This week we welcome back Asphalt Layer for a very special mixtape. After enjoying his productions and mixes for some time now, we thought we would ask him for a mixtape that focus's on a significant inspiration to him both as a producer and artist - Manga & Anime.

"Ever since I was very young, I have watched Manga and Anime. It has influenced and shaped me as an artist and a producer. Also, the stories that are told, the imagination, the thought process, all brought to incredible life through stunning imagery and screenplay is something you simply don’t get anywhere else. The music, the dialogue and the ambience, all goes hand in hand with the visions, and I have attempted to give you a good reflection across the board of the music that comes with some of the most creative and amazing movies and shows made over the last 30 years." 
[[ Asphalt Layer ]]

 

You can find him here:

 

https://asphalt-layer.bandcamp.com/

https://www.discogs.com/artist/4370014-Asphalt-Layer

https://soundcloud.com/asphalt_layer

https://hearthis.at/asphaltlayer/

https://www.facebook.com/Asphalt.Layer

https://twitter.com/harrison_dj

 

 

Tracklisting

 

 

Shirō Sagisu - Hostility Restrained (Neon Genesis Evangelion)  

Joe Hisaishi - Day of the River (Spirited Away)

Joe Hisaishi - The Wind Forest (My Neighbor Totoro)                

The Seatbelts - Piano Bar I (Cowboy Bebop)    

Cut Scene (Rah-Xephon)

Michiru Oshima - Father Floating in the Sky (Patema Inverted)

Geinō Yamashirogumi - Kaneda (Akira)

The RZA - Afro Samurai Theme (First Movement) (Afro Samurai)

Yuki Kajiura – Strategy (fate/zero)

Kenji Kawai - TYPE 2052 "HADALY" (Ghost in The Shell:INNOCENCE)               

Cut Scene (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

Kasamatsu Kouji – Shanikusai (Gankutsuou)                 

Taniuchi Hideki - 死神界B (DEATH NOTE)

Kenji Kawai – Virtual Crime (Ghost in the Shell)

Yasuharu Takanashi - Dark Side (Naruto the Movie)            

Yuki Kajiura – Nervous (fate/zero)

Shirō Sagisu - Hedgehog's Dilemma (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

The Seatbelts - Memory (Cowboy Bebop)                     

Kasamatsu Kouji – Tentaigi (Gankutsuou)                     

The Seatbelts - Fe (DJ Vadim Remix) (Cowboy Bebop Remixes)

 

 

 

 

 

Shirō Sagisu - Hostility Restrained (Neon Genesis Evangelion)  

 

 

Set in the futuristic city of Tokyo-3, this story focuses around a United Nations forces using giant bio-machines to battle a race of giant monstrous beings. The bio-machines are synchronized to the nervous systems of their pilots. Massive battles and sub-plots caused by the constant inner conflicts that the pilots experience down to the unity between them and the bio-machines create a spectacular and fast paced experience.

 

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Joe Hisaishi - Day of the River (Spirited Away)

 

 

Hayao Miyazaki at his very finest. This is a story about a 10 year old girl traveling with her parents, who, after her father takes a wrong turn, finds herself trapped in a magical spirit world full of spirits, ghosts, witches, dragons and all manner of magical creatures. The girl, is now trapped like many others there as her name is forgotten. She has to remember her name, in order to leave, find her parents and never return.

This is one of the most imaginative films I've ever seen, it draws you in and you get lost in the story, and the world that has been dreamt up.

 

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Joe Hisaishi - The Wind Forest (My Neighbor Totoro)

 

 

Again, another masterpiece from Hayao Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli team. The story is a very simple one. A father and his 2 daughters (one daughter very young) move into an old house to be closer to the mother who is recovering from an illness in a nearby hospital. And the girls discover in the nearby woodland, spirits, and one particularly large one who identifies itself as Totoro. And the Totoro, and his various friends appear at points in the story and seem to inadvertently help the girls deal with whatever they need. So much of this film is left to your imagination, which I love. Also, something that really appealed to me, was how the various spirits, including the very large and loud Totoro, could be quite frightening to the girls, especially the youngest, but they are not afraid. There's something about that that I think is really beautiful.

 

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The Seatbelts - Piano Bar I (Cowboy Bebop)   

 

 

In 2071, roughly fifty years after an accident that left the Earth almost uninhabitable, humanity has colonized most of the rocky planets and moons of the Solar System. As futuristic as this sounds, many of the inhabited areas are just like places on the old Earth. Towns, Ports, Bars, and this adds to the gritty nature of the environments. Cowboy Bebob focuses around a crew of 4 bounty hunters, who navigate the solar system on their spaceship, the Bebob, while they constantly struggle to make ends meet. Spike, an exiled hitman, Jet, a former cop, Faye, a moody con artist, and Ed, who is an eccentric girl skilled in hacking. Simply put, I love Cowboy Bebob. They're always having mishaps, they're always skint, they're always hungry…they bicker, and they all have a past that is revealed throughout the series. In addition, the music is amazingly good. Jazzy, soulful, moody, and much gives that feeling of the 'old wild west', something that it never shy's away from. Also, at the end of each episode, the words 'see you space cowboy….' pop up on the screen, which makes me smile every time.

 

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Cut Scene (Rah-Xephon)

 

 

Ok, where to begin. This series is one of the hardest to follow, its deeeeeeeeep! But it's worth your efforts.

Multidimensional invaders of Earth (called The Mu), indistinguishable from humans apart from a genetic marker that turns their blood blue appeared via floating cities and attacked Tokyo, and enveloped the city with a spherical barrier that resembles Jupiter. The barrier has a time dilating effect, which causes time inside Tokyo Jupiter to slow down to one-fifth compared to the outside time, and allowed the Mu to secretly take control of Tokyo, using the area as a base of operations. The goal of the human forces outside Tokyo Jupiter is to build up their strength to invade Tokyo Jupiter and stop the Mu while surviving their attacks…<takes a breath>….

The Mu, use giant weapons called Dolems, some 1000's of feet high. And the human forces have a giant weapon of their own, the Rah-Xephon, but how it is controlled, they are unsure until a boy, Ayato, connects somehow with it.

Music plays a massive role in Rah-Xephon. The Dolems attack while singing, and sometimes the attack is the song itself. The Rah-Xephon can also attack by having its pilot — the "instrumentalist" — sing a note. This unleashes force waves that cause massive destruction.

I'll say no more, this is one for the advanced Anime / Manga viewers!

 

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Michiru Oshima - Father Floating in the Sky (Patema Inverted)

 

 

In 2067, scientists attempt to harness Earth's gravity for energy. The experiment fails and result in devastation of the surface: nearly everyone and everything is thrown into a reverse gravity field and sent flying from Earth. Years later, Patema is a respected teenage girl who lives in a society that dwells underground. The subterranean community imposes rules to keep its members away from "danger zones" in the tunnels that surround the community. Inspired by her friend Lagos, who has mysteriously disappeared, Patema explores the tunnels. One day, while looking at a large, seemingly bottomless hole, she is startled by a figure that appears to walk on the ceiling, and she falls into the pit. The magic ensues from here.

 

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Geinō Yamashirogumi - Kaneda (Akira)

 

 

In 1988, Tokyo is destroyed in a single explosion and World War III begins. A new city called Neo-Tokyo is eventually built in its place, but by 2019, a year before the city is set to host the XXXII Olympic Games, the dystopian metropolis is gripped by anti-government terrorism and gang violence. What more is there to say about this out and out classic? You most probably have seen it. If not, have a word.

 

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The RZA - Afro Samurai Theme (First Movement) (Afro Samurai)

 

 

What can I say about this series? The premise is simple, to gain the No.1 headband. Whoever has the No.1 headband is the fiercest fighter in the world and shall possess god-like powers. The only person that can challenge the No.1, is the person who has the No.2 headband. The only problem here, anyone can challenge the No.2.

Set in a futuristic Japan, 'Justice', the owner of the No.2 headband fights with Afro Samurai's father as the owner of the No.1, and kills him by beheading him and claims the No.1. Afro witnesses the fight and vows revenge against Justice who tells him to seek him out when he is "ready to face a god."

If that idea isn’t enough, Afro is voiced by Samuel L Jackson, and the music is scored by The RZA. Just a thing of beauty!

 

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Yuki Kajiura – Strategy (fate/zero)

 

 

The story of Fate/Zero is a story in which seven mages summon seven Heroic Spirits to compete to obtain the power of the "Holy Grail", which grants a wish to each member of the winning duo. After three inconclusive wars for the elusive Holy Grail, the Fourth War commences. One family is determined to achieve success after three consecutive failures, no matter the cost. As a result, they have elected to bring a hated magus killer into their ranks, despite his methods and reputation as a skilled mercenary and a hitman who employs whatever he can use to accomplish his goals. The music is fast paced, and suits the imagery perfectly.

 

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Kenji Kawai - TYPE 2052 "HADALY"

(Ghost in The Shell:INNOCENCE)    

 

 

The 2nd GITS film, and, just as gorgeous, deep and thought provoking as the 1st. Visually, another level, and the music, sounds, environments and atmosphere is second to none. On my first watch, I was watching through headphones, on my own, and I got sucked in. At points, my mind and the minds of the characters became very close together. It made for one hell of an experience. I won't speak much here as I will cover GITS further down the track list, and also, it's hard to talk about this without giving spoilers. All I will say, is this (and the 1st film) need to be seen. Not just the most amazing Manga films I've experienced, but the most amazing films full stop.

 

 

 

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Cut Scene (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

 

 

I've included this small cut scene, purely as although many of these films/series are dubbed in English, I often watch them in Japanese. It’s a stunning language and a lot of the emphasis and emotion is often lost when translated to English. When you watch some of these in the original speech, It can be a whole new experience.

 

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Kasamatsu Kouji – Shanikusai (Gankutsuou)           

 

 

 This story takes place in the far future of the 51st Century, during the year 5053. The general plot of Gankutsuou, while broadly the same as the novel on which it is based, changes many aspects of the source material. In the novel, the narrative arc follows the Count chronologically; in the anime, the story begins with Albert and Franz meeting the Count on Luna (which occurs, in Rome, many hundreds of pages into the book), and the Count's back story is pieced together throughout the series. The anime's plot includes futuristic elements, talking about space travel, computer systems and robots, different fates for some characters, the disposal of several side-plots, and an altogether different ending.  A bit of a mad one, but the reason for my inclusion, is the music composed by Kasamatsu Kouji. The soundtrack is a must for any techno, break beat, and lover of dark/energetic electronic music.

 

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Taniuchi Hideki – Death Boundary B (DEATH NOTE)

 

 

Another incredible idea, brought to life by this genre. The Death Note series, is animated. But there are also films which are live action, with animation created for the Death Note's original owner, Ryuk. The story is about a genius high school student (Light) who discovers the "Death Note", which is a notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it, and in the manner in which it is written . After experimenting with the notebook, he meets the notebook's original owner (Ryuk), a demon who dropped the notebook to the human world out of boredom. The student tells Ryuk of his plan to rule over a new world free from criminals as a god, where only people he deems morally fit to live remain. Light eventually becomes known to the public as Kira, which is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the word "killer". Things don’t always go to plan, and very soon, a special task force is assigned to catch 'Kira'. As the story unravels, it becomes intricate, with many twists. Another great watch.

 

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Kenji Kawai – Virtual Crime (Ghost in the Shell)

 

 

GITS follows the members of Public Security Section 9, a special-operations task-force. Computer technology has advanced to the point that many members of the public possess cyberbrains, technology that allows them to interface their biological brain with various networks. The level of cyberization varies from simple minimal interfaces to almost complete replacement of the brain with cybernetic parts, in cases of severe trauma. This can also be combined with various levels of prostheses, with a fully prosthetic body enabling a person to become a cyborg. The main character of Ghost in the Shell, Major Motoko Kusanagi, is such a cyborg, having had a terrible accident befall her as a child that ultimately required her to use a full-body prosthesis to house her cyberbrain. This high level of cyberization, however, opens the brain up to attacks from highly skilled hackers, with the most dangerous being those who will hack a person to bend to their whims. This is by far one of the greatest films I've seen. Not only is the music, environments and dialogue extremely atmospheric, but it's very thought provoking. What makes a person, what is the ghost? This movie inspired The Matrix, and has massive connections to Bladerunner. If those are your thing, you need GITS in your life.

 

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Yasuharu Takanashi - Dark Side (NARUTO THE MOVIE)            

 

 

Naruto Follows the struggles of three young ninjas as they go through their training. This music is from one of the many movies, but there is also an Manga series which is around 220 episode (I think!!) It's almost impossible to explain Naruto as it is such a massive world, but in a nut shell….ninjas, Manga, battles, revenge…all shot to perfection

 

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Yuki Kajiura – Nervous (fate/zero)

 

(See above)

 

 

Shirō Sagisu - Hedgehog's Dilemma (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

 

(See above)

 

 

The Seatbelts - Memory (Cowboy Bebop)         

 

(See above)

 

          

Kasamatsu Kouji – Tentaigi (Gankutsuou)              

 

 

(See above)

 

     

The Seatbelts - Fe (DJ Vadim Remix) (Cowboy Bebop Remixes)

 

(See above)