marble / marble -Re Edition-
Konami Digital Entertainment
February 25, 2005 (March 24, 2010)
Buy at CDJapan
marble is the first album by Tomosuke Funaki, assembling his work from Bemani games (under various aliases) together. All of the tracks have ben extended for the release, with some rearranged and some remixed by guest artists. The album contains many vocal works, often with a pop or jazz influence mixed in with Funaki’s personal stylings, making for an album that is fun and easy to listen to while also being unique.
The album begins with one of the few electronica tracks, a remix of “the end of my spritually” by Toshiji Kato. Here the soft vocals of EeL carry a simple melody with a pleasant and minimal backdrop. The arrangement sticks to the glitchy electronica sound more than the original, and while it’s fairly simplistic it’s one of my favourite tracks from the album. Later on Funaki has his hand at Goa trance in “Implantation”, which is a fine track but a bit generic within the genre, and the out of place in the album. Much better in this vein is “Kagonotori”, starting with soft Japanese vocals and a basic piano accompaniment before evolving into a heavier electronica track. The sampled repetition of the vocal gives the track a very hypnotic feel, and the song is easy to get lost in because of it. The extension doesn’t really add too much, but it’s enough to give the track more room to develop and stick.
Funaki also includes a few of his lounge tracks, with two from his Orange Lounge alias. “Marmalade Reverie” is a originally french pop track, but here Funaki removes the vocals in favour of a instrumental jazz approach, making up for the lack of vocals with some improv and a fuller sound with a fresh feel. “Brazilian Anthem” also loses its scat vocal, and the whole track now has a smoother lounge feel which helps it fit better in the album. “Love Is Orange” does retain its french vocals, gets another verse, and also has some extended segments here and there to help it feel more complete. No real dramatic changes, but it was already a standout track thanks to its teasingly cold french harpsichord mixed with its nearly-whispered vocals.
Some tracks are more pop-rock in nature, and their extensions for the most part simply fill out the song with another verse and some instrumental changes. The catchy “jet coaster girl” with Three Berry Icecream’s (perhaps over the top) cutesy vocals has been pitched up slightly, and more importantly was rerecorded and mastered clearly. The pleasant “Munagoto no Umi” (based off of “the end of my spritually”’s melody) and the anime-opening-esque “infinite” are also present with fairly straightforward extensions. They are solid tracks that are enjoyable and in line with the album’s more positive sound, if a bit generic as pop-rock tracks.
The remaining tracks carry more interesting influences to their pop stylings. “Nyandafuru55” is a wildly fun jazz track with a cutesy vocal (carrying the genre of ‘Cat Jazz’ in-game). It has been rerecorded for the album, so while it hasn’t changed much other than another verse and some improv, the track also now sounds crystal clear. “Chocolate Philosophy” is a waltzy swing track with Yuu Tokiwa’s vocals, also not much different from the original other than its lengthening. It might have been nice if it received a different vocalist (or had lyrics that Tokiwa could pronounce properly), but for anyone able to look past the occasionally grating vocals the track is still fun with its atmosphere. The two remaining tracks feature vocalist Frances Maya (the duo originally under the alias ‘serena’). “Reaching For The Stars” is rearranged as a slower laid back track, while “Twinkle Star” is rounded out with some disco influences added to its light pop foundation. Like the much of the album, these tracks are for the quite fun and catchy, and even have some room to grow on you.
In the first edition of this album, a remix of “MOBO MOGA” by Toshiya Aria is included. The track slows down the melody considerably, re-imaging the track as a house track, although many of the original elements are still present. This edition is now out of print, but a -Re Edition- was later issued, which replaces the track with a rearrangement of “Omochabaco no Rondo ~ Nukumori no Kioku” by Sasaki Sosaku. This track is fairly similar to its original, having a similar style and being only a little bit slower, but as the arrangement progresses the sound of the arrangement really blossoms, and there are some nice moments from a violin solo. Both are great tracks, and any fan should be happy with whatever edition of the album that they can get their hands on.
Tomosuke Funaki’s first album marble is a largely cohesive compilation of some of Funaki’s best work, containing fun and catchy songs in a variety of styles. A large part of the album is pop-oriented and easy to get into, but there are some unique and intriguing songs as well. Each track is lengthened to be a full track on the album, and they all benefit from it. The arrangements and remixes are in the spirit of the original tracks, often even improving on them with cleaner and fuller and arrangements. Anyone who enjoys Funaki’s work ought to check this album out, and it should also be enjoyable for anyone simply looking for some fun jazz, lounge, and pop music.
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Posted on April 15, 2015 by Christopher Huynh. Last modified on April 16, 2015.