Kurayami Monogatari

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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”.