Kurayami Monogatari

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LEO Imai – Laser Rain April 25, 2009

Filed under: LEO Imai — solarblade @ 3:50 am
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Track Listing

  1. Synchronize
  2. Connector
  3. Fit Of Love
  4. Time Traffic (Leo fu Mix)
  5. Laser Rain
  6. You Me Electricity
  7. TAXI
  8. High Speed Window
  9. Lemon Moon
  10. Word
  11. Synchronize (Synchronized Doubling)

1. Synchronize

Well we begin the album with the final A-side of the era and to be quite honest, it’s so different from what he’s done in the past.  First off he’s definitly under some auto-tune which right sets it off in the right direction.  As for the song, it’s got a funk kind of rhythm going on and the whole meaning of ~We gotta synchronize our heartbeats~ is just a great line from the song.  Amazing track.

2. Connector

As the promotional track for the album, Connector is takes out the auto-tune and returns LEO back into the “FIX NEON” days and it’s surprisingly good.  I love the chorus though where he repeats the title three times in an anxious kind of fashion.  The guitar solo was pretty nifty with LEO’s ethereal keyboard playing.

3. Fit Of Love

What the hell was with that baby voice at the start?  It’s funny that LEO is trying to rap in this song, but oddly he sound nasally rapping across, but when he goes to really sing he’s back to a good sound.  It’s pretty laidback from the last two tracks so it’s nice to hear. 

4. Time Traffic (Leo fu Mix)

Leo fu?  Oh that’s just awkward…So if you remember, Rie fu had her own version of their collaboration on her “PRESENT” single and it was a good track on the single combining the piano folkness with the synthy stuff to make a good track.  LEO’s takes out the piano outta the song with guitar and some funky guitar lines.  What’s also cool is that Rie fu is still there but they switched roles so LEO takes the verses and Rie joins him in the chorus.  It’s definitly two tracks that really sound good for their respective artist.

5. Laser Rain

We finally get to the title track, but doesn’t it sound a bit like “Fit Of Love” with it’s laidback sound?  I actually kind of like this track a lot because it does the whole laidback sound right and with the auto-tune returning, LEO just sounds great here.  LOVE IT!

6. You Me Electricity

We get back into the faster side of LEO’s music and You Me Electricity is very punk sounding.  The song to me just flies by me too fast, but the synth solo in the middle of the song was pretty sweet.  Other than that the song was a bit unmemorable, but at least it’ll get to me eventually.

7. TAXI

Is it weird that we finally get to a song that uses his deeper voice?  TAXI, being the first single of the era is so very catchy now.  I love how he repeats ~mieru and kieru~.  Even better was his English breakdown in the middle of the song and he sings amazingly fast.  I don’t know why but since I reviewed the single, this became my favorite LEO song.

8. High Speed Window

~aye-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-yaaaa~  o.0  What kind of opening is that?  Anyway the song to me seems to be a less hectic “TAXI”, but I get the same vibe from listening to this track.  I just couldn’t take the ad-libbing that just seems to be the most random thing ever.  Maybe I’ll get used to it, but seriously it’s the worst track off the album.

9. Lemon Moon

Lemon Moon fixes things up so nicely.  LEO seem to have liked the ethereal-ness of his “FIX NEON” works so he brought another of those themed tracks onto this album and it works actually.  I do question his higher register in the chorus, other than that this was a nice homage to his first album, albeit giving us something new in the process.

10. Word

Then again, Word reminded me of “Blue Technique” and is also the closest thing to J-tek LEO’s been doing.  There’s a lot of synths present in the song including a repeated guitar line and some finely played strings as well.  To say he saved the best for last is such a true statement because Word is downright awesome.  Wow!  He’s definitly got an idea for these kind of songs.

11. Synchronize (Synchronized Doubling)

Remember the “Synchronize” single?  Yeah playing both of the Synchronizes together gives you a different perspective right?  Well since like not a lot of people bought it and was just leaked like last week…lazy people.  Anyway, LEO decided to put the two together and see what happens.  It’s funny hearing the funk of the original and Rie fu and the bongos from the “Synchronized Playing” version together because there’s so many intricacies that could be pointed out.  Though LEO isn’t exactly singing on the right tone of each version which I guess could be the point of it.  Rie fu though sounds nice though with the synth funk though….Interesting way to end the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • TAXI
  • Word
  • Synchronize
  • Laser Rain
  • Time Traffic (Leo fu Mix)

Song of Avoidance

  • High Speed Window

Oh wow, everyone so far this year has released remarkable stuff and LEO Imai totally just 1-upped “FIX NEON” in almost every way.  Except for two tracks, every song was just right and fixed all his problems that the first one had.  There was one track that used the tenor voice, “TAXI” and that was an amazing track on its own.  Now he’s got something to be proud about and Laser Rain is its name.

 

LEO Imai – FIX NEON April 18, 2009

Filed under: LEO Imai — solarblade @ 2:33 pm
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fixneon

Track Listing

  1. Fix Neon (feat. James Iha)
  2. Tokyo Lights 2 (feat. Kenji Jammer)
  3. Rush
  4. Blue Technique
  5. Emergency
  6. Roppongi Chills
  7. Metro
  8. Karaoke
  9. Venom (feat. Kenji Jammer)
  10. I Will Know Your Name
  11. Pulse
  12. Wild Strawberries (feat. James Iha)

1. Fix Neon (feat. James Iha)

LEO begins his debut major album with a pretty mid-tempo track.  LEO’s singing in English for a good portion of the song with some guitar from James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins).  There’s some interesting feelings coming from the song and it still sounds good though.  It’s a goodway to start things off.

2. Tokyo Lights 2 (feat. Kenji Jammer)

The main track to promote the album, Tokyo Lights 2 is pretty calm and nice to listen to.  I swear at the beginning he’s saying ~lights don’t store~  Strange…Anyways his singing has changed around where he’s using more of a deeper baritone sound.  It’s also the first song that we here him sing Japanese on the album.  I sometimes feel he’s lacking in the singing department because his vocals sound very flat and odd. 

3. Rush

Rush is the first song the really focuses on the synths more than the band-like sound.  Though it leaves us as the song actually gets a band sound again, but the synths keep popping up.  He’s also back into English again and he’s showing a little more enthusiasm into his singing.  It’s outlandish, but in a good way.  I like this song alot.

4. Blue Technique

His major label debut, Blue Technique is such an amazing song.  At first the song starts off with a lone guitar riff until the drums kick the song off.  LEO’s vocals are also pretty well executed showing a sense of mystery in all of the right places.  The chorus is a little shaky as he goes for some high notes, but it’s nothing to degrade the song totally off of.  Definitly an awesome song.

5. Emergency

Emergency is a lot more upbeat and lively than “Blue Technique” and seeing the explosion and excitement of the song’s start up was wow.  Though the song doesn’t seem to be too memorable as it’s very mechanical and LEO is annunciating harshly in the chorus.  I do like how he sounds so good in English and his Japanese is a little off xD  Maybe it’s just me.

6. Roppongi Chills

Right now, Roppongi Chills is the abstract song of the album.  Instead of the normal rock sound that accompanies him, LEO took the song into a space-like ballad.  I mean there’s synths abound here that come in and out of the song pretty frequently with LEO and his piano playing.  It’s a nice change of pace from the album so far and his singing is so good here.  After a while the band finally comes in and the guitarist gets the solo before ending with just LEO and the piano.  Nice!

7. Metro

Metro, being the 2nd and final single of the era.  It’s more rock than anything I’ve heard so far from the album.  I love how hectic everything is and fast-paced LEO is singing with the crazy atmosphere.  Sadly he’s using the baritone voice again for a good portion and it sounds just a little messy.  Needless to say it was a disappointing song and A-side.

8. Karaoke

Maybe it’s me, but I’m not liking this track much either because it jsut doesn’t seem right on this album.  Yes it’s rock,but there’s a synth melody here as well.  At least the chorus is a bit better this time around because it’s got a lot of good moments.  I still think the synths are a little outta place, but it’s an alright track.

9. Venom (feat. Kenji Jammer)

I love the piano opening to Venom.  It’s funny how this sounds like a very hardcore rock track, but it really isn’t.  LEO’s cold singing adds more to the meaning of the song out, sadly the chorus this time was the failure as it sounds a little too upbeat and not right the right mood.  I just love how he says ~venom~ It’s totally shexii.

10. I Will Know Your Name

The title just doesn’t fit on this album for some reason.  Starts out with a melancholic arrangement of LEO playing on the piano.  It’s funny that the song sounds depressing, but LEO is singing it like he’s some kind of stalker, which is mildly disturbing, yet at the same time refreshing.  He’s singing IMO at his best calibur and singing out which is downright amazing. 

11. Pulse

Pulse was actually a B-side off of the “Blue Technique”.  Also getting a PV of its own which was a nice treat.  Sadly this continues to pale even worse off the album than a good portion of the album.  It’s got a steady and forceful beat and LEO’s baritone vocals sound OK here, but it’s nothing too special. 

12. Wild Strawberries (feat. James Iha)

Finishing this album off is a ballad, but like I don’t know.  LEO’s vocals is are in the deepest pitches I’ve heard throughout.  I like James Iha’s guitar playing here as it’s distant, but not to the point where they are forgettable.  LEO though doesn’t sound right again and his deep vocals kind of destroyed any mood I had for the song.

Tracks Recommended

  •  Blue Technique
  • I Will Know Your Name
  • Rush
  • Roppongi Chills

Song of Avoidance

  • Venom

LEO Imai’s debut is what I usually expect in debut on a major album.  He knows what’s going and can make decisions and do some nifty tracks, however what drove the album to be a little mediocre is his usage of his baritone voice.  Sometimes it sounds like it would’ve been better in a V-kei band or something, other times it works, but given the situation at hand.  I still enjoyed a good portion of the tracks.  I hope “Laser Rain” is better.

 

LEO Imai – Synchronize February 7, 2009

Filed under: LEO Imai — solarblade @ 11:25 pm
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Track Listing

  1. Synchronize
  2. School On That Hill
  3. Synchronize (Synchronized Playing)

1. Synchronize

LEO Imai does the strange by going into Synchronize heavily auto-tuned with an ethereal background to start out.  His English definitly is easily recognizable from the Japanese lyrics he throws out.  After the smooth opening, LEO begins the verses with spunk and with a funky bass sound, it’s darn cool.  I noticed his voice seems a little more stable than it was in “TAXI” and wasn’t low either.  I have to say with how little I’ve heard from him, this song is really catchy. 

2. School On The Hill

Just like “Synchronize”, School On The Hill is definitly off the wall for LEO and quite interesting because the song has a more effective dance beat added along.  I thought the most fun part is that you hear that famous Japanese school bell ring….you know, that 8-note line always heard in Anime’s that’s based around school.  Even though the song is very danceable, I could have seen this being on “FIX NEON” more than anything.

3. Synchronize (Synchronized Playing)

Or I like to call it, the acappella sounding version.  It’s absent of the auto-tune and synths and replaced by backup vocals from none other than Rie fu.  I did find myself wanting the original more because just without it sounds incomplete and kind of bare at points, but still is the A-side otherwise.  Also what’s nice is that the song is resung and LEO’s bare vocals are a bit more powerful which is great.  I don’t know but given the fact that the main purpose of the single, this was a good alternate.

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Your probably wondering why I did this, well there’s instructions that point out that if you have both versions of Synchronize, you have to play them at the same time to get a different experience of the song’s completion.  Now I haven’t done this since no one has uploaded the single yet (damnit, some better do it soon or I will scream!).  Knowing from the preview of the SP version mixing with the original sounds quite daunting…Since it’s not a numbered track and doesn’t have an official name, I can’t place it or anything.

 

 

LEO Imai, this was the reason I really added ya.  I loved the fresh and funky sound you brought with Synchronize and took a well-known school melody and added dance beats was clever, I say this single did me in and I love it.  Even having more things to do like putting 1 & 1 together was a smart idea and I wonder why many artists have never done this yet.  I just wish someone can upload this!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

LEO Imai – TAXI January 30, 2009

Filed under: LEO Imai — solarblade @ 6:59 am
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Track Listing

  1. TAXI
  2. THE SWEETEST DAY

1. TAXI

LEO definitly has something going for him in the vocal areas.  It’s one you have to get used to but for me it’s quite interesting and cool.  The song is definitly upbeat pop/rock and there’s some sort of synths mixed in as well.  LEO hits some deep notes which sounds like he should be in a V-kei band xD.  It’s definitly one to listen.

2. THE SWEETEST DAY

Guessing from the title, I thought this would’ve been a ballad, but there’s a consistant clapping beat and LEO sings a little bit in English which he’s also excelling in.  It’s definitly got a relaxing tone and this was just as good as “TAXI” if not more,  Surprisingly.

 

 

I have to say this, LEO Imai is just like MiChi only male.  First they are of European descent as much as being Japanese.  The other comparison is that they both started with indies release before coming onto a Major label.  TAXI is actually the 3rd major single released and shows off his talents well.  Got to hear this single *RECOMMENDED*