the Cowboy Bebop CDs, especially when they are taken singly. The overall character of the CD is different from that of Bebop though, more soft and deep, similar to that series' "Green Bird." Kanno shows her prowess in a variety of genres throughout the CD. I haven't been a fan of Macross; however, because of Kanno's stellar CD I will be reevaluating the classic series.

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