Supercell feat. Hatsune Miku – Supercell – 4/5
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how far its all come along is a cause for concern in itself, but when you consider this is already over three years out of date and designed to imitate J-pop/Animé which is often very electronic anyway, we can quickly conclude that we may soon have a musical crisis on our hands.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.
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
Posted by T. Bawden Thursday, 1 April 2010