OSV originally brought news of Wilbert Roget II’s kickstarter campaign to fund the mastering and release of his anime inspired Beyond Libra back in November of last year. The Kickstarter campaign was a success slightly doubling its modest goal of $1500. So what is Beyond Libra? Simply described by the composer Beyond Libra is a massive collaboration album inspired by Japanese anime composers such as Yoko Kanno and Joe Hisaishi. Pop, orchestral, and world influence. The album which was 8 years in the making featuring a stunning amount of talent and songs in over 5 different languages.
So come hear my thoughts on Beyond Libra in my full review of the physical album 13 track album which was released on March 4, 2016.
The opening track “Momentum Flux” features the vocals of virtual idol Hatsune Miku. The sound in the first moments of the tracks reminded me of a Nintendo Wii menu screen in a good way, its playful and and wonderfully layered. At about four minutes the song is more like an extended album version of a traditional anime opening song – rather than the TV version. You can watch a video of “Momentum Flux” which showcase the art and visual environments created for the album giving you a sense of the world this music was written for.
The second track on the album “First Flight of the Umbra” reminded me of Yoko Kanno’s work on Macross Plus and The Vision of Escaflowne. Although it only clocks in at 43 seconds the melody captures the feelings of flight with its use of light brass, woodwinds and strings. My only compliant with the track is that it ends to soon. I found myself repeating it several times on my CD player.
“Ebenebe Ga Egbu” track 3, features a lovely vocal trio of Offiong Bassey, Brandon Bush and Nnenna Ukwa, natural percussion and the composer rocking out on the flute with some impressive tonguing skills. The music is happy, warm and feels like you just walked into somewhere you belong. It is one of the standout tracks on the album.
The music takes a slight shift to the sombre when “Tyger, Tyger” begins with the solo vocals of a boy backed up with strings and woodwinds. As it continues it creates a feeling of reminiscence when a cello is added. It reminded me a bit of “Myung’s Theme” at times from Yoko Kanno’s Macross Plus one of my personal favorite scores.
“Space Drifter” is a very slick and jazzy track which sounds like it is something right out of an episode of Cowboy Bebop or Wolf’s Rain. It’s use of accordion with soulful percussion, and a very groovy bass track make it another standout track on the album for me. At times the vocals sounded to me like repetitions of the word ‘papaya’ (it’s not), but with it being of my favorite fruits I will personally keep singing it to myself as ‘papaya’.
Another standout track for me on this album is titled “Little Butterfly”. The use of woodwinds in this track immediately brought back fond memories of playing Final Fantasy: The Crystal Chronicles, and Final Fantasy IX. It has the sound to me of an older time, or of something precious.
The track titled “8th And Broadway” was a bit of a challenging listen for me as there is so many things mixing together in the song. There’s a variety of vocal effects, and instrumentation and I found that I discovered new things in the song with each new listen. I have a feeling that my appreciation for this tune will grow the more I listen to it.
Piano opens “Best Friends” which later features melodic vocals of Raj Ramayya, some light guitar, and some background harmonics which is a short but really pretty song.
“Waiting” is a nice track with great vocals by Simon Pyles, choir, echoing strummed acoustic guitar, and strings. At times it reminded me of “Call Me, Call Me” from Cowboy Bebop, one of my favorite songs of the series which was a nice surprise.
The last track on the album features gorgeous vocals by Jillian Aversa in both Japanese and French in what would be an excellent closing song for an anime series. The opening moments reminded me slightly of music I heard in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex but then progresses into its own unique sound.
Beyond Libra really impressed me, and took me back to all the musical places I loved growing up watching anime. Wilbert Roget, II also known as bustatunez on Youtube has uploaded the entire album for your listening pleasure and you can discover the remaining few tracks I didn’t write about. If you’re an anime fan you owe yourself this listening experience.
The album is available now for purchase at CDBaby digitally for $9.99 or on CD for just $12.97. The physical CD comes in a slim cardboard two flapped design with great art, song lyrics, details of all the performers and a thank you message to Kickstarter backers. The disc itself is a professionally made CD-R with high quality printing on the top of the disc comparable to Amazon’s burn on demand CD-Rs. If you buy 3 CDS from CDBaby shipping worldwide is only 1 cent (I haven’t opened my other two CDs yet because I’m still enjoying this one).
What do you think of Beyond Libra? Did it remind you of any of your favorite anime films or series?Tags: Anime Inspired Album, Beyond Libra, Brandon Bush, CDBaby, Hatsune Miku, Joe Hisaishi, Kickstarter, Nnenna Ukwa, Offiong Bassey, Reviews, Wilbert Roget II, Yoko Kanno