CD: Suspicious Star Gorath - Original Soundtrack

 

Suspicious Star Gorath - Original Soundtrack


Japanese CD Title

妖星ゴラス オリジナル・サウンドトラック
[Yosei Gorasu Orijinaru Saundotorakku]

Music By:
Record Label:
CD Release:
Run Time:
CD Number:

Kan Ishii
Cinema-Kan
April 2019
70:12/76:36 (2 discs)
CINK-72

Based On:

Gorath

CD

Review

By: Anthony Romero

December, 2011: Toho Music touted several upcoming releases, one of which was a two disc set for Gorath. Years passed since this announcement before Toho stopped doing soundtrack releases. Thankfully, Cinema-Kan came onto the scene, picking up where Toho left off. This led to an eight year journey before we finally got that two disc Gorath set that was mentioned so long ago. Was it worth the wait? Well in terms of content, Cinema-Kan has pushed the envelope for a two disc set, giving well over 140 minutes of content. This includes both the stereo and mono soundtracks for the 1962 movie alongside tons of bonus material as well.

Now starting off with the score itself, it's first worth noting why there are two versions of the score here. The reason is that around this time movies like King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) and High and Low (1963) were using Perspecta Stereophonic Sound. This was a crude method of stereo sound, although allowed theaters to not upgrade their sound systems at the time so had some benefits. Anyway, as expected, the stereo here isn't that dynamic, although does have a little bit more life in it compared to the mono tracks.

As for Kan Ishii's score itself for the 1962 movie, it's not the most memorable. That said there is some decent range in the styles of the themes and a few stand out tracks like the creepy "Capsule 1 Crisis" or the hope inducing "Ending". The best material off this score, though, is what I'll call the theme for the Gorath star. This is heard in tracks like "The Last Moments of the Hayabusa" but is most prominent in "Nightmare Storm Surge". It's both foreboding and energetic and is by far the star (excuse the pun) motif off the 1962 score. The greatness of the theme was not lost on Toho either, who used the motif as the center piece in their trailers for All Monsters Attack (1969) and managed to make the kaiju Gabara seem far more threatening than the actual movie did. As for the song in the movie, "We Are Space Pilots", it's probably one of the elements people remember most... mostly as it's inclusion in the film is odd to have the characters suddenly break out into song as they pilot a helicopter. It's cheesy but with decent orchestration to back it up.

In regards to the bonus material, there is a good selection of outtakes and a boatload of karaoke versions for the "We Are Space Pilots" song. In addition to this is isolated trailer music too, which is welcome. The quality on this isn't quite on par with the other material on the discs, but it's still nice to have and presents the music exactly as it appeared in the trailers, transitioning between the work of Kan Ishii and Akira Ifukube. A sound effect cue for Maguma is also here, which seems to be a new ongoing trend for Cinema-Kan and the older science fiction Toho releases. What concludes the set is a rather shocking 33 minutes of suites from other Toho scores by Ishii. The movies included are Bandits on the Wind (1961), Tatsu (1962), Young Swordsman (1963), Whirlwind (1964), Tiger Fang (1964) and Rise Against the Sword (1966). Given that complete scores have never been released to CD for these movies, their inclusion here is welcome. Heck, the amount of music here could almost justify its own release.

As for how the suites are, the music is so-so. Bandits on the Wind (1961) is not all that engaging, although does feature a song that will likely remind some of "We Are Space Pilots" from Gorath. Tatsu (1962) is a little better, with a greater range of themes included. The start almost evokes a feeling similar to Masaru Sato's Yojimbo (1961), intentional or not. That said, this suite is also on the forgettable side. Next up is Young Swordsman (1963), which is one of the shortest and the worst of the suites. The odd chanting heard during the start, what I assume is the main title, sounds off putting and it never really connects with the listener. This is followed by Whirlwind (1964), which has a rocky start to its suite but gets interesting around the four minute mark with a march motif. Following this is the suite for Tiger Fang (1964), which at under two minutes is very short. The music for this score is a bit more interesting, although far from stellar. Finally we get to the last suite for Rise Against the Sword (1966), which is also the best. Starting right off the bat with a rousing march, the music selection stays engaging from beginning to end and it's a shame more music wasn't included from the movie.

Now in terms of the quality of the Gorath selection, there is a difference between the two kinds of tracks found here. Of the two, the mono tracks are in better shape than stereo tracks. The stereo selection, while still sounding good, aren't quite at the same level. To compare the two, I dumped the tracks onto a computer and attempted to adjust the levels to see what happened. Doing so, the stereo tracks clipped quite easily while the mono tracks could have their volume level raised quite high before this occurred.

Overall, this is a fantastic release for the 1962 movie. It feels like the definitive edition for the film's score, containing both the mono and stereo selection alongside a lot of bonus material. It's also nice to see more music from the composer's other Toho films included, giving the listener a better idea of Ishii's overall style. Bottomline, for those collecting the early science fiction scores from Toho, this release is a must even though the score itself isn't as engaging as Ifukube's work. As for those who already own the SLC version and are considering this one, it's a worthy upgrade thanks to the stereo version being included along with the 33 minutes of suites as well.

Rating: Star Rating

Tracks

    Disc 1 - Mono
  1. Main Title (M1-T1)
  2. Lakeside at Night (M2)
  3. The Hayabusa Departs (M3)
  4. Gorath and the Hayabusa (M4)
  5. The Last Moments of the Hayabusa (M5-T1)
  6. Captain Sonoda's Funeral (M6)
  7. Spaceport at the Base of Mount Fuji (M7)
  8. We Are Space Pilots I (PS-51)
  9. The Empty Space Around the Suspicious Star (M9)
  10. United Nations Scientific Committee (M10)
  11. The Coming Devastation (M11)
  12. We Are Space Pilots II (PS-61)
  13. The Night Before Departure (M12)
  14. Kanai and Takiko (M13)
  15. Ootori Goes to Space (M14)
  16. Ootori and the Space Station (M15)
  17. Antarctica Base Construction (M16)
  18. Pipe Number 33 (M17)
  19. Work Resumes (M18)
  20. Preparation for Capsule Launch (M19)
  21. Capsule 1 Crisis (M20)
  22. Amnesia I (M21)
  23. Jet Pipe Ignition (M22)
  24. Flame Bellowing Jet Pipe (M23)
  25. Scientists' Mission (M25)
  26. Returning to the Space Station (M26)
  27. Maguma Appears (M27)
  28. Giant Monster Maguma (M28)
  29. Gorath and the Ring of Saturn (M29)
  30. Amnesia II (M30)
  31. Gorath in the Sky (M31)
  32. Gorath and the Moon (M32)
  33. Nightmare Storm Surge (M33)
  34. The Suspicious Star Gets Closer (M34)
  35. The Movement of Earth (M35)
  36. Successful Antarctica Operation (M35A)
  37. Ending (M36)
  38. Christmas Night
  39. New Year's at the Sonoda's (M24-T1)

    Bonus Material
  40. Main Title (M1-T2)
  41. The Last Moments of the Hayabusa (M5-T2)
  42. Work Resumes (M19 + M18)
  43. We Are Space Pilots I (PS-51 Edit)
  44. We Are Space Pilots I (M8-T1 Karaoke)
  45. We Are Space Pilots I (M8-T2 Karaoke)
  46. We Are Space Pilots I (PS-50)
  47. We Are Space Pilots II (PS-61A Karaoke)
  48. We Are Space Pilots II (PS-61A Complete)
  49. We Are Space Pilots I (Orchestra Mix)
  50. Trailer Music I
  51. Trailer Music II

    Sound Effects
  52. Maguma's Roar

    Disc 2 - Stereo
  1. Main Title (M1-T1)
  2. Lakeside at Night (M2)
  3. The Hayabusa Departs (M3)
  4. Gorath and the Hayabusa (M4)
  5. The Last Moments of the Hayabusa (M5-T1)
  6. Captain Sonoda's Funeral (M6)
  7. Spaceport at the Base of Mount Fuji (M7)
  8. We Are Space Pilots I (PS-51)
  9. The Empty Space Around the Suspicious Star (M9)
  10. United Nations Scientific Committee (M10)
  11. The Coming Devastation (M11)
  12. We Are Space Pilots II / The Night Before Departure (PS-61 + M12)
  13. Kanai and Takiko / Ootori Goes to Space (M13 + M14)
  14. Ootori and the Space Station (M15)
  15. Antarctica Base Construction (M16)
  16. Pipe Number 33 (M17)
  17. Work Resumes (M18)
  18. Preparation for Capsule Launch (M19)
  19. Capsule 1 Crisis (M20)
  20. Amnesia I (M21)
  21. Jet Pipe Ignition (M22)
  22. Flame Bellowing Jet Pipe (M23)
  23. Scientists' Mission (M25)
  24. Returning to the Space Station (M26)
  25. Maguma Appears (M27)
  26. Giant Monster Maguma (M28)
  27. Gorath and the Ring of Saturn (M29)
  28. Amnesia II (M30)
  29. Gorath in the Sky (M31)
  30. Gorath and the Moon (M32)
  31. Nightmare Storm Surge (M33)
  32. The Suspicious Star Gets Closer (M34)
  33. The Movement of Earth (M35)
  34. Successful Antarctica Operation (M35A)
  35. Ending (M36)

    Bonus Material
  36. Work Resumes (M19 + M18)
  37. Bandits on the Wind Suite
  38. Tatsu Suite
  39. Young Swordsman Suite
  40. Whirlwind Suite
  41. Tiger Fang Suite
  42. Rise Against the Sword Suite