December 29, 2018
Buy at Sweep Record
Like many of Hiroto Saitoh’s original albums, S:core features a mix of instrumental tunes of varying styles and more vocaloid heavy tunes using the vocaloid program Miku Hatsune. How does his most recent album turn out?
The album opens with “Fractal Dreams,” combining dreamy synths, a bubbly melody, a vibrant atmosphere, and pop piano alongside vocaloid to create a fitting opening to the album. Following that is “Algorithm,” another vocaloid centered piece with punchy percussion, synths, and a more rigid structure. The fun melody is lifted up by the bright synthesizers used in the piece. It’s quite effective overall. “Everyday” blends a pop approach with vocaloid, acoustic guitar, and synthesizer to create a wonderful piece supported by a great melody and beautiful atmosphere. The addition of chiptune in the accompaniment gives it a nice retro vibe. “Soul City” is more rock in approch with samples of male vocals and an industrial sound. The strings accompaniment gives it some warmth and the atmosphere, especially during the more swelling sections, is superb. The vocaloid melody also works well with the piece. The last vocaloid piece on the album is “Not in the mood,” blends piano, chiptune, and a vibrant tempo alongside bubbly vocals to create a jazzy tune with a retro twist. It’s quite successful.
“Pour les oiseaux ‘Hibari'” is the first instrumental piece on the album featuring a piano and strings ensemble. It’s classical in sound and the beautiful melody is quite reflective in tone. “And then, onward to the night” is done in a J-House style and features jazzy brass and keyboards alongside piano solos. It’s an exuberant piece that gives off a lot of energy and the overall vibe is quite enjoyable. Another classically oriented piece is “Still life,” an ensemble once again, that gives off a bit more of an impressionistic feel. The airy woodwinds are also a great element to the piece. However, it drastically alters the mood with the addition of some drum n’ bass style accompaniment and vocal samples. The end result is rather haunting, but equally fun. Lastly, “It’s Not Goodbye ‘Goodbye'” features a vocal performance by Miki Tsuchiya. It, too, has more of a jazz influence, particularly in the piano, and the percussion and acoustic guitar help give it a pop sound. The melody itself is quite beautiful and the guitar solo is wonderful.
S:core is a generally successful album that features a variety of tunes that have largely a pop, jazz, or rock element to them. The vocaloid usage will be hit or miss, as it can be a bit harsh to some listeners, but the melodies themselves are quite nice. Fans of Hiroto Saitoh’s previous works will most likely find something to enjoy in this release as well.
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Posted on June 3, 2019 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on June 3, 2019.