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If you have found this blog, it probably means you were searching for something that isn’t in the public eye. My intention is to promote awareness of artists that you would otherwise likely never know existed. If you like what you hear, support the artist by purchasing their music so that they can continue to create, and enjoy the release in the quality they intended.

Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Axis of Metal.

Cokiyu – Mirror Flake

Posted by T. Bawden Thursday, 22 April 2010 0 comments


Cokiyu – Mirror Flake – 4/5
Link

No, I’m not entirely back to metal listenings; my tendencies are only beginning to sway and there is still plenty of room for the most delicate of styles to garner my adoration, as Cokiyu has quickly succeeded in doing with this debut release. Found whilst looking for artists similar to ‘Piana,’ she proves to be far from a novice when it comes to music; with a degree in musicology she utilises her new found talent in order to create a collage of musical colours. With a mature outlook on the subject matter, her simple minimalist style combines breathy delicate vocals with simple piano lines and xylophones melodies, and the more I listen, the more I wonder how it manages to work so well.

I must confess when I first heard it I was looking for another Piana album and so naturally was disappointed by the variation but this piece, whilst similar, has a whole different intention gone behind its creation. There is no torturous glitch element but instead an altogether amorphous tone behind the music; a natural unpredictability that gently meanders and flows throughout the piece in a similar yet indescribably different manner. The pacing of the piano lines never feels entirely in time; the basic tune repeated throughout the piece but never seems to have been given a rigid tempo, the vocals merged into the composition like the whispering wind, hazily in harmony with the faintly glowing electronic work that forms the other component to her sound.

Everything feels horrendously simple; the same two second piano line repeated for four minutes during ‘The Piano and The Frog’ serves as an example of what should quickly become mind-numbingly monotonous, but it never actually does. By all means of logic I should have grown weary and tired of this long ago, but the atmosphere it all manages to create; the unusual sense of slow and gradual change; the natural tone it all takes, it’s all simply indescribable. In fact, the front cover describes what this sounds like far better than I could; simple, vibrant, organic, innocent and adorable. There’s always a risk with minimal ambient of failing to hit the mark and just coming across bland, but this serves as a classic reminder of how to do things right.

Highlights: Mirror Flake, In the Air, Star Takes a Rest

Bloodshedd – Spare No One

Posted by T. Bawden Wednesday, 21 April 2010 0 comments


Bloodshedd – Spare No One – 4/5
Link

Assuming I haven’t driven out everyone with my unconventional interests of late, and maybe it’s thanks to general frustration and annoyance that my sugar coated disposition has been replaced by one thirsting for something a little more aggressive but for the past few hours I have had this on repeat, and despite being quite far from my usual genre of choice – death/thrash – is an excellent example of what I would love to dive into and discover more often. Usually when you combine a style with a somewhat limited scope for versatility with another that has even less, you get a very formulaic result that fails to feel original, but this little known band from the Philippines have side-stepped this issue entirely.

Yes, there’s still the customary introductory track creating a stereotypically slow build-up, the vocals are fitting and nicely high pitched without straying obliquely into blackened territory, and whilst perhaps a little monotonous they never detract from the piece at hand. The drumming is solid enough without relying on repetitive blasting except for the most simple of sections, lacking bite in the standard ‘tech death’ fashion of doing things but with enough creativity to stave off becoming ‘just a metronome’ in the back, and the bass is almost impossible to discern in the production, but my jaded experience with the genre would expect nothing more of them.

The crux of this style of music is – and probably always will be – rested squarely on the shoulders of those playing the guitar; aggressive and dissonant twin harmonies wailing with a cacophony of riffs ranging from the technical ‘Anata’ mentality, still maintaining a jarring sense of melody, to the mild exodus worship. Everything thus far probably sounds a little lacklustre, but they manage to go one step further bringing them out of the depths of mediocrity. Now I’ve heard of jazz having an influence on Death Metal drumming, but this is the first time I’ve heard Jazz Fusion being slapped in the middle of a guitar riff; the solo’s don’t just merely shred chaotically, they meander and groove and slide around in an effigy of smooth technicality, and it’s integrated in a way that feels a natural fit.

Despite the bad name, their sound is technical enough that the tracks never descend into monotony yet they never forget to include melodies within the composition; no aspect relents on the aggression but they aren’t so blinded by their quest for brutality that everything becomes bland as a result; the shredding is still chaotic and dissonant but it never feels like random notes, taking pointers from their jazz influences in how to shred melodically, and they aren’t afraid to slow things down for more delicate interludes. No, they aren’t doing anything ‘outside the box,’ but this little known band from the most unlikely of places manages does everything the genre promises.

Highlights: Time For You to Die, Beast 696, This House of Termites

Lifelover – Konkurs

Posted by T. Bawden Monday, 19 April 2010 0 comments


Lifelover – Konkurs – 4/5
Link

For a while now this artist has sat on the bench, back when I first discovered them a lack of funds and freely distributed material meant what could have been one of the first reviews for the blog was put on indefinite hiatus until I saw this release being sold and jumped at the chance to finally get around to an artist that would seem to promise so much. I’d be lying if I didn’t point out that it reminds me heavily of the likes of Fleurety and Diapsiquir in its unconventionally morbid style, but it neither reaches the melodic creativity of the former nor the chaotic dissonance of the latter. Instead of their meandering unbridled avant-garde creativity we have a thickly layered atmosphere with a unique twist; nothing too bizarre but enough to give it a unique flavour.

The drumming feels cold, sterile, and ultimately fairly limp and lifeless which whilst doesn’t fit with my personal tastes I can’t deny suits the mood of the music relatively well; each slow, grinding, monotonous note halting all too abruptly in a deficiency of energy. There is also the occasional tendency to throw in an odd instrument; an accordion solo in particular feels out of place, and these offshoots often fail miserably in maintaining the atmosphere. Yet, despite feeling as though thrown in haphazardly I can’t help but be thankful for a break in the slow grinding despair that through its own consistent intensity and monotony becomes rather painful to listen to in large doses. It is the guitars that fill this void; psychedelic slow-motion tremolo riffs juxtaposing piano lines form dark dreamscapes laden with nauseating, permeating maniacal depression.

Another cause for complaint comes from the vocals; when sung cleanly it works surprisingly well, and the growls whilst certainly not too unconventional, too are fitting. What he tried to accomplish with his mumbling warble, however, is quite frankly beyond me. I despised it when Cobain thought sounding drunk and depressed was a good idea and I’m not sure what possessed these Swedes to imitate him, but then perhaps this is just one of those things that I’ll never understand. There are many elements here I’ve voiced my distaste for here but ultimately I have a hard time knocking them too harshly for it because it all goes towards creating a certain atmosphere, and I daren’t say it failed to do precisely that. There’s a disappointment from me in how this release turned out, but I can’t help wondering if this time the fault is my own, looking for avant-garde and finding DSBM.

Highlights: Mental Central Dialogue, Cancerted, Twitch, Narcotic Devotion

Bruce Springsteen – Greatest Hits

Posted by T. Bawden Sunday, 18 April 2010 0 comments


Bruce Springsteen – Greatest Hits – 4.5/5
[Link Removed at Request]

I suppose this review should be taken with a slightly larger grain of salt than usual. I’m sure those who have heard me talk of my musical journey will have heard me namedrop my schooling in ska and cannibal corpse crash course in metal, maybe a few memories of playing old crackling copies of Zeppelin and Sabbath on Vinyl way back when, but this artist – in fact this specific release – has its own small spot in my memory as being one of the first CD’s my family ever owned. I’ve toiled over what release to mention here (one had to be mentioned at some point, I’ve spent too many hours listening to him to have it go anonymous forever) and the only real conclusion I could come up with is to go back to my own beginnings.

Playing an unconventional style of music known as ‘heartland rock,’ it’s a name that feels oddly fitting if also perhaps somewhat meaningless as I couldn’t name another artist that sounds quite the same. With his E-Street band behind him, this release sees him travel through blues harmonica lines, lounge jazz piano, mournful saxophone solo’s, hard hitting riffs with a southern flavour and atmospheric synths. Whilst difficult to adequately describe, it effectively merges blues depression, pop chorus lines and jazz smoothness into a rock format that never feels unnatural or forced. The music here isn’t overtly about singing your sorrows though, the message here with a bittersweet optimism to it; a certain persevering glimmer of hope.

But that’s a gross simplification of all there is on offer here; if the lyrics are truthful then this is a man who has seen plenty of hardship, glorifying homelessness, regretfully speaking of the tragedy of the mafia’s part to play, reminiscing about past lost loves and abandoned sweethearts, and let’s not forget the grossly misinterpreted biggest hit of his career in ‘Born in the USA.’ Treated at as the epitome of patriotism at the back end of the depression when one glance at the opening lyrics of “Born down in a dead man's town/The first kick I took was when I hit the ground/You end up like a dog that's been beat too much/'Til you spend half your life just covering up,” and you quickly paint a very different picture. This isn’t a man to shy away from taboo subject matter irrespective of how personal it is, which invariably is close enough to write about.

His relationship to his homeland is complex too; one could almost interpret many of his songs as demonstrating distaste for it, but that isn’t the case at all. Coming out of Vietnam and the following depression, the declination at the hands of eager politicians is what fuels his anger and frustration, reactions that could not exist without an innate love feeding the fire. Anyone who ranks him as more than a merely competent musician or mediocre vocalist needs to go and expand their horizons, but there’s a certain sense of honesty at play that overcomes any problems this may cause. He may not be the most elegant of musicians but his music is so open and straight from the heart that he may as well have been the inspiration for the styles name. I know this release like the back of my hand and I’d be surprised if it didn’t still have many years left on my sound system.

Highlights: Born to Run, Atlantic City, Born in the USA, Glory Days, Streets of Philadelphia, Murder Incorporated

Corky Voce – Ambient Dreamer

Posted by T. Bawden Thursday, 15 April 2010 0 comments


Corky Voce – Ambient Dreamer – 4.5/5
Link

I’ve been building to this one for a while, as it very nearly slipped under my radar. Yet another Doujin release that I didn’t give the time of day – with so much around its very easy to quickly dismiss releases you shouldn’t – and it wasn’t until I found another article singing it’s praises that I returned, and I’m damn glad I did. The title doesn’t entirely fit; it isn’t really ambient music, even if it does share some of the slow psychadelia-laden guitar work and atmospheric detail from plethora’s of synths, piano work and elegant violins, that would indicate some influence from ambient music, but the result is altogether far more of a unconventional pop/rock with more than a dash of experimentalism to them.

Much of the musical set-up reminds somewhat of ska punk, particularly in the manner the lone electric guitar never feels the need to be dominative, instead with a remarkably pleasant thin twang varying from a slow psychedelic tone to distorted rock chords and solo’s swaying between neo-classical and jazz fusion. As interesting as his lines are, this thinner sound, pushed back in the production has done something rather remarkable; it’s opened up everything else. The drumming reads through loud and clear, each hit of the snare and cymbals registering and never overshadowed by excessive use of the bass drum, and the bass guitar gets to keep his own riffs in the end result; proving to be every bit as interesting as the lead guitars he supplies a darkness to the atmosphere, and working with the drums adds tension when needed.

The atmosphere doesn’t end here, with the violins, synths, flutes and piano work making a sparing appearance of more importance in some tracks than others, but always worked to provide atmosphere to the music already created with its role often diminished by the guitars and drums. In fact, if not for the bouncy female vocals lathering it all in a wash of adorable addictiveness; coating the rich musical cake with plenty of sugar, this wouldn’t feel like pop music at all, but the emotional vocal lines do nothing to diminish the end result. At no point does this feel excessive in its multiple influences, or any less serious by its use of simple vocals. This is a debut release that may be a little on the short side but I’ll be damned if I’m not waiting attentively to see what they have up their sleeve for next time.

Highlights: Ambient Dreamer, Good Day, Matryoshka, Chou

Technology - Technology

Posted by T. Bawden 0 comments


Technology – Technology - 3.5/5
Link

This is not the first time I’ve praised the style of Chris Tsagakis, drummer for both ‘Rx Bandits’ and ‘Sounds of Animal’s Fighting,’ and I doubt it will be the last, but before it always felt like a mere snippet into the unusual character he has developed throughout his music. My long overdue foray into his eclectic solo work has divulged so much more about him that I feel as though – for better or for worse – I understand him better, and that’s an odd thing to say of any musician. Performing an odd combination of electronic backing effects and simple keyboard lines, combined with the main feature of the piece – his own drumming abilities – this on one hand feels experimental, but it never feels forcibly so.

One of the critical elements that has come to my attention now that I’ve heard him perform solo is where my initial intrigue came from; with regards to technical proficiency he doesn’t rank as one of the best, rather its his attitude towards the music that feels out of place. Drummers before him have taken influences from the styles of drumming found in jazz but few can claim to have taken the attitude towards the instrument as their own; fluidly progressing many of his beats, finding new creative ways to perform his instrument without care for the repetitive aggression or simplistic structures that so often plague drummers; his often heavy handed approach creating an unrelenting stream of beats that whilst show him as perhaps not the quickest drummer in town, certainly one of the quirkiest.

Much like his drumming style, this album is a bold and unusual testament to creative freedom which sadly leaves it a very niche target audience. Popularity never feels like the intention behind this though; it’s a side project that sounds as though he intended to write, perform and record what he wanted to uninhibited by convention and the result speaks for itself. It’s no coincidence that when he truly gives himself the time to explore an idea that we find our album highlights, progressively exploring an idea until the end. Love it, like it, or hate it, you’re certainly unlikely to find much else like it.

Highlights: Holiday in Galapagos, Phantoms, The Running

Note: I couldn't find a copy of the front cover which looks like he drew a few speakers and a tree on a piece of card with some crayons, complete with smudges and slip ups, and despite the 'cheap' look it feels remarkably personal. Anyway, I couldn't find a picture of it so have a live recording instead.

This release can be bought directly from the artists myspace, found here

Jelonek – Jelonek

Posted by T. Bawden Sunday, 11 April 2010 0 comments


Jelonek – Jelonek – 3.5/5
Link

Violins can have a habit of turning up in the most unusual of places and working surprisingly well. Take Profugus Mortis’ “So it begins,” or At the Gates “Red in the Sky is Ours,” for example; melodic black and death metal respectively incorporating an instrument so as to be integral to the music but not diminishing its quality. A lesser known example of this is the Polish band “Hunter,” but after a brief listen to their brand of thrash I couldn’t help but get the impression that the violin was underutilised, and it would seem that Jelonek – their violinist – thought much the same.

Now he may not be as adventurous here as many of those artist’s I’ve already mentioned, but there is unquestionably a rock/heavy metal vibe emerging between the classical and eastern folk inspired melodies, delivering a punchier equivalent of his influences on their own. Whilst the violin itself – always taking the lead role – often has a nice raw feel to it with an excellent dynamic range, the other percussion – the drumming in particular – feel as though they have suffered at the hands of a ruthless (or careless) producer; the slow and tense build-ups robbed of the impact they should have and the guitars melodic but ultimately uninspired.

His playing style varies immensely over the course of the release and yet each new element is applied subtly enough to never feel out of place, and many of the melodies succeed in never letting it all lose pace or demonstrate a lack of ideas, though the individual tracks themselves are sadly not as fortunate. Whilst given the lead role in the production it feels as though he’s stuck still playing the rhythm, tracks consisting of the same repeated riffs and utilising a conventional structure with little diversity within the track itself. It simply feels as though it’s missing something, an element that without makes for an unfinished effort. This is a no frills effort that turns up few surprises but perhaps worth a look for its sheer unconventionality of lead instrumentation.

Highlights: BaRock, Funeral of Provincial Vampire, Mosquito Flight

Nana Mizuki – Ultimate Diamond

Posted by T. Bawden Thursday, 8 April 2010 0 comments


Nana Mizuki – Ultimate Diamond – 4.5/5
Link

This artist almost feels like a dark horse in her chosen musical career, her solo work seeming to be overshadowed by her fairly impressive history of voice acting, landing roles in everything from ‘Hell Girl,’ ‘Love Hina,’ ‘Naruto,’ ‘Full Metal Alchemist,’ and many others, but lets not get off track with her other side. With a naturally harmonious voice, her age is another unexpected aspect; most successful J-Pop vocalists have ended their careers by their 20s yet it was about that age that Nana-Chan began and now, a decade on since that debut and she’s seen a steady rise in attention, culminating in this album topping the charts. In fact, she is the first artist to simultaneously top the singles charts and album charts, and after taking the plunge myself I can’t say I’m surprised.

It’s rare to find what I would consider a ‘free-thinker’ in this genre; whenever I listen to “Perfume” I am more than aware that the vocalists are just a front for the talent beneath writing the songs for the puppets to perform; I know its more than coincidence that every “I’ve Sound” performer has the same brand of technopop backing, and it is these men behind the masks that play a major hand in making an artists a success. Whilst here multiple composers and musicians have gone into making the music, it still feels as though she has retained control, and so whilst the burden is ultimately on her to perform, the flip side is an absolute freedom to do as she wants regardless of expectations, and it doesn’t take long for her to exploit it.

Straddling lines between jazz – the opening theme wouldn’t feel out of place in a bond film, adding boisterous lounge to theatrical cabaret – hard rock and techno, she also adds subtle elements of classical piano, violin harmonies and a sprinkling of almost folk-like overtones and a surprising number of solos from guitars, saxophones, piano, and indeed even herself. Taking a new set of elements in each track, she manages to create a unique feel to each emerging song and yet it is her song writing that prevents it all from feeling disjointed, more than just her utterly mesmerising vocals is her ability to create an addictive chorus line that ties together each track in a manner that feels distinct to her irrespective of what the backing is doing.

We get none of this horrendous over-production either; the music is often thoroughly unsuited for it (outside of those few occasions where a techno backbeat is used), and instead we are treated to a far more organic feel to the gentle melodies, that whilst remain simplistic, manage to provide a constant variation. It is, however, 65 minutes long and certainly towards the end feels as though it’s just dragging its heels slightly and could have benefited from a slightly tighter cut. There are also the inevitable personal complaints of balance, personally wishing for a few more jazz-orientated tracks, but the simple fact remains that this is an album that set its sights above the rest and pushed their sound to the brink of no longer being pop, and it still manages to make its mark.

Highlights: Maria and Joker, Trickster, Brand New Tops, 少年

Mami Kawada – SAVIA

Posted by T. Bawden Saturday, 3 April 2010 0 comments


Mami Kawada – SAVIA – 4/5
Link

The second of the ‘I’ve Sound’ production company to be reviewed (the first being Mell’s inventively titled ‘Mellscope’), specialising in techno/trance pop artists it’s not entirely surprising that this artist has been overlooked. Given that only the largest and well known of Japanese artists tend to find their way across to the Western otaku fans, and that the largest of the Japanese artists are little different from the most popular pop artists in the US; pretty young women without a clue of how to write decent music, her – shall we call it ‘unconventional’ – appearance would likely do little to raise her from anonymity. In fact, like most from this production company, she first found work most closely with animé themes and music for Video Games and it wasn’t until five years later that her debut release, SEED, finally emerged.

As with all such releases, the music can be broken down into two critical components; the vocalist and the backing. Tackling the former, I can’t be said to be terribly impressed; lacking in vocal range or distinctive style, most of her lines are delivered capably but ultimately without a great amount of conviction. Even when not placed behind layers of filters – which is more often than not – it doesn’t feel terribly powerful on either an emotional level or a visceral one. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t misstep or sing out of tune and her natural voice is often left with comparatively minimal production work upon it, but it altogether feels unadventurous, as though she is capable of more but sadly has instead decided to play it safe.

The backing work has many avenues and directions available at her disposal, still behind the vocalist but never overlooked in her stead, combining electronic effects found in anything from trip-hop to techno and with more than a helping hand from drums, guitars, and keyboards to add additional hard rock groove to the proceedings. In fact, many of the hard hitting rock riffs, ambient synths and almost classically inspired piano lines find their way to the front of the production, setting the mood for what’s to come and filling in the gaps in her vocals with highly impressive results.

Yet, beyond the good vocal lines and detailed backing work is something I value even greater in such a release: consistency. Throughout the highs and the lows, it never feels as though a track is being used merely as filler material to flesh out the release, the backing doesn’t ever take a step down and feel carelessly thrown together at the last minute and the vocals are laid out properly every step of the way to create chorus lines that never fail to impress. Whether rock-inspired, slow and delicate or screaming out dance-like rhythms, she may have difficulty holding up against the best of others but proves capable of rising to the challenge of them all.

Highlights: Joint, Akai Namida, Dream, Nisori ~HISUI~ Get My Way!


Tim Fischer - Aus Blauem Glase - 5/5
Link

I haven't written a review in a while but when I heard this album I just had to tell someone about it. Therefore I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, Tim Fischer. At a very young age he developed an interest in Chansonneuring and at the age of 15 he had first public performance. This is his 7th album.

"Aus blauem Glase" was released in 1997 and has 14 songs - each more interesting than the last. The majority are in German but there are also 2 in French and 2 in English. Tim Fischer, although being the main feature on the album, shares the stage with many other musicians. Rosel Zech joins him in a duet in 4 of the songs ("Parlez-Moi D'amour", "Memories Are Made of This", "Die Minderwertigen" and "Aus Blauem Glase") and adds her own distinct ingredient to those songs. Thomas Dörschel is the pianist in all the songs and a variety of other musicians help to complete the sound of the album. It's a typical Cabaret album, musically relatively basic. Nothing special, but remarkably likeable and well-engineerd to provide a complementary atmosphere to the singers.

As is often the case with Cabaret, the singer himself did not write any of the songs. Instead he sings songs written by a variety of lyricists and composers, notably a translation of a Jacques Brel song ("Mein Allerletztes Glas") and a quite few songs by Georg Kreisler. You wouldn't know it if I didn't say it, though, as the singer makes each song his own. It sounds natural, sincere and heartfelt. Every song sounds like a story from the life of the singer himself - a huge compliment to his ability of interpretation. And the beauty of this style of music is that its success is completely in the hands of the interpreter as it is inherently intimate and only a perfect performace can give the desired effect.

And now, the part I've been waiting for: the lyrics. Unfortunately for the folks who don't understand German, most of this album won't have its full impact on you, even if I provide traslations. But that notwithstanding: The songs are not in any particular order - instead, each song has its own flavour. And these aren't your usual "Oh, I love you Honey, why did you leave?"-songs, no, each song is enthralling and leaves you with an aftertaste (mostly a bitter one) that lingers for hours, even days. The album is chock & block full of subjects like incest ("Onkelchen"), homosexuality ("Wenn Ich Heut' zum Friedhof Gehe") and insanity ("Die Minderwetigen") and might repel less adventurous listeners. In an outright challenge to consevatism and conventional decency, such controversial subjects are openly discussed and done in such a manner that sounds shameless and even, dare I say it, tender. It is an approach to rebbelion that we, as metalheads, are not used to, and a mercilessly effective one at that.

All in all, it's a fantastic album and I have no shame to admit that I wrote this review with the very purpose of glorifying it. No, I'm not viewing it objectively, but I hope and believe sincerely that you will, as I did, nod in utter agreement when, in the final track (an entire 4 minutes of applause), the crowd furiously chants "Zugabe! Zugabe!" ("Encore! Encore!")

Highlights: Wenn Ich Heut' Zum Friedhof Gehe, Parlez-Moi D'amour, Is That All there is?

Supercell feat. Hatsune Miku – Supercell

Posted by T. Bawden Thursday, 1 April 2010 0 comments


Supercell feat. Hatsune Miku – Supercell – 4/5
Link

Today I will be discussing our impending doom. No, Saddam’s lunchboxes dotted around the country haven’t turned out to be WMDs, Obama hasn’t accidentally sat down on ‘the red button,’ Google’s April Fool’s joke really is an april fools joke, and 4chan hasn’t finally outgrown its internet persona and turned into some sort of giant half naked robot tearing up Tokyo with its large tentacles. Rather I refer to the musical apocalypse; on today of all days I have finally come to the conclusion that soon musicians will no longer be needed in the musical process. The tendency of the music industry – particularly with piracy so prevalent – is changing distribution immensely; music is becoming more fan-based, geared towards anyone with the drive and creativity to create and promote their music freely online, and often new artists will choose to produce it themselves rather than risk it at the hands of an unscrupulous label.

But the age of technology has had another side effect; synthesized effects. Things have come a long way since the 70s rock synths, and with my recent discovery of laptop artist Kashiwa Daisuke – creating realistic and emotional music artificially to the point of it being impossible to be distinguished – he paved the way for my initial concerns, but the knowledge that live shows and vocals were yet to be solved kept me confident in the knowledge that there would always be a place for talented musicians. Then I heard about Hatsune Miku; she’s short, cute, has bright green hair and is rapidly gaining popularity in Japan with her versatile brand of J-pop, performing live in front of an audience of 25,000 late last year. She’s also fictitious, her voice created entirely artificially and being sold off as part of a “Vocaloid” package.

Supercell itself is signed to Sony Japan and actually consists of 11 members, but 10 of them fill their time drawing the character and animating her for their numerous video releases, only ‘Ryo’ concerning himself with the music and has at some point sat down to a computer and written this album unassisted. Just how far its all come along is a cause for concern in itself, but when you consider this is already over three years out of date and designed to imitate J-pop/Animé which is often very electronic anyway, we can quickly conclude that we may soon have a musical crisis on our hands. Things have actually developed a lot further; and of the apparent hundreds currently about, there’s both male (Kiyoteru Hiyama) and female (Miki, Gumi) vocalists suitable for rock and early models for English speaking vocalists, all with impossibly realistic voices akin to a real voice that’s had just a little bit too much production done on it, and this fact is far more more frightening than any monster that could be under my bed.

I realise in this highly unconventional review I have yet to actually discuss any of the music, which is quite simply an electronic pop/rock that fortunately for this review does little too differently. Impressively catchy, upbeat and addictive, the backing has shown an immense level of detail throughout, and with no shortage of ideas or instruments at his disposal he manages to combine a wealth of ideas in a simplistic manner that will have J-pop fans (so mostly just me) bouncing in their seats. Essentially it’s what this release represents that seems to be the most important factor here; if it was bad I would be able to shrug it off and move on to something else. But it isn’t, it is good. Very good in fact. And that’s not good.

Music is being created in multiple genres complete void of any musicians; guitars, violins, piano, saxophones and drums have all been close to perfected and now even the human voice is nearing the end. Holographic technology is closer than you could possibly imagine (Live Holographic Music) and with the advent of 3D cinema and some intensified research expensive technology is rapidly becoming more readily available (Home 3D Blu-Ray Player). I always bring news of my discoveries, but this is the first time I have predicted the end. Even the Mayan’s couldn’t have foreseen that it would be delivered by the hand of a 5'2" cartoon character waving a leek around.

Highlights: Love is War, Melt, Usotsuki no Palad

Below: The face that will destroy us all.


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Guide

Guide to the Ratings
0/5 - This caused me physical pain
1/5 - This is really bloody awful
2/5 - This was below average
3/5 - This was above average
4/5 - This was pretty darn good.
5/5 - I cannot fault this epitome of perfection.

I cant guarantee all reviewers adhere to these guidelines, but work as a general guide.

Author's credit is given on all posts.