Delight in Daylight
Delight in Daylight
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I have been trying to write this review for two months. Two months! I didn’t really put that into perspective until this morning when I saw this square pile of dust on my desk that, once wiped down, turned out to be my copy of Delight in Daylight that has been sitting here for more than two lunar cycles. I have seen skeletons in a less atrophied state. But, the more I think about it, the more I realize how long of a time span sixty days is. I could have driven from Boston to Los Angeles and back about fifteen times. I could have met a beautiful tattooed girl that likes Lost and enjoys going to roller derby, and we’d just be getting to that awkward but awesome relationship stage that comes around when you stop counting dates and start leaving socks and a toothbrush at each other’s apartments. I could have beaten Resident Evil 4 another hundred times! I guess I could have done a lot in sixty days, but what I probably should have done was review this awesome Nanosounds album instead of just opening and saving an empty text file on my desktop and leaving it vacant for two months. Motivation and inspiration, you are both cruel and elusive mistresses.
Well, coulda, woulda, shoulda, right? The bottom line is here I am, belatedly praising a super random and super rockin’ compilation album that features some of Namco’s greatest composers at their electronic compositional peaks. While the Nanosounds catalog has had varying success with their releases (most of which are harder to find than a pink elephant on a unicycle with a wallet full of three dollar bills), Delight in Daylight is the label’s unquestionable apex; almost completely free of obnoxious vocal songs, meandering electronica, and throwaway compositions that should have remained as unfinished files in someone’s Pro Logic library, Daylight provides a consistent and befitting listening experience that casts all sorts of electronic shadows and prismatic beats across the shiny data side of the disc.
Eutron (a.k.a. Yu Miyake) opens up the album with his off-tempo and beautifully syncopated “Orange” which I consider his #2 magnum opus, right behind “Pulse Phaze” from the PSP Ridge Racers soundtrack. In typical Miyake fashion, he layers low-res vocal samples over a funky electronic beat with sporadic and almost random accentuations until the track carefully erupts into a guitar-led manifestation of what Miyake must hear when he’s alone in a quiet room. Akitaka Toyama appropriately follows suit with “Sterna dougallii”, a slowly developing yet fast-tempoed piece that has plenty of little quirks that Toyama incorporated to keep the music fresh and exciting. Almost a chiptune techno-samba, “Sterna” is one of my favorite Toyama compositions; I do not need to show you where the dots are or even give you a marker for you to connect them with for you to see where I am going with this. Mikaye and Toyama’s fellow compositional partner from Tekken 4, Satoru Kosaki, gives way to “noites” that almost, almost makes me forget about his “Handmade Girl Maid” tracks from the other two Nanosounds albums I have reviewed. OK, actually, wait, hand made who? “noites” is a trippy piano-led samba that incorporates some acoustic guitar and synth sounds that remind me of his work on Tekken 4‘s “Touch and Go”. And that is a very, very good thing.
I am the sole member and chairman of the “Koji Nakagawa is Criminally Underused” club, but we’re still accepting members and after hearing “lp6.4.1” you may be so inclined to join my little club. Membership is free and we have free donuts every Thursday and karaoke on the second Tuesday of every month. Nakagawa’s electric piano-infused composition starts off pretty darkly with a downtempo beat and bass line before building into a fun tune that is hesitantly, but excellently, disco-influenced. hide-aki, the pen name of Hideki Tobeta, offers the sample-heavy and uptempo electronic jazz of “Cielos de agosto”, which gives it a personality of its own, which is a strong compliment especially considering it’s sandwiched between the aforementioned “Orange” and Tetsukazu Nakanishi’s “Spectrum”, a paced yet pulsing composition that is perfect BGM for filling your gas tank and taking a joyride up to the stars. Nosleeves’ “alphabet” is a quirky little romp that will teach your kids how to properly say the a-loo-fa-bet; there are vocal samples and cheery melodies abound abound in this xylophone-led 1960’s sounding track that would be a perfect musical score for that YouTube video of the waterskiing squirrel.
Maybe I’m just speaking for myself, but every once in a while you have a good friend that’s always fun to have around, but then he gets a girlfriend who is kind of lame and annoying and he brings her everywhere and always dampens the party because of it. Well, I don’t know what’s going on with Hiroshi Okubo and Chizuru Miura, but I think he needs to start to leave her at home every once in a while and hang out with his friends because she’s starting to impede his creativity, especially since all three of his songs on the Nanosounds albums I have reviewed feature her tepid and uninspiring vocals. Come on, Okubo! Snap out of it. How about a guys’ night out every once in a while? And, while I’m on the subject of disappointments, I have to admit that Nobuyoshi Sano stumbled with his “jz”, which sounds like a CD skipping for four and a half minutes. It’s tolerable and is far from a bad tune, but after everyone else’s strong compositions (sans Okubo, natch), it’s a bit disappointing to hear a Namco great like Sano put forward a lackluster tune. Better luck next time, sanodg, but no hard feelings!
Delight in Daylight, for lack of better words, rules. As a compilation disc it is fantastic, as an electronica disc it is fantastic, and after hearing tons of trackss from the composers on other mediums I have to say that their offerings here, on the whole, are… fantastic. If you’re interested in checking out the super rare backlog of Nanosounds albums I can’t think of a better place to start than at the very top with Delight in Daylight. I will be playing it every Monday night in its entirety at the meetings for my Koji Nakagawa club. You should come down!
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Tommy Ciulla. Last modified on August 1, 2012.