Yoko Kanno

Macross F (Macross Frontier): Nyantama

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After two highly successful soundtrack compilations for the opera-infused anime series Macross Frontier (Macross Frontier, Vol. 1: Nyanfuro and Macross Frontier, Vol. 2: Nyantora), fans demanded a third from the studio, asking for a collection of vocal tracks that had been left off of the other releases. The studio quickly produced Nyantama in response, collecting two discs of songs as originally sung by characters in the series (and their corresponding voice actors). The result is a surprisingly complex mix of genres, all performed with a driving force and a touch of craftsmanship. While cartoon soundtracks may not normally be considered "art music" in the normal sense, the Macross works were penned by Yoko Kanno, a high-end artist with a long history of jazz, blues, rock, and classical influences. Further, most lyrics were penned by Gabriela Robin, an unseen artist largely assumed to be an alter-ego for Kanno herself. The works range from Rush-style epics ("What ‘Bout My Star?") to odd tropical organ romps ("Ninjin Loves You Yeah") to straightforward dance-pop ("Iteza Gogo Kuji Don't Be Late"). While the specific genres may not appeal to every listener at every stop, the execution is always on point, with no stray pieces, no dead spaces, and no off-key notes (a rarity in Japanese pop). While fans may head for the previous two soundtracks first in order to hear the instrumental pieces and scoring, Nyantama provides a clear set of excellent vocal pieces from a complex composer.