So yeah, Kawai's music isn't cyborg music. Truth is, I don't know how to classify his music except to call it deeply spiritual and deeply cinematic. The latter description is a given since most of his work has been the score for Japanese motion pictures, both live-action and animated. While I love the epic and often atmospheric quality of his cinema-music, it is the spiritual part that keeps this man's music in heavy rotation in my car (and keeps my car as a revolving door for dating). Kawai uses a Japanese choir who sing in alto, while the music underneath is carried along by deeeeeep booming drums. All of this is interrupted by perfectly timed extended periods of near silence -- and then...BOOM... the drums are back and the singers carry you through to the end. That is when I wipe either the sweat from my brow or the single tear from my eye. And I mean, this happens almost each time I listen to his "cyborg music".
The man really knows how to switch it up too. For the movie The Sky Crawlers he takes his same choir but makes their presence more minimal and smooth. Contrary to his music for Innocence which has a bit more power to its sound, the music for The Sky Crawlers is poignant and melancholic. In fact, Innocence seems to be hymnal, as if it were looking up at the gods. The Sky Crawlers, conversely, seems to be music about gods looking down at us humans. Becuase a harp is the primary instrument throughout most of the soundtrack, the feeling conveyed is beautiful but sad.
Of course, not all of Kawai's music sounds this way. In the end, the man has to tailor the music according to the aesthetes of the film, but it is these two soundtracks -- Innocence and The Sky Crawlers -- that I would recommend as Kawai's best works. I've already described his sound for both as being "deeply spiritual," but maybe a better way to describe it is as deeply philosophical. There is an unlikely hybrid of the platonic and the poetic in his sound. The word philsosophy means "love of wisdom" and indeed Kawai's combinaton of vocals, drum and bass creates an environment that is wise and ancient.
I'm happy to say that the latest woman on my arm has not ran away from my cyborg-talk or my cyborg music. That isn't to say that she likes either, but she is able to appreciate the virtues of a man-child who gravitates to both. It's different and she likes that. Kawai is different and I love that.
What did you think of this review?