Kurayami Monogatari

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Angela Aki – BLUE August 9, 2012

Filed under: Angela Aki — solarblade @ 9:07 am

Track Listing

  1. Aiueo
  2. Kokuhaku
  3. Foolish Love
  4. Koi no Kakehiki
  5. Cry
  6. In My Blood
  7. You and I
  8. Monster
  9. Kokoro no Tenkyohou
  10. factory
  11. Yoake Mae no Inori
  12. BLUE
  13. One Family ~Uchuu no Nagisa~

1. Aiueo

A short introductory piece to open the album with, Aiueo sounds like it’d be weird but the simplicity of the track with Angela singing is quite pleasant to listen to actually.  Though I’m not sure what the word means in this context but it’s like ~Ai Ue wo~…maybe that makes sense.  Short but sweet.

2. Kokuhaku

Our first full track is unsurprisingly the only A-side she released for BLUE and I still think it’s a unique and refreshing song to move away from her typical piano ballads.  It’s a flowing track and Angela’s vocals simply suited the atmosphere which is nice for sure!  Such a great song from her!

3. Foolish Love

Since the rest of the album is new tracks, I was wondering if she was going to keep up the momentum with “Kokuhaku” but it seems like she stepped back into “ANSWER” with the first song Foolish Love which is basically her playing the piano, some synth, and percussion/guitar/bass.  I found this song to be a little too simple for me so I just ended up passing it up.

4. Koi no Kakehiki

The plucked strings that open the song kind of reminded me of “Call Me Maybe” DAMNIT!  Anyways, if you really liked “Mad Scientist” than this song will be to your liking because it has that same style going for it but this song is in Japanese.  It’s an OK song but I prefer the former song by a bigger margin to be honest.

5. Cry

As we move on to Cry, I was hoping for heartwrenching ballad but I don’t really get that with this song sadly.  I mean it is heartfelt and really simple since it’s Angela and piano so it’s more intimate but the song doesn’t really come off as sad to me.  It grows a bit more but I don’t know the guitar solo wasn’t necessary to me…this is not Pink Floyd…Add the chorus where she hits this note really oddly, I’m not used to that note reaching.

6. In My Blood

Going into a little experiment for In My Blood, Angela sings under a filter and the song is sung in English which is a pretty awesome way to get my attention.  In My Blood is kind of a poetic kind of song to me since it has that lowkey and cool vibe to it.  After the first verse it seems things get a bit more fun.  I will say when the song suddenly slows down, it took me a little to get used to it.  It’s got a some transitioning problems but this is probably the best new song I’ve encountered since “Kokuhaku”.

7. You and I

We had the dark “In My Blood” and now we get lively and cute with You and I which starts off with Angela and ukelele.  I noticed Angela’s tone is also kind of higher but a little bit.  It’s laidback and has a cute feel to it’s arrangement except when all of a sudden there’s a random placement of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” that throws the song off its heels.  Was it just for the song’s humor or what…Minus that random interjection, this song actually is relaxing and feelgood.  Not bad overall. 

8. Monster

I love that Angela went with jazz for our next song to be honest because Angela fits this style perfectly.  Singing in a lower resgister, she sounds sultry and full of soul on this one and I’m just loving every moment out of this song for sure!  One of my favorites from the album just because it’s so new for her and she struck gold on this one.  Though, ~monshtah?~

9. Kokoro no Tenkyohou

Back to some good ole, piano-fronted Angela songs, Kokoro no Tenkyohou in fact might not be such a good return because I don’t find anything remarkable about this song.  It just sounds like a good “LIFE” leftover and just landed here.  It’s not really an exciting song and just flies by over my head.

10. factory

I really like how the sonstarts up with pipes clanking and such giving this ominous feeling and then WHOOSH, it’s thrown out the window as the song goes peppy and upbeat which is a bit of a downer lol.  I will say that I like the energy from this song and Angela’s relaxed voice might have bore some people but this is good, still not as amazing as a couple of other songs but it’s alright. 

11. Yoake Mae no Inori

Another ballad, Yoake Mae no Inori isn’t really exciting for me but it does act as the “Tegami” of the album with it’s positive vibes and powerful moments.  Not really an original move, but it’s alright, nothing special here either.

12. BLUE

Then we get into the title track and I’m loving the steel drums and island-y vibes out of this one.  It kind of makes me think of “You and I” but without the Beethoven reference.  It’s got charm and I like that about the song a lot!  I think it’s one of the more impressive title tracks she’s had ^_^

13. One Family ~Uchuu no Nagisa~

Remember One Family from “WHITE”?  Well, it’s once again the final song on this album but it got some touch-ups from the original.  Most the changes is from the fact that the song is entirely revolved around the strings instead of the piano and drums.  Add in that Angela resung the song (I’m guessing to commemerate her becoming a mother) and it hits a bit better and makes for an appropriate end to the album ^_^

Tracks Recommended

  • Monster
  • In My Blood
  • BLUE
  • Kokuhaku
  • One Family ~Uchuu no Nagisa~

Song of Avoidance

  • Cry

After having her baby, she returned with BLUE and honestly it’s a lot better than “WHITE” but doesn’t have the longevity that “ANSWER” and “LIFE” actually had which is surprising because she took some risks on this album, though it was half/half on how well it worked.  I think some of the album was boring as hell, but there were some nice surprisies.  So overall I’d say it was a moderately good album.

 

ALI PROJECT – Gansakushi

Filed under: ALI PROJECT — solarblade @ 5:52 am

Track Listing

  1. Gansakushi
  2. ALICE Douzai Innocent
  3. Renka Yuuren
  4. Shingi Nisemono Yuurankai
  5. La vérité
  6. Yasei Souseiji
  7. Ikeru Oujo no Shouzou ga
  8. Manatsu no Yuushuu Fujin
  9. Tenkin to Choukoku
  10. RED WALTZ

1. Gansakushi

Starting off their album with the title track, Gansakushi is an interesting mix of styles like synth pop/R&B/and ALIPRO’s gothic-strings style.  It was an interesting opening.  For an opening song, this is kind of weak because it doesn’t have a bang to it which their previous ones has had.  Arika’s vocals are alright, but they aren’t at that dramatic operatic tone…It’s alright but nothing amazing for me.

2. ALICE Douzai Innocent

Now this is kind of what I was expecting ALIPRO to open the album with instead because this is exactly what they’ve been sounding like on their Tokuma albums.  I really love the strings in the song because it’s quite dark and the acoustic guitar moments are also a nice change.  Arika doesn’t sound as odd either so this was a win/win song.  This should’ve begun the album.

3. Renka Yuuran

As the first ballad on the album, Renka Yuuran is a pretty lowkey of a song up until the chorus because the verses were at a snail’s pace and Arika was kind of vacant but pretty during those parts.  I especially loved the erhu/shimasen?  solos in the song…just so pretty!  After a while the song kind of just zones me out since the direction is kind of all over the place (but still slow).

4. Shingi Nisemono Yuurankai

If you needed something that was a little more feisty in your life after “Renka Yuuran”, then our next tune will be pretty much the thing you need.  It has a lot more guitars and a bit stronger of an arrangement, but this was a nice surprise.  I think I enjoyed the flutes and Takara’s guitarwork together the most…it’s a unique kind of song.  Like a Disney song that’s badass XD.  Mikiya’s arranging is really impressive (except for that descending CASIO line that happens once in a while in the tune).  I still really enjoy the song though so it doesn’t make a difference, just a little out of place.

5. La vérité

Our next track opens with a pretty and dramatic intro before going into this loungy/bossa nova track in La vérité.  It’s funny because of the entire album, I’d say this song is quite J-pop which might be throwing some people off, but I kind of like this experimentation because Arika’s vocals are a bit more straightforward.

6. Yasei Souseiji

I was hoping for another synth-based song from the duo and Yasei Souseiji fills that gap better than “Gansakushi”.  Actually, the song is darker than I thought it’d be and there’s some small nudges of dubstep moments but the song is really dark and just mysterious in a good way!  Arika though sounds realy good singing in a lower register though.  Mikiya struck gold with this song to be honest!

7. Ikeru Oujo no Shouzou ga

I’m not surprised that after the excitement of the last song, Ikeru Oujo no Shouzou ga goes back to the orchestral and dramatic style but it’s also the album’s longest track too so I guess it goes hand in hand.  I’m not really into the song since while it’s a slower song, it feels a bit messy and the arrangement kind of feels plain when compared to the rest of the album.  There are some parts that I like, like the synths and horns that sound like some rap song XD…I just couldn’t get into the song.

8. Manatsu no Yuutsuu Fujin

With a title like that, I was wondering if it was going to be a happy song.  It does sound a bit brighter than their other tracks which is nice and Manatsu no Yuutsuu Fujin has a Disney quality to it as well which is pleasant to listen to.  I’m not sure the beats were needed because they sound way out of place for a song like this.  I kind of enjoyed this song…and it’s Mediterranean flair.

9. Tenkin to Choukoku

Trying to create more of a heavier sound is Tenkin to Choukoku and I’m kind of on the fence with this one because I couldn’t tell what it was supposed to be in style but the strings were there and a lot of percussion and guitar as well.  I guess it was supposed to be a mix of styles?  I don’t know but I was bored with the song even though I kind of liked the rock elements.

10. RED WALTZ

The final track on the album, RED WALTZ I guess makes for a nice and dark closing track for the album because the atmosphere is just foreboding.  I’m not sure if this is considered a waltz, but if you can do one to this song than kudos.  I thought it was suitable but a little meh because the song was a little too blah for me. 

Tracks Recommended

  • Yasei Souseiji
  • Shingi Nisemono Yuurankai
  • ALICE Douzai Innocent

Song of Avoidance

  • RED WALTZ

I do think ALIPRO is getting a lot better with every Tokuma release, Gansakushi fixed vocals with Arika and there’s even more experiementation (though not as vibrant as “Han Shinnihon Shugi”).  The problem was that some of the songs were just a little boring…but seeing them add some American beats in the songs is intriguing…wonder what’ll be next?

 

Ceui – Kaze no Naka no Primrose

Filed under: Ceui — solarblade @ 4:41 am

Track Listing

  1. Kaze no Naka no Primrose
  2. Amorossia
  3. Kaze no Naka no Primrose (inst.)
  4. Amorossia (inst.)

1. Kaze no Naka no Primrose

I really am surprised that Ceui would quickly come back with a new A-side in Kaze no Naka no Primrose.  It does sound similar to a bunch of tracks from “Labyrinthus” with it’s breezy ansion style which is a pleasant style but I kind of wanted something a little more here than what we got.  I do love the airy qualities of this song though, soooo it might grow on me quite a bit.

2. Amorossia

Oh man, I loved the intro to the B-side quite a bit with the quick-paced strings and its uncertain air about it.  It’s a really fascinating piece and the song is sung like it was a ballad as well which is pretty cool.  Add in Ceui’s super airy vocals and it’s like a Kingdom Hearts tune with Yoko Shimomura doing the arrangement.  Reminds me of the Hollow Bastion area theme from the first KH. 

 

 

I’m rather interested with this single from her!  I mean, Kaze no Naka no Primrose is alright but more of like leftovers from “Labyrinthus”.  However, Amorossia is pretty awesome and really stands out with it’s strong arrangement and Ceui’s spooky vocals that go with it…Now that was a great B-side!

 

Chara – Planet

Filed under: Chara — solarblade @ 3:39 am

Track Listing

  1. Planet
  2. Shimashima no Bambi (2012.4.21 Ki/oon 20 Years & Days at Tokyo LIQUIDROOM Ebisu)

1. Planet

I have to say that since Chara joined Ki/oon, her arrangements have been a lot more intriguing and interesting to listen to but Chara as a singer has a been questionable ordeal to deal with.  I liked her light and whispery vocals in some of the verses but everything else is just a little too much but it isn’t totally cringe-inducing because she’s got effects going on to make her sound distant.  Her louds parts are very catty and just yeesh to listen to, but I actually can say this is her best track I’ve listened to since “CAROL”.

2. Shimashima no Bambi (2012.4.21 Ki/oon 20 Years & Days at Tokyo LIQUIDROOM Ebisu)

Of course like her last single, we get a live version of one of Chara’s songs.  This time it’s Shimashima no Bambi (from the “Junior Sweet” album) and I actually found myself liking this live version because she has a really nice talking voice and plays a little with the crowd.  The song is kind of funky and jazzy which totally captured my senses.  It’s weird because I think she’s a pretty good singer with this older song. 

 

 

Wow the first time where I’m not gonna totally bash Chara lol.  I mean Planet is pretty good musically but some of Chara’s notes are a bit to handle, but the song overall was pretty interesting.  However, the live version of Shimashima no Bambi was actually quite impressive (makes me wonder why she can’t sing in this tone more often).  Shocker for me!