Original Soundtrack

Macross Frontier, Vol. 1: Nyanfuro

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The first of three released soundtracks for the wildly popular Japanese television series Macross Frontier (which takes something of an operatic approach to the use of music), Macross Frontier, Vol. 1: Nyanfuro primarily uses the works of composer Yoko Kanno and covers an extraordinary stylistic range. While the album opens with dramatic theatrical scoring, it quickly diverges to include straightforward pop in "What 'Bout My Star," techno-influenced rock with a touch of classical à la Ghost in the Shell in "Welcome to My FanClub's Night," and comic military chants in "SMS Shoutai no Uta." While the songs don't always follow one another coherently, they're always penned (by Kanno) and performed (largely by the Warsaw Philharmonic) extraordinarily well. This is a soundtrack in the original form -- all music created for the series is represented, not just "from and inspired by." Scores are thrown in, ethnic music from character's travels is thrown in, commercials from TV within the series are thrown in. Surprisingly, essentially all of the music, even the most miniscule portions (such as commercials) is penned by Kanno, with an ear toward serving the progression of the series rather than as standalone pieces. Perhaps one of the biggest highlights is one not from the pop realm that has really driven the success of the soundtracks -- "Private Army" is a flowing romp through ethnic forms, with a Middle Eastern dulcimer layered over flamenco castanets. Many fans may flock to the vocal-specific compilation (Macross F (Macross Frontier): Nyantama) in favor of the stronger pop orientation. However, there's an outstanding range shown here by Kanno, rivaling her landmark work with Cowboy Bebop.