Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
rob + = email

2023 October 02 • Monday

It's Shocktober again! Therefore the 798th Soundtrack of the Week is Akira Ifukube's magnificent score for Frankenstein vs. Baragon.

The main title theme starts with prepared piano stabbing out a warped ostinato with a vibraphone sting in the middle. Then a slab of symphonic Godzilla sound comes crashing in, to be followed by some amazingly eerie and atmospheric writing for flute, organ, percussion, strings, woodwinds, etc., all weaving in and out.

From the very first track, the impression is that this is Ifukube at his best.

A slightly exotica-shaped melody snakes its way through music for a U-boat, and then [track 3] is similar to the famous Godzilla march.

“Hiroshima” is only about half a minute long and a pensive piece for the orchestra playing a melodic line in unison, punctuated by what sounds like vibes and perhaps xylophone in unison.

Then there’s a groovy shake, complete with electric guitars but with Ifukube having the brass somewhat disrupt the playful mood with some harsh textures, for “TV Music”. It’s a bit like a damaged “Let’s Twist Again”.

Then there’s kind of a surf instrumental number but again with horns crowding out the electric guitar for [track 18].

A true guitar-driven rocking instrumental comes a little later in “Hette Music”. I’d love to know who the guitarist is.

The main title theme and a few other Godzilla-adjacent (track 21 identical?) themes are reiterated in slightly different versions. They’re all really strong, though, and pure pleasure to listen to.

There are some alternates and extras at the end, including a couple of the surf guitar pieces and also some sound effects as well as what seems to be a cue from King King vs. Godzilla.