Kurayami Monogatari

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Kaori Mochida – manu a manu August 20, 2012

Filed under: Kaori Mochida — solarblade @ 8:01 am

Track Listing

  1. manu a manu
  2. Megumi
  3. HAJIMARI
  4. Utsukushii Uruwashiki Hito
  5. Ame wa Tsurezure ni
  6. Yasashiku Naretara
  7. tokyo hotaru
  8. State of mind
  9. Kanashii Toki mo Ureshii Toki mo
  10. to -album version-
  11. Yoake

1. manu a manu

A short introductory piece, manu a manu is Kaori singing under a filter in an unusually hypnotic way.  As for arrangement, it’s just a piano though it’s played like chords.  It’s pretty basic, but I guess it’s nice as a short intro. 

2. Megumi

Moving onto the first full track, Megumi was the primary A-side of the second single released.  I’ve always thought of Megumi as the morning song because of its bright atmosphere and happy-go-lucky sound from Kaori.  She still sounds a little bit lazy but it’s not bad and she puts a bit of effort into keeping things bright.  I like it and brings good things out from her.

3. HAJIMARI

As the first new track, HAJIMARI to me was a little strange because it’s bouncy and kind of like the stuff from “moka”.  You know, the laidback coffee-drinking sound.  Her voice has also seem to gotten into a cute mode which bothers me a little bit, but it’s not overbearing.  Not bad, but nothing exciting either.

4. Utsukushii Uruwashiki Hito

As the 3rd A-side, Utsukushii Uruwashiki Hito is probably my favorite released in the era.  I just like how simple and how much it feels like a lullaby to my ears.  Add in that Kaori’s vocals aren’t as odd like in “HAJIMARI”.  Then again, I was surprised that this was the longest track on the album at 5:40.  Yeah, this was a pretty sweet track ^_^

5. Ame wa Tsurezure ni

Back to new tracks, Ame wa Tsuresure ni to me is coined as the new weird song for Kaori.  I mwan it has glockenspiel and accordion which kind of makes it sound like a depressing circus song.  I guess you can say that it’s surprisingly unique for the album.  Kind of a cynical kind of tone but I’m sure it’s lighthearted with the lyrics…I don’t know…but I like this XD.

6. Yasashisa Naretara

I’m kind of off and on with Kaori’s ballads but Yasashisa Naretara is quite boring to me for being just her and acoustic guitar.  It just sounds a little too basic and needed some background support IMO.  I just don’t find anything remotely interesting about it (sounds like “green” but less instrumentation).

7. tokyo hotaru

Unfortunately, the boredom continues with the B-side from “Utsukushii Uruwashiki Hito”.  Actually the way it starts feels like it’s more of a continuation from “Yasashisa Naretara” but this actually gets the boost of extra instrumentation as time goes on.  That’s really the only big change to be had.  Her voice does sound stronger but she has moments of bad vocals, but I like this a bit more than the last track.

8. State of mind

Another one of these tracks?  I’m already starting to doze off in this album.  At least things pick up shortly after and starts to get better though I’m noticing that Kaori is pretty bad at English because I couldn’t tell what she was saying most of the time.  It’s another “moka”-inspired song but I think I like the other one much better.

9. Kanashii Toki mo Ureshii Toki mo

It’s funny, since I can barely remember this song as it was the secondary A-side off the second single during this era.  However, like “tokyo hotaru”, this song kind of sounds like a night time tune and it works because it contrasted from “Megumi’s” sunny disposition.  I kind of enjoy the song still a lot more than a lot of others on this album.

10. to -album version-

As the first single released last year (though it kind of was pushed back because it was originally supposed to release in March, but the earthquake set it back quite a bit).  I was a bit surprised that this song got a new version but it was needed since I couldn’t remember A THING about it.  It’s a bit more minimalistic with less strings involved but being replaced by whistling XD.  I do feel as if it’s a bit more campfire friendly but it’s a lot better (and more memorable) than its original counterpart.

11. Yoake

Closing the album out, Yoake has a nice ending feel to it since it’s slow and the arrangement is simple but different.  It’s a relaxing track which has a kind of old time feel to it which sounds good.  Kaori also sings nicely and it closes the album on a nice note.

Tracks Recommended

  • Utsukushii Uruwashiki Hito
  • Ame wa Tsurezure ni
  • Megumi
  • to -album version-
  • Kanashii Toki mo Ureshii Toki mo

Song of Avoidance

  • Yasashisa Naretara

I might actually consider this to be her best album yet.  While I do think that this album did start to get boring in the middle, everything else was a lot more memorable and stronger of a release than both “moka” and “NIU”.  Maybe it’s a turning point for her?  Keep things more interesting and leave out the boring songs XD

 

Kaori Mochida – Utsukushiki Uruwashiki Hito June 8, 2012

Filed under: Kaori Mochida — solarblade @ 5:49 am

Track Listing

  1. Utsukushiki Uruwashiki Hito
  2. tokyo hotaru

1. Utsukushiki Uruwashiki Hito

After “Megumi”, it wasn’t surprising that her next A-side was going to be quite lighter and more of a ballad than anything else.  I like that it sounds like a pretty song to play during the night because it has a quiet and lullaby-like arramgement that just soothes ya down and relaxes your mind.  I will say that I’m surprised that I enjoyed the song because she’s done stuff like this and I was kind of bored with it.  This one is a lot more engaging though…plus it helps that Kaori’s vocals are really nice!

2. tokyo hotaru

Which leads into our next track and this is what I meant by ballads but no substance really.  Instead of the nice nighttime feel, tokyo hotaru sounds like it’s in the dead of night.  It’s a lot more quiet and the percussion kind of comes and goes through the song.  At least the chorus brings some life into the song but her vocals do crack a little bit since it’s the loudest parts of the song.  It just moves too slow for me…like “green”.

 

 

I’m surprised that Kaori would release a single so quickly after her last one *prepping for an album?*  Utsukushii Uruwashiki Hito is a nice track and a good opposite to “Megumi’s” happy theme.  It’s just a good and calming song for me and is more impressive than said song.  tokyo hotaru though was trying to deepen the mood…but it ended up falling flat…kind of boring (cept that chorus) lol.

 

Kaori Mochida – Megumi/Kanashii Toki mo Ureshii Toki mo May 20, 2012

Filed under: Kaori Mochida — solarblade @ 7:42 am

Track Listing

  1. Megumi
  2. Kanashii Toki mo Ureshii Toki mo

1. Megumi

It’s been quite a while since we’ve heard an upbeat A-side from Kaori hasn’t it.  At least there isn’t much weirdness going unlike back on “Ame no Waltz”.  Megumi is quite a sunny day song which she’s quite good at since those songs pull me in better than her ballad do.  It’s still pretty much to her roots and that means it feels like it’s nothing VERY new.  Still, I do have to give it props because it’s my favorite A-side from her since coming back into the solo game.

2. Kanashii Toki no Ureshii Toki mo

Talking the other A-side now, Kanashii Toki mo Ureshii Toki mo is also kind of upbeat but in a more quiet fashion (if that makes sense to anyone).  I will say that hearing the piano at the forefront was a nice move to the song since it feels a bit more like a song that could be played at night…a nice contrast to “Megumi” basically. 

 

 

Taking a year long break from her solo career (to get back to ELT work), this single was really nice and felt like she got rejuvenated for this.  Megumi and Kanashii Toki mo Ureshii Toki mo are both good and lively little tunes to make the day/night better.  Also it’s so much better than the rather unimpressive “to” (I can’t even remember what that sounds like).  With another single on the way, it makes me wonder if she’s cooking up a third album ^_^

 

Kaori Mochida – to April 24, 2011

Filed under: Kaori Mochida — solarblade @ 7:11 pm

Track Listing

  1. to
  2. to (Instrumental)

1. to

As the only song on the single, to doesn’t seem to really move Kaori in any direction IMO.  I do think the fact that it’s a positive kind of tune is pretty sweet and it isn’t as bland and boring like “green” was fortunately.  It’s interesting since it has this kind of 70’ish happy pop feel to it that surprises me but the drums in the chorus were weird, at least to me.  I don’t know, song is alright…but many songs from “NIU” were much better.

I don’t exactly know why this is a one track single essentially since to is definitely not enough to warrant to be an A-side.  I mean it is better than her last single “green/Acacia”…but it’s still pretty much disappointing on some levels.  I hope there’s something better next release.

 

Kaori Mochida – NIU August 26, 2010

Filed under: Kaori Mochida — solarblade @ 6:14 am

Track Listing

  1. Bolero
  2. Pocket
  3. Haruiro
  4. Morning
  5. mind sound
  6. sora
  7. Kimi no Tomodachi
  8. Night Cats
  9. Ai no Hana
  10. green
  11. Kuchibue
  12. NIU

1. Bolero

I was wondering if it was going to be true that the song was going to be stylized and I was happy it was actually.  I liked that the album began smoothly with Bolero since it shows off something calming and rather sweet.  Now I’m hearing male vocals singing along with Kaori which is different but nice.  It’s an interesting way to kick off the album, but nice one.

2. Pocket

My problem I had with Kaori’s debut album was that her music wasn’t really stretching out from a soft pop side which sucked.  Pocket kind of goes back to those days, but the simplicity when compared to the last song is nice enough to make it stand out.  It’s a good piano/acoustic tune for people that enjoy this side and the solo was a nice touch to give it a more soothing feel.

3. Haruiro

I really thought the opening for Haruiro was really cool since it was a full orchestra.  The sad thing is that this song sounds so much like a damn lullaby that it does make me fall asleep even though its style in waltz is pretty good.  I think it could be good on a day where I’d be more awake XD

4. Morning

I guess that’s why we have Morning which is a pretty long song over 6 minutes.  In comparison to “Haruiro” it does seem to work after it because while the former track has a sleepy feel to it, Morning actually feels like the sun is rising and things are beginning to move around.  Her vocals has had better days though, but I don’t find them too scratched up like they were in “Acacia”.  I actually am fond of this tune now.

5. mind sound

There’s something that just doesn’t click with me when we enter our next song.  I mean so far on the album, this is the most simplest yet with only acoustic guitar and light percussion.  It’s not that that bothers me though.  It’s Kaori this time around and the way her vocals were produced on here kind of made me cringe a little bit.  At least it’s not for all of the song so it’s just those few parts where it’s rough.  It’s her cute song though so I can’t blame totally.  Otherwise she pulled this song nicely and after a while I can see why it’s just cute.

6. sora

I was kind of surprised to hear sora.  This song is definitely should be played outside of headphones because the slight electronic buzz and shit really hurts my ears.  It’s like a school food punishment song but without the band and with Kaori’s vocals.  In my opinion the song could’ve been good without the damn electronic shit going on, but it’s good when you’re paying attention to the piano, the repeated rhythm, and Kaori’s soft vocals.

7. Kimi no Tomodachi

As the album’s longest song, Kimi no Tomodachi is just like her previous songs…you know, softly sung, the arrangement is just as light and such.  The good thing though that seperates it from her other songs is that it builds itself through the entire song and shows off Kaori’s vocals way better than most of the other songs.  I actually think of Cirque du Soleil when the later parts with the accordion pop up to add more spice…it’s so different and yet done so nicely.  It’s probably my favorite track off the album.

8. Night Cats

Night Cats sounded like it was going to be a jazzy tune and boy was I right on target.  It’s pretty sly-sounding and I think the song is entirely in English (well at least I hope it is because Kaori’s pronunciation is kind of crap here).  No blame there and at least her vocals sound cool in a jazz setting.  No complaints here.

9. Ai no Hana

Why wasn’t Ai no Hana right after “Bolero” eh?  I mean they both sound somewhat similar in an odd way.  After that it seems that the song goes in a different direction however.  It sounds almost like Kaori is trying to be a R&B artist.  It’s like 90’s R&B but light and fluffy which is cool to hear.  Then it seems like it goes back to the slight jazzy sound in the chorus.  Ai no Hana fits Kaori’s vocals like a glove and seemed so perfect.  Even her ad-libbing at the end was to die for!

10. green

As the lone A-side preceding the album, green sucks on this album altogether.  I mean after all the different styles we got on NIU, it just seems green is the throwaway track because it seems a bit too simple of a song on here.  Like it stays on ultra ballad mode it seems until at least the middle of the song where it opens it to strings and drums but even then, it’s like wouldn’t it better off on “moka”?  It’s just that plain and it shows moreso here.

11. Kuchibue

I thought it was even worse putting another plain ballad after “green”.  It’s just a bit of a deja vu moment since I thought the beginning of the track before was pretty boring and it happened again here.  At least it gets to more instruments faster and there’s a toy piano played here as well which caught me off guard.  There’s even a whistle solo, which is cool too.  Though I was like that was fast because by that time, it’s almost near the end of the song…I’d say it’s a condensed but better song than “green”.

12. NIU

As the album title (strange one at that, I wonder what’s the explanation for it).  NIU starts off with a nice oboe solo before keyboard comes in and gives this rather interesting arrangement.  I’m happy that it’s not a boring ballad, but a lot of it sounds like ad-libbing especially at first time in the bridge with the whole repeating thing going.  It’s an absurd little tune, but it did make me smile at the end so that’s good!

Tracks Recommended

  • Kimi no Tomodachi
  • Morning
  • Ai no Hana
  • Bolero
  • NIU

Song of Avoidance

  • sora

I was preparing for the worst after “green/Acacia” since that single was just a bomb and neither songs really showed improvement (well Acacia was before “moka” so that is forgotten).  For the most part, NIU is a much better album to listen to since it wasn’t sleep-inducing for the most part.  Now I know I disliked green alot but sora is there because it hurts to listen to it….OMG so evil.  Still besides those two, the other songs are nice enough to not sound like each other and is worth a listen ^_^

 

Kaori Mochida × JOURNAL STANDARD – green/Acacia August 5, 2010

Filed under: Kaori Mochida — solarblade @ 10:00 pm

Track Listing

  1. green
  2. Acacia

1. green

I don’t know how to feel about green really.  I mean it continues her ballads which she’s had a lot of in the “moka” era and hearing another one kind of just makes me wanna roll my eyes.  It begins with just Kaori and some piano and after her first verse, more instruments are added in like strings, acoustic guitar, and light percussion.  I mean even after that the song fails to capture me attention and just bores me the rest of the way.

2. Acacia

Supposedly this song was done first back in 2008 right after “Door’s” release (Every Little Thing album BTW).  That being said, Kaori sounds a bit more scratchy sounding in singing compared to what she sounded like in “green”.  The arrangement isn’t made by Kaori, but it still kind of bores me except when the traditional Japanese instrumentation is heard, but when it isn’t playing, the rest of the song just falls flat again.

 

 

Being the lone single represention Kaori’s upcoming album “NIU”, I was pretty disappointed in the single.  I mean yeah she’s been mostly for ballads and mid-tempo songs throughout her solo career so it shouldn’t have surprised me we got that with both songs, but they were both so boring (the latter being the better of the two).  I can see why Acacia isn’t going to be on the albun since it’s old, but green just shouldn’t be present since it’s that blahhhhh.  If you were wondering what JOURNAL STANDARD had to do with the single, it’s a clothing line and is what’s inside the release so they really had nothing to do with the songs.

 

Kaori Mochida – moka August 11, 2009

Filed under: Kaori Mochida — solarblade @ 3:29 pm

moka

Track Listing

  1. Hajimari to wa
  2. Drop
  3. TAO
  4. weather
  5. Ame no Waltz
  6. ABC
  7. Real or Imagined
  8. PLEASE ME
  9. Shizuka na Yoru
  10. Kimi no Kureta Sekai
  11. Nemure Nemuru
  12. Every day Love

1. Hajimari to wa

Ahhhh, the album opens up in a pretty soothing way with flute.  The song itself really does show the simplicity of the album with more of an acoustic drive than anything of her ELT stuff.  It’s a bit relaxing and kind of sounds loungy, especially in the middle of the track when it goes instrumental.  I think it was a pretty soothing way to open up.

2. Drop

Drop is a bit of an oddity track on the album as it features a bit more synth then most of the tracks.  It does have that Western kind of feeling going on and I kind of enjoyed it especially since it was on Kaori’s first single of the era.  The acoustic vibe continues on and even then, it’s quite simple.  The percussion though is definitely something to notice in the song.  Nice B-side if you ask me.

3. TAO

Whenever I see TAO, I think of DAI’s track of the same name before figuring out that it’s Kaori’s track not theirs.  So far, this song doesn’t exactly make me interested.  It’s an acoustic and piano track, but sadly it doesn’t really go anywhere for me and while it does come off as a lullaby…Kaori’s vocals aren’t doing so hot here.  I’m not really impressed by this track.

4. weather

After that really boring track, we get weather the secondary A-side off her final single of the era.  I continue to enjoy its lighthearted pop sound and even though whenever I hear this track it makes me think of Rie fu, weather is a pretty good track from Kaori.  One of my favorite’s from the album.

5. Ame no Waltz

Ame no Waltz began the era off very strangely.  Collaborating with SAKEROCK, Kaori chose an interesting song to make an A-side.  Of course the song is in a waltz style, but it’s kind of comical in the least.  The way it flows just throws the album off kind of.  Yeah the clumsy feeling worked so well and I laugh whenever the brass comes in at various parts to make a short statement.   Pretty fun way to begin the album.

6. ABC

Uhmmm….Kaori, you really are one weird artist.  We leave the waltz track into the interlude of the album and basically showing off Kaori’s English skills by her spelling out the alphabet and saying what one letter is like ~a is for apple~.  Even then, she’s really hard to understand most of the time because of the messy Engrish that’s all over it.  Cute?  maybe, but totally random.

7. Real or Imagined

We get out of the strange arrangements and into some normal tracks with Real or Imagined.  Once again, Kaori’s simplistic arrangement of the song doesn’t surprise nor does entice me to keep on listening to the track for too long.  Nothing really pops out and seems to drag itself the entire time. 

8. PLEASE ME

Oh wow, PLEASE ME is definitely a new touch to the album as it sounds like something islandy.  It might just because the piano and drums are more festive like, but I really loved the arrangement.  Kaori is also showing a lot more interest as her vocals are more alive and higher pitched.  It could also be jazz-related as well, so the mix of the two sounds really nice.  Another great track.

9. Shizuka na Yoru

Representing the final A-side of the era, Shizuka na Yoru was at first pretty boring at the start since it was just Kaori and piano and like I said back in “TAO”, the song really doesn’t work with Kaori when it’s just that.  Once the strings and jazz elements come in, the song does get way better which is a fortunate thing, but I still would’ve had changed the beginning up a little bit. 

10. Kimi no Kureta Sekai

Though, it’s funny to really hear steel drums open up our next track.  Why is the more islandy songs off the album sound a lot more interesting than a good portion of the other tracks.  Kaori still sounds really nice considering she doesn’t have the best vocals out there, but this is a really nice track.

11. Nemure Nemuru

Wow, Nemure Nemuru is a lot slower than the previous track.  Sadly, it once again shows the boredom of some of her tracks.  It still has the steel drum to try to spice things up and mixing it with Kaori’s almost distant vocals, it kind of flies by my head.  It could be memorable after awhile, but that’s just because I’m fascinated by the steel drums.

12. Every day Love

Our final track is rather a short on being under 3 minutes.  There’s not too much to the song besides piano and some bells.  She kind of dragged this track along as well and besides her nice vocals, the song is weird.  Especially in the later half as the song gets some synths put in place of Kaori’s vocal melody….strange idea indeed and I’m not entirely sure I like that.

Tracks Recommended

  • PLEASE ME
  • Ame no Waltz
  • Kimi no Kureta Sekai
  • Drop

Song of Avoidance

  • Real or Imagined

Kaori’s debut album is alright for the kind of listeners that want something to listen to while reading a book or something.  For me, it was a bit of a hard listen as my mind kept drifting off.  It’s not too bad of an album, but the songs lacked a punch to it (maybe except Ame no Waltz”) even then, this is totally different from ELT-released stuff.  I know moka is a play on words of her name, but you’ll enjoy this album if there’s mocha around, get it? ^_^ XDDDD