Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vol. 5 - Mobile Suit Gundam


Adam hit us with one hell of a curveball this week. It's abstract, it's more than one word, and not exactly a choice anyone making a mixtape would make. Damn near everyone had a hell of time picking a song, but that's half the fun! From classic rock anthems to trip-hop to Japanese hardcore to British prog, this is likely our most diverse slab of tuneage yet. This post also marks the arrival of our newest Body-- Tyler. Welcome aboard, son.

Please note Jason is still remedying his computer troubles and should be back next week.

Bitsy: Beastie Boys - Intergalactic

Giant robots? Excellent. Most of my television- charged childhood revolved around the idea of man vs. machine, man infused with machine, or just vengeful machines independently. After brushing up on Gundam’s history (provided by Adam), the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” music video came directly to mind. Massive robot with sick dance moves attacking an equally massive octopus-headed creature—what kid wouldn’t love that? Using chunks of Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C-sharp Minor” also gives the track some badass credit. “Intergalactic” would be an adequate addition to any giant robot mix.

Aesop: Crow - Japanese Title

So I'm pretty fucking sure that I am the oldest Blog Body. This gives me license to be a grouchy dickbag if I want to. So with that said, fuck you, Adam, and your Gundam theme! In my day we had Shogun Warriors, big fucking Japbots with tough names like Gaiking and Mazinga. The toys were cool, but didn't stay around because of the almost Darwinian presence of choking hazards and eye-seeking projectiles. Gundam is weaksauce compared to that shit. Oh, and for the song I chose one by Crow. Crow are Japanese and a monstrous machine of utter nihilistic destruction. Gundam, seriously? I have to leave for tour now, assholes! (Catch Aesop on tour with Ludicra soon!)

Quinn: Portishead - Machine Gun

When I learned that this week’s theme was going to be Gundam I was really thrown off. I know just as much about anime as I do about quantum mechanics. Thanks to this whole Wikipedia/internet thing, I managed to learn more about Gundam, a show that apparently deals with a lot of different themes.

After mulling over the possibility of choosing Megadeth’s “Hangar 18” I settled on the fabulous “Machine Gun” from Portishead’s most recent LP. The fact that it’s titled “Machine Gun” certainly seemed relevant to the show, but my decision went deeper than that. This song is haunting with its mechanized snare, chilling synthesizers, and the incredibly beautiful voice of Beth Gibbons. The snare starts off as an instrument but winds up embodying the definition of the song’s title. I imagine that flying around space in a mobile suit would at times become a bit lonely and maybe even a bit eerie. This song captures those feelings. “Machine Gun” sounds like a perfect soundtrack for the gloom of war.

I still don’t really know anything though about quantum mechanics.

Jess: Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back In Town

I have little business with televised anime series, let alone Japanese ones with poor dubbing quality. For the most part, attempting to overcome the lackluster music choices in these, dare I say, cartoons is enough to make my psyche shrivel to a prune. But given the circumstances of Mobile Suit Gundam, the anime prior to the Transformers era, one classic must take precedence. Thin Lizzy know male camaraderie best with their hit “The Boys are Back in Town.” When morale wavers to unsightly depths, this tune cranked at maximum is enough to wake a sleeping giant with gusto. This is an appropriate battle anthem for 1979. Dismiss that Dance Dance Revolution nonsense. Blasted among neon-light laser beams, Phillip Lynott’s voice can’t be left unaccompanied. Put a little shimmy in that step, Gundam.

Adam: G.I.S.M. - Meaning Corrupted 1: "Fatigue"

Take any of the "structured" songs from the second LP from Japan's legendary G.I.S.M. and you practically have an exact auditory replication of giant, dueling Japanese mechs battling over the metropolis that is Tokyo. G.I.S.M.'s brand of mech-music is mid-paced hardcore and Iron Maiden-guitar filtered through the utter weirdness of the Gerogerigegege. With its raging, bob-your-head solos and unstoppable velocity, "Meaning Corrupted 1: "Fatigue"" is the closest thing to actual fighting Gundam. Sakevi's vocals bring to life the terror thrust upon those tiny, Japanese peons as they scurry away from the guarenteed death by shrapnel, glass fragments, and flame. Actually, that just sounds like the time Sakevi chased a crowd with a flamethrower. ENDLESS BLOCKADES FOR THE PUSIFUTERE!

Tyler: Lupe Fiasco - The Emperor's Soundtrack

What a start. I don't know anything about Gundam, so I called my sister, a Japanophile and ‘the anime one’ in the family. Now I barely know anything about Gundam, but did leave the convo with a theory: Anime fans are like hip-hop heads – gear-oriented, overly analytical, self-referential to the point of ostracizing others.

Given that revelation, here's ‘The Emperor’s Soundtrack’. Lupe Fiasco, an anime nerd who shouted out long-running manga Lupin the 3rd in his first big look, is at his most captivating when he’s trying to pull a ton of strands together – peep the cover for Food and Liquor, his debut. 'Soundtrack', a look-to-the-sky production stuffed with six punchy verses and a chanting hook about ‘knowing weapons’, sounds more like the warrior’s pregame. You could bump it in your Gundam while heading off to battle.

Chris: Sigh – Messiahplan (Gunface Alternate Guitar Solo Take)

If there’s one thing I can’t seem to escape these days, it’s my weaboo past. I used to think most everything Japan ever did was awesome. Anime, manga, video games, music, language; almost the entire cultural gambit. I didn’t even really listen to music outside of music that wasn’t a dorky movie soundtrack until I started listening to J-rock and J-pop in 10th grade. Thankfully, I grew out of that around the end of high school and have just become your average terrible person.

I never really liked Gundam, though. I couldn’t get into the giant robots and all. However, I did really like one song that reminded me of mecha and such in the past, and that was Sigh’s “Messiahplan”. It’s pretty cheesy to listen to now for me, and I think Sigh are better when they use saxophones, but I can definitely see this as a Gundam intro or battle. This version comes off the 2007 reissue, and has slightly better production values and a different solo than the version in my bepimpled days.

Asa: Camel - Lunar Sea

When I think Gundams, I think space. These shows can't be all bad English dubbing, "TETSUOOOOO!"s and laser blasts. The vastness of the cosmos has to be addressed too, goddamit, and for my money Camel do a great job with their instrumental "Lunar Sea." The quartet's playing not only translates the sheer size of space but also the serenity of floating in-- basically-- nothing.

Hasan: Bolt Thrower - The Killchain

To me Gundam is all about giant robots built for war and destruction. I remember viewing the television show every now and then in the 90s, I had no idea what was going on in the show except for the fact that there was a war raging on and that giant robots were the weapon of choice. I instantly knew which band would be appropriate for this week's theme, Bolt Thrower! "All tanks should come with a built-in Bolt Thrower discography and massive speakers welded to the hull."

Bolt Thrower has mastered and maintained the perfect soundtrack for war. Their sound is fast and chaotic, while at times melodic--perhaps giving the listener a feeling of safety or comfort, only to bring them back to the aural assault of bursting guitars, bass, drums, and Karl Willets' vocal attack. "The Killchain" pretty much centers on the progression of technology and its effect on war. As technology increases, new tools of destruction are made and the rules and strategies of war change. A "killchain": an endless cycle of killing. The characters and people in the Gundam universe are "caught within the mainframe of the killchain!"

Download the Mobile Suit Gundam mixtape HERE.