Kurayami Monogatari

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Tsuki Amano – Sora no Ki August 17, 2012

Filed under: Tsukiko Amano — solarblade @ 6:00 am

Track Listing

  1. EUPHORIA
  2. Tokyo Tower
  3. Sora no Ki
  4. CANDYMAN
  5. Kurenai
  6. Cendrillion no Banken
  7. Niwaka Ame
  8. Dropkick
  9. Hikaru Sakana
  10. Soragoto

1. EUPHORIA

I was surprised that the album would begin with strings with this deep sound (it’s probably cello).  After that the song gets a bit more cooler with electric guitar and Tsuki’s vocals.  She sounds a bit less held down since she’s yelling the chorus and all that.  When I listen to EUPHORIA all the way, it reminds me of her “ZERO” album.  Interesting choice to start the album off.

2. Tokyo Tower

One of the longer tunes, Tokyo Tower tones things down a bit and so does Tsuki so she doesn’t sound weird as she did in the previous track.  I like the acoustic pop feel of the song and while it’s about 6 minutes in length, I felt it worked to keep it from being boring.  Though I was kind of curious at the small sax parts in the song…it was random.  Overall, pretty good.

3. Sora no Ki

Promoting the album is the title track, Sora no Ki.  The big thing I noticed was there was a lot of cello involved.  Doing a little more research it turns out the celloist is none other than fellow J-pop artist, Kanon Wakeshima.  It’s a different atmosphere all-around as well, having a jungle-like air about it.  Tsuki sounds great once again, but there are some of the louder parts where she kind of gets off-pitch by pushing too much.  It’s still a pretty song to listen to and one of the best this album has to offer.

4. CANDYMAN

For a title like this, I kind of thought it would’ve been more hyper and silly but it kind of follows likewise to “Tokyo Tower” but with a little more electric guitar.  I did like the synth effects though, but even with all that going on, the song still felt lacking somewhat.  It does remind me of her older upbeat rock tracks, but this is quite forgetful.

5. Kurenai

Moving onto the first ballad of the album, Kurenai is quite a nice tune to listen to.  I mean the acoustic guitar is leading the arrangement alongside Tsuki’s light vocals.  I thought she brought it in the chorus which sounds depressing but cool at the same time.  I just wonder why she sounds so good here, but not-so-good elsewhere.  I liked this quite a bit!

6. Cendrillion no Banken

Interesting title…moving onto the second half of the album, Cendrillion no Banken lightens things up after “Kurenai” with it’s kind of cute tone to it (like “ZERO’s album songs).  At least she has stronger vocals here and I’m loving the charm this song has on me. 

7. Niwaka Ame

Another light tune comes up next and Niwaka Ame has a certain morning glow feel to it and I thought that was pleasant, but I’m starting to feel like the album is going into the same instrumentations but different melodies.  I like how things become more pop/rock when the chorus comes in but it’s like two seperate ideas.  It’s OK but both parts are a bit similar to other songs on the album.

8. Dropkick

I think of all the songs on the album, I think I might be surprised by this one the most because it’s kind of cutesy and uncharacteristic for both the album and Tsuki herself (kind of like “Taisou” from “A MOON CHILD IN THE SKY”).  I’m not really used to her singing in such a cutesy pitch (nor sounding like some anison singer) but Dropkick has a lot of English in it.  I have to say it’s pretty unique on the album and I like it for that but as a song itself, well…it’s a bit strange lol.

9. Hikaru Sakana

After that odd song, Hikaru Sakana comes in and while it tones things down dramatically, the song is also quite a strange one too.  The song has this droning feel and Tsuki’s vocals has this watery filter placed on it up until the chorus where she’s back to the belting and kind of hitting odd notes.  It’s a small step better than “Dropkick” but not by much as both bring new elements to the album.

10. Soragoto

As the longest song, the final track Soragoto is as much of a clone to “Tokyo Tower” but with not as much emphasis on the acoustic guitar but instead of the piano.  I mean the song is all right and all, but for being over 6 minutes, it does seem to bore me after the halfway mark.

Tracks Recommended

  • Sora no Ki
  • Kurenai
  • Hikaru Sakana
  • Cendrillion no Banken
  • Dropkick

Song of Avoidance

  • CANDYMAN

While I don’t exactly consider “Licht” as her last studio album…Sora no Ki could be compared to “ZERO”.  The album is OK, but it’s nothing like the haydays of when Tsukiko had the amazing “Tenryuu” and “MOON CHILD”.  Sora no Ki is light and sticks to what she has been sounding like since rejoining OTAKURA but it’s kind of bland in places and the interesting songs aren’t as good as stuff from “Bara to Shinjuu”.  OK album but she’s had better!

 

Tsuki Amano – Bara to Shinjuu December 9, 2011

Filed under: Tsukiko Amano — solarblade @ 11:13 am

Track Listing

  1. Bara no You ni
  2. BLACK BEE
  3. CORE -rose ver.-
  4. Ringo no Ki -rose ver.-
  5. LUCKY DOG
  6. HOWEVER
  7. Shinjuu

1. Bara no You ni

Starting off Tsuki’s mini-album, we have Bara no You ni which kind of follows in after “CHELSEA” with the whole lighter vibe and such.  I mean it’s kind of lighthearted and has this kind of happy mood.  It’s great though when we enter the chorus because we see some synths and Tsuki’s vocals are quite powerful.  Just from the louder guitars, I can tell this is going to be way better than her last mini.  Even the guitar solo sounded awesome…Awesome way to open the mini!

2. BLACK BEE

Adding a little speed and experimentation in one song, we have BLACK BEE which is so charming at the beginning with the synth melody (or is it a guitar-base but under filters…hmmm).  I kind of like Tsuki’s direction for the song and once again, I hear this synth but I think it makes a good bridge into “CORE”.  Another great tune!

3. CORE -rose ver.-

The mini includes new versions of both A-sides she released this year.  I was curious to what was new about CORE since it’s one of my favorite A-sides released this year (better this was released on New Year’s).  To me, it feels like nothing totally changed but listening closely, the song got clearer and the percussion stands out a little brighter than before…less processed and more like a studio version.  The changes while small, made it pop out better for me…still loving CORE altogether though!

2. Ringo no Ki -rose ver.-

The same applies for Ringo no Ki which has a bit more natural feel to it which is super nice.  This song is special since it was written for the Touhoku Earthquake and all that so it was really nice to see it here along with “CORE”.  It’s a pleasant ballad from Tsuki and she sung to a sweet and soft degree that it’s surprising of the difference between her powerful vocals in the previous track against this one. 

5. LUCKY DOG

After such a quiet song, it’s an interesting move that LUCKY DOG is a lot more aggressive of a song with its thumping beat and rockin’ style.  Tsuki doesn’t sound too into the song until she starts hitting the higher notes (but those are a little pitchy).  Another guitar solo ensues as well, but this one sounds better than the one on “Bara no You ni” so that’s good…very cool song though once Tsuki gets things going.

6. HOWEVER

A little more synth-based, HOWEVER comes in and reminds me of something that would’ve been nice to hear on “ZERO” since it’s got a lighter vibe.  I still can’t really get into Tsuki’s Engrish since her accent is pretty heavy and all that.  At least the song is charming and kind of is the cute, lovey-dovey song here.

7. Shinjuu

I thought Shinjuu was fitting for a closing since it’s part of the title of the mini-album (and “Bara no You ni” at the beginning).  It is the longest as well being a little over 5 1/2 minutes.  Talking about the first song, Shinjuu kind of reminds me of it but a little more quieter overall.  It’s a pretty uplifting ballad and it grows on you the longer it plays so in the end it turned out to be a rather good closing tune.

 

 

I’m so happy that Tsuki released this after that horrid “CHELSEA” mini-album for sure.  None of the songs sounded like one another and most of them actually were catchy (also having CORE and Ringo no Ki helped a lot).  There’s not a lot of bad that can be said here but this is her best work yet since rejoining OTAKURA.

 

Tsuki Amano – Ringo no Ki May 23, 2011

Filed under: Tsukiko Amano — solarblade @ 11:24 am

Track Listing

  1. Ringo no Ki
  2. Finger

1. Ringo no Ki

I didn’t think Tsuki would release an A-side that’s actually slow and sweet to listen to, but she surprises me with Ringo no Ki which is funnily enough a drastic change in sound from her last A-side, “CORE”.  Opting for a more lighthearted and acoustic tune mixed with some other things it’s kind of nice.  Tsuki’s vocals are also calm which is a plus in any order.  Simple tune though…hmmm.

2. Finger

Then again the B-sides is also pretty light in sound but also a much nicer piece from Tsuki.  Also utilizing acoustic guitar for the main instrument, it’s like a poem for some reason.  Also to note is the short length at 2:25, damn short.  The third thing that I noticed pretty quickly is that Tsuki is singing in English and to me she’s not that great, but it’s passable and easy to understand most of the time. 

Tsuki’s 2nd single…(I’m not sure if it’s a new era, lack of “CORE” on “CHELSEA” stands out).  Ringo no Ki isn’t a bad single, but it might be a bit of a surprise seeing as both songs are ballads.  Not bad, but I really only see the title track as listenable while Finger is well….ehhhh.

 

Tsuki Amano – CHELSEA May 10, 2011

Filed under: Tsukiko Amano — solarblade @ 5:45 am

Track Listing

  1. CHELSEA
  2. MONSTER
  3. Tokimeki
  4. Hyena
  5. Ride On
  6. BITTER SWEET GIRL
  7. PiC NiC

1. CHELSEA

From the beginning of the mini-album, CHELSEA is definitely a new side to Tsuki by being jazz-based.  I love the amount of funk and brass that it has and it oddly fits along with Tsuki’s vocals quite nicely.  The thing is however is that she’s yeliing the chorus and that might be a turn-off.  It’s a fun-sounding track and starts things on a good note…The synth breakdown in the middle was just terrible though…what was she thinking….”CORE”?

2. MONSTER

I did hear that MONSTER was a self version of something she did for 9nine from their second album and since I’ve heard their music, I was surprised Tsuki had written it for them like she did with “Shiroi Hana -White Garden-“.  Unlike the jazzy beginnings of “CHELSEA”, MONSTER is a bit more synth-pop/rock and it might surprise a few people perhaps.  It’s just as fun and the arrangement is quite a bit brighter than I’d expect from Tsuki, but it’s not that bad…just got “Bowling” vibes from this.

3. Tokimeki

Keeping some of the synths involved, Tokimeki to me has an interesting mix of disco and regular upbeat styles going for it giving it a rather interesting mix.  It’s a lot of different ideas put together but it’s not messy luckily.  I think I like it, but maybe just for background music is more like where it sounds.

4. Hyena

The next song feels like it should’ve been on “ZERO” instead of here by the slow-moving mid-tempo track.  It does start off strong with guitars and synths playing the role, but the guitar leaves and gets replaced by piano and somehow that made it feel rather bland to me for some reason.  Yeah, it does nothing for me on this mini-album to be honest.

5. Ride On

Which is so weird because our next song does pick up things quite nicely.  It’s one of the more synthy songs Tsuki has on the album and I ended up really enjoying this for some reason.  Once again, I ended up feeling like Ride On sounding WAY similar to “Bowling” (B-side from “Howling”).  It’s the same beat and upbeat nature, but the track from before sounds more better than Ride On….but this isn’t too bad.

6. BITTER SWEET GIRL

If there was a song that was rather odd to the ears, BITTER SWEET GIRL might be that song since it has a rather upbeat feel to it, but the gritty guitars and busy arrangement says otherwise.  To me, this was an alright song but the bustling arrangement and sheer loudness of Tsuki’s voice to counter the arrangement was a bit more of a clashing disagreement to me…

7. PiC NiC

Closing the mini-album out, PiC NiC is prolly the other song I really enjoyed.  While I do think it feels like “Bowling” once again, this actually separates itself quite nicely by adding some interesting chords, loud bass, and a rather childlike atmosphere to it (which I guess she was going for, I imagine).  It’s alright overall, but nothing I’d totally go back to.

After “Licht” (her first mini-album) and “CORE” (her first official single going to OTAKURA), CHELSEA felt like a very bland representation of her music to be honest.  It truly felt like I was listening to “ZERO” without the Fatal Frame tie-in.  It started off nice with CHELSEA and MONSTER, but it soon became bland and the songs all sounded like an older B-side….THE SAME ONE….I was pretty disappointed here and thanked god “CORE” wasn’t on this.

 

Tsuki Amano – CORE January 24, 2011

Filed under: Tsukiko Amano — solarblade @ 2:48 am

Track Listing

  1. CORE
  2. BLACK HOLE

1. CORE

Ahhhha, CORE is finally something I can enjoy in full.  I’m not sure why but CORE definitely sounds like something I would’ve heard back on “A MOON CHILD IN THE SKY” because it revolves around a mixture of synths and rock, but done very well despite Tsukiko being on an indies label.  I love how powerful she is in the chorus and how petit and in tune she is in the verses.  I think I’m finally impressed by a single since “Zero no Chouritsu”.

2. BLACK HOLE

Unlike the A-side though, I was surprised to find that BLACK HOLE has a lighter arrangement than “CORE” does.  Of course it fits the whole space-like idea the single is putting out since there’s still synths present.  I also love the fact that Tsuki’s vocals are a lot more lighter to find the mood as well.  It’s just like her other singles where the songs are just totally opposite to one another and some fans would call this a rather “cute” song for her.

While this is actually her first official single under OTAKURA, CORE was actually an impressive single for sure and the A-side kind of ranks up there with the better songs I love from her.  BLACK HOLE was also quite a treat and sounds so nice when compared next to CORE.  If she keeps this up her next album will turn out better…then again “Licht” was a pretty good start hmmmm…let’s see if she’ll impress me more.

 

Tsuki Amano – Licht July 19, 2010

Filed under: Tsukiko Amano — solarblade @ 8:15 am

Track Listing

  1. Hikari no Circus Licht Ver.
  2. Utsukushiki Mono Licht Ver.
  3. Clover Clover
  4. Pulcinella no Namida
  5. Strawberry on the Shortcake
  6. 1 + 1 ga 2 ni Naranai
  7. Yogoreta Inu

1. Hikari no Circus Licht Ver.

Considering the fact that we have a new version of Hikari no Circus, her first picture single (don’t ask).  Now I’m not sure the entire difference between the two versions are here, but I think Tsuki’s vocals are a bit more echoey and perhaps the strings are stronger, but otherwise Hikari no Circus is a nice little tune to listen to once in a while.

2. Utsukushiki Mono Licht Ver.

I know I haven’t listened to the original yet since it’s never been leaked out, but if it sounds like how similar the two “Hikari no Circus'” are than I’m pretty sure that I might’ve ended up liking this quite a bit more.  I mean when compared to her first song of the era, this is a bit more serious of a song and I definitely missed Tsuki’s vocals since her time off since “ZERO”.  Her voice still owns quite a bit and she knows how to sound emotional.  I liked this!

3. Clover Clover

Now getting into the new tracks off the album, Clover Clover strips away a lot from what we’ve known from Tsukiko and hearing this as mostly a piano-driven song, Clover Clover is somewhat cute in a way, but at the same time kind of dry.  The strings in the background are kind of just hiding out and don’t really pose a main idea throughout. 

4. Pulcinella no Namida

I’ve always liked Tsukiko’s more sillier songs especially the ones that were on her singles most of the time.  Pulcinella no Namida is a song that sounds like it would be a sillier song, but it sounds more serious lyrically and having this rather folkish background gave it a twist to the normal sound I’d be used to.  I think so far I’m enjoying this track the most.

5. Strawberry on the Shortcake

I’m starting to wonder if this album is actually trying to be more of a light-hearted album because Strawberry on the Shortcake is kind of a fun song to listen to because it’s light and happy sounding.  I mean if the title of the song used in the chorus with the even more bizarre ~strawberry in the suitcase~ line is just being silly of course.  I definitely fell in love with how catchy it got before it ended.

6. 1 + 1 ga 2 ni Naranai

While I did say the album was mostly filled with happy and fun songs, 1 + 1 ga 2 ni Naranai is devoid of the idea…The beginning really sounded depressing to listen with the string melody going.  Once the full arrangement and Tsuki comes in, it does slightly raise the mood but only a smidge.  It’s like odd on how it’s supposed to come off as, but it was nice.

7. Yogoreta Inu

Dirty Dog translated?  Tsuki and her weird song titles.  This is the only song to me that features keyboard/synths whatever.  I know it’s another kind of silly song, but it’s done quite nicely.  The arrangement is different and keeps me interested.  It’s like a Licht version of “Polar Bear” from her “ZERO” album.

 

 

I’ll be honest and not do the usual thing with recs and avoidance because the album doesn’t have enough songs to really pull it off (plus it’d leave one song out if i did).  While “PEEK A BOO” is considered a concept album now, Licht is her first album with OTAKURA RECORDS and it’s actually not that bad.  I mean compared to “ZERO” this is way lighter in execution and the rock style for the most part is missing while Tsuki uses strings and piano to show off her writing skills.  I didn’t expect her to pull it off, but I kind of like this album (to me it’s a mini-album though)

 

Tsuki Amano – Hikari no Circus February 23, 2010

Filed under: Tsukiko Amano — solarblade @ 3:04 am

Track Listing

  1. Hikari no Circus

1. Hikari no Circus

I find it pretty interesting that Tsukiko (now Tsuki), decided to come back into the music league quietly with Hikari no Circus.  While her music isn’t entirely the same all-around and she hits basically most genres, Hikari no Circus is rather a cute song with an interesting mix of strings and electric guitar.  It seems that Tsukiko’s vocals are somewhat weaker than what they were on her last single “Zero no Chouritsu”, but I guess she wanted to be soft hence the overall feel.  Not bad, but she’s got better songs.

 

 

It’s funny that artists like to say they’re retiring from the business, but majority of the time they always come back (even though melody. needs to return now!).  In Tsukiko’s case it’s somewhat weird she erased two letters and released this as a damn picture song, which I still don’t overall understand.  Not bad, but go back to regular singles!