Kurayami Monogatari

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Kanon Wakeshima – luminescence Q.E.D. December 21, 2016

Filed under: Kanon Wakeshima — solarblade @ 5:19 am

luminescence

Track Listing

  1. Unbalance by Me
  2. RIGHT LIGHT RISE
  3. the BEAST can’t BE STOpped
  4. odette
  5. Heibon na Boku
  6. Not For Sale Fossil
  7. Kimi wa Soleil
  8. Drink Drunk Music
  9. Love your enemies
  10. luminescence Q.E.D.

1. Unbalance by Me

Opening the album is the quote-on-quote 4th A-side (part of a double A-side, but the other A-side was not added).  Now what I mean was that the single wasn’t really released as its own release alongside the other singles, rather released in a book strangely enough.  Even from the single’s release, I wasn’t totally into the song as it felt almost a bit bland against to her past songs feeling like it was something off of “Tsukinami”.  I do like the addition of brass instruments and Kanon is upbeat and bright and that was a nice feel overall.

2. RIGHT LIGHT RISE

As the first A-side released for the album, RIGHT LIGHT RISE’s opening made me think of mariachi bands, but it was just a short excerpt before the actual song kicks in.  The track is a lot like “Unbalance by Me” with is upbeat nature.  Actually it has a lot of similarities and I wasn’t sure why she put the two songs side by side.  I think I might like this a smidge more because it’s a lot more anison overall.  Still it’s just ok.

3. the BEAST can’t BE STOpped

Finally we have some new songs to listen to. While I love the harder arrangement with an actual band setting, it was an oddball!  I do like Kanon’s loose vocals, but then she gets filtered and it’s a bit too messy for me.  Minus those parts, the song is pretty straightforward and the edgy tone to the song and to Kanon herself was a nice change of pace.

4. odette

Oh what’s this?  A song that kind of harkens back to her SONY days when her voice was more vulnerable and higher in range.  Though as the song moves forward, odette turns more into a cool bossa-nova-esque track and I just loved that quiet-end bar vibe from the song and its been a while since Kanon showed off more of her vocals doing some aerial flips.  It’s definitely an impressive track and really sticks out on the album.

5. Heibon na Boku

Continuing on, Heibon na Boku continues this rather unique style of music and from the intro, I wasn’t sure where she was heading towards since different instruments just kind of filter the headphones with no true direction.  After about a minute, the song finally finds its pace and the track is a cutesy track that comes off a bit like a Disney song that met Jazz in the middle.  For once as well it feels like Kanon’s vocals have gotten a LOT better.  As the album’s longest track, it’s quite nice!

6. Not For Sale Fossil

Just from looking at the title, I was like what is this one about lol.  After the more experimental tracks, Not For Sale Fossil definitely woke up with its strong arrangement.  Plus it sounds like the same producer who worked on “world’s end, girl’s rondo” ended up doing this track.  That being said, I loved that track and it’s quite the same for this song as it brings Kanon’s vocals to the front (even if her voice is layered oddly in the chorus).  It’s definitely a relentless song in its arrangement and a favorite off the album.

7. Kimi wa Soleil

As the 2nd single released for the album, Kimi wa Soleil was a single that I wasn’t fully interested in especially since the other A-sides were playing around with similarities and familiar styles and moods.  I will say that of the 4 A-sides, Kimi wa Soleil feels the lightest with a more acoustic tone and slower arrangement.  Though sadly, it’s not that memorable of a song for me otherwise.

8. Drink Drunk Music

I’m a bit surprised that this song wasn’t placed around “odette” and “Heibon na Boku” due to the arrangement style to be quite similar with a most snappy jazzy style.  Though I guess putting them together would end up being repetitive.  Anyway, I have to say this is the pinpoint jazz track off the album and just like the aforementioned songs showcases a LOT of Kanon’s more exciting vocals.  Still impressed nicely!

9. Love your enemies

As the 3rd single released, Love your enemies was definitely the favorite of the singles with a VERY dramatic arrangement but also fresh and just full of life in comparison.  I think this was when I started to see Kanon’s vocal training finally showing some direction and add an arrangement thats quick and heavy on the anison, I just thought it was an awesome track for her to release.  Impressive!  Plus, cello…where has that been?!?

10. luminescence Q.E.D.

Ending the album is the title track and while I don’t know what the Q.E.D. is standing for, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The tune is a slower pop/rock track for Kanon and it just kind of moves on by for me as it’s a bit dragging and Kanon is in more of a comfort zone with her singing too.  I don’t know why, but this song is one of the weaker ones in comparison to MANY of the other tracks here.

Tracks Recommended

  • Not For Sale Fossil
  • Love your enemies
  • odette
  • Drink Drunk Music
  • Heibon na Boku

Song of Avoidance

  • Kimi wa Soleil

As Kanon’s 4th album, luminescence Q.E.D. is a much better album than I felt with “Tsukinami” relying less on her cutesy anison sound and trying to pave her own identity.  Granted, the album had the A-sides to cater to that side of her, but the new songs really tackled some great styles!  I was also happy that it didn’t take as long to get this album out too xD.  Still, overall, it’s a decent album could be better, but what we got is a step up!

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Kanon Wakeshima – Unbalance by Me/Jiyuu Rakka to Pinocchio May 26, 2016

Filed under: Kanon Wakeshima — solarblade @ 6:28 am

unbalancebyme

Track Listing

  1. Unbalance by Me
  2. Jiyuu Rakka to Pinocchio
  3. Unbalance by Me -Instrumental-
  4. Jiyuu Rakka to Pinocchio -Instrumental-

1. Unbalance by Me

The first A-side caught me by surprise when I hear brass and strings together before Kanon starts to sing.  Unlike her recent anison songs, this tune feels bright and happier than normal and I liked the pep she has for the song.  The chorus though might not sound ultimately original or fresh, but she does sing strongly (her high notes are still struggling, but she didn’t break notes).    It comes off a little standard, but the trumpets add a little spice to her sound an I enjoyed that a lot!

2. Jiyuu Rakka to Pinocchio

The other leading track, Jiyuu Rakka to Pinocchio tones things down with a much lighter arrangement, including some guitars and strings this time.  Sadly, if I thought “Unbalance by Me” was a little generic, than this song might have beat it to the punch because I couldn’t remember a thing about it after a while.

 

 

I have to point out, this single isn’t a part of her main line of singles (she released this single within a book).  Not that it totally deviates from what she’s been releasing (kind of comes off as something familiar to when she came back after leaving SONY).  That said, the single didn’t really kindle any kind of flame as both songs just kind of ended up being background music most of the time.  Unbalance by Me is the better song though…just wonder why she released the two songs for the book and not just let it out as a full-on single..

 

Kanon Wakeshima – Love your enemies February 17, 2016

Filed under: Kanon Wakeshima — solarblade @ 3:23 am

loveyourenemies

Track Listing

  1. Love your enemies
  2. killy killy JOKER (re-mix ver.)
  3. world’s end, girl’s rondo (re-mix ver.)
  4. Love your enemies (instrumental)

1. Love your enemies

With an introduction that’s pretty dramatic,my attention was pulled in real quickly by the fast pace and liveliness Kanon was showing through the entire song on top of the return of her cello solos!  It’s definitely already much better than her last couple of A-sides with the amount of energy and spice Kanon spilled into the song.  It’s something that she really needed and it was pretty good, maybe her best since she redebuted onto her new label.

2. killy killy JOKER (re-mix ver.)

Though I was surprised to see the remainder of the single are just remixes of past A-sides of the “Tsukinami” era.  I was curious because remixes are few and far between in her discography.  The song opens up with a really haunting and creepy introduction with Kanon’s wispy vocals.  Though the song turns into a electronic beat-fest that almost falters into noise-pop a little, but it’s shortlived as it smooths out for Kanon to tackle the verses.  Though the chorus is just a rave party that hits VERY hard…interesting idea and I could get behind it a bit!

3. world’s end, girl’s rondo (re-mix ver.)

The other remix is for world’s end, girl’s rondo and it begins quite nicely with a smooth techno vibe and Kanon’s voice sounding a bit VOCALOID in execution.  While it isn’t as black and white with its direction like the “killy killy JOKER” remix, this is pretty cool and I could definitely enjoy this a LOT more in the long run as there’s a lot of tricks going on.

 

 

Wow, I was coming into this single thinking it would’ve been a bland single after how slightly disappointed I was with both “RIGHT LIGHT RISE” and “Kimi wa Soliel”.  Love your enemies is by far the best of the 3 A-sides she’s released so far and really is showing that Kanon can still do great music if she did it right and use her talents to fill in the otherwise anison gaps she has now.  The remixes were surprising, but definitely better than other artists who do them a lot.  Now I’m curious if there’s an album on the rise soon or what!

 

Kanon Wakeshima – Kimi wa Soleil November 25, 2015

Filed under: Kanon Wakeshima — solarblade @ 4:36 am

kimiwasoleil

Track Listing

  1. Kimi wa Soleil
  2. Princess Charleston
  3. Kimi wa Soleil (instrumental)
  4. Princess Charleston (instrumental)

1. Kimi wa Soleil

I’m happy to see Kanon just be as active as she is.  Kimi wa Soleil is a bit of a departure from her strings by being a more airy and acoustic guitar pop/rock song (think of miwa or YUI), but taking a more mid-tempo route.  Not gonna lie, the song does kind of paints a different picture for Kanon, but I’m not sure her fans will think this song is of much flair.  I suppose it’s OK, but after “RIGHT LIGHT RISE”, this is somewhat disappointing.

2. Princess Charleston

Interesting to see Kanon bring back one of her older songs (an album track from her sophomore effort, “Shoujo Jikake no Libretto ~LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO~”), Princess Charleston wasn’t just a typical recut!  The song added about two minutes in length and the arrangement is a bit more fleshed out.  The updated version is quite nice and it’s fun and eccentric and Kanon sounds a lot more bubbly than I thought she did in the original.

So the 2nd single to the era, Kimi wa Soleil might not have been a strong single for her, but it wasn’t a complete failure.  The leading track is a bit devoid of the cello and it sounds a bit vanilla if anything otherwise.  At least this updated Princess Charleston made things sound better and nicer.  I’m just curious to see what’s next!

 

Kanon Wakeshima – RIGHT LIGHT RISE April 25, 2015

Filed under: Kanon Wakeshima — solarblade @ 10:24 pm

rightlightrise

Track Listing

  1. RIGHT LIGHT RISE
  2. Mayday!
  3. RIGHT LIGHT RISE (instrumental)
  4. Mayday! (instrumental)

1. RIGHT LIGHT RISE

Uhhhh, why does this song sound like it opens up with a mariachi band?  Yeah, I wasn’t expecting the song to open up that way, but after that it becomes more of what I was expecting from Kanon (though it’s a bit of a pop/rock anison track).  I do like the sound of the song and Kanon’s voice is nice…it just shows that Kanon is moving further away from her cello skills it seems.  Eh, it’s OK…but really is a switch for her.

2. Mayday!

The B-side of the single, Mayday! is a bit more edgy with gritty guitars and yet has a slightly darker tinge in comparison to “RIGHT LIGHT RISE”.  I actually dug this song more than the A-side because I always thought Kanon sung these songs better as she can emote those feelings much better.  Very cool B-side!

Let’s be honest, I was ready to see Kanon go back for another long hiatus, but she quickly announced a new single so shortly after her 3rd album, “Tsukinami”.  RIGHT LIGHT RISE sadly is probably the most generic A-side she’s released yet.  The guitarwork is OK, but Kanon could’ve been replaced by any other artist who’d probably do it better justice.  Mayday! though was the better song, something more along the vein of what we’re used to.  With another A-side announced, seems like Warner has finally got her to be more active!

 

Kanon Wakeshima – Tsukinami March 6, 2015

Filed under: Kanon Wakeshima — solarblade @ 1:42 pm

tsukinami

Track Listing

  1. killy killy JOKER
  2. Tsukinami
  3. Sansukumi
  4. Chocolate
  5. signal
  6. Foul Play ni Kurari
  7. Sakura Meikyuu
  8. Geijitsuka no Kawaii Souzou-tachi
  9. Nightingale
  10. world’s end, girl’s rondo
  11. Monster Star

1. killy killy JOKER

A great choice to open the album up with her 3rd A-side she released for the album.  killy killy JOKER is still one of my favorite A-sides she’s released with it’s mix of anison and her cello skills.  I also thought Kanon’s vocal performance was pretty awesome too and just surprised me she could pull a song like this off and not rely on the dark themes of the past, well there is one part that does feel near that though after the awesome cello solo in the bridge.  Just an awesome way to kick this album off.

2. Tsukinami

Then we move onto the song that promoted the album (and is the title track as well).  Sadly, I can’t say too much about this song that I haven’t already said above which is worrying me slightly.  I will say Tsukinami is a little more upbeat than the previous track, but it’s still quite similar to “killy killy JOKER”.  I do like the piano and strings though, but I’m still not to keen about the similarities.

3. Sansukumi

At least we have a change of pace with Sansukumi which takes a VERY cute turn.  The intro was so cutesy and random with the sounds and then we get a mix of strings and electronics?  I can’t say I didn’t see this coming, but this is a nice and light albeit somewhat random track from Kanon.  Even she sounds quite different, yet fitting to the clash of styles.  After a while though, her melodies seem to be lost in the arrangement and it slightly bores me.  Still it is a unique tune for the album.

4. Chocolate

Ahhh~ A ballad comes our way?  I call it impressive already with the arrangement of strings and some flute (almost Disney-esque).  After the pretty intro, the piano starts to play a light-hearted melody before Kanon returns with a just-as happy vocal melody too.  It’s a playful and light song and I liked it a lot for sure…impressive~

5. signal

Then we get a string of A-sides starting with signal which was the 2nd A-side released.  When this was released, it was a year after the first single of the era and I wasn’t expecting her to pull off a ballad such as this.  Kanon’s wavering voice sounds pretty and surprisingly stronger than I had thought (especially when she hits the lower tones).  Amongst the album, it doesn’t sound like it’s catering to anything which is nice too.  It’s a bit weaker though against other songs here, but I have to say I do commend this song for showing Kanon’s vocal skills better than other songs.

6. Foul Play ni Kurari

Then we move back into the first single she released after her scramble with AN CAFE’s kanon.  As it was the first single she released post-Mana back in 2008, I was worried with how everything would turn out and this song was a track that I just couldn’t care for.  Yes, the kanon×kanon singles did try to warn me and have me slightly get used to it, but Foul Play ni Kurari was just a slap to everyone who thought she was going to stick with creepy themes (although this song can be creepy too).  The waltz-like atmosphere mixed with Kanon’s squeakier vocals was strange…nowadays I find it normal knowing she’s done worse than this.  Still not my cup of tea though.  Reminds me once again of a Disney song gone awry to be honest.

7. Sakura Meikyuu

Which is ironic that it’s sister A-side would once again find itself coming after it.  Sakura Meikyuu was the more familiar sounding track as a fan at the time.  It isn’t downright scary like “still doll”, “Suna no Oshiro” and “Shoujo Jikake no Libretto”, but it did have elements to show that she kind of evolved from that and added some more oomph to the song and not sing in the whispery style we’ve been so used to.  My thoughts on this tune has gotten better and it suits the album funny enough, not bad!

8. Geijitsuka no Kawaii Souzou-tachi

Before I talk about the track, there is a download out there that screwed this song up and replaced it with some C-pop track (reminds me of the bullshit that was pulled on Kana Nishino’s “Love Place” album…At least I found it before I did this review.  This song is the bizarre one of the album for me as it plays around some big band stuff.  Piano, brass, and saxes are abound in the track and Kanon surprisingly sounds good in the setting (maybe not too much in the chorus) but wow…a guitar solo as well!  It’s fun, upbeat and doesn’t make me wanna gag like “moonlight party” did.  Definitely reminded me of the experimental side of “Shoujo Jikake no Libretto ~LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO~”.  Impressive song for the most part, but that chorus needed to be toned down a little.

9. Nightingale

Our next new track, Nightingale continues to give me this vibe of a live setting, by being possibly bossa nova-ish?  Maybe not, but it’s a really nice feel I’m getting and Kanon sounds so much more relaxed and singing in a lower tone than in the previous track.  It’s a really silky smooth song for Kanon and she pulled it off gracefully and I loved how this one turned out, even though it is a pretty short song at 3:30 in length.

10. world’s end, girl’s rondo

What’s there to be said about this one?  It’s still my favorite A-side from Kanon since the “Shinshoku Dolce” days that’s for sure lol.  Plus it helps that she did a lot of work for this one AND Ryo Eguchi of la la larks fame helped out in this one which explains why it sounds a bit like a song from them (or school food punishment).  That said, the song while anison, has a lot of color and Kanon sounds pretty here for sure!  Yeah, still a pretty awesome song overall and I hope she gets to work with him again in the future.

11. Monster Star

The album ends with Monster Star and I was expecting it to be kind of a mid-tempo ballad with a slightly cutesy touch to it.  I was slightly hoping it would’ve had a darker tinge, but it’s a bit for from that.  If I had to say, it reminds me of something YUKI would’ve released with the slow pace and some of the chords mixed with the arrangement (especially the trumpets…that was odd).  Strange song to close the album off with I’d say, but not crappy.

Tracks Recommended

  • Nightingale
  • world’s end, girl’s rondo
  • killy killy JOKER
  • Chocolate
  • Geijitsuka no Kawaii Souzou-tachi

Song of Avoidance

  • Foul Play ni Kurari

It’s been almost 5 years since Kanon’s last album, “Shoujo Jikake no Libretto ~LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO~” was released so the wait for her 3rd studio album has been quite painful to say the least.  As the first album under Warner, Tsukinami was an overall good album!  The giant shift of walking away from a gothic sound was a bit abrasive at first, but it does work as she’s been growing as a singer and cellist alongside new talents like writing her own stuff and it was a solid piece of work.  She could try not being overly anison in some songs and avoid mishaps like Foul Play ni Kurari and “moonlight party” (which is great none of the B-sides made the cut this time around).  Still it’s a nice comeback that’s for sure!

 

Kanon Wakeshima – world’s end, girl’s rondo October 12, 2014

Filed under: Kanon Wakeshima — solarblade @ 3:26 pm

worldsendgirlsrondo

Track Listing

  1. world’s end, girl’s rondo
  2. continue
  3. world’s end, girl’s rondo (instrumental)
  4. continue (instrumental)

1. world’s end, girl’s rondo

When I first heard this song, I was wondering if she was working with ex-members of school food punishment (probably because the producer is someone that did work with sfp!), because the arrangement just has that spice of life that the band had brought.  Add on Kanon’s cello and style of voice, this song was a pretty awesome experience to listen!  Kanon’s vocals suited the style of the track and Kanon wasn’t trying to pierce my ears with her voice!  Definitely a wild song, but one of her best post-Mana.

2. continue

As for the B-side, continue feels like something that would’ve been found earlier in the era due to its anison nature in comparison to “world’s end, girl’s rondo”.  Kanon’s voice tries to become a little more broad in vision and she does crack, but she gives a nice dramatic glow about it.  That said, I love the chorus since she shone more than the verses.  To me, it’s OK at best, but nothing really pops out at me as a whole.

 

 

As her 4th single (are we planning an album, Kanon?), world’s end, girl’s rondo is definitely my favorite of her A-sides yet, which might be brought on because of Ryo Eguchi’s style he brings with his works so Kanon tackled it amazingly!  The B-side is a slight bit generic, but it’s nowhere near as terrible as “moonlight party” was!  I just want an album now!