Wednesday, February 29, 2012

JASDF 801st. Tactical Training Squadron: Music-Pod

Released on December 16, 1994 by BMG Victor Inc. and Lipop Record.  Catalog no.: BVCH-615

Ah, yes, another rare gem.  I would like to mention that I do have an extra copy(as of March 2012), for I can't find it on any site.    I couldn't wait to obtain this cd.  Only a few popped up for sale.  One way to tell this soundtrack is worth it, is the second is not.  Nagaoka has done the first three episodes of the OAV, mainly because there was a year before they continued it and another composer was picked up.

The second OST and remaining four episodes were done by Norimasa Yamanaka.  Whom, has done "Legend of Lemnear" and Hayashi's "Explorer Woman Ray", but she's well known for "Appleseed".  Her CD has been sitting there for a mere 300 yen since 2010, until recently.  Either, the seller had given up, or somebody felt sorry and decided to take it off his hands.  Poor Yamanaka.  Though, I will eventually try it.  After seeing it so long for sale, while Nagaoka's CD was fought for, I wasn't in a rush to get her take on the series.

Being impatient to receive this soundtrack, I looked up the show on youtube and wasn't impressed but by a few action pieces.  The opener was and still is one of the most attractive themes I've heard.  Though, the action pieces were making it a more painful wait.

01-01 虹になりたい(オープニング・テーマ|フル・バージョン)
01-02 801TTSのテーマ
01-03 オンボロ隊舎
01-04 科特隊801
01-05 更衣室ラプソディ
01-06 大怪獣ピョゴラ
01-07 夢,ふたたび(羽田のテーマ)
01-08 TAKE OFF!
01-10 めざせ!ブルーインパルス
01-11 スクランブル!
01-12 ウキウキMORNING
01-13 春風に吹かれて
01-15 静寂の午後
01-16 破局へのドッグファイト
01-17 黄昏のランウェイ
01-18 石動のテーマ
01-19 揺れる想い(三鷹のテーマ)
01-20 回想
01-21 傷心の三鷹
01-24 太陽があたためた気持ち(エンディング・テーマ|フル・バージョン)
01-25 虹になりたい(ラジオ・バージョン)
01-26 太陽があたためた気持ち(ビデオ・バージョン)
01-27 太陽があたためた気持ち(オリジナル・カラオケ)
01-28 おまけ#1 T-4/アイドリング
01-29 おまけ#2 T-4/フライパス

Let's start at the end of this disc.  The last two tracks are the sound effects to the aircraft.  It is credited to Nagaoka, surprisingly, but then again he is a sound designer.  It was not necessary, but it's a nice addition.  I don't think they were designed.  They do sound like authentic fighter planes, though listening through the tracks, it seems as though they were arranged.

I feel Victor Entertainment went above and beyond on this soundtrack.  Not only do we get sound effects to the aircraft, but also Nagaoka's first complete CD.  There is not a damn piece missing from the show.  They've even included the full opening and closers along with the ending karaoke, so you can enjoy them in their full glory.  But that's not all, you also get the short aired version of the songs.

Mayaka is the vocalist for the opener.  She does resemble Ai Orikasa's voice, though, but with a groggy voice and a high pitch.  The only problem I had with the opener is the drums.  They were altered on this cd.  I liked it a lot better in the show.  Here the drums sounded... less percussive.  Still, it doesn't take away from this excellent composition.  Seikou normally doesn't make great openers, or openers at all.  Mayaka's voice does hit the high note too high sometimes, which make it irritating, but makes up for it when she holds a note at a low key.  There is a jazzy feel to this rocking piece but you won't catch it right away or at all.  Nagaoka makes an excellent finish with his improv on the guitars.  This is J-pop at its finest.

Most of BGM's are short and rather stale.  The 801 TTS theme(track 2) is just as its titled.  Track 3 has a lazy bass guitar and some percussion, with laid back comical piano.  After that, we have nicely arranged jazz tune with some attitude.  I find it a more appropriate theme for the character Arisa Mitaka.  Number 5, again, your typical jazzy, slice of life, comical tune.

All the above are similar, yet do their job well.  It is the type of music that should play when nothing exciting is happening at an organization such as this.  This is standard fare for Nagaoka.  There just isn't enough time to grasp you and get you addicted to the cd with these short pieces.  None the less, sets the character and tone of the series.  Also, they sound like his work on the Tenchi series, but not to that level.  Actual sounds have been updated, as the beats can be felt and heard this time.

Track 6 is where this OST can enslave the listener.  Opening with militaristic snare drums, with some jazzy brass, followed by some ethnic Japanese woodwork and strings arrangement.  Even with the loop, it does not sound repetitive.  I love the gongs and crashing symbols, all the way to the end, leading to a excellent finish.

Miyuki Haneda's theme comes up and puts the emotional depth of the OAV on ground.  Seikou's piano is ever powerful and unique.  Violins carry the piece through, with the touch of acoustic guitar.  Soon after this track is done putting the feelings out there, we are treated with what I've been waiting for. ...

The stars of the soundtrack, Take Off! and Emergency!  These two pieces made the already boasting scenery that much more enjoyable.  The former is intense with percussion, yet just us uplifting with aerial guitars and brass.  Crashing symbols that touch the soul at the finish.  The later, also begins intensely, as the name suggests.  Wild casting of the drums open up the track, but then quickly recoups with bass guitar.  Then jumps back into the beat, and builds even heavier and more quickly on the dire situation at hand.  These two tracks alone are reason to buy this soundtrack at more than full value.

Following the gravity of the cd, is an anthemic track.  Nothing all that special, but it makes you feel as the danger has been averted and the good guys win.  Scramble brings us back to what makes this CD worthwhile.  Synthesizers bring out that sense of thrill and danger, as if you are actually going on a pilot mission.  Guitars make the serious sound with the addition of a great beat and well used brass.

 Fukifuki Morning is another slice of life theme.  It's more upbeat, with acoustic and bass guitars, along with progressive synthesizers.  Track 13 has some sweet melodic strings and oboe.  Weekend of 801tts, is standard character themes.  The only thing keeping it interesting is the use of percussions.  These are some of Nagaoka's weak points, but they are still more than passable.

15th track is reminiscent of Miyuki's theme, but more quietly adding other instruments to the synth.  Such as, the acoustic guitar again, and attractive keys.  Now back to another action track that begins with a fun beat.  Drums are arranged impressively here as well.  Then brass, guitars, and symbols take cover making for a catastrophic feeling.  The ending is held with an extra note of evilness.  A romantic theme follows the previous.  Though short and great, it is hard to actually get addicted to it.  Another minute long, acoustic theme follows that.  Wind sounds fill the background, giving a feel for the theme of the show.

Arisa's sad theme is just that.  Very similar to Washu's Heartache, but again, not arranged to that level.  Still these are Nagaoka's strength.  Even in failure to do better before, it's still better than everyone's best.  This track just fills the heart up with melancholy and joy.  Right after that, is my favorite sad piece, Memories, if my translation is correct.  Pianos instantly awaken the soul, then soon adding the acoustic guitars and synthesizers, finishing back with the dark keys.  One after another, Seikou Nagaoka pulls out another powerful piano piece.  This one tends to Arisa as well.  For a girl that is bold, sure gets the softest music.

Both Blue Sky Dreams are nicely done and arranged, but with a more bluesy feel to them.  Synthesizers may take away the grandness that the pieces are.  The first is the piano arrangement and it holds its own at two and a half minutes.  The second piece is shorted, increasing the pace of the previous with drums.

Concluding the BGMs section, I don't think its Nagaoka's best work.  It is very well balanced, though.  There is enough action, character interaction, emotion, and comedy to be weighted evenly.  Both his action and melancholic tracks were wonderfully done, which are the best here.  Below his best were the other ones, but I blame them on their briefness mostly.

Ai Orikasa and Aya Hisakawa sing the ending theme, The Sun Warms My Heart.  Although,  not as great as the opener, it is just as catchy.  I get the feeling of being on the beach with the Hawaiian themed rhythm.  Aya's voice similar to Ayeka's seiyuu, Yumi Takada.  Making this cd feel like another(possibly secret) Tenchi product.  i don't think the song was altered from the video like the opener.  If so, it's not affected so. The shortened version is just as good.  Both can listened through with a breeze.  The full versions end just as quickly as the short.  I wish the opening theme karaoke was included, as it is even harder to find the singles.

I didn't have scans this time, because I don't deem it necessary.  There is nothing extra to show, except the staff praising and interviewing the composer.  It is just text heavy too upload, unless somebody requests so.  Excellent cover designs.  Two pages of track titles, four of story coverage, two of character descriptions, one page of song lyrics, and finally credits.  Comes with CD sized sticker of the Airbats logo.  Package gets 8/10.

There is absolutely no reason not to have this soundtrack.  Unfortunately, the reason for that, few composers can get a high percentage of well produced music, such as this one.  Excellent songs, full, short, and karaoke, sound effects, and an actually completed collection of music.  This album gets an B+

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