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Saturday, May 27, 2006

CD REVIEW - Yamato

Music by Joe Hisaishi
FLME FLCF-4088 (Japan)
22 Tracks 78:55 mins

I have been a fan of Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi for some time now, having first come to know his music from the films of Kitano and the many animated features he has scored over the years. This film, which, from the album's artwork (most of the text is in Japanese, which unfortunately I do not comprehend) and the nature of the score, may be Japan's answer to Das Boot, and could possibly follow the lives of the crew of a doomed World War II battleship, would appear to be a strange departure for a composer largely known for his beautiful thematic scores, but he employs this approach most effectively here in a big orchestral/choral score which completely holds one's interest over this lengthy album, a score which is book ended by two affecting male vocal ballads, in Japanese, despite the second having the English title "Close Your Eyes," which is actually sung during the song.
Hisaishi employs a handful of themes, which he weaves skilfully in and out of his score, one of which is surprisingly very much out of the Media Ventures school, but which the composer treats not only in those traditions, but also presents in a much more intimate reading for guitar and piano. There is also something of a muscular prelude to action theme, which is too seldom heard, some exciting conflict, and moments of great pride, but it is undoubtedly Hisaishi's natural sense of romance and poignancy that often shines through and which results in some genuinely heart-rending moments during the final score tracks.
The CD is presented in an attractive gatefold digipack, with plenty of colour stills from the film in the accompanying concealed booklet.
If you are already a Joe Hisaishi fan, you will definitely want to seek this one out. If not, this is a pretty good place to start. I haven't seen it on sale from any western soundtrack specialist retailer as yet, but if you go to, they should be able to help you.


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