Hip Hop and Anime : “Tank!” — Cowboy Bebop

The best part of Hip-Hop is that inspiration can come from anywhere. The talents of beat makers and producers are only limited to their imaginations. Hip-Hop and anime have been in a long distance relationship for some time, and rightfully so and while watching some of my favorite animes, I always find myself on YouTube, researching their opening and closing themes. I fully appreciate the way that other cultures hear sounds and interpret their meanings. When reading the lyrics, the songs of animes have some of the most gripping themes, not usually seen in American cartoons.

What a talented producer can do with a sample from some of the best animes is what spawned this new idea. It is easy to create from a region with which you are familiar with, but I have seen that the most awesome compositions span cultural identities. Anime Inspiration is here to bring you some of my favorite sounds from around the anime universe.
The TOTAL epicness that is “Tank!” from Cowboy Bebop cannot be underwritten. The TOTAL epicness that is Cowboy Bebop cannot be underwritten. For an anime, it is one of the elite, with it’s opening theme song for the entire series holding strong at the forefront of anime composition. Bebop already sets the standards high by being created on a jazz premise and staying true to that concept throughout the series, most vividly naming its episodes in suite form.
But Tank! is an arrangement odyssey, straight from the mind of Yoko Kanno and backed by his band, Seat Belts, a Japanese blues/jazz fusion band. For the Bebop series, Seat Belts melds jazz with a little Latin bop. The opening sequence of sounds of “Tank!” features trumpets and percussion, before immediately dying out and letting the bongos and strings take over. The horns come in on top of the percussion line and in two voices repeat their opening run. The bongos come through underneath as being the cadence of the first section of the song.
After some strong staccato notes, the trumpets slide into their second section of the song, still being accompanied by the percussion. Runs, hard hits and a dope alto sax breakdown lead into the third section of the song. The trumpets return to their opening note composition and the alto sax takes center stage. At times during the “solo”, the trumpets act as a call and response to the sax, creating a dialogue within the instrumentation.
The climax of the song can be felt because of the build up of the alto sax and the urgency that the trumpets are playing with. The bongos drop out for a split second and the words, “I think it’s time to blow this scene. Get everybody and the stuff together. Ok, three, two, one let’s jam,” signal an explosion of instruments before the ending of the song.

1 comment:

  1. I needed to read this this afternoon! A full on musical breakdown of a classic hit for an awesome anime dub is like pairing the right wine and cheese together. Spec's would even approve lol.


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