Key OTSU Blasterhead
Key OTSU Blasterhead
Key Sounds Label
February 28, 2009
Buy Used Copy
Japanese electronica and chiptune artist Blasterhead has contributed to a wide range of albums in recent years. The popular reception of one of these, OTSU Club Music Compilation Vol. 2, encouraged Key to recruit him to create a remix album entirely of his own. The album was released as part of Key’s tenth anniversary celebrations.
Blasterhead opens the album with a remix of the song that started it all, Kanon‘s “Last Regrets”. He carries over Ayana’s vocals from the original and supports them with an assortment of acid house beats. Rather than take the focus away from the vocals, the beats actually expose them and encourage listeners to focus on the simple but rich melody. The final sound is quite minimalistic and abstract. One of the few instrumental tracks on the release, “Tiny Beats” is also built from the repetition of a few beats and synth passages over seven minutes. In the end, some will it hypnotic, others will find it simply boring.
Plenty of tracks on the album are more concrete in their approach. Unlike the aforementioned, the remix of “Bird’s Poem” is filled with colour and variety — with fresh layers, rhythms, and distortions being added every few seconds. It’s not quite as appealing as the vocal remixes on OTSU Club Music Compilation Vol. 2, but sustains its playtime quite well. Kanon‘s “The Place Where the Wind Arrives” is also quite easy to appreciate, since Blasterhead shifts from the abstract sounds of other tracks in favour of an elating anthemic trance approach, while “Light Colors” grabs one’s attention with its distortion during its climax.
The release also features two originals. “Into the Sky 2009” is an upbeat trance remix of one of Blasterhead’s best-known works. The vocals in this one seem deeply inspired by Key’s own work and integrate convincingly in the rest of the more. “Spoiler” is much more complex than the other arrangements here and packs quite a bit in: dark bass lines, elating treble parts, and a mixture of clean and distorted samples. After the mixture of abstract and generic arrangements that precede, it’s fantastic to see Blasterhead assert some individuality. Not all will like it, but it’ll be worth the wait for those that get to the penultimate track.
Fans of Blasterhead should enjoy this album, but this album certainly isn’t for newcomers to his work. The repetitive and unemotional sound of most of the tracks here will turn off many Key fanatics and even most club music listeners. There is nonetheless creativity in his approach, as particularly evident in “Bird’s Poem” and “Spoiler”.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.