Otakon 2013 Brings in Composer Yoko Kanno and Chiaki Ishikawa as Guests

Otakon 2013
Otakon, the annual anime convention held in Baltimore near the tail end of summer, has hit its 20th year milestone and is celebrating that in style! This year’s production has already featured some big names like TM Revolution, the singer who paired up with Nana Mizuki to perform Valvrave the Liberator’s “Preserved Roses” opening theme! But arguably the most sought-after performance will be none other than the Otakon Sunday concert which will feature Yoko Kanno and Chiaki Ishikawa!

Right now, it’s really hard to tell what will go down. According to the site, it says that Yoko Kanno will be performing something called “Piano Me” which will consist of Kanno on solo piano. But beyond that, the details are sparse. As most anime fans know, Yoko Kanno is responsible for composing music to anime writing the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack as well as, more recently, the soundtrack for Sakamichi no Apollon, better known as Kids on the Slope in the West.

Chiaki Ishikawa will also get a chance to showcase her skills as she opens up the concert. For those not aware, Chiaki Ishikawa performed the evergreen opening song to Bokurano, titled “Uninstall” as well as the ending theme to Majestic Prince, through a song titled “Sayonara Tteiu”. In the past, she’s also worked as a part of See-Saw on the .hack franchise.

Given all that’s out there, I’d say that this year’s Otakon experience beats out the Anime Expo experience by a stretch, as fun as the latter was. Because of that, we’ll look forward to seeing how things go down and the impressions thereof!

Aquarion EVOL Vocal Collection, @New Dimension, Released July 25

The Aquarion franchise, an anime set in the future involving teenagers whose hormones power giant robots, has been known for excellent music with a soundtrack composed by Yoko Kanno who works on not only the score, but the OP/ED themes sung by AKINO.  For those who’ve really enjoyed this collaboration of Kanno’s music and AKINO’s vocals, along with many others who’ve worked on the Aquarion franchise, will see a vocal album set to be released on July 25.

This album will feature longtime favorite pieces like the original “Sousei no Aquarion” (see below), as well as songs from the second season like the momentous “Gekkou Symphonia” from the Kimi no Shinwa ~ Aquarion Dai Ni Shou single which included her brother, a part of the bless4 singing group.

Those who are looking forward to the album can preorder it still at CDJapan.

Also, if you’ve been enjoying Aquarion EVOL, we have posted a review of Aquarion EVOL’s soundtrack over on the blog, and it’s definitely worth checking out, not least because of the sheer variety that’s on display as well as the way she revisits some of the older tracks from the first Aquarion installment. [Read more…]

Yoko Kanno/Shinichiro Watanabe’s Jazzy Sakamichi no Apollon: Kids on the Slope Begins + Soundtrack Info

For those of you who have been eagerly waiting, the first episode of Sakamichi no Apollon: Kids on the Slope has been released. Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe with music taken from classic jazz albums, along with works by composer Yoko Kanno, Sakamichi no Apollon follows the story of a transfer student, Kaoru, a chance meeting with the school delinquent Sentaro, and how that eventually draws him into the world of jazz.

In our coverage of the anime, we will not only go over the plot points, but will also go into detail regarding the jazz pieces featured in the anime as well as put the pieces within the historical context of jazz as a whole. So for those who want to follow our episodic posts, you can use the episodic category.

Also, the soundtrack for Sakamichi no Apollon will be released on April 25, 2012 and can be pre-ordered through CDJapan. There’s also a collection of jazz pieces that have been compiled together. That disc was released in 2009 and can also be ordered through CDJapan.

Yoko Kanno Composes Intro to NHK’s 62nd Kohaku Uta Gassen

Looks like one of the reasons why Japanese composer Yoko Kanno hasn’t been composing so much anime music has been answered. Although she has not had any new anime compositions since the Macross Frontier movies, we’re about to see new compositions from her. The first will be for the next addition to the Sousei no Aquarion franchise, titled Aquarion Evol which is set to be aired in Winter 2012’s anime season.

But perhaps more importantly, Kanno has been assigned to compose the opening to NHK’s 62nd Kohaku Uta Gessen, a music show that takes place every year on New Year’s Eve. The piece itself is set to play when hosts Arashi and Mao Inoue are introduced as well as when artists are introduced, artists which include the likes of Ayumi Hamazaki, Nana Mizuki, and L’Arc~en~Ciel.

Source: Oricon via Tokyohive.

Yoko Kanno’s Composition for Earthquake Victims

As a remembrance to the victims of the March 11 earthquake that struck Japan, anime composer Yoko Kanno as written a short piece that displays a great deal of sadness over the event. The piece is especially appropriate given that Kanno was born in Miyagi prefecture, which is one of the most hardest hit areas.

Kanno’s composition can be heard below:


[Read more…]

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