14 July 2014

Battle Of The Planets - Original Television Soundtrack

Rather difficult to comprehend this as a soundtrack, but for those of us who remember the heavy diluted version of Japan's Science Ninja Team Gatchaman going back over thirty years, the incidental music was responsible for helping to capture the imagination of many children, me included of course. And it would happen on the off chance that I stumbled across a few HD clips from this album release on Youtube which would eventually led me to this album.

Battle Of The Planets, the English language edited version of the anime had quite a few drastic changes to the Japanese variant. First the violent, death and total destruction scenes were gone as well as some alleged scenes of transgenderism (I haven't seen those kind of clips as yet, but I imagine it'd be fun to watch!) and apparently some profanity was quite prevalent amongst the Science Team which of course, couldn't be replicated on US TV screens intending to target the captive teen audience. The team members of G-Force also seemed to be have one or two tiffs between each other threatening to boil over.

Spotify credits this as various artists but specifically, four musicians and composers have had a hand in this. Bob Sakuma is the musical director credited with the soundtrack for Gatchaman, while Sandy Frank Entertainment, five years after the first episode was aired recruited a one Hoyt Curtin to make additions and alterations for the American viewers. Now by 1978 Curtin had already built up an impressive portfolio, having worked for Hanna-Barbera. He wrote the themes for The Flintstones, Josie And The Pussycats, The Jetsons, so already a few memorable themes on the list not to mention the numerous pieces he wrote for commercials.

The theme for Gatchaman was recorded separately by a group of pre-pubescent children, and one excitable sounding grown up, while Hoyt Curtin's opening titles sound a lot more grandiose and emphatic. Apart from Sakuma, there were also another two composing contributors in Richard Greene and Dennis Dreith, while the closing two tracks, Princess, Tiny Keyop (Promo Spot) and BTOP '04 Remix have been produced by Ricardo Autobahn. All a far cry from the Yogi Bear signature tunes. I guess with the music scene that was occurring then Curtin had drawn inspirations from Isaac Hayes and The Bee Gees as well as creating some incidental music out of his own resource. There's another version of the opening title with the announcer, William Woodson although there's already plenty of content in the incidental pieces.

When I first watched BTOP on YouTube several ago for the first time in at least thirty years I'd forgotten how much musical content was in this, and I couldn't say for sure how many minutes would've been included in the whole soundtrack. There's also been talk of a film remake of the series and as far as I understand, a 2013 live action Japanese Gatchaman has been released. However, it doesn't look at least for the immediate future that we'll see it brought to the mainstream. For those of us privileged to have watched and listened to the original television series, no doubt this compilation will bring back some awesome memories, and for those completely new to all this, all I can say is that this soundtrack redefines what you thought was cool in your youth.

7.5 out of ten. This is good and well worth a check.
Best Track : Main Title/#Sub Main Title (simply because it's the most recognisable)

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