Brain Powerd Original Soundtrack
This isn't the first anime OST to completely overshadow the series it was created for, but it's definitely one of the best. Yoko Kanno once again shows her amazing ability to seamlessly cross genres on a single album, creating a mix of breathtaking orchestrals, seductive jazz, and gorgeous vocal pieces. And true to form, she does it multiple times for the same series, with the second offering holding its own just as well as the first. Between the 38 tracks on these two albums, there isn't much not to like. Each track does a wonderful job of creating a mood (be it relaxing, unsettling, or exciting), and drawing the listener into its beauty. It's almost too difficult to even pick a few favorite tracks, since nearly all of them are worthy of mention. But in the interest of not making this a ridiculously long review, I'll just mention the very best.
War Ship - There's just something about this song that moves me. A heavy focus on horns, with strings that blend in well. This song feels like the ballad of a fallen soldier; epic and grandiose, but achingly sad at the same time. I always get a chill listening to it, especially at the climax near the end.
Blue Tone - A jazzy piece with a tribal influence; light drums and a good beat combined with a soft sax. This track stands out by being one of two only jazz influenced songs on the album, and yet doesn't feel out of place.
Sonne - An operatic vocal track performed by Artur Stefanowicz. Absolutely beautiful; the vocals and accompanying melody flow so well together. I'm not a huge fan of opera or sopranos, but I count this among my favorites on this album.
Ark - Proving that bagpipes aren't always a bad thing, this track plays them along with a full orchestra of strings, drums, and horns. Just as grand and sweeping as "War Ship", this one also has a militaristic feel to it, but is far more uplifting, more like a victory march.
Nervous - Same basic melody as "War Ship", but this one is pure strings. The title doesn't do it justice... it seems to have more of a feeling of calm before the storm than nervousness. Nevertheless, it's a wonderful track, and only suffers from being too short - Those 2 1/2 minutes are over before you can even really appreciate it.
Morning Grace - Another track focused solely on strings. This time, the title fits perfectly; the beginning feels like opening one's eyes to a brand new day. About midway through, it takes a very slight darker turn, with lovely crescendos and falls, but quickly comes back to its focus on just being a pretty little song.
Field - A music box style track. Simple and very sweet, there isn't much to say about this one; even so it's certainly among the most listenable tracks.
Waver - Gabriela Robin sings her odd, nonsensical vocals over a piano and string arrangement. Definitely a darker tone, this track feels hyper and excited, like struggling to breathe after running from an enemy. A weird way to describe it, but that's the feeling I get when I listen to it.
Should You Listen?
Yes and yes. Both of these OSTs are great, especially if you enjoy listening to inventive and engaging pieces of music. Those who don't really care for OSTs heavy on the orchestrals may not be as interested, but any classical music fan, and every Yoko Kanno fan should have this as part of their music collection. Sure, imports can be expensive, but these are worth every penny.
5 out of 5, of course. Not only do the Brain Powerd OSTs stand as some of Kanno's best work, they hold up equally as well as just some of the best music I've ever heard. These are my most listened to anime OSTs, right up there with Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
Leave me alone, fanboys!
Would you recommend the product? Yes
Price you paid? None indicated