Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Jpop Album Review- Nobuchika Eri- Nobuchikaeri

I've been reading a lot of praise for Nobuchika Eri, a new SONY artists in many forums on the internet. She's is produced by Mondo Grosso, a nightclub music artist. Nobuchika Eri has quite a lot of artistry, though commerciall unsuccessful. Here's a review of her first (and currently last) major label album.

1) Forest of Dreams- A mellow instrumental which manages to be enigmatic.

2) Lights- Eri Nobuchika's debut single. It beings with melancholic piano chords in a black and white PV and transitions into a disco/nightclub beat in the chorus. I'm new to Eri Nobuchika's style of music but I found this song intriguing and powerful. The video, though bland, goes well with the song. The chorus is powerful and suddenly erupts into a heavy beat. The verse is emotional and mysterious. Though the verse and chorus were very different, they flowed into each other. Lights is quite a good song and offers something new. There's orchestral backing and a melancholic tone is prevelant throughout.

3) Sing a song- Sing a song follows in the style of Lights. It starts off with disco beat which drags for a long while before beginning. It follows the same formula as Lights. The verse is low and balladish but the chorus is heavily trance influenced. Sing a song was good but I felt it didn't have the emotional depth of Lights. Following after lights, it was a little disappointing.

4) Sketch for summer- Sketch for summer is a total ballad with a piano background. Eri Nobuchika displays her low, emotional voice here. I actually like her voice- she has emotion, power and tone. For a happy theme like summer, this song was a little wet like a rainy day in summer. What makes this song different after the previous ones is that it has no beat for the first half. It keep it bare with just the piano and Eri's voice. Beat and orchestra join the song in the second verse but it never manages to be a nightclub/trance/disco track. I don't know how to define her music.

5) Kutsu wo naraso- This song follows the style of the previous song- the songs seem to be placed in pairs. It is again, a ballad without beat. Eri Nobuchika's music cannot be defined by one genre and that's a good thing- she is a true artist. Her voice is easy on the ears. This song has the 'rainy day' feel of sketch of summer- I can almost smell the damp soil. I haven't read the lyrics but that's what the song reminds me of. Compared to Sketch for summer, it again fails to stand out. These two tracks could've been merged into one since they're so similar sounding.

6) Inner Glow- Inner Glow is an album track that has a lot of english lyrics (I think all of it). Eri Nobuchika's engrish is evident but the song still manages to shine. At more that six minutes long, it is the second longest track in the album. Inner Glow was my favourite album track despite the engrish. Inner glow begins without beat but picks up. It has a metaphysical vibe (that's the only way I can describe it). In more human terms, it reminds me of a forest at night, lit by fireflies. I like the fact that Eri's music creates imagery in my mind. This track keeps the album's flow more than standing out.

7) I hear the music in my soul- After the ephermeral Inner glow, I hear the music in my soul rains on the parade. It wakes the listener from a beautiful dream. This is my least favourite track. It is a disco themed instrumental that doesn't offer anything special.

8) Voice- Voice is a single track that begins with guitar intros and trance beats. It is a pure nightclub track with the sad undertone. The chorus manages to be powerful. Voice is another long track. It flows fell from I hear the music in my soul. Eri displays her powerful voice here.

9) Koudou- Another single track. Koudou is very different from voice. It is a beatless piano ballad that again, runs long. Eri has a lot of space to display her emotional voice here. The chorus took off but wasn't anything spectacular. The beat joins in with a brass band in the chorus. Her album tracks are better than single tracks.

10) Desert of Dreams- Another distant, ephermeral sounding interlude. It picks up with a beat but the tone remains the same. This album has so many instrumental tracks.

11) Yume no kakera- Begins with an arabian themed violin solo and falls into the nightclub mold. It had some of the 'lonely desert' feel, probably that's why Desert of dreams was placed before it. I really can't tell the difference between any of her nightclub tracks or any of her ballads. They're similar sounding but less intense in the emotion. Yume no Kakera has powerful chorus with Eri holding notes for long. The bad part is, it is more than seven minutes- wow!

12) Hidamari- Hidamari puts the album to a peaceful end. There's lot of squeaking while changing guitar frets in the intro but Hidamari manages to shine in the end. It is again, a guitar ballad with no beat. This one doesn't even have a chorus. It is a pleasant ending.

In the end, I dont know what to say. The album could just be playing in the background all day and you'd never realize. But, it has a calming effect on the mind. It is hard to define the genre of this album, the closest I can get is a mix between new age and trance. The underlying melancholy is evident in every track but the intensity of emotion differs. When I first heard this album, I was confused. I didn't know where to place it. Over time, it has grown on me. The album appeals to the soul rather than the ears. It is a musical near death experience. To summarise- Nobuchikaeri has the spiriual appeal of new age, power of trance and pain of solutide.
Nobuchika Eri is a talented vocalist. Her low, gutsy voice transforms into powerful belts and falsettos but she never sounds commercial. It is easy to hear the album and say it'll never sell because it is so avant garde. It definitely has emotional appeal. It fixes a subconcious feeling of sadness that's too subtle to notice. Compared to mass manaufactured emotions prevelant in popular music, this album is a welcome change. If you're looking for true artistry or something new, try Nobuchikaeri.



Spiritual experience


Too 'avant garde' for some
Too many instrumental tracks (3 out of 12)

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