Chant your ears off.
November 10, 2012 3:24 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me identify this (musical?) genre of Japanese Chanting? Where would I find more of it?

It starts at 28:55, picks up around 30:00, breaks the monotony at 30:45. I find this type of "music" very compelling (feels like a Steve Reich piece from the other side of the globe). I would like to know what, if anything, this genre is called, and where I can find more of it.
posted by Philipschall to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I am not a musicologist (IANAM?), but I am a fan of the album you've linked to.

Some of the chanting in that album is overtone singing, also known as throat singing, but the section you've mentioned above seems to only use that for bass notes. There seems to be a strong Gamelan heritage in large parts of that soundtrack, so you might want to read up on Balinese and Indonesian music.

Before I knew about the album you're asking about, I was fascinated by a recording of the Balinese Monkey Chant on an album called The Nonesuch Explorer. It's a vocal piece that lasts about 20 minutes in this recording, and there are also videos online of it being performed. You might want to check out the website for the Nonesuch reissues, or perhaps the Smithsonian collection, if you can find a better description of the music
posted by The River Ivel at 4:00 PM on November 10, 2012

The name of the track - Shohmyoh (or shoumyou) means chanting by priests at Buddhist ceremonies. 
posted by Sar at 4:54 PM on November 10, 2012

The Monkey Chant mentioned above is from the Kecak tradition.

My family practices Shingon Buddhism, which utilizes a lot of chanting of sutras. YouTube search for "Shingon Buddhist chanting" and you may find some things you enjoy listening to. (Many other Buddhist traditions utilize chanting, I only mention Shingon as it's the one I'm most familiar with.)
posted by illenion at 9:24 PM on November 10, 2012

illenion and Sar nail it. The chanting on the Akira soundtrack is loosely related to a cult that plays a role in the manga original of the series, and Japanese cults tend to borrow very, very liberally from the Shingon tradition, mostly because its esoteric mumbo-jumbo can be repurposed to suit just about any need.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:01 PM on November 11, 2012

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