May 29, 2008
Buy at Konamistyle
Denjin K (電人K) is the first album by Toshiyuki Kakuta, featuring works mainly from his L.E.D. alias. Like other beatnation records albums, the first disc contains extended original work from BEMANI game series and some new material, while the second disc features remixes from other BEMANi artists. Unlike many of his colleagues, Kakuta does a better job at with his extended mixes, which don’t feel too repetitive or overlong. The remix disc is expectedly a mixed bag at times, but there is some great work to be heard, making this a solid collection and tribute to Kakuta’s work and style.
Most of the first disc features Kakuta’s grittier hardcore songs, which are suitably introduced by the new collaboration with NO+CHIN “Intro”. The track has the announcer greeting the listeners and revving them up to an appropriate hardcore backdrop. It’s a short track, but does a great job of setting up the album.
In terms of the hardcore content, few of the tracks gain much in the way of new material in their extensions, but a fine job is done so that they have strong progression and don’t feel overly repetitive. The collaboration with teranoid “The Detonator” is an example of a well-done track, which has fleshed out it’s introduction and extended it’s interlude for increased suspense and build-up. “ERaSeR EnGinE DistorteD” (an extension of “Eraser Engine”) with GUHROOVY’s amusingly over-censored vocals now has more cohesive structure, particularly with the vocals. Some of the tracks like “Nebula Grasper” and “The Sharp Striker” (renamed from “Sound of Giallarhorn”) can lean a bit more on the generic side, but other tracks like the energetic kors k collaboration “Solid State Squad” and the breakcore boss track “Steel Needle” balance out the shortcomings in other tracks.
A few other styles also make it onto the first disc album. A few vocal tracks are present, such as the fluffy new “Jewellery Storm” featuring Eriko Kanzawa which is a lighter hardcore vocal track. The two Drum’n’Bass vocal tracks “Photogenic” and “Dawn -The Next Endeavour-” still feature the Maiko Horisawa and receive new verses along with an upgrade in sound quality. The liquid funk “Acid Immortal” (extension of “Acid Vision”) has some more vocal samples which are great for breaking up the song’s various sections while adding to its longevity, and the trance “Ixion” is still epic and with great buildup and guitar sample. Although considerably different from the rest of the songs, the strong driving beats and percussion ensure that the tracks easily fit in with others while bringing some welcome diversity.
The remix disc features fifteen different Bemani composers, each one taking a song and making it their own. Many of them hold the spirit of the first disc, keeping a gritty electronic atmosphere while adding their own particular influences to the track. D.J. SETUP brings a heavier techno approach to the original trance “Genom Screams”. Sota Fujimori applies his signature synths to “Denjin Akatsukini Taoreru” in a somewhat straightforward but enjoyable remake in his style. DJ Technorch and GUHROOVY collaborate to make “Hell Scraper” even more loud and explosive, while kors k ups the pace and intensity on “The Shining Polaris” in a slightly typical but undeniably exciting new version of the song. These and the other heavier remixes are mostly all enjoyable with a few real gems, though they do at times stick by the source material a bit much.
The more interpretative remixes are as usual much more interesting. Tomosuke’s “ACID VISION” throws in lounge elements in a wonderful contrast with the original liquid funk piece, turning the track on its head while preserving most of the original elements. “PreDAWN” arranged by wac is an emotional and dramatic piano quintet. Unfortunately the same vocal is used as the original and it doesn’t quite go with raw piano and strings, but the arrangement is strong enough to make up for this. Naoyuki Sato (acting more under his Nekomata_Master+ alias) and JUNE offer a unique house track in “Bahram Attack”, and sanodg slows things to an intriguing atmospheric crawl in the aptly titled “LASER CLUSTERRRRrrrrrrr” soundscape which does wonders for its generic source material.
Unfortunately some of the remixes are much less compelling, like DJ Yoshitaka’s pleasant but phoned-in “Photogenic” remix, and the Togo-chef take on “Overblast!!” which has a good instrumentation but overuses its vocals samples and drives them far into the ground. Thankfully, the good tracks outnumber the duds though the second disc overall isn’t quite as compelling as the first.
Kakuta’s first BEMANI album Denjin K is quite good, boasting a solid collection of his original works on the first disc, and a decent assembly of remixes by other artists on the second disc. The first disc is largely made of his more hardcore and trance work, which while not having a lot of new content doesn’t feel overlong or repetitive. The second disc has some remixes that are a bit generic or poorly executed, but for the most part they are good and some are even excellent. It’s certainly worth a pick up for anyone who enjoys his work, with plenty of content and the great selection of his popular work.
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Posted on December 21, 2014 by Christopher Huynh. Last modified on December 26, 2014.