50th Anniversary Edition
La-La Land Records (LLLCD 1022)
Release Date: 2004
|1.||Godzilla Approaches (Sound Effects)||0:49|
|2.||Godzilla Main Title||1:31|
|3.||Ship Music/Sinking of Eikou-Maru||1:06|
|4.||Sinking of Bingou-Maru||0:23|
|5.||Anxieties on Ootojima Island||0:50|
|6.||Ootojima Temple Festival||1:21|
|7.||Stormy Ootojima Island||1:53|
|8.||Theme for Ootojima Island||0:34|
|9.||Japanese Army March I||0:42|
|10.||Horror of the Water Tank||0:42|
|11.||Godzilla Comes Ashore||1:52|
|14.||Godzilla Comes to Tokyo Bay||1:25|
|16.||Tragic Sight of the Imperial Capital||2:18|
|18.||Prayer for Peace||2:48|
|19.||Japanese Army March II||0:21|
|20.||Godzilla at the Ocean Floor||6:20|
|22.||Godzilla Leaving (Sound Effects)||1:04|
|23.||Main Title (Film Version)||2:03|
|24.||First Landing (Film Version)||3:37|
|25.||Tokyo in Flames (Film Version)||2:17|
|26.||Last Assault (Film Version)||2:21|
|Total Album Time:||46:13|
|by Rafael Ruiz
September 4, 2004
Unfortunately, Japanese composers aren't very well known outside of their countries. Even the best of the contemporaries (Jo Hisashi, Masamichi Amano) aren't as highly regarded as their equals in America. Outside of Anime circles, their scores don't tend to get out too much. The one piece of music any film fan could pick up on immediately would be Akira Ifukube's theme for Godzilla. Ifukube rooted the series musically as he would compose many more times for the big green guy through Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995) as well as the Rodan and Zatoichi movies.
Godzilla celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with the recent release of the original Japanese cut of the movie. Considering the twenty films released about the character (including my favorite Bambi Vs. Godzilla), it is surprising that this version has never been viewed over in America as it is a completely different movie. Removed is the Raymond Burr cut-away footage and added back in is the harsh criticism of American's atomic testing which was a hot button topic in the day. Ifukube's music was the one element that never really changed.
The score is incredibly rich, working with Stravinsky influenced horns, violent strings and low-end piano chords "stomp" steadily as Godzilla wreaks havoc through the middle tracks of the album. There is both majesty and fear in the Godzilla march, slowly building like an unstoppable machine. The simplicity of the Godzilla theme is its defining quality (something that I would say influenced John Williams on Jaws). Other themes are the rural "Ootojima Temple Festival" and the optimistic "Japanese Army March" which has been reused multiple times in other films ("Battle in Outer Space" and "Invasion of Astro-Monster"). The oxygen destroyer motif of shrieking violins ("Horror of the Water Tank") creeps up the atmosphere. Additionally several mournful tracks included a gentle children's chorus ("Prayer For Peace" and "Ending") after the destruction.
What that means is that I was surprised by the range of the score. As much as I love Godzilla, I didn't really take the music as a whole that seriously and this score really reveals the range of Ifukube's work. There have been plenty of compilations of the score before, but this is the first un-cut release of the score, re-mastered and packed with alternative versions of cues and of course the obligatory Godzilla scream. The re-mastering is a stellar job. There's unavoidable hiss on the soundtrack, but that's inherent to the age of the material. Being as this will be as good as it gets for the original recordings, Gojira fans go out and get.
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