A Real Rhapsody playlist blog of questionable quality

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Novel Soundtracks - Kafka On The Shore



When Drake put up his first Novel Soundtrack, I thought it was a revolutionary use of the Rhapsody playlist form, and vowed to give it a whirl if I ever finished another book. Well lo and behold many moons and a couple hundred diaper changes later I done read me Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami.

Quite some time ago I stumbled on my first Haruki Murakami novel, A Wild Sheep Chase, on a shelf in a guest room. I fell right in and didn't look back. His novels offered everything I needed in a good read: ordinary people walking out the back door into heady spiritual otherworlds, hallucinatory dream sex, and preparation of plenty of great, simple meals described in exquisite clinical detail. I'm sure there were some characters, plots, and mind-altering metaphors in there somewhere, too. Who knows.

His other novels were frequently variations on the theme of searching for a missing someone who may or may not be found on the physical plane. Sometimes the characters and situations involved made for great reading (Dance Dance Dance, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) and sometimes they fell a little flat (Norwegian Wood, South Of The Border, West Of The Sun).

Kafka On The Shore fell in the middle of this spectrum for me. It got off to a damn fine start and went down some interesting roads, but in the end just left me flat. Luckily for today's purposes, however, the novel incorporates music in some pretty remarkable ways. Some of the songs in this playlist, particularly Beethoven's Archduke Trio and My Favorite Things performed by John Coltrane were practically pivotal characters in their own right:

"Somewhere along the line Coltrane's soprano sax runs out of steam. Now it's McCoy Tyner's piano solo I hear, the left hand carving out a repetitious rhythm and the right layering on thick, forbidding chords. Like some mythic scene, the music portrays somebody's - a nameless, faceless somebody's - dim past, all the details laid out as clearly as entrails being dragged out of the darkness. Or at least that's how it sounds to me. The patient, repeating music ever so slowly breaks apart the real, rearranging the pieces. It has a hypnotic, menacing smelll, just like the forest."


Kafka On The Shore Novel Soundtrack

Schubert Piano Sonata in D Major
Crossroads - Cream
Heigh - Ho - Andre Rieu
Mi Chiamano Mimi - Puccini (Maria Callas)
As Time Goes By - Billie Holiday
4th Time Around - Bob Dylan
(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding
Corcovado - Getz/Gilberto
Sexy MF - Prince
Archduke Trio - Beethoven
My Favorite Things - John Coltrane

9 Comments:

Blogger The Covalent Bond said...

J Shifty,

I am a huge Murakami fan and read Kafka on the Shore earlier this year. I had planned to creat just the playlist you did today, except I just never got around to it. Excellent work! Many of Murakami's novel's have musical references and would be excellent for just such a post.

7/28/2005 12:49 PM

 
Blogger drake leLane said...

I guess I can cross this one off my list ;)

Great job! I'm truly glad to see this take on a life of it's own. It's not easy to churn a lot of these out at a time, at least quality ones.

7/29/2005 1:25 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is now an ancient concept for you but I found you by searching on Murakami, who is one of my most favorite authors....here is my playlist for "The Windup Bird Chronicle".

Sonice Wind--Calexico
Speechless--Cibo Matto
Opening--Philip Glass
The Gunner's Dream--Pink Floyd
Looking At The World from The Bottom of a Well--Mike Doughty
In Our Gun--Gomez
Waiting for My Real Life to Begin--Colin Hay
Starting Over--Crystal Method
Hallo Space Boy--David Bowie
Pepita--Calexico

Thanks for inspiring a new way to think about music and lit together.

Best,
~onna monopia

7/06/2006 3:10 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Superb that you've put this list up! Saved me going back through the book with a highlighter. All I'd add is that I remember Kafka commenting that he had only listened to a few albums since he had left home - one of these was Radiohead - Kid A. Not specific songs mentioned but that atmosphere of the album is in line with the book and something you think Murakami must have listened to while writing it :-)

3/02/2007 7:45 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kafka also mentions listening to "Little Red Corvette" by Prince during his workout routine... I was very pleased to find this list. Thank you.

8/06/2007 5:50 PM

 
Anonymous erik norfolk said...

just started working on a paper: The music in the works of Murakami. Came across this blog & will keep you posted when I'm finished. It's like you said:

'Some of the songs in this playlist, particularly Beethoven's Archduke Trio and My Favorite Things performed by John Coltrane were practically pivotal characters in their own right'

If anyone feels like telling me his or her vision regarding this subject please send me an email: eriknorfolk@aol.co.uk

9/10/2007 3:54 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is great! does any one else have a list of songs referred to in murakami books? feel free to email me robotseveryday at yahoo dot com

1/25/2009 11:26 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget Haydn's 1st cello concerto with Pierre Fournier, which also had a part in Kafka.

8/08/2010 11:18 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post but I think the link is broken!

7/22/2011 11:27 PM

 

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