Title
 Ifukube 100: A Legacy of Monster Music
International Title
 [Misc.]
Music By: John DeSentis
Record Label: Montaro Records
   
Running Time: 54:37/39:58 Discs: 1
Release: March 2015 CD Number: MR10010
Comments
Anthony Romero

This is a two disc set of a rather ambitious, Kickstarter funded project to do a lengthy orchestrated session of Akira Ifukube's Godzilla work at the 2014 G-Fest convention. Having reached the needed funding, the project was conducted by John DeSentis in July of 2014. Two CD releases were created from the venue, both released by Montaro Records. One is billed as a sampler while the other is this two disc set here. The presentation and audio quality here are solid, although the actual music shifts from great to missing the mark, mostly due to a very slow tempo as opposed to the energy fused conducting style of the late Ifukube.

Being a fan fueled project, the set shows a lot of polish. The discs come in a fold out case that has a booklet located inside a sleeve cover. The material is high quality and all in color. The discs themselves look professional, with full color front graphics to each. The only real complaint here is with the booklet, which after being opened will bulge a bit. Given that the fold out case is high quality paper material, this bulging will naturally also effect the other case as well.

In terms of contents, the two discs are broken into 7 and 6 tracks respectively. Each of these represents a suite from a film, or two films for the King Ghidorah flicks, with the exception of the last two tracks on disc two. For these, the first is an isolated End Title segment from Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), which is oddly not mentioned on the included track list for this set. The last track is clapping and people chanting "this is awesome", which is the exclusive track to this set which was not found on the sampler. If anyone should have the sampler and feeling miffed that this one has added content, don't worry, the last track is nothing special and I found myself skipping it on subsequent listens. For audio quality, the process done to record the music is flawless. Great clarity and no unwelcome background noise. The music feels to me like it was recorded a little low, but I ran it through a program which clocked the volume level at around 88 (I consider 92 to be the sweet spot) so even that complaint was squashed.

Enough of the outside elements, lets dive into the music. Now the first disc from this release is the better of the two. While the pacing can be a bit slow in terms of tempo, the music still exhibits the flavor that made the originals such endearing classics. The suite for Godzilla (1954), the longest on this disc, is probably the best of the lot. Now I'm not a huge fan of the music from the original film, simply as I feel Ifukube updated so much of it in better form for later entries. That said, the music does lend itself nicely to be re-orchestrated with modern stereo and benefits greatly from it here, creating a more enjoyable experience. Stuff like the music on Odo Island and later attack sequence are great here. The music for Godzilla's attack on Tokyo is also great, increasing the tempo in this case and making the music more lively. In fact, the reoccurring theme from this set will be that the earlier music is done better. Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964) and Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) sound great as well here, especially the latter which does a nice balance with the more energy driven pieces and the more soothing. While its odd that the disc has a singular suite for both Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964) and Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), it's still impressive that they managed to do a suite for all the other Ifukube Godzilla films on their own.

Unfortunately, the second disc is a notable downturn from the first. I was actually more excited to hear this as I love the music from the 1990's Godzilla films. In this case, though, the slowed tempo really sucks the life out of some of these pieces. The best example of this is the "UFO in Flight" theme from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), which suffers from the slowed tempo as the once high energy piece has been rendered mute there. Oddly, despite a slow tempo, the pacing is too fast on this release as well. This is best demonstrated on the Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) suite, which transitions from the Infant Island theme, to the Battra theme and then the new Mothra theme all within 90 seconds. It's way too fast, and feels like stuff such as the Battra theme or the Rodan theme later are just starting when it changes gears to the next theme. As for the best work off this disc, it's easily the End Titles for Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995). It has a level of consistency that places it above the other material found on this disc.

Overall, I liked this release, but it didn't meet some of my expectations after hearing it praised by others. For fans of newly conducted work, though, they are likely to enjoy this release despite some faults. In terms of acquiring your own copy, it's available, in limited quantities, for $30 plus shipping. Ordering is done through sending emails or a PayPal payment to genesis54inc@outlook.com.

Rating: Star Rating
Tracks
    Disc 1
  1. Suite from Godzilla (1954)
  2. Suite from King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
  3. Suite from Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
  4. Suite from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964) and Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965)
  5. Suite from Destroy All Monsters (1968)
  6. Suite from Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
  7. Suite from Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
    Disc 2
  1. Suite from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
  2. Suite from Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992)
  3. Suite from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)
  4. Suite from Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
  5. End Title from Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
  6. Clapping