Kurayami Monogatari

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IMALU – Uh Uh April 30, 2010

Filed under: IMALU — solarblade @ 2:06 am

Track Listing

  1. Uh Uh
  2. Soak

1. Uh Uh

Ahhh Uh Uh…Even though the title is a little meh, I actually like this song the most of the A-sides she’s released in the era.  It’s different from stuff I’ve heard before and since it’s like pop/rock with synths to make it so enjoyable.  IMALU’s vocals are also quite nice since it doesn’t sound like her nasally style in her last single.  I also love the English lines splattered throughout as well because it’s gives the song a bigger punch.  Definitely loving this song.

2. Soak

I was however surprised at the B-side because of its darker sounding route that almost reminds me of New Wave almost.  It has the 80’s feel to it and IMALU’s lower vocals also surprised me.  As we get into the chorus it kind of reminds me of Tetsuya Komuro’s music.  I really ended up liking the B-side a whole lot more for some reason, hahaha!

 

 

IMALU’s 3rd effort is actually the best single she’s released.  Both songs showed a great deal of effort both on her part and her producers part as well.  Uh Uh is pop fun and Soak is 80’s new wave, it’s your decision, but I do love the single right now!

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Minami Kizuki – Warabegami ~Watashi no Takaramono~ April 29, 2010

Filed under: Minami Kizuki — solarblade @ 6:12 am

Track Listing

  1. Warabegami ~Watashi no Takaramono~
  2. Hoshi no Saku Michi

1. Warabegami ~Watashi no Takaramono~

Warabegami to just sounds so weird to me.  I do like the ballady folk/rock/pop w/e you wanna call it this time around.  However, at the cost of the good arrangement the song, Minami really loves her shima-uta and it just sounds like a whole lot of ad-libbing when I know she’s saying something.  Like a fellow reader said, it reminds them of Hajime Chitose and kind of agree, but Minami should focus on getting her singing a little more stable then singing like she’s drowning or something.  I guess I can’t bitch because this style is more traditional and such, but c’mon it’s like Japan’s version of screamo…you either like it or horribly despise it.

2. Hoshi no Saku Michi

As for the B-side, I was actually a bit more impressed with this song.  It reminds me of an ending for some drama/anime.  I like that distant piano playing in the background before the song finallu opens to more piano, guitars, and drums.  It’s actually quite relaxing for a B-side and for the most part she doesn’t execute that style she’s known for in this song as much and the times she does it’s done nicely and not like “Warabegami’s” fest of it.

 

 

As Minami’s 2nd single of the era, Warabegami is definitely not better than “Luna Regalo”.  I do like the arrangement of the song don’t get me wrong, but this girl really tried to hard with that shima-uta style of singing…almost.  In fact it could possibly be my least favorite song from her right now.  Hoshi no Saku Michi however was the saving grace for the single since it was like the better stuff she has released already.  Switch the songs around the single plz!

 

Akiko Shikata – Inori no Kanata April 28, 2010

Filed under: Akiko Shikata — solarblade @ 4:16 am

Track Listing

  1. TETHE’ALLA ~Tsui no Kodomotachi~
  2. Inori no Kanata
  3. Akakakushi
  4. Inori no Kanata -instrumental-

1. TETHE’ALLA ~Tsui no Kodomotachi~

Opening this single up, Tsui no Kodomotachi is quite the strange song, especially since I’m not used to Akiko’s vocals yet.  It does sound like Kalafina tripled its members and are singing together.  While the language to my ears are very foreign right now and hard to tell because the harmonizations are kind of meshing too crazily.  Not sure what language it’s actually in…I wanna say Japanese but it’s difficult to tell with Akiko’s singing…still good opening!

2. Inori no Kanata

As the primary A-side of the single, Inori no Kanata opens up in a diff language for sure before opening into its grandiose setting.  Akiko’s vocals by herself are pretty high and almost into whistle land here.  At least through these parts she’s singing in JPN which is good to hear.  The song is very pretty and is a mix between folk and fairytale and I like that about this song.  Just like her previous single, Inori no Kanata has different passages within, but still makes it fluid enough to star together.  Good A-side.

3. Akakakushi

Compared to the other two songs on the single, Akakakushi has a more evil and dark tone to it.  I mean Akiko’s thin and sweet vocals at the start didn’t exactly really make it stand out that way, but once the driving beat pops in, you get what I mean pretty quickly.  While I’m pretty sure this is purposefully done, Akiko kind of swerves her notes a little too much into song and it kind of becomes the distraction in the song.  Not better than “VII” but it’s alright for now.

 

 

Akiko’s 2nd single Inori no Kanata might not have the lasting power that “Katayoku no Tori” did, but it’s a solid release overall.  I liked the A-side and Tsui no Kodomotachi, but Akakakushi was a little too weird for me.  Maybe the 3rd single will fix things up.

 

T.M.Revolution – Albireo

Filed under: T.M.Revolution — solarblade @ 3:52 am

Track Listing

  1. Albireo
  2. Goin’

1. Albireo

You know after “INVOKE”. I was wondering where Takanori and Daisuke were going next and I was blown away with Albireo.  I mean besides the lack of a good tie-in, this song has the same synth and guitar mix that made their last single spark so high.  I just wish he didn’t gay himself so hardcore for the video’s main PV…what a travesty that was.  Still it’s another one of those amazing T.M.R songs that’ll always be on my iPod.

2. Goin’

I like how that the group make similar songs now to feed the fandom going on.  Goin’ reminds me of “Madan” a little bit, but I don’t think it’s exactly that bad of a song.  They aren’t really known for really amazing B-sides so it isn’t a surprise that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did with “Albireo”

 

 

As the lone single for the “SEVENTH HEAVEN” era, Albireo is definitely a great song in its own right and is just as strong as their last A-side, “INVOKE”.  Goin’ though is the typical meh B-side and luckily doesn’t make the albums cut.

 

Shoko Nakagawa – RAY OF LIGHT

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 3:36 am

Track Listing

  1. RAY OF LIGHT
  2. diamond high
  3. calling location -Live version-
  4. RAY OF LIGHT -Instrumental-
  5. RAY OF LIGHT -TV Edit- (FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST edition bonus track)

1. RAY OF LIGHT

RAY OF LIGHT is finally something that brings the great Shoko out.  While I admit that she’s a little out of her comfort zone for RAY OF LIGHT, I thought it turned out pretty well and Shoko sounds pretty darn strong especailly since “Arigatou no Egao” was a little boring for me.  I like the mid-tempo string arrangement and that boosted my likeness for the song.  Good A-side, but where’s something upbeat?

2. diamond high

I’m surprised she didn’t make diamond high the A-side of the single.  I love the energetic flow when compared to “RAY OF LIGHT” and to be honest it sounds more anime-ish as well.  While it isn’t as strong as “Tsuzuku Sekai” or “Sorairo Days”, this is definitely that song of the era…I hope this makes the third album to be all honest. 

3. calling location -Live version-

Remember calling location from Shoko’s debut album, “Big☆Bang!!!”?  Yeah, one of the best songs on the album gets a live version, which is also a first for Shoko as well.  I notice as the song plays is that Shoko’s vocals are immensely deeper than both tracks.  I like calling location and hearing it live like this makes it more better.  I don’t know where this was recorded, but it sounded really good.

 

 

RAY OF LIGHT is definitely the era’s best single, but it’s definitely not topping previous big singles she’s done.  I do like the different style she took for RAY OF LIGHT, but diamond high was clearly the better of the two…why it wasn’t an A-side, i have no clue.  calling location sung live was a new experience and it was sung well live hmmm…Is this era over yet?

 

UVERworld – Timeless

Filed under: UVERworld — solarblade @ 2:11 am

Track Listing

  1. CHANCE!
  2. Toki no Namida
  3. Rush
  4. D-tecnoLife
  5. Yasashisa no Shizuku
  6. ai ta Kokoro (Album Version)
  7. Burst
  8. Nitro
  9. just Melody (Album Version)
  10. Lump Of Affection
  11. Tobira
  12. SE
  13. D-tecnoLife (Album Version)

1. CHANCE!

Beginning the album off with the era’s middle single, CHANCE! was definitely the era’s best A-side and it’s just because it’s so relaxed for the band and didn’t really call for TAKUYA to overload on his vocals.  I like the upbeat J-rock from the band and it’s exciting in its own way and pretty epic.  I love CHANCE!

2. Toki no Namida

Getting into our first new track, Toki no Namida really pushes the energy levels high and while it does remind me of a more refined version of “D-tecnoLife”, Toki no Namida is a pretty awesome song from UVERworld and everything feels right and strong, no problems from me.

3. Rush

Turning the mood into a darker setting, Rush is heavier than the previous two songs featuring some rather loud yelping from TAKUYA.  I was so unsure what to think because while I love the dark stuff UVERworld releases, whenever they get more edgy it seems things get messy and vocally hard to handle as well.  Especially with the swervy wail we got in the chorus.  Not too bad, but it can get annoying after awhile.

4. D-tecnoLife

What began UVERworld’s career and beginning off with a song that was tied-in with Bleach, D-tecnoLife was a pretty good opening for the series that’s for sure, but the problem here is that the song got pwned by both “CHANCE!” and “just Melody”.  I’m not sure why I don’t enjoy the song as much as I used to when I first heard it through the anime.  It just feels empty and sadly just feels so iono…”Ichirin no Hana” fixed things up XD

5. Yasashisa no Shizuku

After getting through some of the louder stuff from the band, Yasashisa no Shizuku calms things down a little bit…well at least it did at the beginning.  I’ll admit that I love how it sounds and the more need of bass in the song.  I finally take notice at TAKUYA’s Engrish in the song and it’s sometimes hard to understand what he’s saying, but it’s still a good relaxing song from the band.

6. ai ta Kokoro (Album Version)

The only B-side found on the album, AI TA Kokoro from the “D-tecnoLife” single got changed and the caps was toned as well XD.  Actually shorter than its single counterpart, ai ta Kokoro’s changes don’t really pop into my mind, cept maybe a shortened ending and perhaps a little more involvement in the music.  I still enjoy it’s light side and is one of the more memorable songs from the singles. 

7. Burst

The shortest song off the album, Burst is definitely like what the title suggests.  It’s a powerful burst of energy after the last two songs and they fixed the problems that made “Rush” hard to listen through.  TAKUYA’s energy is just through the roof.  It’s these songs that really take me by surprise and I’m happy there’s at least a few of these here. 

8. Nitro

After such a fill with “Burst”, I was thinking Nitro was going to be just as hard hitting and I was right actually.  The opening doesn’t really sound like it would lead in, but it does and I like the aggressive arrangement.  TAKUYA’s vocals are more strict and deeper which is a nice change to the vocal work, but it sounds rather iono sloppy and his English also kind of fails a bit again as well.  The chorus is weird with that ~so sorry~ line hahaha.  Interesting song haha.

9. just Melody (Album Version)

Adding 34 seconds to the final single released in the era, just Melody’s additions only really are the extended guitar/synth opening which was a pleasant idea since it was one of the best parts of the song.  While it’s not the best of the era, just Melody reminds me of a more lightheated “GO-ON” since there’s parts that reminds me of it.  Not a bad song at all.

10. Lump Of Affection

I kind of like the more experimental side of this album, but I’m not really liking the song much.  I’m not sure why, but there’s just something about this song that rubs me the wrong way.  It’s a slower song, but I’m not finding anything that makes it stand out.

11. Tobira

Which we get into Tobira which is like a clone of “Lump Of Affection” but with edgier guitar parts and a whole lot more interest from TAKUYA.  That being said, it’s a little better than the last track, but there’s not much going for it still besdies the plus’s of the song.  So much for that I guess.

12. SE

After two meh songs, I think we make it into the home stretch with something good.  SE is totally different from anything on the album.  Especially with that weird solo opening turning into a pseudo electro track.  Then again, as this is the lone interlude of the album I was surprised UVERworld would actually supply an interlude that’s all trance and such…so random but it does make a nice transition into our final track.

13. D-tecnoLife (Album Version)

So we have two versions of D-tecnoLife on Timeless huh?  Whatever…the chances to their debut A-side was surprisingly major when compared to the changes on the other tracks.  They fixed the emptiness that plagued the original, but it still feels under both of the other singles.  It is the better version, but it’s definitely not a strong song still.

Tracks Recommended

  • CHANCE!
  • Burst
  • ai ta Kokoro (Album Version)
  • Toki no Namida
  • Nitro

Song of Avoidance

  • Lump Of Affection

UVERworld’s debut album was actually kind of nice.  I mean strong new songs mixed in with the pretty good singles representing it.  It did however start to wane near the end where things got too boring and outrageous…I mean does SE even make sense here?  Still, a pretty good start for the band!

 

KOTOKO – hane April 27, 2010

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 8:33 am

Track Listing

  1. Introduction
  2. Asura
  3. Fuyu no Shizuku
  4. Hayategumo
  5. Gratittude ~Ookina Kuri no Ki no Shita de~
  6. Gen’ei
  7. Itai yo
  8. Hitorigoto
  9. Koe ga Todoku Nara
  10. Lament
  11. Ashiato
  12. Hane
  13. Kanariya -SORMA No. 3 Re-mix-

1. Introduction

Opening the album up, Introduction is a simple intro that features well some pretty interesting played synths or something and behind is this rather serene forest feel before fading into a strings melody.  Sad though that it’s supposed to link immediatly into “Asura” but somehow that got lost in translation XD

2. Asura

Right from the start, you can really tell this is totally different from indies KOTOKO because Asura features a mix of rock and electro which is pretty signature in I’ve Sound.  I also noticed KOTOKO’s vocals are a whole lot stronger than it was in her debut.  While it’s kind of like what she’s like today, and oddly reminds me of MELL’s “Red fraction”, but it’s a good start for the album.

3. Fuyu no Shizuku

When I saw the tracklist times, I was shocked there were 4 songs that were near 7 minutes or above it.  The first of the four, Fuyu no Shizuku is the first ballad off the album and while I love the ethereal wintry feel, KOTOKO’s vocals aren’t exactly strong in these songs, but I do love her perserverence.  Sometimes the layering gets odd and the music sometimes cover her up but it’s a nice song but did it need to be that long?

4. Hayategumo

The 2nd long song, Hayategumo was actually released with “Hitorigoto” as a mini-album preceding this and I really don’t know why it’s classified as such but w/e.  I thought the opening took way to long to get to KOTOKO but I thought it was going to be more different but it just seems to be as much of as a ballad as “Fuyu no Shizuku”.  KOTOKO’s vocals are a bit better but the music was its downfall because it was just not that moving and it dragged most of the time.

5. Gratitude ~Ookina Kuri no Ki no Shita de~

Raising the tempo up just a little, Gratitude is still pretty slow of a song but at least it’s got enough oomph behind it make it more stronger and having KOTOKO sing a bit more louder also helped.  It’s at least a stronger song than the previous two long tracks.  Maybe a little more energy would’ve helped.

6. Gen’ei

Darker than the previous songs, Gen’ei has a pretty spooky opening with synths and acoustic guitar.  Already it stands on the album because of it’s quiet and unsettling vibe I get here.  KOTOKO also sounds rather strong and not trying to sound like the normal nasally self she usually does.  Very abstract song and I love how the song builds up even though the chorus would’ve been nice if it was like exploding with sound.  It’s one of those songs that just builds and I like that quite a bit.

7. Itai yo

If there was anything that reminds me of her debut, Itai yo definitely makes me think of it.  It’s rather laidback of a song and I hate that stupid two note chord progression…KOTOKO’s vocals are also kind of icky here as well.  This isn’t the kind of song to be pulling this out.  Just not that good of a song.

8. Hitorigoto

Finally getting back into somewhat of an energetic arrangement, Hitorigoto was previously reviewed when it appeared as a bonus track on “Epsilon no Fune” and going back to it now, my thoughts haven’t exactly changed.  I mean it’s good on this album since it more energetic than the last few tracks, but the new Hitorigoto still definitely owns the original which makes sense right?

9. Koe ga Todoku Nara

Another ballad?  I guess we can’t have another upbeat tune from KOTOKO.  However, the orchestral arrangement is very pretty and so far seems to be the most organic ballad on the album which is a very good thing.  Her voice in this song is easier to take, but she still doesn’t sound like she did back in “Gen’ei”.  I guess it’s passable for right now.

10. Lament

While Lament has been on the special I’ve Sound release, “LAMENT” KOTOKO’s song was really strong that it made the list for hane.  Between this and “Asura”, I actually like this song because it mixed the overall mood of the album being slow and somber with this song that’s just like that and edgy at the same time.  It does kind of seemed so odd that said tracks are the crazy ones and the albums strongest tracks.  I actually liked Lament a lot.

11. Ashiato

I don’t know why but there’s just one too many ballads on this albums and it’s hard to listen since most are pretty long ones as well.  Ashiato really didn’t make me wanna pay attention, but I’ll admit that her vocals sound really good compared to the other ballads, but the arrangement is somewhere in the middle of being nice and too plain.  I could turn out to actually enjoy it possibly.

12. Hane

Rounding the album’s end, the title track is not surprisingly the longest, being almost at 8 minutes and all.  I didn’t know what to expect from the title and from the start it felt like a mix of a ballad and synth splotches to make it stand out more.  As time starting going by, it turns out to be a more rockish ballad which is a plus, but the tempo is just rather slow for me.  I like KOTOKO, and she sounds nice, but this song is just boring with not much going for it really.  Like there’s no interest or pulse…

13. Kanariya -SORMA No. 3 Re-mix-

Ugh, I’m trying to forget “Sora wo Tobetara…” and you throw a remix of a song from that album at the end?  At least they chose a good song to remix, but it feels like it lost what made the original so good.  I love the creepy vibe of the remix and KOTOKO’s eerie whispering for the verses did stand out a bit more, but once she came out…it just kind of was ehhhh.

Tracks Recommended

  • Lament
  • Asura
  • Gen’ei

Song of Avoidance

  • Itai yo

There’s not a lot that can be said for KOTOKO’s debut under I’ve Sound.  While I do think it’s better than “Sora wo Tobetara…”, it’s still not that strong of an album.  I think the problem was for hane was the fact that the album was a borefest with too many long ballads.  Even the songs that were recommended suffered from the meh arrangements….luckily things pick-up on “Glass no Kaze”.