Kurayami Monogatari

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Maon Kurosaki – REINCARNATION July 28, 2014

Filed under: Maon Kurosaki — solarblade @ 12:14 pm

reincarnationmaon

Track Listing

  1. X-encounter
  2. -Autonomy-
  3. ALGO ~Who Knows It?~
  4. …Because, in SHADOW
  5. fixxx and lie
  6. K・O・N ♡
  7. Dysomnia
  8. Trying! Trying!
  9. Himawari to Natsu
  10. REINCARNATION

1. X-encounter

So the album kicks off with the lone A-side to represent this album, X-encounter.  I really loved that this song really stepped up Maon’s game by introducing us to this anilectro sound to her music (courtesy from I’ve Sound).  This song is pretty similar to those from the label and it works since Maon’s vocals are really cool and adds a nice touch overall.  It does clock in a a hefty 6 minutes, but it was well worth it!  Great way to kick the album off!

2. -Autonomy-

So since the rest of the album are brand new tracks, I was more than curious to listen to them.  -Autonomy- is a little more heavier than “X-encounter” for sure and has a little more speed behind it, but I think her vocal prowess was more stronger in the former track.  It’s a pretty solid track though and there’s no complaints from me!

3. ALGO ~Who Knows It?~

Oh Maon with your spoken dialogue in the intro, I don’t even know what you said…  ALGO is a much darker song but takes the elements that were in “-Autonomy-” and made it a bit more complicated of a song.  I have to say the uncomfortable verses were cool, but the chorus kind of killed it for me.it definitely didn’t feel like it connected well with how messy the song is otherwise with its arrangement.  I’m not exactly sure how to feel about this track in particular right now.

4. …Because, in SHADOW

Then comes our next track and I’m immediately reminded of songs of I’ve’s past (mostly from MELL and KOTOKO).  What I mean it’s got that signature electro sound that made songs like “no vain” and “SCREW” so highly respected.  I’m LOVING this song for the arrangement primarily, but Maon really makes it her own too which adds to the experience.  It’s dark and mysterious and has a great drive to it.  Definitely the album’s strongest song IMO.

5. fixxx and lie

Then we get into the next track and it opens strong with a rockin’ style before the verses become an interesting synth style and then the chorus I think fuses the two ideas.  It’s a pretty wild song for Maon and she definitely managed to keep up and give a stellar performance here.  It’s a pretty great song on the album and works coming after the previous track.

6. K・O・N♡

Then comes this track which throws a HUGE wrench to the album’s flow.  It sounds so uncharacteristic to Maon as this sounds like some Disney song with the cutesy atmosphere with plucked strings and twinkly synths.  Even Maon is singing in a much higher pitch to imitate a cute voice which while fits…definitely scares me LOL.  I’m not sure what it’s doing on an album like this but it’s definitely the oddball of the album.

7. Dysnomia

After taking that wrong turn, we get back into Maon’s serious stuff with Dysomnia and I love the dramatic introduction with the orchestral instruments and then leads into another I’ve Sound specialty.  It’s a pretty standard song, but it’s just a really cool song to listen to and Maon gives the tune life which always impresses me.  Definitely another song I easily found myself loving!

8. Trying! Trying!

I’m starting to feel like Maon could really fit within I’ve’s ranks as the songs she’s been getting for the most part are quite impressive.  In the case of Trying! Trying! it’s like she’s pulling more of a Mami Kawada vibe with the rock mixed in with the anison/dance beats.  It’s vocally impressive and the acoustic guitar fronted arrangement is pretty interesting.  Definitely the most straightforward of the songs.

9. Himawari to Natsu

I guess this is supposed to be the ballad of the album as it is the slowest and it includes strings and piano (mixed with some ethereal synths).  It’s kind of a simple and plain song which I guess is a nice reprieval from all the exciting songs and all, but by itself, it’s kind of lacking for me.  It might just be the tempo that’s killing me, but I’m not too fond of this one.

10. REINCARNATION

The album ends off with the title track and I didn’t know what to expect out of it, knowing I’ve Sound.  Being the album’s 2nd longest track, I was hoping for something epic.  Luckily, REINCARNATION is pretty much trying for it.  It starts off with a bright feel that included acoustic guitar and a quiet dance beat as it steadily grows into a dance track!  Though it keeps with the bright pace.  It’s a nice track but there was way better songs that are found on this album.

Tracks Recommended

  • …Because, in SHADOW
  • Dysomnia
  • X-encounter
  • fixxx and lie

Song of Avoidance

  • K・O・N♡

Being as this is credited as Maon’s 3rd studio album (though I consider “H.O.T.D.” as her first, REINCARNATION isn’t bad, but doesn’t come at the same level as “VERTICAL HORIZON” did for me.  Though the difference being is that I’ve Sound (and their producers) produced the entire album so I guess it’s not fair really.  A lot of the songs on the album were great to hear and there were a couple slips…especially the SoA (really who was the dumb one to have conjured that icky song?).  Otherwise, this was a solid release (I don’t think I’ve been disappointed in Maon yet!)

 

Aimer – After Dark July 25, 2014

Filed under: Aimer — solarblade @ 3:27 am

afterdark

Track Listing

  1. After Dark -prologue-
  2. Polaris
  3. words
  4. AM02:00 (haruka nakamura La Nuit remix)
  5. After Dark
  6. Amazing Grace -Live in church ver.-
  7. Anata ni Deawa Nakareba ~Kasetsu Toka~ -Live in church ver.-
  8. Kyo Kara Omoide -Live in church ver.-
  9. Hoshikuzu Venus -Live in church ver.-
  10. Sabishikute Nemurenai Yoru wa -Live in church ver.-
  11. RE: I AM -Live in church ver.-
  12. Rokutousei no Yoru -Live at anywhere ver.-

1. After Dark -prologue-

So this mini-album begins with an introduction which has a pretty piano introduction and a spoken monologue from Aimer.  It’s quite light and pretty to listen to.  Albeit rather short still.

2. Polaris

The introduction slides quite smoothly into our first main track, Polaris.  I first noticed that this was actually 6 minutes long which quite worried me.  Aimer’s vocals are quite soft and pretty to hear against the arrangement especially when she builds herself up for the chorus.  Yeah, it’s a bit long, but it’s a soothing track to really get the mini moving.

3. words

The next track is quite as hard to listen to because it’s also 6 minutes long which at this point might not have been a good idea to place them back to back.  This one doesn’t have the same energetic feel to it, but it’s calm and the small things are really pretty to hear.  Sometimes she kind of slurs lyrics which kind of bothered me but it’s a nice track I suppose.

4. AM02:00 (haruka nakamura La Nuit remix)

So we get a remix of a song that was originally from her debut album, “Sleepless Nights”.  Makes sense this song continues to be light and minimal in arrangement.  Actually this song slowly grows in sound, but still retains that lightness.  Strings and acoustic guitar/bass adds more life to it and Aimer’s vocals does sound echoed and filtered in some areas.  It’s a nice pleasant song overall but I still prefer the original.

5. After Rain

Then comes the title track (and probably what was to be the final track) and it’s oddly enough the most alive song on the mini.  I’m meaning that After Rain has an upbeat mid-tempo feel and there’s some nice ideas.  Aimer’s vocals are also pushing some new boundaries by being more alive (sometimes it’s reminding me of YUI).  It’s definitely the best of the mini-album which doesn’t say too much because Aimer rarely goes out and does these type of songs.

6. Amazing Grace -Live in church ver.-

So the remainder of the mini-album consists of live versions of past songs of hers minus two exceptions.  This is a new cover of that GODDAMN song that I just despise with any artist covering it.  Aimer’s version is just the main verse that’s oh-so well known.  It’s stretched to a little over 2 minutes…yeah…she stretched the hell out of it.  Not even that good either…

7. Anata ni Deawa Nakereba ~Kasetsu Toka~ -Live in church ver.-
8. Kyo Kara Omoide -Live in church ver.-
9. Hoshikuzu Venus -Live in church ver.-
10. Sabishikute Nemurenai Yoru wa -Live in church ver.-
11. RE:I AM -Live in church ver.-

There really is no reason for me to even talk about these 5 songs seperately so I decided to group them up together.  So I guess talking about this, Aimer held a closed performance (at a church maybe?) and she performed “Amazing Grace” and these 5 other songs which most are leading songs.  Now why I’m pairing these 5 together is simply because their ALL PIANO ONLY songs that were performed live.  I’m not interested in just only piano but she does have a lot of talent to back it up.  She sounds ultimately stable throughout so I could form an opinion of the songs singularly.

12. Rokutousei no Yoru -Live at anywhere ver.-

From what I read this is actually an early performance from Aimer, which makes sense as it was her debut A-side.  Otherwise it sounds just like if she had performed this in the closed performance.  It’s really nothing special.

 

 

As this is a mini-album there is no favs/dislikes.  The main course for After Dark (which is the first 5 songs) is pretty decent.  Polaris and words are a bit too long for me but they’re pretty good tracks.  The title track though was the best thing and I wish she had more of these kind of songs and not so many ballads.  The remix is nice too.  To kind of apologize to her fans, they did decide to include all those live performances which to me killed me and I zoned out because piano-only ballads just don’t work with me and I was easily bored.  Plus Amazing Grace….can we bury that song?

 

exist†trace – Diamond

Filed under: exist†trace — solarblade @ 2:19 am

diamond

Track Listing

  1. Diamond
  2. Kuchibiru
  3. JUST ONE
  4. Diamond (Karaoke: Jyou Vocal Only) (Limited only)
  5. Diamond (Karaoke: miko Vocal Only) (Limited only)
  6. Kuchibiru (Karaoke: Jyou Vocal Only) (Limited only)
  7. Kuchibiru (Karaoke: miko Vocal Only) (Limited only)
  8. JUST ONE (Karaoke: Jyou Vocal Only) (Limited only)
  9. JUST ONE (Karaoke: miko Vocal Only) (Limited only)
  10. Diamond (Instrumental)
  11. Kuchibiru (Instrumental)
  12. JUST ONE (Instrumental)

1. Diamond

It’s been a while since I’ve heard from this lovely band and I returned to Diamond and this song was a lot of what I missed from them.  I’ve noticed the band has slowly started to have two vocalists with miko joining in with solo lines as much as Jyou does.  I’m surprised to hear synths backing the band up but it’s still a cool song (lighter than any of the leading songs on “virgin”).  Not bad though.

2. Kuchibiru

The first B-side to pop up is the edgier and gritter song Kuchibiru.  I’m loving how loose and free it sounds and Jyou also has a certain looseness in her vocals that really sound good though there wasn’t a lot of miko (though she has a miko-only version).  Now this song definitely reminds me of stuff from their debut in Tokuma.  It’s just a very cool song from them and is better than “Diamond” unsurprisingly.

3. JUST ONE

The final track, brings us back to something more straightforward with JUST ONE, it is the loudest hitting of the three which is great and Jyou and miko sounds surprisingly together and good in tandem.  I can’t see why this couldn’t be the leading track.  It’s pretty damn good and both vocalists sound amazing!

 

 

exist†trace kicks off this new era with a pretty decent single in Diamond.  I can tell their sound has slightly transitioned into a more mainstream kind of rock which might worry fans, but this wasn’t the case…well ok, Diamond is kind of a meh song but Kuchibiru and JUST ONE are both worthy songs in their discography.  I am curious to how the rest of the era plays out.

 

KOTOKO – TOUGH INTENTION

Filed under: Uncategorized — solarblade @ 1:52 am

toughintention

Track Listing

  1. TOUGH INTENTION
  2. ARCH
  3. TOUGH INTENTION (instrumental)
  4. ARCH (instrumental)

1. TOUGH INTENTION

Ahhh, KOTOKO is back!  The leading song, TOUGH INTENTION is quite heavy and has a strong rock atmosphere with a slight anison touch.  Think “Light My Fire” but slightly lighter in the arrangement.  KOTOKO’s voice sounds a little more straightforward and stable unlike some of her other tracks where she overdoes it.  I didn’t expect that the mid8 would include her male background singers to start chanting it up but it’s a nice addition.  Overall it’s plain, but a passable track from KOTOKO.

2. ARCH

As for the B-side, ARCH starts muffled and under filters to kind of sound mysterious but goes away when the actual verses kick in.  My first thought is this song is slightly more anison and less powerful than “TOUGH INTENTION”.  I mean this could’ve been a “SHORT CIRCUIT” song if she had hiked her vocals higher.  Eh not all that memorable.

 

 

KOTOKO begins a new era off with a rather unmemorable single with TOUGH INTENTION.  They both seemed to lack a sense of energy musically and while KOTOKO’s vocals were quite nice, it really didn’t do much for either the A-side or ARCH.  I was kind of expecting more out, but maybe she’ll get better as this era moves on.

 

Maika – loser/Tsubuyaku… July 23, 2014

Filed under: Maika — solarblade @ 3:34 am

loser

Track Listing

  1. loser
  2. Tsubuyaku…

1. loser

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve heard Maika last.  She comes back with loser the first A-side and it seems her sound hasn’t changed if anything grew because her songs sound more full (with bass and drums).  It also seemed that this time off have let Maika’s vocals grow even more as she sounds strong and powerful.  This song is quite impressive and loving Maika’s emotions running through track.  Impressive!

2. Tsubuyaku…

So the other A-side, Tsubuyaku… is a bit more interesting for Maika as it’s more chill and has a lot more from the piano and brass, so it adds a bit of fun to the track.  I enjoyed everything about this song and it’s lighthearted and just a nice opposite to “loser”!

 

 

It’s been like 2 years since we’ve seen Maika release anything so it’s fortunate that she’s still kicking and releasing.  This single really has potential for her and she’s making great strides, even though the whole singer/guitarista style is kind of dead now.  I think this is a *RECOMMENDED* single as both A-sides just show a lot of what she’s about but better than before!  Give her a try!

 

Maon Kurosaki – Glorious world

Filed under: Maon Kurosaki — solarblade @ 3:17 am

gloriousworld

Track Listing

  1. Glorious world
  2. STEP
  3. a・chi a・chi Adventure

1. Glorious world

Maon released a digital single that’s needed to be reviewed.  Though to me the song sounds a lot like “Memories Last” with its anison/rock sound which is something I normally should be OK with but this doesn’t sound remotely interesting besides Maon’s vocals which is of course at the same calibur as before.  It’s kind of like how I felt with “reimei”…it’s just there.

2. STEP

The B-sides though are cover songs.  Both from a・chi a・chi (an anison band of the late 80’s).  The songs originally had a pretty heavy 80’s sound in Japan so Maon’s version pulls them up to more modern arrangements.  The tune is pretty light and Maon’s vocals make the sound so peppy and lighthearted and I kind of liked it.  One of the nicer songs off the single.

3. a・chi a・chi Adventure

The other cover track, this one is a little more random and strange coming from the previous two tracks.  It’s very synth-heavy and includes some acoustic guitar to kind of spice the track up!  The original is pretty quirky but Maon’s cover is adding a lot interesting sounds alongside making it even random and fun.

 

 

Maon Kurosaki slid a single in before “REINCARNATION” even though this isn’t going to be on said album and it’s a digital release as well.  Glorious world is a bit of a miss.  The leading song is kind of generic and forgetful to me, but the point to focus is on the a・chi a・chi covers as both were done pretty well!  Definitely nice to see Maon cover songs that aren’t part of the regular shpeel of anison songs too.  Overall, OK single.

 

Kalafina – heavenly blue

Filed under: Kalafina — solarblade @ 2:41 am

heavenlyblue

Track Listing

  1. heavenly blue
  2. heavenly blue ~Instrumental~
  3. heavenly blue ~TV size~

1. heavenly blue

heavenly blue really kicks things immediately with a “sprinter”-esque tone with some guitars and dramatic strings.  It actually reminds me of something that would’ve came from FictionJunction which is unsurprising since it is Kajiura and all.  It’s got some good vocals, primarily from WAKANA and HIKARU, and of course KEIKO acts as the deeper voice throughout the song.  It’s a pretty good Kalafina song, but there’s songs that are still way better and stronger.

 

 

It seems so weird that Kalafina would release a recut single in heavenly blue.  As the lone new song from “THE BEST “Blue””, this wasn’t a song I was expecting getting its own single release.  Though the disappointment is more in the fact that there’s no real reason to get this.  No B-sides, just an instrumental and a shortened version.  Hate to say it, but this was a lazy release and more for SONY to be cash cows.

 

 
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