March 5, 2014
Buy at Amazon Japan
RE: is the second original album by SENSORS, a band that comprises of III’s Ippo Yamada and Ryo Kawakami, as well as Takumi Gennaka and focuses primarily on keyboards, bass, and drums, although there are guest musicians featured as well. However, unlike their first album, this consists entirely of remixes in a club-like style by three well known artists in the chiptune and electronic music scene, Yamajet, hally, and Saitone. How does the second album, which has an entirely different sound, compare to the first album?
While the majority of the album does focus on music originally heard in Digitaloid and Humanity, there is a remix on here titled “Love Space – Knuckle the Whistle,” by hally, where the source track is unknown, as it was not featured on the first album. It features a nice house beat with some beautiful jazzy piano undertones mixed with a bit of funk and incorporates a wonderful flute and synth melody as well. Since I don’t know how the original sounded, it’s hard to judge it as a remix, but on its own, it manages to stand pretty solidly.
Both of Saitone’s remixes feature a nice blend of electronic influence as well as his chiptune background and the results are spectacular. “Solitary Moon – Alegre Baile” takes the original and transforms it from a dark and brooding piece into an upbeat tune with lots of flair. The electronic beat mixed with the chiptune harmonies, piano, and synthesizer make for a splendid listen with just a touch of exoticism and plenty of groove. “Midnight Stream – Machine Drive,” on the other hand, is definitely more chiptune driven in terms of accompaniment. I love how Saitone took the tempo way down to create an almost sensual atmosphere that works well with the synth melody found in the original piece. However, halfway through the track, the tone of the piece shifts from sensuality to that of intensity with its increased tempo and a larger focus on the chiptune aspect of the piece.
Lastly, Yamajet’s three contributions cater towards his strength in the electronic arena. “Blind Chronos – Chill House” features, as one might expect, a house beat that really complements the spoken word heard in the original. In addition, the jazzy piano in the background really helps give this a nice lounge vibe and works well with the original synth melody as well as the added solo. “Digitaloid Girl – Rose Rouge” is an extremely funky take on the original with some beautiful drum work, a groovy synth accompaniment that just oozes charm, and really manages to accentuate the original melody, and slick piano lines. His last track, “Iphigeneia – Full Boost,” definitely is the most pumped up track on the album with its fast tempo beats and amazing synth sections that really help give it a bit of a retro vibe. Listening to this track, I feel like it would work well in a side scrolling action game as the original melody is accentuated and the additional touches that Yamajet adds really manage to impress.
If SENSORS’ first album, Digitaloid and Humanity, is like the early days of synth led bands such as Yellow Magic Orchestra, I think that the RE: album, led by talented artists in the electronic and chiptune scene is a logical progression, especially for those who many not like that 80s vibe or are more attuned to listening to electronic music that dominates the airwaves today. It’s definitely a great album that interprets the originals in very enjoyable and modern ways, although it might be a bit on the steep side in price for only six tunes, even if they are fairly lengthy.
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Posted on April 9, 2014 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on April 9, 2014.