Sunday is all about putting your feet up, turning the volume up and queuing some music to get wholly lost in. During the week music always seems to accompany doing something: programming, walking, writing, pretending you can't hear the other people in the office talking about you. It seems somewhat of a lost past-time to simply sit and listen.
there's something alluringly infectious about this sentai inspired quintet
What better way to celebrate this than the release of the Kids on the Slope soundtrack? Any Yoko Kanno release is a cause for celebration; that this has jazz ensembles from Takashi Matsunaga, a noted master of the genre, as well as vocal tracks from well-known artists such as Aoi Teshima is a special treat. I can't claim to know the first thing about jazz or how to approach it for a better appreciation, but as the adage goes, I know what I like. It's still on heavy rotation so my final opinion is still gestating but the tracks effortlessly blend easy listening and jazz sessions with Kanno's signature background melodies - unique but not overpowering.
Down In the Hole is Texas Pandaa's third album after their 2006 debut One Gleam After the Shadow and demonstrates a band who are wonderfully progressive in their availability and interaction with fans but also refining their music in an increasingly crowded genre. What that genre is depends on one's definition of the slow, poised and melodious tracks that Texas Pandaa produce with such care: shoegaze, post-rock, down tempo, ambient, romance-pop and indie. All could describe the mesmeric harmonies Asako and Mikiko produce backed dreamily by respective guitar and bass as well as Kaz on a supplemental guitar and Nadehiko on drums. Down In the Hole comes off the back of Days, retaining and refining everything that make the group more than just another self-indulgent ambient rock offering and shows a development of exactly what makes them special.
It demands repeated listens, at its best when left as ambient and unintrusive
The stand out entries come swiftly after the album's title track Down In the Hole which sports a catchy melody and child-like lyrics, evoking stories such as Alice in Wonderland or Wind in the Willows which follow from the delightful art that accompanies the album. Suddenly, the second track, is superbly paced: building from the start with a solemn guitar until the vocals cut in, heavy with nostalgia and a melancholy timbre that characterises the best of the album; the lyrics tell of an absent love and reconciliation but even in impressive English they pale to the atmosphere the track crafts and exhibits the greatest triumph of the album overall.
After breaking free from Yoko Kanno over three years ago, Everywhere is Maaya Sakamoto's new compilation album that brings together fifteen years of vocal work including some of the most iconic theme tunes to some of the most influential anime and a variety of TV and radio shows.
With only one new track on the two CD release, for some it may seem a hard sell for tracks that are available on all of her other albums; however with such a stunning track list, it reads more like a "best of" than simply an anniversary collection. There is a definite split with the tracks: many of them having been featured as anime, TV and radio themes whereas the others are simply memorable or notable works from her six full albums, two single collections and two "concept" albums. The media tie-ins intrinsically link the songs to an emotional theme that echoes the productions they were attached to; they also represent touchstones in the timeline from Maaya's entrance as Hitomi in the Vision of Escaflowne to both the musical and vocal powerhouse she is now. On the other hand, the original tracks anchor the collection to her previous releases and remain more personal to listeners, tied to whatever event or period within their life when they first experienced them.