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27 February 2007 @ 08:39 pm
Yoko Kanno = Plagiarism?  
So I was going to play some Civ 4 with Nico and the gang today and I heard a familiar song coming from his room. I was like "oh hey, you're playing Hooverphonic." and Nico was like "zuh."

Turns out the song he was listening to was Cyberbird from Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex (2002). I listened for a little bit and I was pretty freaking astounded. This was exactly like Battersea, from Blue Wonder Power Milk (1998). It had the same instruments, same tempo, same drum beat, same key, same kind of singing... so after I listened to THAT SONG, I connected to my library through iTunes and played Battersea. Everyone was like "you are totally playing the same song Jeffrey you must be joking."

But man. I mean, the songs are different enough... but in terms of style, Yoko Kanno's got some serious steeeeeaaaaling going on. Take a look for yourself:

Battersea

Cyberbird

edit I was totally beaten by a lot.
 
 
Aaron WeissAaron Weiss on February 10th, 2011 10:38 am (UTC)
reality
as a pianist and a composer/arranger (and a fan of kanno's work) i have to say many of you are overreacting big time. 'cyberbird' is obviously heavily influenced by 'battersea' just as 'where does this ocean go' is moderately influenced by 'hyperballad.' songs can have the same beats, keys, chord changes, everything except the main hook/melody can be the same before it becomes actual theft.

there are dozens of old blues songs that use nothing but I, IV, and V chords (many of which are in the same key) but no one will ever accuse any of their writers of copying each other. and i find it unfair to say this case is different because the pieces are much more intricate in their composition than a simple 12 bar blues tune. it would be mildly disappointing if kanno denies the similarity but i highly doubt she would do so if asked. does anyone happen to know if she has ever been confronted by any of these accusations? i'd be curious to know.

i compose for video games and of course i become influenced by veteran composers all the time (the great nobuo uematsu, for example.) maybe it would be better if all composers (especially ones who are very successful/well-known, as kanno is) would always give credit to any/all pieces that influence their new works but ultimately i just don't think it's worth throwing a fit when something like this comes to light. and even though it's beside the point...in my honest opinion any piece of kanno's that has been compared to an existing work is VASTLY superior in terms of depth, production, and overall quality.
Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on February 12th, 2011 05:13 pm (UTC)
Re: reality
The forum I linked to in the post seems dead now, but you should be aware that I linked to a list of about 50 songs that Kanno seemed to play off of entirely. Sure, the songs might be in a different key and have different lyrics, but in many cases the instrumentation, production, and section-to-section flow of the songs is near-identical.