August 16, 1993
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To celebrate the summer of 1993, Troubadour’s heavyweights Shinji Hosoe and Takayuki Aihara inspired the album Kaki-In. They aimed to represent the character and adventures of a girl with a wide variety of music created by game artists. Although this release features fewer big names, it boasts a larger number of artists overall, including three groups. As with most of Troubadour’s early efforts, Kaki-In is a very imaginative and diverse album created with high production values. But is it charming enough to be worthwhile hunting down?
Shinji Hosoe’s “Theme of Manikyua-Dan” opens the album with the theme song for another of his bands. He creates a nice buoyant sound with a combination of vocals and frivolous electronic beats. That said, the high-pitched girly vocals were appropriate and well-performed, but hardly my thing. Keeping the quirky theme going, Masahiro Fukuzawa provides a remix of “Dance of the Knights” from Romeo and Juliet early on in the album. The majority of the piece is dedicated to hyperactive beats, so it appears that the Prokofiev inclusion might have been more of an afterthought, but at least it’s a rousing one. Masahiro Kajihara’s “Break Up!” is also especially endearing, filled with girly enthusiasm, hyperactive electronic beats, and super-catchy instrumental improvisations. This is the star of the album at least in terms of replay value!
Even with 16 tracks altogether, the album flies by thanks to numerous racing additions. Hiroaki Sano’s “Summer Sprint”, for example, is an example of emotionally charged 80s-style instrumental power-rock at its best and nearly breaks the sound barrier. “Melt Down” is an intense techno anthem rich with moody chord progressions while sanodg’s “Mac’n the Jungle” is a vibrant assortment of old-school jungle beats. There are also two solid if predictable contributions by two funk artists, Hayato Matsuo with his dense and dissonant “Salmon Roe” and Naoko Mikami with her piano-focused polyrhythm fest “Scene 1993”. “I Do I Can” is a welcome return by the instrumental group TIA from Be Filled With Feeling. It’s marked by the unlikely but catchy interplay of phrases presented by orch hits and rasping brass.
There are also a few calmer contributions to diversify the album. In the first of his many collaborations with Shinji Hosoe, Yasuhisa Watanabe offers “1.38 am”, a relaxing yet aurally stimulating blend of acoustic and electronic jazz. There are also a few tracks mostly concerned with beautiful soundscaping, such as Ryu Takami’s contribution using the Terpsichorean sound driver or Daisuki Mori’s tropical sounds in “Sea Breeze”. Kenichi Koyano’s “Perpetual Moment” seems to be a nice way to bring the album to a close since it fuses many of the elements heard earlier in the album with a few novel features such as the vocorder. At the end of the album, Shinji Hosoe’s band Psy-Force make their return from Be Filled With Feeling. Though Yuichi Yoshi’s vocals are still jarring, the composition as a whole is a very enjoyable light rock effort. The band’s return shouldn’t have been so dreaded after all.
Kaki-In is one of the finest albums in the Troubadour line. It offers exciting electronic mixes, racy attempts at funk and rock, several serene interludes, and even a couple of half-decent vocal tracks. Surprisingly, the biggest highlights mostly came from lesser known names, who have unfortunately since left the industry or gone on to mainly handle bishoujo games. Despite its large cast and contrasting styles, the album still comes together to form a relatively cohesive whole by representing a girl’s character and journey throughout. Overall, an expansive and high quality achievement.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.