Tag Archives: Electronic

ESP RA.DE. Ψ Drive Waves 2019 (SRIN-1166)

SuperSweep was tapped to provide a remixed BGM mode for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 shmup, ESP Ra.De. Ψ. Given Hosoe-san and SuperSweep’s history with this game genre, you can bet they knew just want to do. The album features two discs, the first of which are in the in-game remixes, and the second of which are extended mixes of ten of the tracks. There’s also a non-stop mix available as a bonus disc for anyone order from the SuperSweep store.

The soundtrack featured original music by Masahiro Kusunoki and Tetsuya Mizoguchi, but the entire SuperSweep team and several friends contribute remixes to the remixed BGM mode. The album opens with the dreamy “ESP Person” before the pumping and fittingly titled “”DESPERATE SCHOOL” and fast-paced “NIGHTMARE” come in. Each artist on the album takes a crack at “RAGING DEICIDE,” a synth-heavy anthem that is featured no less than six times, all by different arrangers. Takahiro Eguchi’s version is drum-heavy and glitchy, Ayako Saso’s applies less emphasis on synths and adds shredding electric guitar and octave-jumping bass, Fumihisa Tanaka’s version is more driving with epic pads and arpeggiated bass, and Atomic’s remix is searing with an increased tempo and layered synths. It’s interesting to hear so many different takes on the same theme. “ACT IN JUDGE” is more bubbly and upbeat while “WANGAN RAPID LINE 2nd” glides with some nice electric piano work. I love the Metroid-esque “FAIRIES FEAR” with guttural bass and sparse percussion, and the three-part sequence starting with the surprisingly chill “RAGE” with dreamy pads and measured drums, which morphs into “WING” with added epic choir, which again morphs into “MADNESS” with added distorted choir and screams and screeching in the background. The closing track, “SNOW ILLUSION,” brings soothing bells and closes out on a reflective note.

The album is available for import from CD Japan, and the bonus disc is available from purchasing direct from the SuperSweep shop in Japan only.

RXN -RAIJIN- ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK (SRIN-1156)

SuperSweep Records released the soundtrack to the Nintendo Switch anime-flavored shmup RXN -RAIJIN- back in 2018 featuring music mostly by Raito with a main theme by Yuzo Koshiro and remixes by the SuperSweep team. The album features hip and minimalistic electronic music for the most part with Koshiro’s catchy vocal rock track with big band jazz elements to kick things off. The score sports everything from shredding electric guitars and cool piano to funky bass and exotic didgeridoo. There’s lots of shmup-appropriate drum ‘n’ bass, but also rock and even an orchestral fanfare. The second disc includes extended mixes of most of the tracks as well as two remixes by SuperSweep. The packaging features a giant booklet full of credits and interviews in Japanese as well as artwork and a nice cardboard slipcase.

RXN -RAIJIN- is available from CD Japan if you’re interested.

Blastrave Compilation -Burst Rave- (SRIN-1169)

Like SuperSweep? Like rave music? SuperSweep’s Blastrave Compilation -Burst Rave- is an album of original electronic music by SuperSweep and friends. While it’s all original music, it’s not to unlike their electronic game soundtracks. It all begins with pumping trance in the title track, “BLASTRAVE,” before the catchy “Blast the 90’s” jumps in with dance-y piano, poppy synth work, and English pop vocals. Next up is the explosive “Tear It,” the dreamy electronic-rock mix “Over Power” with some incredible guitar solos, and the bubbly “Start Running” with Japanese pop vocals. “Enter the Rave” combines pounding drum ‘n’ bass with vocal pop segments, “Kick Harassment” goes hardcore, and “Blast Off” gets a glittery and adventure-infused sound. There’s the glitchy “Back to the 90s,” the exotic rhythmic excursion “Barking night” by Shinji Hosoe himself, the dreamy and warm “Summer Line #GadgetSwitch” by Nobuyoshi Sano, and a very unsettling hardcore track titled “Gemini” with weird distressing spoken segments, pumping bass, and screeching synths. The album closes with the catchy trance tune, “BLASTRAVE 2020,” by Ayako Saso. The second disc includes a non-stop megamix of the album.

It’s great to see SuperSweep publishing some of their original works, and inviting friends both known and lesser-known to the party. If you’re looking for a hip electronic music album, you can import Blastrave Compilation -Burst Rave- on CD Japan.

Piramirise (SRIN-1163)

SuperSweep Records is always full of surprises. These usually come in the form of long-lost videogame soundtracks released for the first time, but this time, it comes in the form of an original Japanese pop/rock album with SuperSweep artists on production duties recorded at MONACA STUDIO, home of the team behind the soundtrack of NieR. It’s quite a combination, although the album is strictly pop music.

Piramirise serves up a variety of styles, from the jubilant rock anthem, “JUMP!” and the hip foot-tapper, “For the Future,” to the sweet and bouncy “Dead or futarikiri” and the funky and uplifting “Flying High!” There’s the sweet “Maybe Maybee Maybe,” a beautiful acoustic guitar and piano ballad in “Kanji,” and the incredibly futuristic and cool “Secrets makes shapes of life.” EDM makes an appearance in “Ageha” and “Perfect Place,” whereas “Sainposuto” takes a turn for the dramatic, and “Emotion” closes things out with a sweeping string and brass arrangement.

There’s something here for everyone, and it’s a lot of fun to see SuperSweep artists take a crack at various pop styles. This is a rather unusual release from SuperSweep as it doesn’t feature any videogame music, but fans of the SuperSweep team may want to give it a spin. The album can be imported via CD Japan.

Review: Mitsuto Suzuki’s New Unit mojera Releases Debut Album Overkill

We’re long-time fans of Mitsuto Suzuki, and particularly his solo works. Just as he’s completed his work on Final Fantasy VII Remake we get to hear the debut of mojera, a new unit comprised of Mizuto Suzuki and vocalist Non, who he’s collaborated with on the Final Fantasy Mobius soundtracks. This essentially acts as his long-awaited third solo album, following In My Own Backyard and Neurovision, and fans of those two efforts will feel right at home with mojera.

The album opens with the grungy rock and abstract electronics that we’ve come to know from Suzuki’s past solo works, weaving them into a dreamy and uplifting song accompanied by Non’s vocals. The titular track, “Overkill” is slow and contemplative before a super upbeat a pop-leaning chorus section begins with a bumping bassline and a sound highly reminiscent of the likes of Suzuki’s “New Bodhum” from Final Fantasy XIII-2, one of my favorite soundtracks. There’s the spacey electronics and heavily filtered vocals of “Pluto,” the droning and dreamy “Rain bringer” with pulsing synth notes that feel like raindrops, and “Mojera,” another standout with tweaky electronics in the vein of Katamari Damacy and clean acoustic guitar and vocals that are mega catchy… it’s unfortunate that this is the shortest track on the album as I found myself wanting more. “Master&Slave” slowly builds as an ominous electronic track with no vocals and feels like a sort of bad (but in a good way) trip in the midst of the largely dreamy and upbeat musical journey. “Prism” comes as a pumping dance tune that is chopped up and glitched out, whereas “Camouflage” is a gritty alternative rock/broody electronic track that would feel at home in Lightning Returns. Another highlight is “DJ non MachineLanguage,” a fun DJ dance floor track that Non, in a computerized voice, explains the various instruments being used and proceeds to cheer them on and scold them over the course of the tune before joining in to sing herself. “Many analog synthesizers are freaky, but Prophet 5 is a gentleman. But it’s actually badass because the sound is messed up with cross-modulation and noise.” That’s just a taste of her antics. “2019,” sports dreamy pads and sweet vocals for a nice easy closer.

There’s a free musical spirit within that blends styles which I thought was interesting given that Suzuki just collaborated at length with Masashi Hamauzu on Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Hamauzu’s unit, IMERUAT, is one of my favorites and has been covered extensively on our blog. With that, I hope we’ll see a lot more from mojera in the years to come.

Grab Overkill on iTunes or import the physical CD from CD Japan.

Review: Mobius Final Fantasy Original Soundtrack 2

If you enjoyed Mitsuto Suzuki’s Mobius Final Fantasy soundtrack, you should be ecstatic that Square Enix has released a massive second volume comprising three discs of all new music. Prepare yourself for more sweeping orchestral, abstract electronic wizardry, and killer vocal tunes with lots of Final Fantasy references tucked in for good measure.

I’ll start with the amazing “Capricious Cait Sith,” easily my favorite track on the album, which comes as a silly female vocal disco tune with a smooth and funky backing. Vocals are featured prominently throughout, including on the wonderful “Always There” with its ascending acoustic guitar, ethereal pads, and gentle male vocals and the cool RNB production, “Azure Memories,” which sports clean acoustic guitar and female vocals. Backing up, though, the album begins with the big orchestral sounds of “Ring of Braves” with rolling percussion and uplifting piano before diving in to the whimsical “Mogheim” with its lovely piano and Final Fantasy main theme references, the dance-y “Breaker’s Funk” with rhodes piano and funky bass synth, and “Meia’s Theme” with its cool blend of flamenco guitar and strings. There’s a beautiful Christmas version of “Sarah’s Theme” from Final Fantasy XIII-2, a Final Fantasy theme Christmas track titled “Hopebringer,” a rockin’ rendition of the Final Fantasy VII “Fanfare,” which is absolutely perfect, and the explosive metal “Bloodthirst” with powerful percussion and guitar shredding. “The Infinite Warrior” gives us upbeat rock in traditional Final Fantasy style with its bubbly approach and rock organ, and “Battle Princes,” a bumpin’ EDM track that transitions into uplifting piano and strings.

Spanning three discs, there’s a lot of music here to enjoy. I think I enjoyed Mobius Final Fantasy Original Soundtrack 2 even more than the original release. Grab it on CD Japan if you’re so inclined!

Review: Far Saa Far

As a huge fan of the abstract electronic duo IMERTUAT, comprised of Masashi Hamauzu and vocalist Mina, I was excited by the announcement of their third album, Far Saa Far. We covered their second album, Propelled Life, and it’s been way too long since we’ve been able to enjoy their unique blend of strings, piano, electronics, and vocals.

Far Saa Far offers up over thirty minutes of new music spread across 12 songs, most of which feature several live performances, starting with the trippy and fluttering “Far Saa Far,” which sports lovely string beds and an energetic chorus sections featuring Mina’s dreamy lyrics and electric guitar flare ups. “Pororororororo” is more sweet with emotional strings and piano and Mina’s repetitive “Pororororororo.” “Nomitaina” is easily my favorite track on the album with Mina’s constant singing of the track name with piano and abstract electronic backing. Some dancey piano and percussion join the mix, creating a funky and refreshing vibe. There’s some tension in “Flakes,” which contains lots of dissonance and heart-pounding synth and bass percussion. There’s the wintery “kilto kilto” with the sound of wind, bells, and chimes, the spunky “Satoyama Department Store” with its deep bass, repetitive acoustic guitar, and chilly pads, and the highly abstract “Quarter Tones” with its radio transmission-like sound samples, descending tones, and synth swells. The strange and oddly upbeat “I want to Assassinate!” features a blend of signature Hamauzu strings and chopped up and glitched out piano and synth work paired with English vocals, while “Le Fleur” is an incredibly beautiful strings, piano, and acoustic guitar ballad with gentle lullaby-esque vocals by Mina. The closing track, “Deep Green Field,” is a stunning piano and guitar reprise of “La Fleur,” providing a lovely closer to a wonderful listening experience.

The presentation of Far Saa Far is quite nice as well, coming in a jewel case with rounded corners and a thick booklet with all the lyrics. They’ve even produced a little magazine featuring more artwork and additional information about the tracks. Fans outside of Japan can grab the album from Wayô Records.

You can also click through below to see music videos for “La Fleur” and “Nomitaina.” Continue reading Review: Far Saa Far

Review: ALICE ORDER ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

I can’t say I know much about Square Enix’s mobile title Alice Order, but I’ve heard good things about its soundtrack composed by Yuki Hayashi. Hayashi is mainly known for his work in the realm of anime, so I was curious to delve in. There’s a blend of orchestral, instrumental, and electronic soundscapes found within, all of which is wonderfully produced.

The opening track, “ALICE ORDER,” introduces sweeping orchestra with electronic percussion and bass, creating a sleek and cool atmosphere. There’s tension in the mission select theme with chugging bass and brass, an energetic blend of orchestral and rock in “Valkyrie Dance,” and guttural electronics and fast-paced espionage vibes in “Advance Troops.” “Result” offers a uplifting march, “In Progress” adds tribal percussion to the electronic/orchestral mix, and “Forces Conflict” is ominous with glitchy percussion and desolate and distant guitar work. There’s a tragic piano and string ballad titled “What is lost,” a mysterious droning synth track called “Wave of mystery,” and a touch of playfulness in “Fleeting peace” with its triangle, pizzicato strings, and acoustic guitar. Rounding out the album are “Mighty force,” a grandiose struggle, “Invasion of darkness,” a pumping electronic track, and the explosive “Divine judgment.”

In all, there’s a nice mix of music here to demonstrate Yuki Hayashi’s talent. Fans looking for some cool and sleek electronic music might want to give this a try since it’s unlikely anyone outside of Japan has played the game. It’s available on CD Japan.

Review: Last SQ

I was a huge fan of the SQ album series from Square Enix, featuring remixes from Square Enix artists and their associates, covering all sorts of styles. It went on for many years, and even spawned several live events, but they finally brought the series to a closer with Last SQ.

The collection is largely a compilation of tracks from across the series with one new track opening and closing each of two discs. Starting with the compilation material, I was really happy to see the crazy →Pia-no-jaC← battle medley,  the brilliant rock opera “Aria” by Reign of the Kindo, and the chiptune spin on Secret of Mana here. The guitar and marimba version of SaGa Frontier’s “Rosenkranz,” the jazzy “Troian Beauty,” and the infectiously upbeat “To Far Away Times” from Chrono Trigger by livetune and LIVE-A-LIVE by Sexy Synthesizer were all must-haves for this collection as well.

The new material by Megumi Shiraishi may be a little more polarizing as largely hybrid cinematic takes on classic themes. The first is a gritty version of Chrono Trigger’s final battle and main themes, complete with live shakuhachi and rumbling percussion, while the original Seiken Densetsu battle theme gets an explosive (and short) orchestral rock arrangement with beautiful female vocals. Live violin is featured throughout another bombastic arrangement from LIVE-A-LIVE, and closing out the series is a rockin’ medley with live guitar, shakuhachi, and violin covering “Chaos Temple,” “Dancing Mad,” and the “Final Fantasy” main theme. It’s a nice way to close things out.

If you’ve never delved into the SQ series, this is a good start. Grab it on CD Japan if you’re interested.

Bullet Girls 1 & 2 Soundtrack (SRIN-1140)

SuperSweep Records is at it again, bringing music you wouldn’t expect out on CD with the release of the soundtracks to the PlayStation Vita games Bullet Girls 1&2. The album features an eclectic selection of electronic, orchestral, and pop music composed by Masanori Hikichi, including the catchy J-rock title themes, “Faith” (Bullet Girls 1) and “One’s Bullet” (Bullet Girls 2), both featuring vocalist Tifan.

Between military marches, smooth synth pop, funk, and pop rock, there’s something for everyone with this release. There’s sweeping orchestral, spooky trip hop, and even dance music. It’s all wonderfully produced, and even some of the darker tracks maintain an upbeat atmosphere. They also include a number of jingles from the game and the instrumental versions of the vocal tracks.

Bullet Girls 1&2 Soundtrack can be imported from CD Japan if you’re interested.