The Shuki Levy score

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The Shuki Levy score

Post by MasenkoHA » Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:21 pm

What do you think of it? It's not my favorite score associated with DBZ but it works for what Ocean, Funimation, and Saban turned the show into; a Saturday Morning Sci-fi Action Cartoon. There's some cool sounding pieces here and there but nothing incredibly stand out (there is one piece I swear to Kami sounds like something that gets used in MMPR whenever they're being alerted of trouble at the command center). I guess ultimately it's just kind of there. It's not as epic as the Yamamoto music, nor as energetic as the Kikuchi score. But it also doesn't actively annoy me like Falcouner's score could at times. And it wasn't as generic as Menza and Johnson's. It was just ...adequate I guess?

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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by SuperCyan2 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:49 pm

The Levy score definitely had more of a Dragon Ball spirit to it than Faulconer, Johnson or Menza's soundtracks attempted to. Savannah Entertainment knew back then how to make good replacement scores and I have no problem with that, as long as it's done right.

If the Ocean Dub had been given the chance to dub all arcs we'd also had gotten Levy's music for Freeza arc, Cell arc and Majin Boo arc but unfortunately they had a short run.
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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by Apollo Fungus » Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:56 am

For the sake of being accurate, what you call "the Shuki Levy score" was actually composed by Ron Wasserman, a musician/composer most well known for providing the music to the first six seasons of Power Rangers (including the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers theme tune); Shuki Levy had no hand in it. If I remember correctly, this was something done quite a lot throughout the 90's: any show that had involvement from Saban Entertainment would have its music attributed to Shuki Levy (and his long-time collaborator Haim Saban) since he was a higher-up in the company, and they would therefore gain the publishing rights and whatever revenue would be earned from the royalties. (This transcription of a Hollywood Report article from 1998 goes into more detail on this.)

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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by SuperCyan2 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:16 am

Apollo Fungus wrote:For the sake of being accurate, what you call "the Shuki Levy score" was actually composed by Ron Wasserman, a musician/composer most well known for providing the music to the first six seasons of Power Rangers (including the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers theme tune); Shuki Levy had no hand in it. If I remember correctly, this was something done quite a lot throughout the 90's: any show that had involvement from Saban Entertainment would have its music attributed to Shuki Levy (and his long-time collaborator Haim Saban) since he was a higher-up in the company, and they would therefore gain the publishing rights and whatever revenue would be earned from the royalties. (This transcription of a Hollywood Report article from 1998 goes into more detail on this.)
Thank you! I tried to remember the actual composer's name but the closest I'd always come close to was Kussa Mahehi who's also credited, but not Ron Wasserman. It reminds me, FUNimation did the same thing with the "Bruce Faulconer" soundtrack when there were other composers part of the Faulconer score.

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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by Apollo Fungus » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:23 am

On that note, I decided to look up Kussa Mahehi, since I've never heard of the guy. First result I got? Haim Saban.

Yep, Saban was credited for doing Wasserman's music as well (though why he went under a pseudonym for this one is beyond me - maybe (and this is completely speculation on my end; don't take it as gospel) the complaints about miscrediting had begun around that time, and he tried to save face by using another name; basically saying "Hey, we do properly give credit! Look at this Kussa Mahehi guy on this show we helped to localize!")

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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by Kakacarrottop » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:51 pm

Apollo Fungus wrote:For the sake of being accurate, what you call "the Shuki Levy score" was actually composed by Ron Wasserman, a musician/composer most well known for providing the music to the first six seasons of Power Rangers (including the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers theme tune); Shuki Levy had no hand in it.
This is blatant speculation, but I think Levy probably wrote Rock the Dragon, since Wasserman has gone on the record in several interviews to say he had nothing to do with it. The song itself I'm fairly certain was sung by Jeremy Sweet though, who is listed in the DBZ credits as a music producer along with Wasserman, and who has a similar nasally voice that can be heard in a lot of Saban theme songs like Beetleborgs and the post-Wasserman seasons of Power Rangers. Rock the Dragon could have also been written by Jeremy Sweet with no involvement from Levy, but it's just impossible to know since they've never been interviewed about any of this.
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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by SuperCyan2 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:30 pm

So did Levy actually compose the Inspector Gadget score or was that someone else?
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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by Kakacarrottop » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:45 pm

SuperCyan2 wrote:So did Levy actually compose the Inspector Gadget score or was that someone else?
That was definitely him. He even talks about it in interviews, unlike with Dragon Ball Z. It's only after Power Rangers that all his credits start getting questionable, especially during the late 90s/early 2000s period when Saban had DBZ, Digimon and like a million other programs. Generally, if someone other than Levy is listed in 90s credits as a music producer, then that person probably was the actual score/theme song composer. In DBZ's case, it was Wasserman and Jeremy Sweet.
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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by SuperCyan2 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:23 pm

Kakacarrottop wrote:That was definitely him. He even talks about it in interviews, unlike with Dragon Ball Z. It's only after Power Rangers that all his credits start getting questionable, especially during the late 90s/early 2000s period when Saban had DBZ, Digimon and like a million other programs. Generally, if someone other than Levy is listed in 90s credits as a music producer, then that person probably was the actual score/theme song composer. In DBZ's case, it was Wasserman and Jeremy Sweet.
Thank you for confirming that. Shuki Levy did an amazing job with the Inspector Gadget score and I hold so many fond memories of Inspector Gadget, even as if it was somehow a Japanese animated series because it just looks so damn good even moreso than modern Japanese animated series do, in my opinion.

Inspector Gadget is without a doubt my favorite Western animated series but to be honest, there's not a whole lot that I like well, Classic Power Puff Girls, Edd Ed n' Edy, Dexter Laboratory, Super Mario Show and a few others but none come close to Inspector Gadget's magnificence.

Enough of off-topic from me. :P
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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by MrTennek » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:16 am

The Ocean dub's replacement music was nothing but constant, earsplitting noise. Awful. There were no melodies or leitmotifs or anything, just cacophony. Faulconer was leagues better than Levy / Wasserman / whoever it was that composed it.

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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by SuperCyan2 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:11 am

MrTennek wrote:The Ocean dub's replacement music was nothing but constant, earsplitting noise. Awful. There were no melodies or leitmotifs or anything, just cacophony. Faulconer was leagues better than Levy / Wasserman / whoever it was that composed it.
That's interesting because aside a few good tunes of FUNimation's Nathan Johnson & Faulconer Productions scores, they just sound like a bunch of annoying noises so we have something in common about replacement soundtracks. jaja

I don't really see how Faulconer was better but who really cares.
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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by Kakacarrottop » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:52 am

MrTennek wrote:The Ocean dub's replacement music was nothing but constant, earsplitting noise. Awful. There were no melodies or leitmotifs or anything, just cacophony. Faulconer was leagues better than Levy / Wasserman / whoever it was that composed it.
Well to be fair, it's just background music, not actual stand alone music composed for an album or anything. I like it because of how atmospheric and other-worldly it is, which in turn gives the Ocean dub it's own distinct vibe for the first two seasons. The more intense music used in the battle scenes was also more fitting than the music by Kikuchi/Nathan Johnson/Yamamoto in my opinion.
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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by Jackdaslayer » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:44 pm

I've been remaking the ocean score along with a bunch of other themes, feel free to have a look!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjKm6unHD3c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d97Xh0f64xQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTJNEFhHv1k

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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by MasenkoHA » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:18 am

MrTennek wrote:The Ocean dub's replacement music was nothing but constant, earsplitting noise. Awful. There were no melodies or leitmotifs or anything, just cacophony. Faulconer was leagues better than Levy / Wasserman / whoever it was that composed it.

But that's pretty much how I felt about Faulconer's score. Other than like 2 good tracks it was just earsplitting (well ear bleeding) noise. :lol: The Saban score (I feel like this is easier to refer to it as the company rather than trying to credit it to whoever) to me did its job but it wasn't anything outstanding. Workman like I suppose. If there was no other DBZ score to compare it to it would have sufficed. The Faulconer score on it's own is terrible. Once you throw it Kikuchi and Yamamoto in..

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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by Attitudefan » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:51 am

Jackdaslayer wrote:I've been remaking the ocean score along with a bunch of other themes, feel free to have a look!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjKm6unHD3c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d97Xh0f64xQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTJNEFhHv1k
Cool stuff man!

What I really would like to know is what synth/instrument Wassermann used to get that iconic shrieking sound. I love it and never heard it before or since. Generally, it is "drony" but very unique and stands out. You hear it and instantly identify it with DBZ. That's what is missing today in film/animation/game soundtracks. Everyone wants to sound epic or something and it all tends to sound the same. Actually, many of the orchestral themes I hear just sound same-y and just drone on even though they are using real instruments rather than a synth!! :roll: Synth composition can be just as good as orchestral, as it isn't always about using a 'real' instrument but knowing how to compose something that is memorable and can stand out from the pack, in a good/fitting way of course.

Super's music is just kind of there, whereas the Levy score is brutal and dark. If it wasn't wall to wall music, it would be fantastic for DBZ (it honestly fits great with the overall direction with the Ocean dub, which is what really counts: how all the pieces play together to make the whole experience).
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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by Kakacarrottop » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:19 am

Attitudefan wrote:
Jackdaslayer wrote:I've been remaking the ocean score along with a bunch of other themes, feel free to have a look!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjKm6unHD3c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d97Xh0f64xQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTJNEFhHv1k
Cool stuff man!

What I really would like to know is what synth/instrument Wassermann used to get that iconic shrieking sound. I love it and never heard it before or since. Generally, it is "drony" but very unique and stands out. You hear it and instantly identify it with DBZ. That's what is missing today in film/animation/game soundtracks. Everyone wants to sound epic or something and it all tends to sound the same. Actually, many of the orchestral themes I hear just sound same-y and just drone on even though they are using real instruments rather than a synth!! :roll: Synth composition can be just as good as orchestral, as it isn't always about using a 'real' instrument but knowing how to compose something that is memorable and can stand out from the pack, in a good/fitting way of course.

Super's music is just kind of there, whereas the Levy score is brutal and dark. If it wasn't wall to wall music, it would be fantastic for DBZ (it honestly fits great with the overall direction with the Ocean dub, which is what really counts: how all the pieces play together to make the whole experience).
Wasserman did say in an interview last year the score was done on an old 90s Mac computer in his apartment, although obviously some bits would have been made with a guitar. And I agree with your point on epic sounding stuff. The sound is all too common since all the big movies like Star Wars had orchestral soundtracks rather than electronic ones, so that's what people are going to use as a point of reference when they start composing.
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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by Forte224 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:03 pm

SuperCyan2 wrote:
MrTennek wrote:The Ocean dub's replacement music was nothing but constant, earsplitting noise. Awful. There were no melodies or leitmotifs or anything, just cacophony. Faulconer was leagues better than Levy / Wasserman / whoever it was that composed it.
That's interesting because aside a few good tunes of FUNimation's Nathan Johnson & Faulconer Productions scores, they just sound like a bunch of annoying noises so we have something in common about replacement soundtracks. jaja

I don't really see how Faulconer was better but who really cares.
Hate to break up the party, but I've never understood how the Faulconer score is so hated for being replacement music, yet Ocean's replacement music gets a pass. It's a pretty big trend I've seen. I don't like anything about the OG Funi dub or the Ocean dub (except McNeil as Piccolo), but it's always baffled me how the Ocean dub gets a pass for doing the same things the OG Funi dub did. And it did them first!

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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by VegettoEX » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:15 pm

MrTennek wrote:The Ocean dub's replacement music was nothing but constant, earsplitting noise. Awful. There were no melodies or leitmotifs or anything, just cacophony.
This is demonstrably untrue, though. I mean, the "Rock the Dragon" / main title motif alone is reworked at different tempos into several pieces of background music!
Forte224 wrote:Hate to break up the party, but I've never understood how the Faulconer score is so hated for being replacement music, yet Ocean's replacement music gets a pass. It's a pretty big trend I've seen. I don't like anything about the OG Funi dub or the Ocean dub (except McNeil as Piccolo), but it's always baffled me how the Ocean dub gets a pass for doing the same things the OG Funi dub did. And it did them first!
I don't like the actual sounds/instruments/samples used in the Faulconer Productions replacement score, and that's independent of / before we even get to the actual compositions, themselves.

Furthermore, we were told -- following wonderful home video productions of the first three movies in 1997-1998 and a proof-of-concept in DB movie 2 later in 1998 -- that we could expect an uncut experience for "season three", original background music included. This didn't happen, and everything about the production felt like twenty steps backward for the one step forward we did actually get (untouched video footage). The original syndication broadcast was what it was; the follow-up actually had a chance and the precedent to do more, and simply chose not to.

So with regard to your point/question about one getting "a pass", that's simply untrue. Context matters.
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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by Forte224 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:22 pm

VegettoEX wrote:
MrTennek wrote:The Ocean dub's replacement music was nothing but constant, earsplitting noise. Awful. There were no melodies or leitmotifs or anything, just cacophony.
This is demonstrably untrue. I mean, the "Rock the Dragon" / main title motif alone is reworked at different tempos into several pieces of background music!
Forte224 wrote:Hate to break up the party, but I've never understood how the Faulconer score is so hated for being replacement music, yet Ocean's replacement music gets a pass. It's a pretty big trend I've seen. I don't like anything about the OG Funi dub or the Ocean dub (except McNeil as Piccolo), but it's always baffled me how the Ocean dub gets a pass for doing the same things the OG Funi dub did. And it did them first!
I don't like the actual sounds/instruments/samples used in the Faulconer Productions replacement score, and that's independent of / before we even get to the actual compositions, themselves.

Furthermore, we were told -- following wonderful home video productions of the first three movies in 1997-1998 and a proof-of-concept in DB movie 2 later in 1998 -- that we could expect an uncut experience for "season three", original background music included. This didn't happen, and everything about the production felt like twenty steps backward for the one step forward we did actually get (untouched video footage). The original syndication broadcast was what it was; the follow-up actually had a chance and the precedent to do more, and simply chose not to.

So with regard to your point/question about one getting "a pass", that's simply untrue. Context matters.
An uncut experience for season 3? As in, produced like those 3 movies with accurate dialogue and Kikuchi score? That would have been amazing, I've never heard this before.

As regards Faulconer vs Levy, my point isn't which music is better. It's that both are replacement scores that play too much and don't stay true to the original show, yet people seem to hold Levy and Ocean in general up on a pedestal at times.

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Re: The Shuki Levy score

Post by VegettoEX » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:28 pm

Forte224 wrote:An uncut experience for season 3? As in, produced like those 3 movies with accurate dialogue and Kikuchi score? That would have been amazing, I've never heard this before.
Summer 1997, Gen Fukunaga himself:
That's why here at Funimation we are trying to produce a US version of DBZ completely unedited with the original music, only in English.

...

Yes our goal is to put this directly on home video.
We didn't get this until 2005 with the orange bricks, long after the damage was done.
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