View Poll Results: Who should take the end it all FFS champ title?

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  • Nobuo Uematsu

    29 45.31%
  • Yoko Kanno

    35 54.69%
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Thread: Uematsu vs Yoko Kanno[poll]

  1. #51
    Live This Close to Death mary_sonnie's Avatar
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    I think both are composers are good, but the media is vastly different. (I also happen to think both are overrated, but that's something else entirely.) I find Kanno's music to be more accessible, but I think that anime on a whole is more accessible, since a video game requires active participation and not everyone is willing to invest in it.

    But all the time spent playing a game makes it very easy for memorable songs to win a special place in a gamer's heart (which is why several leitmotifs appear in every title in either the intro or credits, or as chocobo accompaniment).

    Both composers deserve their fans, though not necessarily the sheer amount of people calling them geniuses and such; a genius isn't a word to just throw around casually, especially to composers who are still alive and have many years left in their career. It would be better to compare two game composers or two anime composers; attempting to compare artists who score different media isn't quite fair.

  2. #52
    Onion Kid
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    I'm pleased Yoko Kanno winned the poll.

  3. #53
    Onion Kid section9's Avatar
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    well, i would've voted for yoko kanno. she's great.

    uematsu, on the other hand, is really no good at all in my opinion. totally lifeless compositions + a fetish for really shitty 80s metal.

  4. #54
    Onion Kid gorial's Avatar
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    "who the fuck is yoko ono"

    xDDDDDD
    click please I don't have 1000 points yet...
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  5. #55
    Fire Walk With Me Panopticon's Avatar
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    Michiru Yamane > Yoko
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  6. #56
    Shriner
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    Yoko Kanno is waaaay more versatile than Uematsu, but that might have something to do with the people she works with, or the fact that she works with some many people. I mean, Mai Yamane is basically a jazz singer, Illaria Graziano a pop singer, but notably different from say Maaya Sakamoto. Francisco Sascalone is a guitarist/vocalist, but you know Tsueno Imahori when you hear him.

    Honestly though, I don't like Uematsu all that much anyway, so I'm biased.

  7. #57
    The Light of Justice
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    I think both composers are good in their own way. But, I've have to M.s Kanno has a lot more versatility on her. Cowboy Bebop and Turn "A" Gundam were the best I heard so far from her
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  8. #58
    Onion Kid ThrashInPeace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnomey View Post
    Voted Kanno. The Escaflowne soundtrack pretty much sums up her awesomeness. 8D
    come on
    escaflowne?

    stand alone complex shows a little more talent as a composer

    but as far as the best between the two im gonna have to go with uematsu

    dont get me wrong i love kanno but
    uematsu has a greater body of music under his belt

  9. #59
    Shriner konou_ken's Avatar
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    kanno!!!

  10. #60
    Is A Man tangotreats's Avatar
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    Kanno's music is undoubtedly more proficient from a technical point of view, but her stunning lack of originality and sickening plagiarism remove her entitlement to be known as an artist.

    Kanno is a superb pastiche writer, but no more - with respect, *anybody* can pastiche - Kanno (and orchestrators?) do it with considerable flair. What makes a great artist - a genius, if you will - is the ability to truly create - to embody yourself in your music. Kanno's only recognisable, and original, musical signature is a very particular style of off-key dissonance in the brass section of her orchestral music. She's no genius, and she's definitely not to be worshipped. I praise her for bringing music of such technical majesty to the medium of animation, but that is all.

    I'm not the biggest Uematsu fan in the world, not by a long shot, but he has to win this for writing his own music, in his own way, with his own soul. Uematsu's inspirations are just that - inspirations, which colour his own technique. But Kanno's technique is nothing more than a (admittedly very fine from a purely auditory perspective) mixture of thefts and textbook flourishes, with no personality.

    Uematsu may be simpler, but he's honest. That makes him the better artist.

    [Edit: And I agree, it's daft to compare the two because they are totally different stylistically, and you will get nothing here but personal dislikes and likes. It's definitely no definitive confirmation of one musician's superiority over another. It's a popularity contest. Since when to the most deserving people win popularity contests?]

  11. #61
    Grand Shriner
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    Kanno is a superb pastiche writer, but no more - with respect, *anybody* can pastiche - Kanno (and orchestrators?) do it with considerable flair. What makes a great artist - a genius, if you will - is the ability to truly create - to embody yourself in your music. Kanno's only recognisable, and original, musical signature is a very particular style of off-key dissonance in the brass section of her orchestral music. She's no genius, and she's definitely not to be worshipped. I praise her for bringing music of such technical majesty to the medium of animation, but that is all.
    I'm familiar with most of the "heavy" film and classical repertoire and have been able to pick out a myriad of Kanno's plagiarisms and inspirations from various composers, but what I haven't (yet) been able to pinpoint is simply stunning music without any indication of ripping off other people's work, or bringing in ghostwriters/orchestrators to fill out the rest. For example, she likes to quote Prokofiev a lot, but what sounds like it could be Prokofiev but isn't must be indicative of some kind of genius. I don't know of many film composers who are able to channel Copland, Ravel, Bartok, etc. as accurately and imaginatively as she can.

  12. #62
    A wizard did it. Red Arremer's Avatar
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    Ohhh... Jesus. Kanno, definitely.

    Uematsu has made music for Final Fantasy, and to be honest, some of those compositions are pretty mediocre or even annoying. Especially in the room of FF7. Although some tunes are quite catchy, Uematsu has no chance against Kanno in my oppinion.

    Yoko Kanno has created soundtracks being unbelievable different from each other. While all Final Fantasy-Soundtracks from Uematsu have the same kind of atmosphere coming together and a lot of tracks recycled (just take the Chocobo Theme as an example), Yoko Kanno's compositions are all different. From jazzy (Cowboy Bebop) over epic-orchestral (Escaflowne, X) and techno-ish dark (Ghost in the Shell) to ethnic (Escaflowne again, Uncharted Waters and Ragnarok 2). I haven't seen a lot of composers offering such a variety in whole soundtracks, not only a few samples.

  13. #63
    It's a Denise original! Marshall Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonlapse Vertigo View Post
    seriously. Kanno is infinetly more diverse and talented.

    what the fuck is wrong with you people?

  14. #64
    Is A Man tangotreats's Avatar
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    I'm familiar with most of the "heavy" film and classical repertoire and have been able to pick out a myriad of Kanno's plagiarisms and inspirations from various composers, but what I haven't (yet) been able to pinpoint is simply stunning music without any indication of ripping off other people's work, or bringing in ghostwriters/orchestrators to fill out the rest. For example, she likes to quote Prokofiev a lot, but what sounds like it could be Prokofiev but isn't must be indicative of some kind of genius. I don't know of many film composers who are able to channel Copland, Ravel, Bartok, etc. as accurately and imaginatively as she can.
    Plagiarism IS ripping off, my friend. The woman hasn't written a note of original music in her career. Quoting Prokofiev is something most people do. But lifting pieces of Prokofiev wholesale and inserting them into your own music is pushing a point.

    How in the world does it indicate genius if she is writing music that sounds like another composer? All that indicates is that she has a CD collection and isn't afraid to raid it for ideas when her own inspiration lets her down. A true musical genius doesn't need to ape other composers because they have their own styles, techniques, and inspirations. They write their own music. Kanno takes somebody else's music (without their permission, without crediting them, and without seeing that they receive deserved royalties,) changes it around a little, and slaps her name on it. It sounds FUCKING MARVELLOUS but it's not her music.

    I don't see this channelling either. She's not chanelling anything. She's stealing. As an example, you mention Ravel - I gather you're talking about Revenge from Escaflowne. This isn't channeling. She steals the orchestration, technique, harmonies, and rhythm wholesale, and inserts the Escaflowne theme in place of the Bolero theme. Once again, it sounds absolutely SUPERB but it's a simple cut and paste job that anybody can hear. (And, incidentally, the Escaflowne theme isn't original either - it's based on the traditional Dies Irae. So her "channelling" Ravel is basically stealing somebody else's theme, somebody else's orchestration, and hammering them together.

    Uematsu has made music for Final Fantasy, and to be honest, some of those compositions are pretty mediocre or even annoying. Especially in the room of FF7. Although some tunes are quite catchy, Uematsu has no chance against Kanno in my oppinion.
    Don't get me wrong... Uematsu has written some right shit in his time... More shit than Kanno, definitely. But it's HIS shit.

    Yoko Kanno has created soundtracks being unbelievable different from each other.
    Um, exactly... If you steal Prokofiev today and Jerry Goldsmith tomorrow, of course they'll sound different from each other.

    Any comptenent media-based composer is able to write jazz, classical music, or light pop as the situation demands.

    While all Final Fantasy-Soundtracks from Uematsu have the same kind of atmosphere coming together and a lot of tracks recycled (just take the Chocobo Theme as an example)
    Definitely a similar atmosphere - Uematsu's style is very evident.

    I haven't seen a lot of composers offering such a variety in whole soundtracks, not only a few samples.
    Indeed, it's very commendable that her tastes are so eclectic and she can provide music of such a variety of styles. However the music is not her own.

    No matter how much you enjoy that music, or how suitable it is for the scenes it accompanies, can change this basic fact.

    Nor can people posting "What the fuck is wrong with you?" should their opinion not tie up with mine, or indeed the correct viewpoint.

    seriously. Kanno is infinetly more diverse and talented. what the fuck is wrong with you people?
    Simply not true. It may sound that way to the untrained ear. Indeed, somebody who loves Kanno's music THAT MUCH will defend her to the ends of the earth.

    But her talents and diversity are DEFINITELY questionable at best. What cannot be disputed in the slightest, is that she has no morals, and no respect for her fellow musicians.

    Don't flame me - I respect everybody's opinion, as I expect you all to respect mine. It would also be nice for people to accept that, though they may not *like* it, or maybe not even *hear* it - Kanno *is* a thief, and displays no respect to the composers she pillages. This is not something that can be intelligently disputed or argued against. It's a simple fact based upon evidence.

    (Note: Her conducting technique is pitiful - she is waving her arms roughly in time to the music and nothing more. A non musician wouldn't pick up on this, but it's clearly evidence that her abilities are lesser than we are being led to believe by the Kanno marketing machine. I'm sorry, nobody can orchestrate that well and be unable to conduct. And nobody in the history of film music has committed so many heinous acts of theft, as to suggest that she has no inspiration whatsoever. But that's an argument for another day.)

    If you ask the question, "Who's music is the most diverse, ravishing, and fitting to the picture?" I would answer Kanno.

    But she is NOT the better *artist* - she's no artist at all. She's a businesswoman.

    Uematsu could write nothing but complete and total SHIT and still win the "better artist" credit for simply making no false pretenses regarding the source of his music. Writing your own crap is better than stealing somebody else's gold any day of the week.

  15. #65
    A wizard did it. Red Arremer's Avatar
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    Oh wow. o.o

    Never knew that... good to know about her true goings. That lets me look onto her work in a totally different shade. O_o
    Anyhow, I still think you actually are a bit too suspicious of her - I do think she has created music on her own.

    But now that I know about her true nature, I actually vote for Uematsu - although still thinking his work is in a lot of cases utterly crap. :|

  16. #66
    Is A Man tangotreats's Avatar
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    Oh wow. o.o

    Never knew that... good to know about her true goings. That lets me look onto her work in a totally different shade. O_o
    Anyhow, I still think you actually are a bit too suspicious of her - I do think she has created music on her own.

    But now that I know about her true nature, I actually vote for Uematsu - although still thinking his work is in a lot of cases utterly crap. :|
    Thanks

    I *am* an endlessly suspicious person, but I know bullshit when I hear it, and I know plagiarism.

    I maintain the music is still frigging fantastic as a pure listening experience - but I think it's important to acknowledge that Kanno isn't the genius Goddess her fans have her down as. Far from it.

    Regardless of whether it's her alone, or am army of ten thousand musicians behind her arranging, orchestrating, producing, etc, the name Yoko Kanno is associated with a keen ear, and fine music. For that purpose, she's excellent, and in the world of Anime, completely unsurpassed.

    But, an artist? No. A musician? Yes, but only because she can play the piano. A composer? Maybe - though adaptation of existing material is often considered composition, we still don't know how much of this work is being done by somebody else. An orchestrator? I sincerely doubt it.

    Kanno's music is grand, glittering, technically superb, but it's spiritually empty. It's all textbook - particularly her orchestral music.

    To make an analogy - a architect designs a house, and builders build it for him. With Kanno, there's no architect - one of the builders looked at other buildings he liked and mixed and matched their features, trimmed them so it was the size it needed to be, maybe put in or took out a story or two... So the final building is beautiful, solid, built well, and serves its purpose - but it's a hotch-potch of styles, ideas, and techniques that somebody else devised.

  17. #67
    Grand Shriner
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    How in the world does it indicate genius if she is writing music that sounds like another composer?
    I'm glad you asked!

    I'm sure in some philosophical sense, all music is derivative in some way or another, but that's probably not the answer you're looking for. The real answer is that what she does, be it arranging an original melody in the style of another composer or lampooning their various orchestrations, is actually very difficult. I know, because I've attempted it myself. It's not easy to sound like Copland or Prokofiev, and when composers like Kanno and Horner resort to ripping them off, I die a little inside. But when they don't rip off anyone yet manage to still sound like another composer, I think that's pretty amazing.

    I can't be the only one who wished certain composers lived a little longer so that there'd be more amazing music out there, instead of the same pieces released over and over again. And you know what? I don't have the confidence in today's breed of composers to truly write something truly original anyway. With Poledouris and Goldsmith gone and composers like Horner handing off his old scores to a team of orchestrators telling them to go to work on Spiderwick and Legend of Zorro, and Goldenthal taking an extended leave from being his usual kickass self, film scores suck now.

    Back to Kanno, it is really starting to not bother me anymore that I can pinpoint exactly where she's getting her ideas. You're right when you say it sounds marvelous, because she's somehow orchestrating at a level that far surpasses any of my professors. I can get into the technicalities about how every minute detail serves a purpose, or her use of motivic development, or how she can manage a collage of contrasting styles in a single piece without missing a beat, but I really hope you can take my word for it and relisten to some of her scores, especially Turn a Gundam and Sousei no Aquarion, and see how well it pays off to model your music on classical works. She just outclasses most Western film composers. How can you hate a composer who quotes Goldenthal's Titus (well, in a tasteful way, at least...l)

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    I don't see this channelling either. She's not chanelling anything. She's stealing. As an example, you mention Ravel - I gather you're talking about Revenge from Escaflowne.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    (And, incidentally, the Escaflowne theme isn't original either - it's based on the traditional Dies Irae.
    Nope, the gregorian-like Escaflowne theme is original. You might be thinking of the Salve Regina, which is similar. Also, you can hear similar melodies to this in Prokofiev's 6th symphony, Respighi's Ballata delle gnomidi, and Hans Zimmer's score to The Da Vinci Code of all places. But none of them quite the same, nor written for low male voices.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    So her "channelling" Ravel is basically stealing somebody else's theme, somebody else's orchestration, and hammering them together.
    Essentially that's correct, but consider this done with an adeptness that not many other people possess. It's actually very fascinating to listen to. See if you can find a track called Searching for the Shadow of Umbrella from the Mizu no Onna OST. It's basically the famous stacatto movement from Ravel's string quartet, but the melody is original, the harmonies, etc. It's very nice, and I have no idea how she does it. Another example is the Rain Waltz from the Nappa Tale OST. This one is like another movement to Shostakovich's Jazz Suite that Shostakovich didn't write.

    Maybe "genius" isn't the best word to use in these cases, but it does take talent to do what she does. The "genius" factor comes in when I can't pinpoint if she's stealing or not, and it sounds truly original and awesome. If you want, I can quote some examples of this and you can attempt to find some act of plagiarism that I somehow missed. I know I wouldn't mind learning that why something she's written sounds so familiar.

    As for Kanno's abilities/credentials/talent, I've done some research and come up empty handed in that area. I don't know if she has a degree in composition or orchestration, or if she's ever attended a music school and if so, who are her teachers? I think she claims to be self taught, and Origa was quoted in an interview saying "It all began with my debut album which was released in Tokyo in 1994. Kanno, then a beginner piano player, played all piano parts on it," which seems to contradict the idea her first concert work The Creation was orchestrated and performed in 1991. I can't imagine what kind of strings she was pulling behind the scenes for that one, so it remains unclear exactly what kind of musical upbringing she has.

    As for Kanno's conducting abilities, I watched the Korean documentary on the Turn a Gundam concert and while she doesn't appear to be that graceful as a conductor, she does know how to conduct. She can keep time, and cues just fine. I don't believe she rehearsed with the orchestra entirely herself, but she held her own during the concert so that's to be commended. I've also seen videos of her rehearsing with the Warsaw Philharmonic, which to me was surprising, so unless it's staged propaganda to continue the "myth" of Kanno, I don't think we can write off her conducting ability as being some sort of telltale sign of her shortcomings.

  18. #68
    Is A Man tangotreats's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for your post... I can't tell you how nice it is to see a real, intelligent discussion emerging about this - and I'll definitely address all of your (excellent) points tomorrow when I'm less sleepy.

    (By the way, I'm a composer and orchestrator - as well as self-appointed classical music, film music, and anime music geek. I'm currently breaking into the film scoring arena and am recording a 70 minute symphonic album with a 60 piece orchestra in Brno next year. I'm not trying to say "I'm a genius, shut up you morons" - I'm just mentioning this so you know what standpoint I'm coming from and what experience and mindset I have.)

    VERY briefly, however...:

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    Yes, the Bolero rythym. But making an appearance as one small facet of an otherwise entirely original (and completely representative of its composer's style) piece of music.

    The real answer is that what she does, be it arranging an original melody in the style of another composer or lampooning their various orchestrations, is actually very difficult. I know, because I've attempted it myself. It's not easy to sound like Copland or Prokofiev, and when composers like Kanno and Horner resort to ripping them off, I die a little inside.
    I agree with that. Trying to evoke the general sound of another composer without outright stealing from him is *very* hard and requires incredible skill.

    My contentious point was that when Kanno sounds like Prokofiev or Copland or Ravel, it's because she's copied and pasted out large sections from their existing scores.

    James Horner is another case in point - a thief, and a liar. And if I hear the four note danger motif one more time I think I may kill somebody.

    However, one has to question *why* it is strictly important for a composer to be able to emulate somebody else's style. A true artist has their own style and their own musical signature.

    Jerry Goldsmith could adopt a thousand different techniques, but the *style* that ran through each and every one of them was entirely consistent.

    Kanno's music feels to me like there are five hundred completely individual personalities living inside her. Add to that the (definite and unassailable) fact that it is impossible to listen to a piece of her music without your head filling with twenty five other compositions from whence they were devised - and I start to suspect and worse. The techniques she uses are all so firmly rooted in the classical tradition, you have to assume somebody with a solid classical background is doing this stuff. It's all well-arranged fluff, but there's no individuality.

    How can you hate a composer who quotes Goldenthal's Titus (well, in a tasteful way, at least...l)
    Let's not talk about Tyler Bates then.

    Nope, the gregorian-like Escaflowne theme is original.
    I disagree, although I was indeed wrong in saying it was the Dies Irae - I'm not drunk, honest... I am, however, an idiot. The piece I was thinking was indeed the Salve Regina. The first four notes are identical to those of the Escaflowne theme, but the rest is different. I can't place where the rest of it comes from, but I *have* heard it before. I'm fairly well convinced that this goes beyond the simple fact that Gregorian chant, by its nature and construction, has a distinct sound.

    Essentially that's correct, but consider this done with an adeptness that not many other people possess.
    I agree, it's very skillfull, but all it is is a textbook example of thematic integration and orchestration technique. Though that sort of thing almost *never* happens in music these days, for which we should be grateful, to me it's just another suspicious coincidence that we don't hear Yoko Kanno the composer - we hear a manipulator - a skilled manipulator at that, but the musical strength comes from form and arrangement. The original material is not original, and for that matter neither is the arrangement. It sounds magnificent, but haven't we heard it all before?

    Maybe "genius" isn't the best word to use in these cases, but it does take talent to do what she does. The "genius" factor comes in when I can't pinpoint if she's stealing or not, and it sounds truly original and awesome. If you want, I can quote some examples of this and you can attempt to find some act of plagiarism that I somehow missed. I know I wouldn't mind learning that why something she's written sounds so familiar.
    I don't doubt that there's talent around... I'm convinced that it doesn't belong to Kanno.

    Why does she insist on basing *everything* upon something else? If she's the RIDICULOUSLY TALENTED orchestrator and form-handler she appears to be, why is she unable to pen an original melody or write in a style that hasn't clearly been derived from somebody else? It doesn't add up. Somebody (not necessarily Kanno, but I digress) is *brilliant* - so why the constant, shameless thievery?

    I'll definitely toss around some more examples - from Escaflowne, since it's on my mind right now...

    Dance Of Curse is clearly derived from O Fortuna.

    The opening bars of Epistle are pure Janacek (check out the Glagolitic Mass) - and the rest of it is a barely-altered rendition of Goldsmith's The Omen. As the piece develops, the orchestration grows ever more florid, but it's still The Omen.

    Illusion has Bernard Herrmann written all over it - particularly Scene D'Amour from Vertigo.

    ..........Aquarion

    The three note "Aquarion" theme comes from somewhere. I'll remember where tomorrow.

    High Spirit derived from Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.

    Sacred Aquarion's opening contains a nice example of what I think is Kanno's only recognisable signature - the descending dissonant horn chords crop up all over her work and I don't recognise them from elsewhere.

    Shinwatekigikou Sonata is a gigantic Liszt pastiche - listen to the piano part. 90% of it is upward arpeggios. The orchestration makes more reference to Ride of the Valkyries. The melody is a totally interchangeable minor key late romantic piano concerto affair. Elliot Goldenthal turns up in the final 90 seconds as well, with the rapid descending piano triplets.

    BLAQARION - More from Jerry Goldsmith's The Omen. 3:04 to 3:11 (the frantic orchestral flourish) is lifted from David Newman's The Brave Little Toaster, of all things.

    Thoma's Oracle is a lovely reprise of all major themes, but then is distracted by Jerry Goldsmith's Total Recall.

    Brain Powerd:

    Prism's theme is identical to Alan Silvestri's Pseudopod cue from The Abyss. It develops far, far further than Silvestri's did, but it's still all clearly derived from that melody.

    I'm tired... There's more but I'm too sleepy.

    Point to all this is, a WILD variety of sources and inspirations, but no sense of individuality, except for a some odd sounding brass work that is only distinctive because it's out of key with the rest of the music!

    As for Kanno's abilities/credentials/talent, I've done some research and come up empty handed in that area. I don't know if she has a degree in composition or orchestration, or if she's ever attended a music school and if so, who are her teachers? I think she claims to be self taught, and Origa was quoted in an interview saying "It all began with my debut album which was released in Tokyo in 1994. Kanno, then a beginner piano player, played all piano parts on it," which seems to contradict the idea her first concert work The Creation was orchestrated and performed in 1991. I can't imagine what kind of strings she was pulling behind the scenes for that one, so it remains unclear exactly what kind of musical upbringing she has.
    Indeed - data is patchy and contradictory at best. Isn't that a little strange for somebody of such a high profile? Education means nothing compared to ability, but the complete vagueness and almost deliberate lack of detail smells fishy to me. The Creation is a magnificent piece of work - do we really believe that a self taught musician composed and orchestrated THAT as her debut working with a symphony orchestra?

    As for Kanno's conducting abilities, I watched the Korean documentary on the Turn a Gundam concert and while she doesn't appear to be that graceful as a conductor, she does know how to conduct. She can keep time, and cues just fine.
    She conducts like somebody who read a book on conducting technique. It's sufficient - she holds it together; just...

    I don't believe she rehearsed with the orchestra entirely herself, but she held her own during the concert so that's to be commended.
    Why on earth would she not rehearse the orchestra at her own concert, unless she was *incapable* or didn't understand what she had to do?

    This suggests that somebody competent rehearsed the orchestra, ironed out performance deficiencies, etc - and Kanno went out on the podium for the performance and waved her arms. Not all composers can conduct - nor should they be able to - but in this instance it's yet another gigantic flashing red light that says "Attention! Kanno is the product of a marketing department!"

    I've also seen videos of her rehearsing with the Warsaw Philharmonic, which to me was surprising, so unless it's staged propaganda to continue the "myth" of Kanno...
    I don't know *how* this would work... Kanno's poor English is notorious, and you definitely need to have a very good command of the language if you're communicating musical nuances to a symphony orchestra. Add to this the orchestra's first language being Polish and, well, you get the idea.

    Almost all of Kanno's Warsaw recordings were conducted by Anthony Inglis, or by a local or contracted conductor. The orchestra demands competent, able conductors to lead sessions because time is always of the essence, and they just can't afford to have somebody farting around on the podium not knowing what they're doing, whilst recording time is ticking past. (It's for that exact reason that for my own first recording in Brno next year, I am hiring a Czech conductor so it goes quickly. My conducting experience is limited and my Czech language skills completely nil - my strength is composing and orchestrating and I'll concentrate there.)

    This smacks of, "Let's get Kanno conducting the orchestra for a publicity shot or a short rehearsal video, then get her off the stage so we can record the music properly."

    I don't think we can write off her conducting ability as being some sort of telltale sign of her shortcomings.
    Oh, absolutely, it shouldn't be used against a composer if s/he cannot conduct proficiently, but in this context, what does it tell you?

    There is NO ROOM in true music for distortion of truth, lies, deception, or lack of morals. The Yoko Kanno story - regardless of the undoubted technical brilliance of her music - is littered with examples of all these sins and more - for that reason I can't bring myself to purely *enjoy* the works of Kanno - not even from a pure perspective of listening to grand music - because I object to the severely questionable practices going on behind the scenes.

  19. #69
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    I can tell this is going to be fun. It's not often I find someone with the same interests as me, and I studied composition and orchestration with three professors at Queen's these last four years.


    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    (By the way, I'm a composer and orchestrator - as well as self-appointed classical music, film music, and anime music geek. I'm currently breaking into the film scoring arena and am recording a 70 minute symphonic album with a 60 piece orchestra in Brno next year. I'm not trying to say "I'm a genius, shut up you morons" - I'm just mentioning this so you know what standpoint I'm coming from and what experience and mindset I have.)
    Nice! I've had a few orchestral and chamber performances, but nothing spectacular or by an orchestra of any caliber whatsoever, but it's nice to hear something I've written not rendered in Gigastudio once in a while. If you're indeed an orchestrator, you have my respect (even more than if you just said you were a composer!)

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    My contentious point was that when Kanno sounds like Prokofiev or Copland or Ravel, it's because she's copied and pasted out large sections from their existing scores.
    Yep, to a degree there is some copying and pasting going on. I wonder if she's actively reading the scores, or in the case of quoting Titus, Kanno just might be one of the best transcribers I've ever heard.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    James Horner is another case in point - a thief, and a liar. And if I hear the four note danger motif one more time I think I may kill somebody.
    Again, to a degree Horner is the worst kind of person. But I can't hate the guy who wrote Krull, even if there are some brief BRIEF moments of Ligeti, Wagner, Holst, and whatever.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    Jerry Goldsmith could adopt a thousand different techniques, but the *style* that ran through each and every one of them was entirely consistent.
    I often piss off a lot of Goldsmith fans when I point out that Goldsmith is also guilty of repetition or plagiarism (which is often due to temp tracking like in Total Recall) but it's true, and I can't take people too seriously when they cite him as a model of originality. Yes, he has moments of sheer brilliance, but also long periods of dullness that can be attributed to a seemingly endless career scoring terrible films.

    Speaking of film composer plagiarism, have you heard Walton's The Quest? I heard it for the first time last year (downloaded from emusic) any my respect for Joel McNeely went south immediately. I wonder how come no one seems to have brought it up before.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    Kanno's music feels to me like there are five hundred completely individual personalities living inside her. Add to that the (definite and unassailable) fact that it is impossible to listen to a piece of her music without your head filling with twenty five other compositions from whence they were devised - and I start to suspect and worse.
    This is the part of Kanno's work I like most. Juxtaposing one idea against another, sometimes to the point of confusion, just comes across as very interesting music to be. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the occasional Bruckner symphony every now and then, but as a composer raised on the classics, Kanno's work speaks to me on a different level. It's almost saying "don't worry about developing your own style, just take what you like and run with it." Of course I wouldn't dare plagiarize anyone, but I'm not about to start composing aimlessly hoping a new melodic and harmonic voice will emerge that is both original and pleasing to the ear. Because it might never emerge, and I don't want take that chance.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    The techniques she uses are all so firmly rooted in the classical tradition, you have to assume somebody with a solid classical background is doing this stuff. It's all well-arranged fluff, but there's no individuality.
    I played the "ghostwriter" card elsewhere and got yelled at. There is absolutely no evidence that Kanno is getting help because an orchestrator/arranger/copyist is never mentioned in her CD liner notes or concert programs. Theoretically, with all her quotes of American film scores, you'd think her orchestrator(s) would be of Western origin and someone in the film music business would be able to point him/her out. Alternatively, I haven't heard anything over here that sounds anything like Kanno's work with the Warsaw Philharmonic, so I doubt whoever might be ghostwriting is doing his/her own thing either.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    Let's not talk about Tyler Bates then.
    Yeah, what a goddamn tragedy that was. That film was itching for something like Titus, but instead of something original, we got Titus. They could have at least given Goldenthal the credit and the subsequent fanbase. Anyway, Kanno's use of Victorius Titus in Aquarion is a bit more forgiving.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    but I *have* heard it before. I'm fairly well convinced that this goes beyond the simple fact that Gregorian chant, by its nature and construction, has a distinct sound.
    I thought I heard it before too, but I asked around about what Prokofiev might have been quoting in his 6th symphony and no one had a clue. Kanno might have borrowed it from the symphony, and that's as far as I can figure.


    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    I agree, it's very skillfull, but all it is is a textbook example of thematic integration and orchestration technique. Though that sort of thing almost *never* happens in music these days, for which we should be grateful, to me it's just another suspicious coincidence that we don't hear Yoko Kanno the composer - we hear a manipulator - a skilled manipulator at that, but the musical strength comes from form and arrangement. The original material is not original, and for that matter neither is the arrangement. It sounds magnificent, but haven't we heard it all before?
    In a sense, I guess I prefer something that sounds familiar, to a degree. As I said, it's a shame many composers didn't live longer, so when someone spoofs their style and adds a touch of originality, it's very interesting to hear. I wouldn't go as far to call it textbook, though, because there are still outstanding cues that require a full understanding of classical/romantic tonality and harmony, theme and development, progression, motivic intricacies, and other such nuances that are just lost on many composers today. It's very difficult to describe, but as I see it Kanno is throwing just the right colors at an orchestra and is getting amazing results. Take Dance of Curse, for example. Obviously inspired by Orff's Carmina Burana, but where did that amazing violin ostinato come from? Or the harmonic progression that drives the dance in the midsection? To me none of these things are textbook, and I just can't explain them.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    Why does she insist on basing *everything* upon something else? If she's the RIDICULOUSLY TALENTED orchestrator and form-handler she appears to be, why is she unable to pen an original melody or write in a style that hasn't clearly been derived from somebody else? It doesn't add up. Somebody (not necessarily Kanno, but I digress) is *brilliant* - so why the constant, shameless thievery?
    You're right, it is a mystery that I'm surprised no one has tackled yet. Even Japanese sites are just now becoming aware of her "Westernized" sound. Her online fanbase is simply content with calling her a genius and moving on, but when you dwell on her orchestral output, you begin to see the plagiarisms, inspirations, models, and some unexplainable phenomenae.

    The way I see it is Kanno is not a victim of temp tracking, but something similar in her own mind. I think as a fellow composer I can understand the amazement and subsequent jealousy that can consume you when you hear something you like from someone else. She is modeling her music based on what she likes and actively choosing to quote directly at times. It's too easy to call people like Kanno and Horner con artists without understanding what it going through their minds, but I think a large part of it revolves around the idea that "I can do that too!"

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    Dance Of Curse is clearly derived from O Fortuna.
    Yep, but not just O Fortuna. For a split second she quotes the orchestra-only Tanz. The rest is original to my ears.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    The opening bars of Epistle are pure Janacek (check out the Glagolitic Mass) - and the rest of it is a barely-altered rendition of Goldsmith's The Omen. As the piece develops, the orchestration grows ever more florid, but it's still The Omen.
    I didn't know about the Glagolitic Mass, but the Omen thing was pretty interesting to hear. Also, what are they singing? It sounds like "cum sancto spiritu choris" and "miserere nobis" but with added syllables.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    Illusion has Bernard Herrmann written all over it - particularly Scene D'Amour from Vertigo.
    I heard this one too! But I think another huge part of it comes from Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos. I posed an example of it late in this thread [Hidden link. Register to see links.]

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    ..........Aquarion
    Aquarion plagues me with familiarities. I've caught the Wolfgang-Korngold Violin Concerto, Goldenthal, Prokofiev's Scythian Suite, and the biggest surprise for me was hearing Vaughan Williams's Masque for Dancing which I also posted an example of at the ykdb forums.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    BLAQARION - More from Jerry Goldsmith's The Omen. 3:04 to 3:11 (the frantic orchestral flourish) is lifted from David Newman's The Brave Little Toaster, of all things.
    Not to mention the first 30 seconds of the track is directly from Titus! But holy shit, seriously, Brave Little Toaster? I think you're right on that one, but I'll have to double check to find the track it's from. I don't agree about the Omen similarity, though, because I just don't hear it. But as for Toaster, that's amazing I didn't catch that one. It explains a few other quotes, like 2:06 in Vector Return.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    Thoma's Oracle is a lovely reprise of all major themes, but then is distracted by Jerry Goldsmith's Total Recall.
    I thought 2:33 sounded like Goldsmith, but I couldn't find that exact rhythm. I think Total Recall was also the source for the "claps" in the Chain track from Escaflowne (for lovers only) but I'll be damned if that isn't an amazing, original track. But in all this talk about originality, let's not forget where the opening track from Total Recall came from!

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    I'm tired... There's more but I'm too sleepy.
    Take your time. I'd like to hear everything you've found.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    Indeed - data is patchy and contradictory at best. Isn't that a little strange for somebody of such a high profile? Education means nothing compared to ability, but the complete vagueness and almost deliberate lack of detail smells fishy to me. The Creation is a magnificent piece of work - do we really believe that a self taught musician composed and orchestrated THAT as her debut working with a symphony orchestra?
    I agree, it is very strange. There is missing information. Heck, most of her fans are still trying to figure out that Kanno sings in her tracks under a pseudonym "Gabriella Robin" for no other reason than for her own amusement. And the way this parallels the Myung/Sharon Apple character in Macross Pluss is brilliant. In Kanno's videos she comes across as a "free spirit", speaking in a high pitched voice, giggling like a Japanese stereotype. It's like interviewing Britney Spears.
    "Where do you get your ideas?"
    "They just come to me, sometimes in a dream, haha..."
    It's as if she or her people are actively trying to create/maintain this "child-like artistic genius" persona for sheer celebritism and suppressing everything about her past relating to music that seems realistic for someone with her resume.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    Why on earth would she not rehearse the orchestra at her own concert, unless she was *incapable* or didn't understand what she had to do? This suggests that somebody competent rehearsed the orchestra, ironed out performance deficiencies, etc - and Kanno went out on the podium for the performance and waved her arms. Not all composers can conduct - nor should they be able to - but in this instance it's yet another gigantic flashing red light that says "Attention! Kanno is the product of a marketing department!"
    I'm mainly basing her conducting ability on what I've seen in the Turn a Gundam documentary thing on youtube. It looks like she rehearses some, but not a whole lot. So yes, if this is true, she might in fact be the product of some marketing department as you say. No way too tell for sure, at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    I don't know *how* this would work... Kanno's poor English is notorious, and you definitely need to have a very good command of the language if you're communicating musical nuances to a symphony orchestra. Add to this the orchestra's first language being Polish and, well, you get the idea.
    Yep, I was amazed to see it too. You can read about my amazement in my posts at animeremix.org where I also link to the youtube vids.
    [Hidden link. Register to see links.]

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    Almost all of Kanno's Warsaw recordings were conducted by Anthony Inglis, or by a local or contracted conductor. The orchestra demands competent, able conductors to lead sessions because time is always of the essence, and they just can't afford to have somebody farting around on the podium not knowing what they're doing, whilst recording time is ticking past.

    This smacks of, "Let's get Kanno conducting the orchestra for a publicity shot or a short rehearsal video, then get her off the stage so we can record the music properly."
    Yes, it is entirely possible those shots of her rehearsing with them was just to propagate and sustain this "Kanno" myth. I think it's about time we found out for sure, but if it were true, then there would be forces working against us.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyfrench View Post
    Oh, absolutely, it shouldn't be used against a composer if s/he cannot conduct proficiently, but in this context, what does it tell you?

    There is NO ROOM in true music for distortion of truth, lies, deception, or lack of morals. The Yoko Kanno story - regardless of the undoubted technical brilliance of her music - is littered with examples of all these sins and more - for that reason I can't bring myself to purely *enjoy* the works of Kanno - not even from a pure perspective of listening to grand music - because I object to the severely questionable practices going on behind the scenes.
    If that's the case, then I think you're missing out. I muddled my way through naxos.com attempting to find some new symphonists that I could relate to, but it just isn't happening. It seems every week they're releasing the complete orchestral works of some obscure composer that stands no chance of entering the repertoire of any major orchestra. I don't think a lot of these guys were any more original than Kanno. Sure, they lived through WW2, orchestrated by pencil and paper, inserted nationalistic elements, taught at a university level, and overall display great command of a full orchestra, but they don't hold a candle to the masters. I can't tell if it's a result of shitty orchestral performances, but again, as I see it, a lot of these guys were just outclassed by film composers of the time, and today a lot of film composers are being outclassed by Yoko Kanno.

  20. #70
    The Autistic Fiend! piero.ken's Avatar
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    I can't vote . . . . . . NVM KANNO!
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    I'm such an idiot, how could I have missed that Glagolithic Mass reference?? There it is right there at the beginning of the Credo. It seems I've been underestimating Janacek all these years thanks to my dislike of the Sinfonietta. Damn...

    Now I'm wondering if it's the same source Horner got one of his choral motifs from in Willow, because the other one is definitely Bartok's Cantata Profana.

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    A big thank you to dannyfrench and streichorchester. I remember hearing a debate concerning Yoko Kanno's authenticity (originality, whatever you want to call it) months or a year ago but saw the discussion didn't go so far as it only lasted a few pages. Nice to see a bit more insight into the controversy.

  23. #73
    batousai
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    these are the artists i think are the best

    nabou uematsu - final fantasy, Motoi sakuraba - valkyrie profile silmeria, Xenosaga - yasunori mitsuda, kingdom hearts - yoko shimomura and various anime alnums

  24. #74
    Mostly a Gundam fan... jedinewtype's Avatar
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    Wow, how did this escape my radar...you know my [Hidden link. Register to see links.]

    If I were to give an analogy: John Williams vs. James Horner, lol
    > [Hidden link. Register to see links.]

  25. #75
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    Can someone list the best tracks from Yoko Kanno? I've never heard of the person before. I tried the couple tracks mentioned previously but didn't think they were anything special.

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