Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2012 April 09 • Monday

The 212th Soundtrack of the Week is Kanno Yugo's music for the Japanese television drama SP (Security Police).

I think that some of the people responsible for Bayside Shakedown also worked on SP. They know how to make good television. SP isn't moving in the way Bayside Shakedown was, but I got into it.

As far as I can remember it takes place a little bit into the future where there's a new kind of police officer, Security Police, whose job is to be a human shield for terrorist targets.

The main character, Inoue, is an unusually gifted member of this special force. In addition to his practically unbeatable martial arts skill, he has a kind of ESP that alerts him to threats before any sign of danger can be seen or heard.

He's got problems, though. The old childhood trauma device is dragged out. His parents were murdered by somebody attempting to assassinate a politician. The politician grabbed the young Inoue and used him as a shield. Inoue's parents died trying to protect their son. Now that same politician is Prime Minister and Inoue will have to volunteer to be his shield. Or is Inoue in fact just planning to kill him for revenge?

His boss is mixed up with their enemies somehow—it becomes clear in the two SP feature films that followed the show—and Inoue's ESP is actually a symptom of some kind of brain damage or disease that's getting worse and will cause his head to explode someday or something.

Okay, so it's not particuarly realistic but it's very entertaining, with impressive action sequences and stories that move too quickly for you to quibble over the contrivances.

And of course the music is quite good.

I bought this CD really just for the theme music, which I love, a kind of pounding techno thing with some surfy guitar and a haunting melody played by strings on top. It's irresistible in the same way that Lalo Schifrin's Mission: Impossible theme is. For the CD it's expanded into a long piece of music, more than seven minutes. Somebody's uploaded it to YouTube here.

"Sudden Panic", the second track, is another mixture of orchestra and electronics, at times suggesting what John Williams's famous Jaws music might sound on the dance floor.

In the show, the woman who dispense tea and sympathy or abuse (depending on the situation) is accompanied by a simple funky beat. This is expanded here into a song, "Serene Parade".

"Shock Proof" and "Sergeant Pepper's" are sort of dance versions of heavy metal. Most of the music is heavy, electronic dance music of one kind of another, as is the case with the Bayside Shakedown score. And once again, though I don't usually get into that kind of thing, I really love it here.

Some of the cues that are more traditional dramatic underscore include "Saturation Point", "Self Protection" and "Sweet Pain".

"Sacred Place" is a sentimental piece for piano and strings. mixes another house beat with ore compelling universal fantasy than the one about how an unimpressive on it.