Saturday, August 20, 2011

2001: The Cowboy Bebop Edition

The Seatbelts: Slipper Sleaze

The Seatbelts ft. Mem Nahadr: Butterfly

The Seatbelts ft. Raj Ramayya: Ask DNA


I've been wanting to feature music from the many soundtracks of Cowboy Bebop for yonks but never had the chance to properly write it up until now.

Short summary: Cowboy Bebop is a Japanese anime series about futuristic bounty hunters traveling the universe on their spaceship, the Bebop. What is especially noteworthy, especially for us, is the Americentric music that was integral to the series. In fact, it's so Western---jazz, mostly, but also fusion, blues, hip-hop, funk, country-western, pop, alt-rock, and electronica---that I bet I won't even get flamed for posting it. Each episode had a unique musical theme, with names reflecting that: Jamming with Edward, Bohemian Rhapsody, Speak Like A Child, Black Dog Serenade, The Real Folk Blues…

Nearly all of the music was composed and arranged by Yoko Kanno, (think John Williams for anime scores, except she also sings from time to time). The music performance is credited to The Seatbelts, a changing mix of dozens of Japanese, American, and French musicians. Kanno and the Seatbelts released seven or so albums for Cowboy Bebop. Luckily for us, three of them were released in 2001. I swear, though, it was hard to narrow it down to just three songs, and I hope to be able to feature more in future SMM themes. Or, you know, you could check out the albums yourself!

Slipper Sleaze, from Cowgirl Ed is a laid-back jazz fusion piece that features a pretty sweet guitar/piano/bass melody.

Butterfly, from Future Blues the soundtrack to Cowboy Bebop: The Movie is a slow jazz ballad, with gorgeous English vocals by Mem Nahadr.

Ask DNA, from the album of the same name, is an alt-pop tune. The guy who sounds like Rob Thomas, is actually Indo-Canadian singer Raj Ramayya.

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