December 31, 2013
Buy at Sweep Record
D-Prism is the latest release from Hiroto Saitoh’s record label. Featuring both his own compositions as well as contributions from guest contributors Yousuke Yasui, Ayako Saso, Yasuhisa Watanabe, and Takahiro Eguchi, how does the overall experience turn out?
Hiroto Saitoh’s compositions make up half of the release and all impart a different sound to the mix, although all most a jazz influence. “Circus rondo,” the album opener, has a very creepy circus feel that takes a while to get going; however, once the jazz elements are introduced, it definitely gets much better. “Particles” is an electronic tune with plenty of vocal samples, a slick melody and beautiful synthesizer and piano elements. It’s definitely one of my favorite tunes on the album.
Saitoh’s “Asian blue antique” is an extremely beautiful piece of music fusing together jazz elements with traditional Asian instrumentation. Of particular note is the stunning shamisen section that really helps give a nice exhilarating feel to the music. Saitoh’s last contribution, “Swallow,” has an orchestral to it and mixes a bit of the big band sound as well. The strings focus in the melody gives it a fun sound, although there are also more grandiose moments that sound straight out of an RPG as well as a sexy Spanish tinge to it with a wonderful flamenco guitar and percussion section. It is another highlight on the album.
The rest of the album comprises the music of the guest contributors. Ayako Saso’s “Easterly Wind” definitely follows her signature electronic sound, complete with plenty of ethnic references, both in terms of vocal samples as well as instrumentation. It isn’t the most creative tune I’ve heard from her, but it is enjoyable. Yack.’s “North” is a largely orchestral sound with some electronic tones as well. However, the music itself tends to distract, despite the well thought out nature of the piece due to accordion synth being mixed quite loudly over top the softer electronic and orchestral elements. “asayake,” by Takahiro Eguchi, is another highlight of the album. It is a stunning mix with a slight retro sound, thanks to some clever synth manipulation. In addition, the ethereality of the piece mixed with some bubbly rhythm really makes for a wonderful listening experience.
Lastly, Yousuke Yasui’s “Latino Vibration” is an FM arrangement of Hiroto Saitoh’s “Latino” from the WORLDNAUT album. This retro take on the tune is quite wnjoyableand would feel right at home on a Sega Genesis game. The slight down tempo really heightens the melody.
In the end, I think that D-Prism is an enjoyable listen, even if some of the songs aren’t always the most successful or creative, due to the copious amounts of styles found on the album. Fans of Hiroto Saitoh or any of the other contributors might want to try to pick this up if any of the samples above pique their interest.
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Posted on October 7, 2014 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on October 12, 2014.