Joe Hisaishi – シーラカンスの夢
From Joe Hisaishi – シンデレラ迷宮
Released on Columbia 1984, Japan

How can we possibly introduce Joe Hisaishi, without doubt one of the mot influential composers for the cinema from the last 30 years? Let’s begin with some facts…

By the end of the 1960’s, Hisaishi has already graduated from the prestigious Kunitachi College of music, in Tokyo, and, by the end of the 1970’s, he has already composed a lot of soundtracks for anime, advertisement, etc., finding more and more inspiration in the bubbling electronic music scene, that was becoming big in Japan.

In 1982, he released his first solo album with his band, Wonder City Orchestra, on which we can easily hear the influence of successful Japanese electronic acts like Yellow Magic Orchestra. From this record onwards, Hisaishi‘s composition became more and more minimalistic and New Age-influenced : leading him to compose the ethereal soundtrack for box-office success, Nausicaä Of The Valley Of Wind, which inaugurated a fruitful collaboration between Hisaishi and animation superstar Miyazaki… This collaboration gave birth to some of the most deeply rooted in the mind of  those, who – like us – grew up watching Ghibli’s productions, musical themes.

A personal favorite is also his collaboration with Takeshi Kitano (Kikujiro no natsu‘s theme breaks our heart…), spanning over a decade, from 1991’s Scene at the Sea to 2002’s Dolls. But we’re here to speak about a lesser known side of his contribution to music, that is to say the music he released and that is not designed to soundtrack a picture.

By the time Joe Hisaishi released シンデレラ迷宮, he already had started his collaboration with Miyazaki; and this album, like all of the albums he would release under his name, gave him more freedom to experiment with all sort of ambiences, as the album goes from catchy synthpop, to floating ambient music. And seriously, when it comes to record mind-blowing ambient, he certainly knows how to do it : シーラカンスの夢 is as « floating » as an ambient tune can possibly gets, with his very light use of the drum machine, and of course Hisaishi‘s incredible talent at creating easy but highly emotionally charged melodies. This is definitely the kind of music no words can accurately describe… So just try it for yourself !

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