Le Chant des Ailes Grises

The Charcoal Feather Federation

If you’re not a fan of Japanese anime, you may be tempted to believe that the genre is completely devoid of real beauty and depth. I’d like to share a little secret with you.

Ailes Grises ‘Grey Wings’

Kou Otani is one of Japan’s most underrated composers in the west. When you think of Japanese composers you might recall to mind Joe Hisashi, who wrote the scores for classics such as Studio Ghibli’s Oscar winning Spirited Away. Perhaps you might be familiar with Yoko Kanno, who has composed soundtracks for Cowboy Bebop, Vision of Escaflowne and others too numerous to mention.

In my opinion, Kou Otani beats them all.

Breath of a Germ

Haibane Renmei is, in my opinion, one of the best animated series ever made. However, it’s not the show itself I’d like to draw your attention to; but rather, its achingly beautiful soundtrack Hanenone, which Otani released in 2002.

Otani is a master of theme, and nowhere else would you see this proven more clearly than in his work for Haibane. Haibane Renmei’s soundtrack is a beautiful fusion of different styles; from 17th century chamber music to light jazz, delicate piano and soaring strings mixed with more traditional Japanese instruments.

Free Bird

I’ve always loved music which sounds so much like what it is trying to describe.

I’ve believed for a long time that the opening theme Free Bird (not to be confused with Lynyrd Skynyrd) is the most beautiful theme I’ve ever heard. For that, it’s simple; a single melody on strings, then piano, then flute; but for some reason it struck a chord and lodged itself in my memory. Much like the rest of the soundtrack, and much like the wonderfully deep and tender anime series it accompanies so well.

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