The Film Works by Akira Ifukube·3
International Title
Music By: Akira Ifukube
Record Label: SLC
Running Time: 54:42 Discs: 1
Release: January 1995 CD Number: SLCS-5052
Anthony Romero
The third volume in the "The Film Works by Akira Ifukube" series, with this CD focusing on Akira Ifukube's scores from 1957 through 1960. Sadly, the release is marred by a haphazard track presentation, a low runtime for a compilation and, as the final kicker, subpar audio quality.

In terms of selection, the CD is mostly chronological except for The Three Treasures (1959), which is also the volume's cover subject. Regrettably, the tracks are presented in a "suite" fashion wherein several themes are stuck together. This isn't done creatively, however, as the themes aren't bridged together to create the suites, but rather feature next to no silence between the cues instead. In terms of music, the CD features music from seven films, six of which are Toho's and the last is from a Toei movie.

The actual music selected here is decent at least. Three of these films are well known, being Varan (1958), Battle in Outer Space (1959) and The Three Treasures (1959). The other four are more obscure, and probably more interesting to collectors because of that. From the well known material, the selection is actually rather poor. A lot of great themes are left off their respective scores and what was chosen is sometimes puzzling. The strangest of all is the "Overseas Version" for Varan (1958), which is actually the "The Self Defense Forces goes to Iwatani Village (TV)" track from the Great Monster Varan (TYCY-5500) release. Why this was picked over something like "Varan vs. the Bomber Neptune" is anyone's guess.

The more obscure stuff is infinitely better in its selection, thankfully. The Detested (1957) in particular has a very majestic score. It only gets about five minutes of music for it, but ever cue is great. At almost 17 minutes, Samurai Saga (1959) has the largest representation on this CD. This movie has a good score, so it's not odd to see it get the lion's share of the disc real estate. Some will recognize a few of the themes for being reused elsewhere too, such as the "Words of Love" that was later reused in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993). Its value here is somewhat diminished, though, due to similar inclusion in the The Tale of Osaka Castle (TMSA-0001) release, although worth noting that the "Main Title" cue here appears to be a different take. Finally, the disc also contains a selection of music from Big Boss (1959). The themes here aren't as stellar, but a modification of the cue that was reused for Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) is present. The Toei film Shinran is the least memorable of the selection, even despite its chorus work that I tend to be a fan of, but is an okay listen none the same. Sadly, the disc is pretty sparse on material for the compilation. There was more than enough room to add in another film or, even better, increase the number of themes presented for each movie.

The Achilles' heel of this disc, though, is the audio quality. Now I'm anything but an audio aficionado, normally of the type who would take more content over slightly superior sound quality, but even then its hard to ignore the presentation of this disc. It doesn't impact all of the themes, but some just sound notably soft and unnaturally subdued, similar to something that has been overly compressed. The audio levels are actually fairly loud too, so it's certainly not just that the disc was recorded at a low volume level like Toho Music does for their own releases.

Overall, there isn't much to recommend about this particular disc. At best, it makes one hungry for more refined and complete selections of a few of the selected films that aren't found elsewhere, as the themes are good enough to deserve a presentation that is better than this CD offers them.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. The Three Treasures (1959)
    - Main Title - Shrine Maiden's Fate - The Eight-Headed Serpent - Ending
  2. The Detested (1957)
    - Call Girl - Father and Daughter Reunite - Pigeon on the Bus
  3. Varan (1958)
    - Main Title - Depth Charge Attack March - Overseas Version
  4. Battle in Outer Space (1959)
    - Opening ~ Main Title - Lunar Battle March - Ending
  5. Samurai Saga (1959)
    - Main Title - Words of Love - Sekigahara Battle - Jutaro's End - To the Lunar World - Ending
  6. Big Boss (1959)
    - Main Title - The Witness' Tragedy - Boy - Dirty Hands - Ending
  7. Shiran (1960)
    - Journey to the Horyuji - Theme 2