This is actually a review for the first cowboy bebop OST (original sound track) which was simply entitled "cowboy bebop". Though there are 6 separate OSTs for the Cowboy Bebop series and movie in all if not more featuring a variation of songs it was released around 1998.
Cowboy Bebop is an anime (Japanese animation) based in the future which follows the lives of a group of bounty hunters, Spike and ex syndicate member, Jet an ex cop, Faye a gambling expert, Ed a kid genius and Ein a welsh corgi. (for information on the anime series see my review entitled "Never seen a bluer sky..")
All music is directed by the Japanese musical genius Yoko kanno, who has developed fame through writing anime sound tracks. All of which have turned out to be extremely successful. These include escaflowne and the ghost in the shell tv series' which have went down undeniably well.
The band which play all the music for the series are known as the Seatbelts. They are a gigantic band whose musical field ranges from Jazz to acoustic rock and experimental hip hop techno compositions.
These are the musicians
Drums: Yasuo Sano, Akira Sotoyama
Bass: Hitoshi Watanabe, Maki Kitada, Suzuki Bakabon
Guitar: Tsuneo Imahori, Masayoshi Furukawa
Percussion: Mataro Misawa, Ikuo Kakehashi, Yoichi Okabe
Trumpet: Koji Nishimura, Koshio Araki, Yusuke Hayashi, Akio Terashima
Trombone: Yoichi Murata, Satoshi Kawano, Hideaki Nakaji, Yoshiaka Hashimoto, Masanori Hirohara, Junko Yamashiro
Saxophone: Masato Honda, Shigeo Fuchino, Masakuni Takeno, Takuo Yamamoto, Osamu Koike, Naruyoshi Kikuchi Flute: Hideyo Takakuwa, Kazuhiro Iwasa, Mika Hayashi
Tuba: Kiyoshi Sato
Harmonica: Nubuo Yagi, Ryuichiro Senoo
Strings: Masatsugu Shinozaki
Synthesizer: Keishi Urata
Producer/Composer/Arranger/Keyboards/Noises/Voices/Mood Setting: Yoko Kanno
Recording & Mixing: Masashi Yabuhara
(Taken from the back of the cd collection leaflet)
The main vocalists are , Tim Jensen, Mai Yamane and Steve Conte. They generally sing in English.
1. Tank (3:30) This is the opening theme of the tv series. The only vocals in this track are at the beginning and state "3,2,1 lets jam!". It sounds like something some one would say at the beginning of a music concert. The band then explodes into jazzy beat with saxophones and bass, It is a really lively track and is the first thing fans of the series think of when somebody says cowboy bebop.
2.Rush (3:34) Found in many episodes through out the series, begins with a giant burst of jazz and then quietens down to a more regular pace, is generally used for chasing scenes in the episodes, Contains saxophone and drum beats also possibly the base.
3.spokey Dokey (4:04) Found in "Sympathy for the Devil" It mainly consists of bluezy harmonica solos. It is simple but very expressive.
4.Bad Dog No Biscuits (4:09) This is also featured in quite a few episodes, It is quite strange sounding, opening with jazzy sort of tone to computer scratchy noises to a more regulated tune, it is generally used for more light hearted scenes in the series. It contains some very impressive drumming skills.
5.Cat Blues (2:35) This is a very playful song which usually follows the actions and snoopings of ED the child genius, the band uses whistles and bongo drums along with an old fashioned sort of detective agency feeling.
6.Cosmos (1:36) Appears in the episode black dog serenade, it is played by a solitary trumpet, it is quite a sad sounding little song, but greatly composed and played. Has no lyrics though.
7.Space Lion (7:10) This is such an amazing song that words cannot describe it, It is the ending theme for the last episode of the first season, opens with a sort of echo atmospheric noise which is then broken by a single desolate sounding single saxophone, this is an amazing listen, after the first few minutes the saxophone is taken over by a slow drum possibly bongo beat which is then accompanied by choir singers. It is a truely moving listen, it just sounds so sad and lonesome.
8.Waltz for Zizi (3:29) Seen in the episode "Boogie Woogie Feng Shui" Its another sad melancholy song played mainly on the guitar it usually represents and ending of something in the series.
9.Piano Black (2:47) Very futuristic sounding this appears in a number of episodes also. I am not entirely sure what sort of instrument they open with is sounds like wood possibly maybe the drums, which is then interrupted by a small piano solo which is closely joined with the saxophone and some strange sound I cant quite describe. It is an interesting song.
10. Pot City (2:14) This song is greatly associated with Jet. It reminds me of those old black and white movies with detective agencies, but updated and post modernized. It includes special effects and echo noises as well as the saxophone mainly.
11.Too Good Too Bad (2:34) This is a great jazzy tune with saxophones drums and trombones, you can visualize a ship taking off with this tune or something building itself up. This is generally used for space ship scenes in the series.
12.Car 24 (2:49) This is another playful little tune with pipes and string instruments I think
13.The Egg and I (2:42) Appears in the episode "Speak like a child" An interesting fun song with bongo drums and do I hear bagpipes? some form of diverse pipes and whistle.
14. Felt Tip Pen (2:39) Appears in the episode "Wild Horses" Very old western sounding, its simple but relaxing to listen too just a simple guitar song.
15.Rain (3:23) Originally appearing in the episode entitled "Ballad of fallen Angels" This song sees the deep but extraordinary vocal skills of Mai Yamane singing a rocky but somehow eerie composition.It features a guitar solo and is played on what sounds like an old church organ, it gives off a very dark vibe. Some of the lyrics include "I dont hear a sound, silent faces in the ground, the quiet screams but I refuse to listen". It has quite a serious and philosophical tone.
16.Digging My Potato (2:34) Quite similar to "Spokey Dokey" opens with a harmonica solo later accompanied by the drums. Appears in "Sympathy for the Devil" also.
17.Memory (1:31) Appears in the episode "The Real Folk Blues Part 1" Is played through one of those very small metallic music boxes, has a quite sad and nostalgic feeling about it.
If you go this site you can listen to the first 30 seconds of each song if you think you might be interested in this sort of music.
( this site dosent seem to want to work but if you type cowboy bebop music into google search and click The Yoko Kanno Project - Cowboy Bebop, Original Soundtrack #1 link it will take you to the same place)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
3 Spokey Dokey
4 Bad Dog No Biscuit
5 Cat Blues
7 Space Lion
8 Waltz for Zizi
9 Piano Black
10 Pot City
11 Too Good Too Bad
13 Egg and I
14 Felt Tip Pen
15 Rain - Steve Conte, Seatbelts
16 Digging My Potato