Much has been written about the visuals of Studio Ghibli movies including My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, and for good reason. They’re feasts for the eyes thanks to intricate artwork, beautiful vistas and scenery, and extremely detailed animation.
However, I’d argue that their soundtracks are also very important to those films’ success. Led by the stirring arrangements of master composer Joe Hisaishi, who has scored most of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, the musicians employed by Studio Ghibli have created a body of work that’s also deserving of recognition.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to track down all of this music. So Manchester’s NTS Radio has created “Radio Ghibli,” a series of hour-long mixes of Studio Ghibli music created by Sega Bodega, who also mixes in bits of dialog from the various films. Not all of the bits work — the samples of James Van Der Beek’s Pazu from Castle in the Sky are unfortunately humorous and distracting — but the music itself is gorgeous, and the various selections flow together well.
Hisaishi’s compositions are naturally the highlight — his work on the Princess Mononoke soundtrack is particularly sublime — but there are also lots of hidden gems, such as the selections from Pom Poko and My Neighbors the Yamadas, which aren’t as well-known as the studio’s other titles.
Radio Ghibli Part 1 (1986 – 1992) — 17th January 2017
Features music from Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Only Yesterday, and Porco Rosso.
Radio Ghibli Part 2: 1994 – 2001 — 10th March 2017
Features music from Pom Poko, My Neighbors the Yamadas, Whisper of the Heart, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away.
A third installment, which presumably focuses on films after 2001 — including Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, and From Up on Poppy Hill — will be released later this year. I’ll update this entry when that happens. Via