Kurayami Monogatari

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Akiko Hasegawa – Simply Lovely July 25, 2012

Filed under: Akiko Hasegawa — solarblade @ 9:17 am

Track Listing

  1. Simply Lovely
  2. LEVEL∞ (Hard Rock ver.)
  3. Sunrise!
  4. I Can Fly
  5. Sourin no Pendulum
  6. Fateful Actor
  7. LEVEL∞ (Famison 8BIT ver.)
  8. XXX
  9. 2100nen no Tokyo Tower
  10. Stay Tuned!
  11. On Our Way
  12. Iya da yo Suki da yo
  13. Fateful Actor (Relieve ver.)
  14. LEVEL∞ (Disillusion Special ver.)
  15. Onigiri March

1. Simply Lovely

One of the two new tracks of the album, we start things off with the title track, Simply Lovely.  I like that it’s a bit more cuter and has a bit more cute synths going around which fits with her high-pitched voice style.  It actually sounds more like an idol song that longer I listen to it.  It’s a fun song to listen to and a nice opening song for the album.

2. LEVEL∞ (Hard Rock ver.)

I’m surprised at how many versions of Akiko’s debut single there are on this album.  However, this is the only new version of the song which took the song and gave it more of a rockin’ touch up which is pretty nifty but it doesn’t seem to really fit with her voice which isn’t shocking.  It’s a nice try to give the song a different flavor and it might impress someone out there.

3. Sunrise!

From this point on, majority of the album is filled with old songs!  Starting with her second A-side (first under 5pb. Records), Sunrise! was a huge change of sound from her first single by trading 8bit/Trance to this song which is bright pop (with a lot of anison styles behind it).  It’s a lot like “Simply Lovely” but with more emphasis over the strings which what made the song great because they sound beautiful in the song.  It’s overall a good A-side!

4. I Can Fly

I noticed that the A-sides go in order which is pretty cool in a way but a makes things a little boring.  Coming next was the third A-side and unfortunately my least favorite of the A-sides.  I like that it does come off as a little more rockin’ but at the same time it lacked something for me and it just didn’t work out.  I do like the verses a lot more than the chorus for sure.  I guess it’s not terrible but it’s not all that great either.

5. Sourin no Pendulum

Moving onto the final A-side released prior to the album, Sourin no Pendulum was definitely my favorite of the four and it still is!  I mean it’s anime-esque for sure and sounds like an intro which is cool but Akiko sounds surprisingly strong in the song and the arrangement is jsut on spot to fully enjoy. 

6. Fateful Actor

I wonder if they seperated the original track and the Relieve ver. because they were of the same song so that’s why it’s after “Sourin no Pendulum”.  As the B-side of said single, Fateful Actor really impressed me a lot.  I never expected Akiko to pull off a big band tune and I was definitely impressed with what we got here.  I loved her vocals as well, she sung a little more deeper here as well…I just loved this song…one of the best B-sides she’s released yet!

7. LEVEL∞ (Famison 8BIT ver.)

Interestingly enough, we get into the 8BIT version of LEVEL∞ and I was kind of surprised she debuted with this song (well this wasn’t the version that was promoted but still).  Her higher vocals did fit the 8bit style and it wasn’t filtered and auto-tuned which kind of is a surprise for this track.  It’s a cute song and fun to listen to and a little absurd to see on the album.

8. XXX

Tracks 8-13 are all the B-sides that were released in chronological order it seems starting with “LEVEL∞’s” B-side.  I have such a love/hate relationship with the song.  I seriously love the electro arrangement of the song and the lyrics are seriously one of the catchiest of the album but what holds the song back in a big way is Akiko’s way of singing the song.  It’s at its highest peak and she’s being extremely pitchy and cutesy and hitting these high ass notes so abrasively that it kind of does hurt.  I really like some parts of the song but the vocals are just terrible here.

9. 2100nen no Tokyo Tower

I couldn’t remember much of the B-sides from “Sunrise!” but 2100nen no Tokyo Tower was one of the better ones from memory.  I like it today since the song is a little bit of techno-pop but also anison which is no shock to me.  The song is rather adorable and sounds like a song you’d hear in the afternoon at the park.  It just sails by nicely and has a pretty good flow overall.

10. Stay Tuned!

Moving to the other B-side from that single, Stay Tuned! is a bit more chilled out and adds this fashionable kind of feel to it which is something I didn’t pick-up on the first time I heard the song.  It’s relaxing and has a cool vibe to it that I somehow started to really enjoy fully.  It does kind of start to become too chill and flatlined towards the end, but the song has a numbing feel to it lol.

11. On Our Way

It seems to work though as we move into the B-sides from “I Can Fly” because On Our Way is actually the lone ballad of this album.  Now I’m not sure how to take Akiko’s vocals for this song because while it’s nice she toned it down to this, her vocals really aren’t suited for these kind of tracks and she is pretty pitchy in the song…not as bad as “XXX” but enough to ward people off.  At least she tried…

12. Iya da yo Suki da yo

I’ve always wondered why the B-sides from “I Can Fly” were both ballads…Well Iya da yo Suki da yo is different from “On Our Way” simply because this is more of a cute and brighter ballad which isn’t to everyone’s tastes and it kind of pushed me away from it because it was just a little too risky.  I just didn’t like this song either.

13. Fateful Actor (Relieve ver.)

I’m surprised they added this onto the album.  This is actually a jazz version of the song and I was equally impressed with this version and oddly enough it seemed to fit the lyrics a little better than the original version.  Also, Akiko actually resung the song and I loved every little bit of it.  I actually prefer this version over the original overall.  It’s just that good!

14. LEVEL∞ (Disillusion Special ver.)

I’m happy they put this version of the song which is more Trance/Happycore version of LEVEL∞!  Now I’m also happy that they basically cut it down two minutes because the original off the single did feel a little too long-winded.  I really love the energy of the song and I honestly think this version suits Akiko the best of the three versions of the song on here.  Though it seems to be out of nowhere from the last few songs which were quiet…this’ll wake your ass up for sure!

15. Onigiri March

Ending the album finally, we get another new track in Onigiri March and it’s kind of cheesy and cutesy all rolled up in one ball.  It also seems to utilize Akiko’s cutesy vocals which is a little meh for me but as she is a seiyuu it’s not a complete shock.  This goes on for about 3 minutes then Akiko gets the angry shout out and the song switches to a heavy rock sound and Akiko starts to sing in a deeper tone which is really good (like wow).  Sadly the ends a but too quickly (only a minute) and the loud guitars disappear to the ballad section of the song.  It’s a pretty song which goes on for just as long and the song ends.  The remaining 2-ish minutes is silence followed by Akiko talking about the album (I think)…Odd song but did do a good job closing things.

Tracks Recommended

  • Fateful Actor (Relieve ver.)
  • Sourin no Pendulum
  • LEVEL∞ (Disillusion Special ver.)
  • 2100nen no Tokyo Tower
  • Sunrise!

Song of Avoidance

  • Iya da yo Suki da yo

Finally this album found its way out!!!  Akiko’s debut album might just simply be a collection of everything she’s released so far plus two new songs but this had a LOT of variety from cute anison songs to big band to happycore and even ballads.  It was a really random album with an assortment of styles and I think the gives Akiko an enigma-like feel since she can tackle tons of styles!  Her voice does have some work to do but when she puts in a strong effort, she’s got a LOT of potential!  Not bad for a debut!

 

Akiko Hasegawa – Sourin no Pendulum May 4, 2011

Filed under: Akiko Hasegawa — solarblade @ 8:27 am

Track Listing

  1. Sourin no Pendulum
  2. Fateful Actor
  3. Fateful Actor (Relieve ver.)
  4. Sourin no Pendulum (Off Vocal)
  5. Fateful Actor (Off Vocal)
  6. Fateful Actor (Relieve ver.) (Off Vocal)

1. Sourin no Pendulum

I’m gonna say, of the A-sides she released so far, I’m really impressed with Sourin no Pendulum.  Since it’s tie-in is for a video game, this was going to be pretty interesting for sure.  Unlike “I Can Fly” and it’s rock-based atmosphere, this actually feels stronger and her vocals as well have worked out for the best.  I still love the opening riffs for this song though…I must say best A-side yet!

2. Fateful Actor

I was pretty surprised that Akiko’s B-side for the single went from an energetic animu track to a jazzy kind of song because I wasn’t expecting that much of a twist to the single.  I must say, something must’ve happened between this single and her last one because her vocals have been fine-tune quite a bit and she sounds almost sexy and yet cute with this track.  I was impressed with this B-side as well!

3. Fateful Actor (Relieve ver.)

So rounding out the single, Fateful Actor removes most of the brass instruments found in the original and adds more piano and strings to make it even more jazzier almost.  Maybe that isn’t the right way to explain it, but Akiko’s vocals also became better in the change.  I must say this is just as amazing as the original version if not slightly better.

WOW!  I know Akiko has been doing other stuff, but her solo works before were alright, but nothing I haven’t heard before but with Sourin no Pendulum she struck gold and released her best single yet.  The A-side was so much more memorable and stronger of a song than “I Can Fly” ever was and Fateful Actor was generally a giant surprise and showed that Akiko has the vocals to pull off jazz for one thing…I can’t imagine an album with the A-sides released because they’re all on different genres to the extreme, but I’m excited *RECOMMENDED*

 

Akiko Hasegawa – I Can Fly November 2, 2010

Filed under: Akiko Hasegawa — solarblade @ 6:11 am

Track Listing

  1. I Can Fly
  2. On Our Way
  3. Iya da yo Suki da yo
  4. I Can Fly (Instrumental)
  5. On Our Way (Instrumental)
  6. Iya da yo Suki da yo (Instrumental)

1. I Can Fly

I don’t think Akiko is very steady on her music and it shows because all her A-sides have treaded on different style.  I Can Fly is different from the previous songs because it’s more rock-oriented and I actually ended up liking the rather easy hook and arrangement it had.  Akiko’s voice in the verses were pretty good but the choruses was where her vocals started squeaking and making unpleasant and unnecessary sounds.  Overall, it’s alright, but her previous A-sides are a little bit better.

2. On Our Way

As the ending of the same game that “I Can Fly” is from, On Our Way is definitely a song that fits as an ending theme.  It begins with a pretty slow, yet pretty piano line before Akiko comes in.  Her vocals are probably the most negative thing I can think of in this song since they’re too sugary cute and it kind of takes the mood out of the song.  The music though was simple and sweet though so iono…

3. Iya da yo Suki da yo

As the only song to not have a tie-in on the single, Iya da yo Suki da yo is the cutest of the three songs offered on the single and the music is rather nice to listen to though once again.  Unlike the strings and piano from “On Our Way”, we get strings and acoustic guitar as the main instruments.  I still do feel like Akiko’s vocals are just a little bit meh however, but it does fit the style the song calls for.

Akiko’s A-side while does touch new ground for her, her vocals still are somewhat pitchy due to her seiyuu status and she squeaks one too many times.  This problem stays for the rest of the single as well with the main difference is in the arrangement.  Iono, but I Can Fly is probably her worst single yet.

 

Akiko Hasegawa – Sunrise! August 17, 2010

Filed under: Akiko Hasegawa — solarblade @ 7:03 am

Track Listing

  1. Sunrise!
  2. 2100 Nen no Tokyo Tower
  3. Stay Tuned!
  4. Sunrise! (Instrumental)
  5. 2100 Nen no Tokyo Tower (Instrumental)
  6. Stay Tuned! (Instrumental)

1. Sunrise!

You know what, after her last A-side I was surprised she didn’t keep her electro sound because Sunrise! sounds like an epic strings song like “Astrogation”.  I mean there’s a lot of them present for the song.  It seems that Akiko has gotten a whole lot better at singing and she isn’t sounding horrible like her B-side of the last album.  I was pleasantly surprised at the switch of genres and hoping she does more like this tune.

2. 2100 Nen no Tokyo Tower

As the 1st B-side of the single, 2100 Nen no Tokyo Tower is a bit more towards synth-pop and I liked whoever arranged this song because it sounds like something I would hear in a Bomberman game since it’s a little synthy and yet reined to sound melodic.  Now Akiko’s vocals aren’t all amazing here, but it does give the song a much more cuter vibe.  It’s actually kind of a nice tune.

3. Stay Tuned!

I think the single kind of slipped on the 3rd track of the single.  It does musically remind me of the last song, but somehow I just feel rather not attatched to the song simply because of how more important the music is than the vocals.  Though on the positive side of things, Akiko’s vocals when they’re this soft is so much nicer to listen to and kind of makes it breezy.  Ok, maybe it’s not so bad, but the other two were better.

 

 

Wow, who knew Akiko released a second single!  I actually think this is so so SO much better than “LEVEL∞”.  It’s a bit shocking to see the farcry of styles between the two singles (only 5pb. Records is capable of this).  I think this is a much better style (don’t get me wrong euro/8bit/electro is pretty cool as well, but Akiko’s vocals seemed better like this and at least her arrangements has more effort (take notes Yui Sakakibara!).

 

Akiko Hasegawa – LEVEL∞ December 4, 2009

Filed under: Akiko Hasegawa — solarblade @ 8:17 pm

Track Listing

  1. LEVEL∞ (FAMISON 8BIT ver.)
  2. XXX
  3. LEVEL∞ (Disillusion ver.)
  4. LEVEL∞ (Instrumental)
  5. XXX (Instrumental)
  6. LEVEL∞ (Field ver.)

1. LEVEL∞ (FAMISON 8BIT ver.)

When I saw the title of FAMISON on tagged on, I was worried that it was going to be really horrible, but luckily Akiko didn’t get her vocals messed around with and the pace of the song is very fast.  If you can handle the arrangement, the song is pretty cool and at points can make a great song altogether.  Very interesting altogether and one of the weirdest good songs of the year.

2. XXX

The singles B-side is really heavy in the electronica force.  It starts out with a gritty synth line that repeats over and over…kind of like a club mix and you hear Akiko saying ~x, x, x~ in the background.  Sadly, when she comes in, things really get bad for me.  Her voice is really chipmunky and would make Yui S. blush.  It really sounds like a 7 year old is singing, but I do like when Akiko says ~ekkusu~…Still, the song is going to take a while to get stuck in my head.

3. LEVEL∞ (Disillusion ver.)

Yeesh, 7 minutes?  It seems that this is just a eurobeat mix of the song.  I’m not sure why, but this time Akiko’s vocals are heavily covered in echo properties and the music takes over.  I take the back, the song is more of trance…after a while she does come in fully, but this remix isn’t totally going anywhere and just seem to drag the song a bit.

4. LEVEL∞ (Field ver.)

I really don’t understand the need, but this is more like an instrumental of LEVEL∞ (FAMISON 8BIT ver.).  The way it’s played out though is like the music is out on the field exploring and stuff.  It’s kind of fitting in a way, since it plays the melody of the song entirely.  After a while it fully goes into the instrumental of the song and you hear attacks happening like you were playing a game…it’s so damn funny and cool at the same time.  Then you hear a winning theme and it goes back out into the field music and back and forth, it’s weird and strange and yet awesome.  Once it ends Akiko pops up and talks about the song or something along those lines…

 

 

While it’s really rare to see an artist debut with an 8bit song, Akiko Hasegawa did right with it.  It’s energetic and fun and can hold its own even better than YMCK.  XXX, was a little strange with the seiyuu vocals going on, but the music was great.  I hope she releases more as time goes on