Kurayami Monogatari

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KOTOKO – tears cyclone -Kai- September 16, 2018

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 4:36 am

tearscyclone

Track Listing

  1. nonfiction ~Akuma no Sumu Wakusei~
  2. Hibari
  3. Natsu Koi
  4. Onyx
  5. effacer
  6. Sign of Suspicion
  7. a-gain
  8. Kaiten Mokuba
  9. Myuge no Hanataba wo, Kimi e
  10. dusty days
  11. SA*KU*RA Hakusho
  12. Kai-Ro-tation

Bonus CD Tracklist

  1. sign -KOTOKO Ver. Remix- (Tomoyuki Nakazawa Remix)

1. nonfiction ~Akuma no Sumu Wakusei~

Opening the album up, KOTOKO brings nonfiction as the first track and learning the album is entirely produced by Kazuya Takase (a familiar name to I’ve Sound fans), I have a feeling a lot of the album will be this deep electro sound.  Of course I was right with the first track as the familiar sounds of Takase’s works can be heard here.  It sounds similar to numerous tracks within KOTOKO’s discograhphy (actually pretty close to “SCREW” if anything).  KOTOKO sounds more or less the same she’s as always been, but I always enjoy hearing her with this kind of arrangement so it definitely in the end worked out great and kicks things off on a good note!

2. Hibari

2nd track in and we already get our longest track?  Hibari does start off quite differently than I expected with angry guitarwork and almost a metal-like style before the tune changes pace to include synths and the tune turns more anison in style.  I kind of would’ve preferred the former style and Hibari kind of becomes a mid-tempo track with spots of this aggressive rock sound in certain spots.  Just a bit too long and it kind of drags past the halfway mark.

3. Natsu Koi

Back to more of the electronic stuff, but it does feel like it carries some of the same synths used in “Hibari” here as well, just taking out the guitars essentially.  I’m liking the interesting melody and rhythms used in the verses of the track and while it’s pretty poppy, it’s kind of a decent track here.  Maybe if it was a smidge faster in its BPM then it would’ve been a favorite, but it’s decent the way it sounds now.

4. Onyx

Seems like our next track is back to the same mood and style that “nonfiction” had with the deep synth electro arrangement.  Though this one definitely fits more of the cool and mysterious sound.  There is an area where it does lighten up with piano, but the cool, cold sound returns pretty quickly.  I have to say that so far, this is my favorite track off the album!

5. effacer

Not sure what to think about this song next because it’s got a more upbeat and poppy sound even moreso than “Natsu Koi”, almost playing to KOTOKO’s songs she’s done for “SHORT CIRCUIT” with a stronger anison influence and KOTOTO’s style of singing here is a bit more cutesy.  I don’t know why, but this song just feels awkward to me and isn’t one that works with me.

6. Sign of Suspicion

So I only bolded this song because this has been released physically as far as I know on the I’ve Sound compilation album, “ALIVE”.  So this song is very familiar to me and its inclusion of other songs like “TOUGH INTENTION” & “ZonE-iT” is kind of strange.  This is definitely the most anison song I’ve come across yet on this album, but it has a certain vibe to it that feels nostalgic to me.  I would say it’s decent of a song, definitely not as strong as “Onyx” but OK song.

7. a-gain

So KOTOKO decided to I guess cover 2 of former singer, Ray’s songs on this album (if I recall, KOTOKO written the songs so it’s more like a self-cover? like the RO-KYU-BU! song she did off of her previous album, “Kuchuu Puzzle”).  I never got to hear the original, but I assume it’s similar?  I do like the ethereal glow of the song and it steadily grows a dance beat and it sounds happy and bright.  It’s a nice track, stands out from the album in a cute way…yeah this is how you do a cute song…not “effacer”.

8. Kaiten Mokuba

I kind of like the piano/strings intro for our next track, but it’s shortlived as it’s quickly replaced trance synths and the familiar Takase arrangement.  I think there’s a bit more quirks about the tune than just the standard sound, but in one way makes me think of a MELL song and the other has more originality behind how it works.  I think it’s a bizarre song because of the transitions, but it keeps my interest intact throughout.

9. Myuge no Hanataba wo, Kimi e

Is this a ballad we’re dealing with?  I guess as close to one as Takase can get on the album, but it’s the slowest track here and it feels like a mid-tempo anison track.  Unlike the synths, there’s more natural instruments and the kind of pop/rock sound is a change of pace, but the tune is kind of bland and sticks out in a weird way for the album.  Just not that intriguing of a song.

10. dusty days

At least we get somewhat of a proper pop/rock track with the next one, dusty days.  While it might be the same levels as what “Light My Fire” was pulling off, this song was pretty decent and gave us a straightforward tune.  Nothing too bad to say, but I’d say it was good, but nothing quite amazing…passable essentially.

11. SA*KU*RA Hakusho

I was not expecting the song to open up with KOTOKO under filters singing in English to open this track.  Is it just me or does it remind me of something like a mix of “Onyx”, “Sign of Suspicion” and “a-gain” all kind of smushed together?  It’s a nice track, but it does feel like it plays a little too safely and for that, doesn’t leave much of an impression on me besides being a cuter upbeat track.

12. Kai-Ro-tation

As the album’s final song and was chosen to get a PV and promote the album, Kai-Ro-tation was more of what I kind of was expecting the album to mostly be.  Though after listening through the entire album, I was actually happy to see this song which unlike many of the songs is more of the aggressive electro sound, but I’m loving that it’s more gritty than Takase’s other works.  Yeah, this was an awesome song…surprised it was the final track, but definitely saved one of the bests for last.

CD 2

1. sign -KOTOKO Ver. Remix- (Tomoyuki Nakazawa Remix)

Though for some reason, KOTOKO once again had a bonus track that contained a bonus track, this time another Ray cover, but it’s a remix as well (the only thing Takase didn’t have a hand on).  Honestly, I’m not sure why this is a thing, but hey it’s whatever.  I do like the arrangement as it feels almost video-game-ish but somewhat poppy too?  It’s nice and whatnot, but seems odd to include for the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • Onyx
  • Kai-Ro-tation
  • nonfiction ~Akuma no Sumu Wakusei~
  • a-gain
  • Natsu Koi

Song of Avoidance

  • effacer

It seems like forever sine KOTOKO released an album, but here we are with tears cyclone -Kai-!  A little surprised that the two singles released in between album were omitted with an entirely Takase-produced album and it has good and bad moments throughout, figured it’d happen when it’s one guy.  There’s some variation to be found, but I felt most of the album was kind of like throwaway album tracks, nothing like the crazy stuff found on her last album.  It’s OK I guess, but there’s better!

 

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KOTOKO – ZoNE-iT September 30, 2015

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 5:41 am

zoneit

Track Listing

  1. ZoNE-iT
  2. call
  3. ZoNE-iT (instrumental)
  4. call (instrumental)

1. ZoNE-iT

You know, KOTOKO tricked me with that opening intro being all nice and pretty before doing a 180 and throwing a rock song in my face hahaha!  The song itself is pretty damn catchy and KOTOKO is up to her usual vocal trips that I’m just used to it now and she brings power to an already edgy song.  Probably my favorite A-side since “Light My Fire”.

2. call

The B-side on the other hand does take itself a bit lighter (maybe more like a mid-tempo rock song).  KOTOKO also took things a bit slower as well by using a more lighter and wispy tone for the verses and coming out in the pre-chorus and chorus which is really nice to hear!  It’s nice to see KOTOKO sing songs like these as it shows a more grand view of her voice and emotions and it really makes the song pop out (she should do more of these in the future!).

Another single I’ve missed out, this late 2014 single is actually pretty good for KOTOKO.  Neither song did anything to hurt her sound and I feel like rock is very good on her (though I don’t want her to totally avoid electro).  ZoNE-iT really makes me hope she releases more sometime soon!

 

KOTOKO – TOUGH INTENTION July 25, 2014

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 1:52 am

toughintention

Track Listing

  1. TOUGH INTENTION
  2. ARCH
  3. TOUGH INTENTION (instrumental)
  4. ARCH (instrumental)

1. TOUGH INTENTION

Ahhh, KOTOKO is back!  The leading song, TOUGH INTENTION is quite heavy and has a strong rock atmosphere with a slight anison touch.  Think “Light My Fire” but slightly lighter in the arrangement.  KOTOKO’s voice sounds a little more straightforward and stable unlike some of her other tracks where she overdoes it.  I didn’t expect that the mid8 would include her male background singers to start chanting it up but it’s a nice addition.  Overall it’s plain, but a passable track from KOTOKO.

2. ARCH

As for the B-side, ARCH starts muffled and under filters to kind of sound mysterious but goes away when the actual verses kick in.  My first thought is this song is slightly more anison and less powerful than “TOUGH INTENTION”.  I mean this could’ve been a “SHORT CIRCUIT” song if she had hiked her vocals higher.  Eh not all that memorable.

 

 

KOTOKO begins a new era off with a rather unmemorable single with TOUGH INTENTION.  They both seemed to lack a sense of energy musically and while KOTOKO’s vocals were quite nice, it really didn’t do much for either the A-side or ARCH.  I was kind of expecting more out, but maybe she’ll get better as this era moves on.

 

KOTOKO – Kuchu Puzzle December 4, 2013

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 10:37 am

kuchupuzzle

Track Listing

  1. My-Les
  2. WING OF ZERO -the ring-
  3. Kuchu Puzzle
  4. frozen fir tree
  5. Light My Fire
  6. Damare yo, Peter
  7. SHOOT! -KOTOKO ver.-
  8. Fushi-Gina-Ana
  9. Rock☆DE Fruit Basket♪
  10. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo
  11. Loop-the-Loop
  12. Restart
  13. P◇lyG△n
  14. →unfinished→ -Album ver.-

CD2

  1. →unfinished→ -English ver.-

1. My-Les

KOTOKO opens up her 6th album with the promotional song used for the album, My-Les and it starts off quite strong with some electro mixed with some heavy guitars and that’s always good to hear.  To be honest, I really do like what I’m hearing on the track and KOTOKO herself sounds really powerful and cool.  Though I hear that dubstep breakdown in this song and it honestly felt slightly out of place to transition to the mid8.  Still minus that small gripe, My-Les is a pretty cool way to start the album off.

2. WING OF ZERO -the ring-

I learned with our next track that WING OF ZERO was used as a theme song for the video game, BALDRSKY ZERO.  I actually heard the original version and loved it because it reminded me of “SCREW” with its electro synth style.  On this album, it got touched up (hence the title) and the song added some new tricks like some grittier guitar riffs to go alongside the arrangement.  To be honest, the original was fine just as it was and didn’t need the added stuff found on this album.  Though WING OF ZERO is good all-around so I guess I do somewhat enjoy this still with the additions it got.

3. Kuchu Puzzle

We get into the title track and it’s definitely a shift of focus to KOTOKO’s rock side.  I will say I’m not enjoying KOTOKO’s vocals in this song as she’s putting off this cutesy voice and it doesn’t work with the strong guitar lines and awesome arrangement.  I think if she had resung this in a lower tone, I think I would’ve loved this song a whole lot because it’s just badass *sigh* maybe this’ll grow on me because damn this arrangement is awesome.

4. frozen fir tree

When this song begun, I kind of thought this was song made for Ayumi Hamasaki because it had that certain 90’s avex sound which caught me off guard XD.  Then I see that the song was produced by sat (of fripSide).  Then it all clicked because I’m not too big of a fan of his works because they tend to sound like generic clones of one another.  Sadly, this is the case here because this song sounds like many of fripSide’s stuff, though KOTOKO’s voice is slightly deeper than them.  Can’t say I’m a little more than bored with this one.

5. Light My Fire

What I thought was the first single of the era (I’ll talk about it later), we get the 2nd single of the era Light My Fire and I LOVE THIS SONG from KOTOKO.  This is what I wanted “Kuchu Puzzle” to have ended up like because it’s arrangement is awesome and KOTOTO’s vocals are just awesome to listen to.  Plus the chorus is so good and powerful.  I just don’t understand why “frozen fir tree” had to be placed in between them to be honest.  Definitely my favorite from the era!

6. Damare yo, Peter

I’m kind of enjoying KOTOKO taking such an interest in rock because it seems to be working for on this album so far.  Damare yo, Peter is a bit lighter than the previous track and it does have a certain anison vibe to it which is pretty nifty.  I also kind of get indie rock vibes as well which is also cool in and of itself.  Also, KOTOKO sounds rather not as dramatic as she usually tends to be, so this was a nice track overall.

7. SHOOT! -KOTOKO ver.-

I didn’t expect KOTOKO to well do this.  If you don’t know, KOTOKO wrote SHOOT! for the anime/idol group RO-KYU-BU! (who I reviewed and thought they were done when they clearly weren’t >.>).  So it’s nice to see KOTOKO do her own version of the group’s debut single.  I love how she changed the arrangement to less idol/rock and has a stronger electro vibe to it.  Honestly, I already love it more than the original because there’s no messy melodic issues like there was with the group.  Plus, it’s pretty funny to see KOTOKO rap in the song too…so much fun xD.  Still, I think she made this song SO MUCH BETTER than what RO-KYU-BU! did.

8. Fushi-Gina-Ana

Hm, a MAIKO song (I kind of was expecting another “BUCCANEER”.  I can hear some of it since it’s a mix of guitars and electro which I suppose cool but once again KOTOKO is using that cute voice that I’m not too fond of.  The song is quite busy and has a lot going on with the instrumentation.  I mean, I like the flow of the song, but there’s just something missing about it.  I’m just kind of like…ehh with this song.

9. Rock☆DE Fruit Basket♪

When I saw the title of our next track, I instantly thought that this was going to be the “SHORT CIRCUIT”-esque track.  Though this song sounds like a mix of that and “Escape from the City” from Sonic Adventure 2 >.>).  Though it also is such a genki song from KOTOKO which made me think of the former.  I really like how frantic the song is, but I feel like deep-voiced KOTOKO would once again make this even better.  Still, I can’t shake off that SA2 thought…it sounds so much like the aforementioned song so much to me xD.

10. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo

We get into a small stretch of older songs starting with the only B-side to make the album from “→unfinished→”.  Actually didn’t we just have this kind of song with “frozen fir tree”?  It sounds like their the same track, but I actually like KOTOKO’s vocals in this one as she brought the dramatics out here and I quite like how she just sounds.  Though I can’t help but think sat produced this track too (though this did come before “frozen fir tree”.

11. Loop-the-Loop

I was REALLY surprised that she decided to include this single even though in her discography it makes sense.  Though it’s the only single that she didn’t release under Warner so it kind of sticks out in that response.  This anison pop/rock sound doesn’t exactly work with this album and would’ve preferred it back on “Hiraku Uchuu Pocket”.  I’m not too big of a fan of this song and its inclusion seems random at best.

12. Restart

Though I suppose “Loop-the-Loop” was to kind of bridge into Restart which was the 4th and final single released for the album and sadly I still can’t really can’t get into this track.  I mean it’s very anison and pretty generic (though the verses are nice with that synth beat) but this never really stood out to me and if it wasn’t for the previous song, this would’ve been the worst A-side she’s released in the era.  It just seems so pale to me.

13. P◇lyG△n

I was wondering where our awesome electro would be and it turns out P◇lyG△n would be that, but it oddly reminds me of MELL’s “kicks!” with the mix of gritty synths and the lighter synths.  Even though it isn’t a total badass track, I do love the flow of the song.  It’s a pretty nifty song and kind of gives us that cool I’ve Sound track…quite awesome!

14. →unfinished→ -Album ver.-

The album ends with →unfinished→ and it’s a new version!  Though it seems like this version starts with a piano intro and not the fade in, but also the song seems to be this electro/anison track through and through and not have the slow points in the verses like the original.  I enjoyed the original as it is, but this new version feels like it’s at one level then entire way through so I couldn’t attach myself to it as well.  Odd choice to be the ending track though >.<.

CD2

1. →unfinished→ -English ver.-

So if you bought the album at certian stores, it comes with an English version of her 3rd A-side released.  I like that its based off the original version and I had to do a double take because this song is VERY Engrishy and a lot of the time I was trying to decipher her voice.  There are some words she does well, but that’s rare in this song.  It’s not the best bonus incentive…and fans of this song will be like WTF…so in the end…not that great…

Tracks Recommended

  • Light My Fire
  • P◇lyG△n
  • WING OF ZERO -the ring-
  • SHOOT! -KOTOKO ver.-
  • Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo

Song of Avoidance

  • frozen fir tree

As this is KOTOKO’s 6th album, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it with the 3 Warner singles (and then random “Loop-the-Loop”).  KOTOKO released a semi-good album with Kuchu Puzzle.  I mean it’s slightly better than “Hiraku Uchuu Pocket” but still many of the gripes I had there were here as well…it’s just that a good portion of the songs were better on this one.  I still can’t say I’m a fan of her cute voice and having sat produce some of the tracks was a bit meh in the end.  Still not bad.

 

KOTOKO – Restart December 18, 2012

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 8:22 am

restart

Track Listing

  1. Restart
  2. Largo
  3. Restart (Instrumental)
  4. Largo (Instrumental)

1. Restart

I wasn’t expecting KOTOKO to release a rather cutesy A-side after the previous two singles but here we are with Restart and I’m just feeling somewhat alienated from this song.  I don’t know it’s kind of just a very ligh pop song with some I’ve synths thrown in.  It’s not the worst I have heard from KOTOKO, but compared to her previous two singles, this is a bit blech!

2. Largo

Even more cutesy stuff for the B-side.  I know “Candy or Chocolate?” was a bit suspicious, but Largo is just taking one step backwards.  It’s like her cuter songs when she was under I’ve Sound…and she sounds like an idol singer for some strange ass reason.  It’s just a really bland song even for KOTOKO…

 

 

Lord, this single is really bland to listen to.  I’m not exactly sure if this era (well I think this is one) has been very good for KOTOKO (cept for “Light My Fire”) but she really hasn’t been very interesting to me.  Her songs lack that spark that I really love about her but it could be from the label change.  Restart and Largo are really plain and forgettable tracks…I hope she jumps forward with what she releases next.

 

KOTOKO – →unfinished→ May 14, 2012

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 7:42 pm

Track Listing

  1. →unfinished→
  2. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo
  3. →unfinished→ -instrumental-
  4. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo -instrumental-

1. →unfinished→

Being produced by sat of fripSide fame,  →unfinished→ might be quite a new experience for KOTOKO fans out there but some of it will be familiar because of the assault of synths that are blazing through this song.  I kind of enjoyed it but after “Light My Fire”, I was kind of expecting her to follow the rockin’ side of her music more than this.  Still, not bad for her and she sounds great in the song. 

2. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo

I wasn’t sure what we were going to end up as the B-side because of her stuff since she switched labels and all that.  Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo kind of tones things down by a big margin by bring sort of a mid-tempo ballad.  KOTOKO sounds pretty strong in the song and her high notes kind of impressed me here.  It does have a certain 90s anime feel to it (like an ending theme or something along those lines).  It’s not bad, a bit formulaic, but it’s good nonetheless.

 

 

KOTOKO’s second single since joining Warner actually was pretty good.  Even though →unfinished→ isn’t as great as “Light My Fire” was, it still came off as exciting and energetic.  Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo is quite soothing and less dangerous than her last B-side, “Candy or Chocolate?”.  Still overall, a solid release here ^_^

 

KOTOKO – Light My Fire November 13, 2011

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 8:38 pm

Track Listing

  1. Light My Fire
  2. Candy or Chocolate?
  3. Light My Fire (Instrumental)
  4. Candy or Chocolate? (Instrumental)

1. Light My Fire

I was kind of surprised that KOTOKO’s first single under Warner was going to be a loud one with Light My Fire.  Also, I’m kind of left shocked that she chose to do a rock song but somehow she made the song her own and powers through the song like she’s HBIC and I love the song.  Not as much as “SCREW” but this is her best A-side since then!

2. Candy or Chocolate?

I want to say the B-side is a little thing leftover from Halloween but I can’t decide if it’s that or just because KOTOKO can still release cute songs which is essentially this.  After the powerful A-side, I am a little disappointed with this mostly because KOTOKO is utilizing her cute genki vocals for this one.  I will say that the synth-pop style is nice and relaxing but simple actually.  I say it’s better than most of the B-sides of recent but I still love “Light My Fire” more.

 

 

KOTOKO’s first single under Warner and she kicks it off with a bang with Light My Fire.  There’s not many strong rock songs that she has so having one like this is pretty awesome and shows that Warner really wants her to succeed.  Candy or Chocolate? is a little “SHORT CIRCUIT”, so much so that I was surprised this wasn’t one hahaha.  Good single overall ^^