The soundtrack to `You Only Live Twice' (1967) is certainly one of the best in the Bond franchise. Not only does it have the famous theme of `Mountains and Sunsets' with those repeated cascading strings, but also `Capsule in Space', where flute and then strings play an ethereal motif over a slow and heavy pulse. Horns and other brass then theme a portending crisis in crescendo as the capsule is swallowed in orbit by a greater spacecraft.
The track `Fight at Kobe Dock/Helga' opens with sounds that prefigure - in its use of bass guitar and short sharp cadences - the next soundtrack of `On Her Majesty's Secret Service'. Meanwhile, `A Drop in the Ocean' is a reworking of a theme that originally appeared in the movie `From Russia with Love' (I think) and would re-appear in the soundtrack to `Moonraker'. On this CD, in the track `Bond Averts World War Three', Barry reworks the theme and almost counterpoints it with elements of `Capsule in Space'.
`James Bond Astronaut?' demonstrates Barry's ability to ratchet-up the tension; its second half reprises `Capsule in Space' in a beautiful new arrangement. The pulse element of `Capsule in Space' also re-appears in `Countdown for Blofeld'.
Since much of the movie was filmed in Japan, traditional Japanese instruments appear in many of the tracks, merging well with Barry's orchestral arrangements, which use low brass sostenuti, a key Barry signature. But the traditional instruments take centre-stage for much of `The Wedding' and the opening of `The Death of Aki'.
On this CD there are thirty-seven minutes of extra music in addition to the original LP release. These include an eleven-minute sequence comprising juxtaposed extracts rather like a montage. Indeed, as you would expect, many of the extras reprise the main themes in one way or another. In addition, there are more minutes featuring traditional Japanese instruments as well as Norman's `James Bond Theme' and Barry's own `007 Theme'.