Kurayami Monogatari

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ALI PROJECT – Gansakushi August 9, 2012

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?

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ALI PROJECT – Kyomu Densen January 23, 2012

Filed under: ALI PROJECT — solarblade @ 7:54 pm

Track Listing

  1. Kyomu Densen
  2. Yomi no Tasogare no, Utsurou Naru Aoki Hitomi no.
  3. Tainai Hitogata Yuugi
  4. Kyomu Densen (Strings Version)
  5. Kyomu Densen (Instrumental)
  6. Yomi no Tasogare no, Utsurou Naru Aoki Hitomi no. (Instrumental)
  7. Tainai Hitogata Yuugi (Instrumental)

1. Kyomu Densen

It has been a while since we’ve seen a single from ALIPRO and they’ve returned with Kyomu Densen which is oddly a bit brighter than previous efforts that I’ve reviewed.  It’s kind of a mystical sounding song and that’s quite awesome actually.  Arika as usual sounds great and fits the atmosphere of the song as well.  I’m a little surprised that it does remind me of “Katana to Saya” just a little too much but it’s still a worthy A-side.

2. Yomi no Tasogare no, Utsurou Naru Aoki Hitomi no.

The first B-side is Yomi no Tasogare no, which is definitely more along the lines of songs that really interest me from the duo since it’s slow and mysterious.  Add in the strings that play along with the song and it’s just mesmerizing to listen.  I really enjoyed this tune a bit more since it also gets dramatic and aggressive (well, sort of).  Still, a pretty song overall!

3. Tainai Hitogata Yuugi

It’s been a while since I’ve seen ALIPRO have another B-side to a single so it’s a rather nice surprise.  It starts with brass having this kind of battle-like theme to it.  After that short intro, it moves into this ballad of sorts which electronic buzzes and Arika singing in a rather higher pitch than the previous two songs.  To be honest, it’s kind of an abstract song for them, but it’s kind of interesting as well.  I still prefer her lower tones though…but she hits them high notes just right in this song.

4. Kyomu Densen (Strings Version)

I’m also shocked that we get a strings version of Kyomu Densen and not wait for it on a future album.  I love that intro that gives a rather dark and nightmarish feel to the song.  Without the poppy undertones, the song struck me better and Arika did a better vocal performance out of it as well! 

 

 

ALIPRO begins their 2012 with a rather solid single in Kyomu Densen.  It surpasses the last couple of singles and goes beyond by adding more songs lol.  I will say that the strings take of Kyomu Densen is a lot better than the original but I think that was a given in the first place.  As for best song though, it goes to Yomi no Tasogare no since it’s mysterious but done very well!  As for Tainai Hirogata Yuugi, it would’ve been better if she wasn’t all in high-note land through it…take it down an octive maybe XD.  Still I enjoyed this single quite a bit!

 

ALI PROJECT – Les Papillons July 6, 2011

Filed under: ALI PROJECT — solarblade @ 4:42 am

Track Listing

  1. Himitsu no Hanazono
  2. Tentai Ruriboshi Mangekyou
  3. Kochou Yume Shinjuu
  4. Shura to Chou
  5. Gantai Usagi to Houtai Hitsuji no Märchen
  6. Papillon Rinne
  7. Oumaga-jou no Hakushaku
  8. Kakumei no Ketsumyaku
  9. Kimi no Na wo
  10. Les Papillons (instrumental)

1. Himitsu no Hanazono

Starting ALIPRO’s strings album, Himitsu no Hanazono opens the album with of course a grandiose piece and it feels pretty good to listen to hearing the bounce of the violins and the force of the bass playing under them.  I always am impressed by Arika, so this doesn’t change my mind around much because it’s light and sweet.  It’s a pretty good start.

2. Tentai Ruriboshi Mangekyou

Our next song on the album, does sound a little more petite-like and has this graceful arrangement to go with.  There’s even some underlying evil played through out and I found myself enjoying the way it flowed so much.  Vocally, Arika sounds the same like the previous song so nothing huge, but the music was great!!!

3. Kochou Yume Shinjuu

Adding a little more drama to the arrangement is always a great thing to hear and Kochou Yume Shinjuu does feel like its title meaning, like it feels like butterflies flying around.  Arika does a little more in singing notes and she hits some pretty high ones in and around the song and it’s great to hear. 

4. Shura to Chou

I think the only reason I can remember Shura to Chou from this album because of the big importance of bass being the song’s rhythm section.  Sadly, the rest of the song and Arika in this case don’t really pop out at me like the others which is a bit of a bum because I’m feeling like the album’s slowly going downhill.

5. Gantai Usagi to Houtai Hitsuji no Märchen

As the album’s longest track (at past 8 minutes) Gantai Usagi… might be crazy ass long, but it’s one of the more interesting arranged songs from the album and after going through the previous four, this felt like a nice change in moods and I’m definitely approving this.  Arika’s vocals feel like flowing water and it just rolls smoothly along the entire time.  It might be one of the more intriguing songs but it might be a little too long.

6. Papillon Rinne

I really liked the fact that the next song is more upbeat and on a happier note than most of the previous tracks.  It feels like Snow White for some reason and it could be the wave-like sway of the song but it’s much appreciated here.  I think I found myself enjoying the lighthearted flutter strings a lot more than Arika’s singing once again (seems to be that way with ALIPRO strings albums).

7. Oumaga-jou no Hakushaku

Probably the most unsettling of the songs on the album, Oumaga-jou no Hakashaku starts with deep cellos and bass furiously playing and then in an odd way the song goes light and then swerves back into this very evil and forboding arrangement with the strings playing MANY different ideas in the song.  I do feel that Arika’s performance felt so robotic, but I think she did that to put emphasis on the beats.  Another very good track and surpasses many of the previous tracks too.

8. Kakumei no Ketsumyaku

Unlike the previous song where it was pulsating with evil, Kakumei no Ketsumyaku feels like a more adventurous tune since it has push and the strings aren’t as demanding.  It’s pretty interesting and has pretty good direction.  I would’ve loved to have seen this earlier on (somewhere before the boredom started kicking in).

9. Kimi no Na wo

As we near the ending of the album, Kimi no Na wo is one of the more slower and light songs (like some of the earlier ones).  To be honest, the arrangement feels like it could’ve been used in Kingdom Hearts or something.  It’s a pretty good and moving song, but at the same time I feel pretty much sleepy after listening to this.

10. Les Papillons (instrumental)

And closing the rather short album, well their strings albums tend to be 10 tracks anyway.  We end with an instrumental from the duo or I guess just from Mikiya in this case.  Without Arika singing, the title track does feel like it’s easier to pay attention to the strings and such.  It’s pretty nonetheless and it’s a moving piece for sure.

Tracks Recommended

  • Oumaga-jou no Hakashaku
  • Kochou Yume Shinjuu
  • Papillon Rinne
  • Tentai Ruriboshi Mangekyou

Song of Avoidance

  • Shura to Chou

To be honest, I didn’t find Les Papillons as great as their last strings album, “Gothic Opera”.  I’m not sure why but it felt tiresome throughout different parts of the album and Arika was singing at the same light and soft vocals through them too.  I’d like a little more of difference between songs besides arrangement TBH.  Ehhhh…

 

ALI PROJECT – QUEENDOM June 1, 2011

Filed under: ALI PROJECT — solarblade @ 6:29 pm

Track Listing

  1. Troubadour
  2. Kishi Otome
  3. Ranse Eroica
  4. Takarajima
  5. Naki Oujo no Tame no…
  6. Datengoku Sensen
  7. Yuki no Onna
  8. Katana to Saya
  9. Ude kaina
  10. Hell’s Maria
  11. Haizakura
  12. Ranse Eroica (Strings Ver.)

1. Troubadour

Opening the album up, I felt like I was getting into a Strings album by ALIPRO with how dramatic the strings opened up the song.  Of course this isn’t the case but it’s kind of interesting that this song sounds like it would fit there if it wasn’t for the synths and percussion used here.  I will say that I loved Arika’s vocals in this song since it fits this sort of track.  Might not be as strong as some of the singles, but this is a pretty nice track to open the album.

2. Kishi Otome

I’m not really surprised that the album doesn’t have a lot of new songs on it (only 4 new songs).  Kishi Otome definitely switched things around by having more focus on the guitars over the synths and I like the change since it has power.  Sadly, it feels a little robotic in places the song and with the weird tempo the rhythm is at, it creates an uncomfortable kind of feel.  I don’t think I really enjoyed this tune very much.

3. Ranse Eroica

So I’m assuming this would be the 2nd A-side released for the era.  I loved this song when it was released because it was like a mix of their classic goth style mixed in with some electronic influences and a tad bit of an animu sound too.  The thing was the rubberband vocals from Arika since they kept swerving up and down notes like waves.  It’s still one of the better A-sides of the era.

4. Takarajima

It’s awesome that the B-side from “Datengoku Sensen” makes an appearance on the album and is still one of the best tracks off of QUEENDOM as well.  I love the mysterious glow with the chanting and and kind of Egyptian vibe.  Mix in the light vocals from Arika and the filtered chorus and you get a pretty eventful kind of song.  I still love the ascending harp part that comes in after the chorus too….it’s just a majestic piece and one of ALIPRO’s best songs.

5. Naki Oujo no Tame no…

So here we are at another new track on the album and while “Takarajima” does musically sound creepy and stuff, Naki Oujo no Tame no… sounds creepy in another light.  As this is another ballad from the duo, I’m not sure what to think of this song because it’s slow…but it has a strange arrangement especially with that solo with the keyboard…it’s definitely one of their more experimental songs and I kind of ended up liking the whole abstract side of it. 

6. Datengoku Sensen

As the first A-side released for the era, Datengoku Sensen is still pretty awesome especially starting with a jazzy atmosphere before entering their goth/dance mix.  Nowadays, it does remind me a little much of “Ranse Eroica” because they’re pretty similar in styles and such which is bad.  I will say this does stand out a little more since Arika’s vocals are a bit more stronger and nice when compared.  Definitely my favorite of the A-sides.

7. Yuki no Onna

So our last new track comes in the form of Yuki no Onna.  To me it sounds like a darker “Naki Oujo no Tame no…” for some reason, but it’s most likely from Arika’s stretched out vocals and slow tempo.  I don’t feel like it does anything for me and just is pretty forgettable.  At least the synths are pretty good???  Ehhhh….

8. Katana to Saya

Unlike “Ranse Eroica” and “Datengoku Sensen”, this A-side wasn’t really that strong to be honest.  Then again, this song is lighter than those two songs and not as vibrant and fast-paced.  I don’t know why but besides Arika’s pretty good performance, this song feels empty and comes off as a little tiring after a while.

9. Ude kaina

As the B-side from “Ranse Eroica”, Ude kaina has always been the more quieter yet stronger song because of the more epic orchestral feel it has and I loved every second of this song for some reason.  On the album, it feels a little odd hearing it after “Katana to Saya” but this song is still just as good as I remembered it. 

10. Hell’s Maria

I like how this is probably one of the more random additions to the album.  If you don’t remember, this song is the B-side from “Senritsu no Kodomotachi”.  It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to this last and to be honest, being on QUEENDOM is a little weird since it doesn’t sound like it’d fit because of the odd arrangement with strings.  It’s still an alright song, but nothing I’d love to death here.

11. Haizakura

Yup, the B-side from “Katana to Saya” makes another appearance as well.  I like the fact that they chose Haizakura to sort of bridge from the last track to the final song on the album since it needs to move more along the lines of stringswork.  It’s not really that groundbreaking compared to the other B-sides of the album, but it’s a pleasant listen and Arika sounds really nice singing over the flurry of strings. 

12. Ranse Eroica (Strings Ver.)

See what I meant when I said “Haizakura” made a nice bridge to our final song?  Of course this is an orchestral version of Ranse Eroica and I’m surprised they made this song even more epic because it sounds really good and of course Arika resung this as well giving it a complete feel.  It’s pretty damn good of an edit and it sounds AMAZING!

Tracks Recommended

  • Takarajima
  • Naki Oujo no Tame no…
  • Troubadour
  • Ranse Eroica (Strings Ver.)
  • Datengoku Sensen

Song of Avoidance

  • Kishi Otome

I’m pretty happy with QUEENDOM since it brought a lot of the good songs ALIPRO did in the era.  Oddly enough there’s only a couple of songs that bored me, but the energy level was brought a bit afterwards.  Nothing bad and Arika still sounds amazing.  Good job!

 

ALI PROJECT – Han Shinnihon Shugi October 7, 2010

Filed under: ALI PROJECT — solarblade @ 1:23 am

Track Listing

  1. Zekkoku TEMPEST
  2. Dokurogajou no Mikotachi wa Eien ni Gensei no Yume wo Miru
  3. Heisei Nihon Zankoku Monogatari
  4. Paris to Gaka to Onna
  5. SENGOKU GIRL
  6. Shijin Juu Kaigoroshi
  7. Rokumeikan Boogie-Woogie
  8. Touhou Doukei Miken Bunroku
  9. Heiwa no Inshi
  10. Kono Kuni yo Shizuka ni Mezametamae (instrumental)

1. Zekkoku TEMPEST

I was starting to maybe think ALIPRO released another strings album especially with the way Zekkoku TEMPEST opens the album with the beautifully done strings section.  I don’t know why, but there is just something about Arika’s vocals that just seems perfect in this kind of style of music which is pretty abstract and yet dark at the same time.  Talk about a dramatic song hahaha, it’s pretty good!

2. Dokuromajou no Mikotachi wa Eien ni Gensei no Yume wo Miru

Wow, talk about having a long ass title…Dokuromajou seems to have thrown the strings to the side for a more synth-based song and it’s a bit strange since it is after “Zekkoku TEMPEST”.  I’m not really sure how else to describe the song, but it’s very different, but then again this is ALIPRO we’re talking about.  It’s definitely not single-worthy, but it’s not bad…just something you have to get used to.

3. Heisei Nihon Zankoku Monogatari

Ok, the last song was weird alright, but Heisei Nihon Zankoku Monogatari is just a tad more off the wall.  I mean yeah, it’s slower than the previous song, but there’s so many weird ideas flying around in the song.  Arika’s singing is probably the best thing found in the song, but I keep getting weirded out from the strange atmosphere and arrangement.  I mean the rather hip-hopish beat is lulzy and when it gets poppier, it’s just iono….WEIIIIIIIIIIIIRD.

4. Paris to Gaku to Onna

I like that accordion begins our next song off with some low brass helping out.  I did feel like this song felt more grand and had a lot of purpose throughout.  There isn’t any percussion , until later in the song though, so it feels like it didn’t have exactly the best direction, but Arika sounds beautiful throughout.  There’s just a lot of sound to try to follow here and sometimes that’s kind of tough, but still it’s very pretty and reminds me of the duo’s strings albums.

5. SENGOKU GIRL

At least we get somewhere with SENGOKU GIRL which reminds me of their Lantis releases since it has some interesting ideas going around.  Also I’m surprised that SENGOKU GIRL has the hardest arrangement so far since there’s a lot of synths and guitars and even hearing song BKGD vocals worked as well.  There’s various parts where Arika was trying a little too hard for expressing herself, but I love the energy here for sure.

6. Shijin Juu Kaigoroshi

I immediately thought right from that start that Shijin Juu Kaigoroshi was going to be the oddest song since it was so lighthearted and such.  It does continue this Lantis song sound-alikes and I thought this one was a bit more since this was what I was expecting to hear from ALIPRO.  That being said, it kind of is forgettable in the long run just because it’s surrounded by so many weird songs on the album.

7. Rokumeikan Boogie-Woogie

A boogie-woogie?  I had no idea it was going to actually sound like that.  After the rather lengthy strings opening, the brass enters and the mood of the song turns into a lighter, yet quirky little tune because of the style of the song.  Let’s be honest though, it’s the easiest song to like simply because of the easy-to-follow arrangement and concrete style.  So for me it’s a favorite of mine.

8. Touhou Doukei Miken Bunroku

Another ethnic song huh?  Touhou Doukei Miken Bunroku is one strange sounding song, but it does have a rather cool bhangraish kind of thing going for it and I found myself entranced at how Arika manipulated her vocals to kind of sound like something in Indian.  However, I’m not used to this kind of vocal style from Arika and it comes off as whiny and kind of pitchy, but it’s still rather nice. 

9. Heiwa no Inshi

After such an oddball song, Heiwa no Inshi doesn’t help at all and just fuels the weirdness with this ethereal-like tune.  I find that after all of the weird, yet energetic songs this album produced, this one just seems to be so out of place since it’s relaxing and Arika’s vocals aren’t all over the map and such.  Different, but pretty!

10. Kono Kuni yo Shizuka ni Mezametamae (instrumental)

Since the 10th song is a pure instrumental, I was surprised that it was basically going to be strings-based and it’s not that bad…just a little boring since Arika isn’t singing or anything but it’s still nice and wraps up the album in good fashion.

Tracks Recommended

  • Rokumeikan Boogie-Woogie
  • SENGOKU GIRL
  • Heiwa to Inshi
  • Zekkoku TEMPEST

Song of Avoidance

  • Shijin Juu Kaigoroshi

ALIPRO and their Tokuma albums always stand out.  I think to me it’s the best place to sort of let go and experiment and likewise with their last Tokuma album, “Poison” they missed their mark by a big shot.  Han Shinnihon Shugi is definitely a step up, but there’s still some things to work out like vocals, and arrangements…but seriously, it’s not a bad album, just working out the kinks.

 

ALI PROJECT – Katana to Saya August 27, 2010

Filed under: ALI PROJECT — solarblade @ 5:10 am

Track Listing

  1. Katana to Saya
  2. Haizakura
  3. Katana to Saya (instrumental)
  4. Haizakura (instrumental)

1. Katana to Saya

The opening for Katana to Saya is so interesting to me because of how it moves, but once the song actually starts it becomes much lighter of a song and while I enjoy the stringwork within the song, Katana to Saya seems to have something missing that kind of disappointed me.  I mean the other were pretty energetic tunes from ALIPRO, but this one just felt a bit too safe for em…at least Arika sounds good in the song still.

2. Haizakura

Hey, you know it’s starting to become where ALIPRO’s better songs are the B-sides.  This song would be perfect on their next strings album since that’s just what it is here.  Arika’s vocals are calm and surprising quite opera-like which makes this such an amazing listen.  Definitely the preferred tune.

 

 

I was expecting one of the singles to somewhat slip after such amazing singles and with Katana to Saya it had to be the one with a cool name.  My problem was that the A-side is just a little too plain (and that’s kind of shocking since this is ALIPRO and all).  However, they won me over with Haizakura’s orchestral feel and her amazing vocals through it.  Time for a best-of yet?

 

ALI PROJECT – Ranse Eroica July 17, 2010

Filed under: ALI PROJECT — solarblade @ 8:39 pm

Track Listing

  1. Ranse Eroica
  2. Ude kaina
  3. Ranse Eroica (instrumental)
  4. Ude kaina (instrumental)

1. Ranse Eroica

I really don’t know how to describe Ranse Eroica fully because it’s so different than previous songs because it mixes their usual goth rock with electronica and it made a pretty interesting collision.  Arika’s vocals at first bothered me because they were filtered pretty heavily, but after that, it definitely gets better.  Pretty dramatic for a synthy song.  I do like it even though it sounds like a hot mess.

2. Ude kaina

Why does it seem like recently their B-sides have actually made the cover art seem right?  I mean “Takarajima” really captured the cover art for “Datengoku Sensen” quite perfectly.  Ude kaina follows the same, but not as obvious for the cover art here.  Unlike the energetic performance in “Ranse Eroica”, Ude kaina has a stronger orchestral feel mixed with small synth parts throughout.  Even Arika’s vocals sound more fuller and stronger as well giving the song a rather imperial feel to it.  Then again she always does these in flying colors.

 

 

I really am starting to fall for ALI PROJECT ever since I started reviewing them.  I think it’s the fact that they can bring originality with whatever they do and well is a duo that has been together even before I was born.  Ranse Eroica might slipped a slight bit with the arrangement being as wild as it is, but I did enjoy Ude kaina quite a bit.  Wonder what’s next for them.