Kurayami Monogatari

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access – Secret Cluster December 30, 2012

Filed under: access — solarblade @ 8:36 am

secretcluster

Track Listing

  1. vibe cluster (Instrumental)
  2. Bet ~Tsuioku no Roulette~ (Album ver.)
  3. Beyond the Second-D.
  4. Star Tribal
  5. Let me go
  6. Stand By
  7. ChaOs GrAdatioN
  8. f☆R☆E☆e
  9. Wild Butterfly (Album ver.)
  10. Secret Dimension (Instrumental)
  11. 20th Sincerely

CD 2

  1. Doubt & Trust
  2. GONNA BE
  3. Dream Runner
  4. PARADISE
  5. Higher Than Dark Sky
  6. Aoi Nami
  7. SOUL DYNAMITE
  8. Share The Love
  9. Keep It
  10. Ride Up For The Shiny Way

1. vibe cluster (Instrumental)

The album opens up with an introduction piece from Daisuke who still is a great producer and vibe cluster is a simple but futuristic intro.  Not much else to really say about it besides that it moved nice and smoothly and led into our next track nicely.

2. Bet ~Tsuioku no Roulette~ (Album ver.)

As the one of two A-sides that made the main tracklist (so not including the second disc) we get Bet first which was the last single to be released in the era.  I’m not totally sure of what the changes were made from the single version but the song sound a bit more electro, but that could just be me.  I feel like the song could benefitted a harder beat, but it’s not a bad track, but I like the original more.

3. Beyond the Second-D.

I’m surprised to see more B-sides make the album cut over the leading tracks.  I said in the past that I really like this track from “Wild Butterfly” and I still do because Takami doesn’t try to be really screwy with his vocals but the song might just be a little to the textbooks for them.  Also I feel like the song could’ve been a smidge quicker, but I still really like the song.

4. Star Tribal

Only 4 new songs on the album?!?  That’s a bit disappointing.  Star Tribal though doesn’t sound like anything the duo has done in the era and I really like this more serious side to access’ music.  For being a slower track, I think they tackled the song in stride and just let it go the direction it wanted.  It almost sounds like it could fit in an anime/RPG.  One of the album’s intriguing songs.

5. Let me go

As the B-side from “Bet ~Tsuioku no Roulette~, I was actually pretty happy to see the album’s cut because while it was a bit more pop-oriented and kind of has a certain Johnny’s sound to it, I loved that it stood out from the album.  It’s like Takami wanted to be in a boyband and we got this song from it.  Quirky little tune isn’t it?

6. Stand By

Our next new track on the album, Stand By is a lighter affair and has that be happy feel with that intro but also keeps up with Daisuke’s synths,  Like I’ve said about a couple of others, I kind of wish there was more oomph going on because without it, it sounds like a snoozer,  and frankly that doesn’t work and neither is the rapping here…

7, ChaOs GraDatioN

The other B-side from “Wild Butterfly” makes its appearance and all I can say is why include this because this was a bit of a mess of a song.  Mixing what I knew from them but then the verses are all urbanized and all kinds of gross.  I guess you can say it’s a bit chaotic, but this was too much for me…there was a limit.  This was a pretty bad song on the single and it hasn’t changed any better on the album.

8. f☆R☆E☆e

Even though “Stand By” is the album’s longest track, I actually really thought that Daisuke FINALLY found something that isn’t missing much in the arrangement.  f☆R☆E☆e kind of reminds me of “EDGE” but I’m OK with that because this song is one of the more impressive songs here!  It’s a really cool dance track and there’s so much I could say because it brought me out of the mediocrity.

9. Wild Butterfly (Album ver.)

Seems like the other A-side on the album has gotten an arrangement switched out with this echo-y keyboard arrangement.  Wild Butterfly this time around took out the flighty feelings and I feel like Daisuke handled this better the second time around.  It sounds a lot more complete as well so that being said, it was a leap for me to enjoy it, but now I’m enjoying this version more.

10. Secret Dimension (Instrumental)

As an interlude before getting into the final track on the album, it sounds like more of what we heard in the beginning but with more punch.  Does sound like something I’d hear in a game, but I like it…though it doesn’t slide into the final track very well since it is so heavy with beats and synths.

11. 20th Sincerely

Yeah, the final song on the first disc is a ballad which is why I said “Secret Dimension” didn’t really fit before this track.  20th Sincerely does kind of sound slightly like they want to be nostalgic because I could hear this on the stuff before their hiatus.  It does suffer as being a little too boring and the end stretched a little too long…but the track is only 4 minutes long…strange…appropriate way to end the main disc.

CD 2

1. Doubt & Trust

Lord, I would have never guessed that I would be reviewing Doubt & Trust a third time and strange to see access including this single up to “Share The Love”  so all ten songs found from those four singles get singled out and put on the second disc.  Doubt & Trust was and still is such an amazing song from the duo,  Unlike most of the tracks that filled out the era, this was more anime-rock and it didn’t slightly sound like T.M.Revolution but with Takami’s voice.  It’s sad to say that it’s still the best of the entire album because it’s just so edgy and aggressive and I love the guitar riffs…Yeah, that good of a song!

1. GONNA BE

The B-side from above single has had time to slightly grow on me and while I don’t like the sampling in the beginning and Takami under so much auto-tune is quite distracting and add his already nasally tones, it’s just a bit too much for the song.  Suffice to say, I’m not too big of a fan.  At least the guitar solo was in fact good…but the song otherwise, is just yucky.

3. Dream Runner

I was expecting so much drom Dream Runner after how completely badass “Doubt & Trust”, “EDGE”, and “Hitomi no Tsubasa” turned out, but this song while more energetic than most of the stuff on the first disc, there was something that I didn’t really enjoy…but nowadays has disappeared.  I kind of dig it nowadays…maybe Takami’s vocals aren’t still connecting to me very well…but the arrangement is niiice!

4. PARADISE

However, I can’t say the same for the B-side because it’s bizarro and very uncharacteristic of them to throw out there,  Takami is just speeding through the song so following him alongside this beach=friendly with that UFO woop is just a tad strange.  It just reminds me of how WTF T.M.R’s “Salsa Bazaar” was and this fits VERY closely with it.  It’s not terrible, but it would never fit on an album and not even here.

5. Higher Than Dark Sky

As the 3rd single, Higher Than Dark Sky has made me wonder why I thought it was ever better than “Dream Runner” because this song is really plain to me nowadays…sounds like nostalgia done the wrong way.  Thing is is that this song has an absurd amount of Engrish about and Takami doesn’t sound all that good either.  It just sounds extremely cheesy and overly dated!

6. Aoi Nami

Strange, as I listen to Aoi Nami, the song starts to remind me of “20th Sincerely” in the strangest way…it’s like they had the same structure, but this song is less cheesy sounding, but Takami sounds worse in this song because that chorus makes him hit notes that HE CLEARLY CAN’T HANDLE!  I would enjoy the song if it didn’t have such an annoying chorus.

7. SOUL DYNAMITE

Now this sounds like classic access because Daisuke’s bringing some old sounding keyboards up to the front, but it’s rather intriguing when compared to many of the other songs on the album.  The chorus is still kind of a shady area for me, but this song is still quite good nonetheless.

8. Share The Love

Finally we have the 4th A-side on this disc, Share The Love.  I love the opening that kind of reminds me of the fast piano lines in “Doubt & Trust” but one Takami starts to sing, it reverts back to this nostalgic trip.  I would say behind a couple of A-sides this is one of the better ones they’ve released…still got that nasal tone that really can kill the song sometimes but I think I can move it aside and enjoy it.

9. Keep It

Kind of like “ChaOs GraDatioN”, it also has this urban sound that really doesn’t fit the song at all…add in an annoying siren and you get this song which sounds like a mess to be honest and is really not their forte.  Very annoying song to listen to and it’s repetitive as well…

10. Ride Up For The Shiny Way

The final song on the second disc, Ride Up For The Shiny Way brings the energy back and so does Daisuke’s arranging here since it’s kind of more up to date with the synths and style.  I don’t really enjoy listening to Takami’s higher register, but he tackled the song well minus those specific parts.  A good way to close things out!

Tracks Recommended

  • Doubt & Trust
  • f☆R☆E☆e
  • Wild Butterfly (Album ver.)
  • Let me go
  • Dream Runner

Song of Avoidance

  • Keep It

How long has it been since access released their last album, 5 years?  Yeah it’s been that long and Secret Cluster took forever to come together because of the 6 sings spaced so far apart from each other!  If it was just the one disc, the main disc isn’t totally bad.  A little forgettable but not terrible.  With the second disc, I think it dropped because all those songs were off the singles (which is strange to see “Doubt & Trust” as it was on their best album back in 2007) and most of those were disappointing songs.  It’s a big release, but not everything is peaches in access land.

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access – Bet ~Tsuioku no Roulette~ October 7, 2012

Filed under: access — solarblade @ 8:02 am

Track Listing

  1. Bet ~Tsuioku no Roulette~
  2. Let me go
  3. Bet ~Tsuioku no Roulette~ (Instrumental)

1. Bet ~Tsuioku no Roulette~

The duo return for a second A-side in 2012? WOW!  Bet really is something cool from the them since they have more of an electro style going for the song.  Plus Takami’s vocals aren’t as tragic as I kind of thought they were in “Wild Butterfly”.  It’s a fun track and I enjoyed Daisuke’s arrangement this time around. 

2. Let me go

The B-side is a little different (then again their B-sides have all been strange experimentations.  Let me go is a lot more poppier and techno which is fitting along with the single.  What I’m surprised is how catchy this song is!  I’m really liking Takami and the jittery nature of the tune.  Though the chorus is a little screwy but this song is actually one of the better B-sides from them!

 

 

Closing out this REALLY long era for their album, “Secret Cluster”, Bet is probably my favorite of the 6 singles that are represented on the album.  The leading track is energetic and fun to listen to while the B-side is poppy and fun as well, though the chorus is a bit shady lol.  Can’t wait for the album to leak!

 

access – Wild Butterfly May 2, 2012

Filed under: access — solarblade @ 2:30 am

Track Listing

  1. Wild Butterfly
  2. Beyond the Second-D.
  3. ChaOs GrAdatioN

1. Wild Butterfly

access is back again with a new A-side and with Wild Butterfly, it actually kind of sounds light at first because of how it starts and Takami’s vocals at first.  Then it picks up momentum when more synths and guitars join in but the song still retains it’s rather ethereal feel for the most part.  It feels rather unfinished of a song and despite Daisuke’s rather intriguing arrangement, it’s a bit too oddball and freaky for me to enjoy.

2. Beyond the Second-D.

Opening with Takami singing by himself, Beyond the Second-D. is actually something I was expecting them to release right around when they first came back.  It has a lot of Daisuke synths and it actually sounds really good!  It’s very anime-esque and kind of joins quite nicely alongside “EDGE” and “Hitomi no Tsubasa”.  There’s just something that was pretty damn good here and so much more easier to handle than “Wild Butterfly”.

3. ChaOs GrAdatioN

With the stickytabs going, and the interesting title, I wasn’t unsure of what we were getting for the other B-side.  It begins with a dark beat and Takami under filters.  It feels like the song is growing into something huge but it flops hardcore when it gets into this kind of hip-hop/urban sound that just doesn’t fit access at all!  Then it goes into the chorus where it’s very synthy and straightforward…and then back to weirdness…wow…

 

 

access has never been one to stay straightforward but I thought Wild Butterfly is kind of a mess of a single.  Besides Beyond the Second-D. which was pretty much the best thing they’ve done since “Higher Than Dark Sky”.  However, Wild Butterfly and ChaOs GrAdatioN would have been nice if Daisuke didn’t opt for experimentation on weird levels with both tracks.  I’m still waiting for an album from these guys…it’s been sooo long!!!

 

access – Share The Love August 14, 2011

Filed under: access — solarblade @ 6:42 pm

Track Listing

  1. Share The Love
  2. Keep It (Type A only)
  3. Ride Up For The Shiny Way (Type A only)
  4. Keep It (2010 Version) (Type B only)
  5. Higher Than Dark Sky (Piano Version) (Type B only)

1. Share The Love

Synths and harpischord opening the A-side?  I found that pretty epic IMO for some reason.  It does seem when the song opens to the main track I feel like Daisuke is trying to hit back for some nostalgia in the arrangement, but it’s also a little like “Doubt & Trust” with how quickly Daisuke is playing some of the piano.  I also found myself enjoying Takami’s vocals a bit more than the last two singles so that’s a good direction. 

2. Keep It

So I’ve seen that access has performed this before the single’s release and that’s kind of cool but took a while before it was finally released.  Unlike the energetic “Share The Love”, this is more pop-laced and a tad slower in the tempo.  Though there’s something in the background that sounds like a siren that keeps going on and off that annoys me to death in the song and Takami under A LOT of filters bother me even further.  I hope the 2011 version is a lot better than this mess!

3. Ride Up For The Shiny Way

I’m not sure what the duo were thinking for their B-sides but whatever I do like Daisuke’s arrangement in this song as well since it’s full and has a lot of oomph to it.  I will say I’m not too big of a fan of Takami’s vocals in this song either, but there’s not a lot of filtering going on which is a start I guess.  Still his nasally higher register is a bit cringing.  I’d say it’s between the two tracks on likes.

 

 

*will review Type-B when it leaks*.  I must say that after “Higher Than Dark Sky” this single kind of feels like a bust.  It’s not the A-side that caused this however since that continued the hi-energy synth rock style that’s been getting them places.  Ride Up For The Shiny Way was alright, but nothing that hasn’t been done before on previous albums while Keep It was just terrible all-around.  I seriously think it’s album time for the duo!

 

access – Higher Than Dark Sky August 8, 2010

Filed under: access — solarblade @ 7:18 pm

Track Listing

  1. Higher Than Dark Sky
  2. Aoi Nami (Type A only)
  3. SOUL DYNAMITE (Type A only)
  4. SOUL DYNAMITE (original live) (Type B only)
  5. Aoi Nami (original live) (Type B only)

1. Higher Than Dark Sky

Wow, I forgot how long it’s been since I’ve heard an access song.  I think Daisuke is trying to go back into the past to sound like what he used to because this song sounds very light and synth heavy.  I mean it’s no “EDGE” or “Doubt & Trust” but it’s a bit more like “Hitomi no Tsubasa” which is good to hear since it’s catchy.  Takami’s vocals have also rubbed me the wrong way so it’s no surprise that it’s the same here, though it makes him stand out amongst other male vocalists.  Not too bad, but it’s better than “Dream Runner”!

2. Aoi Nami

At least I’m happy that Daisuke is keeping on with new arrangements and new styles.  Aoi Nami sounds so different that what I’m used to from the duo.   The arrangement is like ethereal and filled with spaced synths and piano which gives it a free-spirited sound.  For the most part, Takami wasn’t bothering, that it until he started hitting high notes in a bad way.  Luckily it’s just the chorus and nowhere else so it’s not amazingly bad, but it’s something to point out. 

3. SOUL DYNAMITE

If you missed the 90’s version of access.  Daisuke fed his fans up with this song which is definitely on this single for nostalgic factors.  I mean I hear all the typical Daisuke items in the song which is like 90’s eurobeat which is pretty cool since it has been quite a while since I’ve heard something like it.  In my opinion it’s the best song off the single since Takami is singing strong and puts personality into the song.  Good tune for sure.

4. SOUL DYNAMITE (original live)

So on the other edition of the single, we get live versions of the B-sides (strange…no live “Higher Than Dark Sky”).  I’ve always thought that access live is pretty exciting because of the energy and being able to sound good.  SOUL DYNAMITE’s live is still as energetic and fun as the studio cut so that’s good for sure and Daisuke’s parts are a bit more profound as well.

5. Aoi Nami (original live)

Comparing to the studio version, there’s actually no synths present for this live and it should’ve been like this right from the start since it’s a good ballad.  I don’t know why, but the piano arrangement sounds a bit KH-like which I guess fits in a way. 

 

 

It’s been nearly two years since their last single “Dream Runner” dropped.  I’m happy to say this single is miles better than that single for sure.  Higher Than Dark Sky and SOUL DYNAMITE are energetic and cool songs (no thx to Daisuke’s arrangements).  Aoi Nami is a different kind of ballad from em and that’s pretty awesome.  They are long needing an album now!  GET TO IT!

 

access – Dream Runner August 30, 2008

Filed under: access — solarblade @ 9:33 am

Track Listing

  1. Dream Runner
  2. PARADISE
  3. Dream Runner (TV version)
  4. Dream Runner (Instrumental)

1. Dream Runner

Definitly an odd and annoying start with Takami bein long and stupid.  Daisuke comes in with some interesting synths I have never heard in his collection.  There’s something obviously familiar with the song and Takami is in limbo with some of the worst notes to hold.  Just ruins the song, but the angry verses are quite nice for being access…Not a good A-side and disappoints after “Doubt & Trust”

2. PARADISE

Then we get this very upbeat, almost soothing dance track.  Then Takami shoots lyrics like rapid fir which was hard to swallow but he comes back to Earth with some smoother stuff.  It’s odd for me and was probably unusual for them using many new sounds and tricks and there’s a whistle…this was just as random as T.M.Revolution’s track “Salsa Bazaar”  Definitly a nice listen.

 

 

access’s newest single was much a more of a nod to their past songs though I can’t say it was as good as “Doubt & Trust” this was a bit of a step down and I enjoyed the B-side much more than the A-side.  Still, I love how Daisuke is reaching to new sounds with each release whether it’s with access or T.M.R.

 

access – Doubt & Trust August 21, 2008

Filed under: access — solarblade @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Track Listing

  1. Doubt & Trust
  2. GONNA BE
  3. Doubt & Trust (DAwnforce Mix) (CD+DVD only)
  4. Doubt & Trust (Instrumental)

1. Doubt & Trust

This has got to be one of the best piano openings to a song I’ve heard in a while.  This is one of epic song openings from the anime D. Gray-Man.  access put their pop sound in the backseat for this rock track and to me, it’s one of the best efforts in their career.  Daisuke always seems to impress me with his skill on the keyboard and Takami uses a more deep voice to sing the track and it isn’t bad at all.  Awesome track!

2. GONNA BE

The beginning sounds were so damn annoying and even kept going when Takami started singing.  About his singing…he’s under the vocoder, which sounded pretty awesome.  Though I didn’t like it when they hit the chorus.  It just sounded weak and bleh.  I don’t knowbut I hope this doesn’t end up on their next album.

3. Doubt & Trust (DAwnforce Mix)

Yup, this is definitly Daisuke’s mix.  It starts out like the original but then it get’s very robotic and full of synths.  Not that it’s anything bad but it just took the song into a totally different direction.  Takami’s voice is filtered and the music is louder which kind of turned me off.   Not my favorite here

 

 

access’s recent single was a great way to bring back access and it shows since they were at the top 10 on the oricon charts.  Doubt & Trust was an awesome rock track and made a pretty damn cool opening for D. Gray-Man.  GONNA BE though was a nice try and was good with the vocoder but came out so boring.  The remix however was a little bit on the bad side with overbearing music.  It’s still a nice single though.