菅野 よう子

Yoko Kanno is a Japanese composer, best known outside of Japan for her work on anime soundtracks. Titles with music by her include Macross Plus, Escaflowne, and Cowboy Bebop, and Please Save My Earth, all of which have music that's nothing short of amazing.

Aside from writing excellent orchestra music when it's appropriate, she has a huge musical vocabulary that ranges from trip-hop to tribal, and everything in between. Truly a talent up there with John Williams in terms of scope of musical vision and appropriateness to the subject matter.

Don't believe me? Buy the Macross Plus soundtracks, both volumes - they had a domestic release in the US, and should be cheap and easy to find. Then give Cowboy Bebop a listen. From neo-classical to ethnic to big band, apparently Yoko Kanno can do it all.

Not many Japanese composers are known by name even to most anime fans. However, if there were an exception to this rule, it would have to be Yoko Kanno, the composer whose musical genius should be instantly recognisable to anyone who has watched the selection of animes she's composed for, namely Macross Plus, Vision of Escaflowne, and Cowboy Bebop. To get an idea of the versitality of her works, Escaflowne is a powerful, dramatic symphonic score, Cowboy Bebop is a down and dirty funk-fest, complete with incredible vocals and cowboy style western music, and Macross Plus is a versatile mix of electronic and smooth, pop music, one of the greatest modern film scores to date. I highly reccomend that you pick up atleast one CD from her incredible selection of soundtracks. And make sure the CD is an original, not a SonMay or an Everanime - common Taiwanese bootleg fare that doesn't support the composer.

Yoko Kanno works closely with Arai Akino (Sharon Apple in Macross Plus), Mayya Sakamoto (many vocal songs), and with Hajime Mizoguchi (Please Save My Earth, certain parts of Escaflowne). She also works for the group Samply Red, which produces advertisement BGM in Japan. Her past employment includes the band Tetsu100% (1987-1989), and the video game company Koei (1989-1994). She has also composed an independent album, "Song to Fly", three Jpop albums-two with Mayya Sakamoto, one with Kyoko Koizumi, several movie scores, and the score to a special documentary on China aired by the TV station NHK.

Some of the other animes Yoko Kanno has composed full scores for, but that have not seen a U.S. release, are Brain PowerD, and Turn A Gundam. Besides these full scores, she's also contributed a few tracks to Card Captor Sakura, Clamp School Detectives, Earth Defense Force Dai-Guard, the movie Memories, Please Save My Earth, Record of Lodoss Wars OAV, and X Character File. Her work with Koei includes Nobunaga's Ambition 2-6, Ishin No Arashi 1, Sangokushi 1, Genghis Kahn 1, and Uncharted Waters 1&2. The band Tetsu100% she was a part of released 4 CDs, until it's separation in 1989.

Further links:

kanno.simplenet.com - This is a great site to learn more about her work for Koei and other things she's done. It also contains small MP3 samples of her work, and catalog numbers for ordering her CDs, as well as online stores to do so.

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