The London-based radio station NTS pays tribute to the legendary soundtracks created by Studio Ghibli in a three-episode series, expertly crafted by NTS radio regular DJ Sega Bodega.
The famous Japanese animation film studio was created in 1985 by the directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata with the producer Toshio Suzuki. They created masterpieces such as Spirited Away (2001) which won the Academy award for best animation picture and My Neighbor Totoro, which inspired the studio’s logo.
You can stream the first episode below, which focuses on films from 1986 to 1992 such as My Neighbor Totoro, Castles In The Sky or Porco Rosso. The mix incorporates vocal elements sampled from the films, thus fully immersing the listener in Ghibli’s world:
Alongside music by the composers Michio Mamiya and Harumi Miyako, the mix especially features tracks by Joe Hisaichi. Moreover, these scores composed by Hisaishi are so ingrained in Miyazaki’s storytelling that merely thinking of his legendary animations without them seems impossible. Undoubtedly, this music contributes to his films’ unique atmosphere. In fact, this long and successful relationship between the two artists started back in 1984, and it remains a strong bond.
Hisaishi comes from a background of electronic music, which influenced some of his earlier work with Miyazaki such as in My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and in Porco Rosso (1992). This is particularly displayed in this first episode of Radio Ghibli.
This track excerpt from Porco Rosso, one of Miyazaki’s lesser-known gems, is refreshingly different from the usual style of Hisaishi’s scores. Here, you can really hear a blend of eurocentric influences mixed with his normal romanticism, resulting in a swinging ballad and a surprising yet beautiful sax solo at the end of the track. This vivid composition is a perfect way to conclude this journey into Ghibli’s music. You can find the entire show tracklist here.
Broadcast on 10th March, the second episode concentrates on the period between 1996 to 2001 and notably features music written by Hisaishi from two of Miyazaki’s most famous films, Princess Mononoke (1997) and Spirited Away (2001). Thanks to the increasing success of Studio Ghibli’s films in that period, Hisaishi started to compose fully-fledged orchestral scores.
This second part of Radio Ghibli has a slightly more grandiose feel, but one thing is for sure: there are few examples of such a fruitful alliance between sound and image which result in such a timeless work of art. Stream it below and find the tracklist here.
For those lucky readers in Paris, Joe Hisaishi’s famous scores will be performed live by L’Orchestre et Le Chœur Lamoureux for two exclusives dates on 9th and 10th of June 2017 at the Palais des Congrès (Paris). This worldwide premiere will invite guests to enter Miyazaki’s magical universe. By mixing Joe Hisaishi’s live compositions with Hayao Miyazaki’s animations, the link between music and storytelling is delightfully enhanced.
In related news, after announcing his retirement in 2013, the 76-year-old Studio Ghibli co-founder Miyazaki has started working on a new feature, which he presented to Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki last summer. Japanese press has speculated that the new film could be a feature-length version of his CGI animated short, named Kemushi No Boro or Boro the Caterpillar. While the short version is due to be released sometime this year, the full-length film is expected for 2019 or 2020. You can watch clips below: