Hot on the heels of the release of 21 feature films on Netflix, Studio Ghibli has set to work making its soundtracks more widely available, releasing 38 albums across multiple streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. The Japanese version of Amazon Music Unlimited features the complete soundtracks of 23 Ghibli films, consisting of 693 tracks in total, while other platforms such as Spotify offer shorter playlists of essentials from films including ‘Princess Mononoke’, ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ and ‘Howl's Moving Castle’.
Ghibli's latest release is sure to provide hours of enjoyment for those in Japan, but overseas fans are in for a treat, too – the man who composed some of the most celebrated songs in Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpieces has released his own album, including heart-tugging Ghibli favourites, on Spotify and Apple Music worldwide. So try searching for Joe Hisaishi on your music subscription platforms to reveal even more songs from the beloved animations that might not appear if you simply input the studio's name itself.
Hisaishi first worked with Miyazaki for ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’ which was released in 1984. The two became good friends and Hisaishi continued to work with Miyazaki throughout his career for iconic films from ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ (1989) to ‘Princess Mononoke’ (1997). His music has frequently been described as minimalist and is influenced by composers like Philip Glass. Apart from his work with Studio Ghibli, Hisaishi has composed numerous soundtracks for other award-winning films such as Yojiro Takita’s ‘Departures’ (2008) and is revered as one of Japan’s most important contemporary film composers.
Hisaishi’s most recent album, ‘Dream Songs: The Essential Joe Hisaishi’, was released in February 2020 and is available on both Spotify and Apple Music worldwide. The album showcases some of his best works in contemporary classical music with accompaniments by the New Japan Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra and Pan Strings. Whether you’re listening to the wistful symphony of ‘One Summer’s Day’ from ‘Spirited Away’, or the jubilant theme of ‘My Neighbour Totoro’, these tracks evoke vivid memories of Miyazaki’s powerful stories, plus they make the perfect soundtrack for your morning run.
There's more to look forward to from Ghibli in the near future including the world's first Ghibli Park as well as two new feature films, but here's a list of the studio's top ten movies to check out in the meantime.