starmine (Bonus Disc)
LC-1799/800 (LC-1801 Bonus Disc)
October 15, 2009
Buy at Amazon.co.jp
starmine is the first album by Ryutaro Nakahara, featuring works mainly from his Ryu☆ alias. Like other beatnation records albums, the first disc contains original work from BEMANI game series and some new material, but rather than offering more complete “long versions” of tracks Nakahara instead stitches them all together into a remastered non-stop megamix. The second disc features remixes from other BEMANI artists, and as per usual is full of many different genres and styles from the different remixers. A limited edition of the release also comes with a bonus disc with long versions of his songs from Nakahara’s Seiryuu alias, with one new song.
The first disc of the album is largely BEMANI material with a bit of new material in a non-stop megamix. The mix is fairly high energy throughout featuring his house, trance, euro, and other electronic dance songs. The songs are each remastered, mainly in the way of slightly different synths and some other minor changes to help the flow of the megamix. The changes aren’t too noticeable without side by side comparisons to original tracks, so there are no real problems there. Unfortunately any extensions on the songs tend to be repetitive, with very little in the way of new content for his pre-existing work. Thankfully the repetitions aren’t ever overlong or offensive, with an exception on “Setsugekka”, which completely robs the climax of the otherwise wonderful song by reiterating it needlessly. The transitions are fine, with a few spots that are a bit odd but also others that work quite well.
So for the most part, the megamix does just fine. There are great energetic staple Ryu☆ tracks ranging from the J-Pop “Mahoroba”, the trancecore “Aurora”, and the charming happy hardcore titular track “starmine”. There are even some more unique tracks like the glitchy dance “Be quiet”, ethereal artcore “Narcissus at Oasis”, and the trippy click house “in motion” which round out the package and keep things from getting stale. Admittedly Nakahara’s compositions can be overly simplistic with too often-repeated melodies, but the first disc should still be enjoyable enough for anyone who is already a fan.
Aside from the existing BEMANI material, there are four new tracks in the first disc. The two new solo songs “Dance Vision” and “AI” are enjoyable enough, though not anything surprising. Later on, Nakahara collaborates with kors k in the upbeat “Force of wind”, mixing kors k’s signature compositional style with Nakahara’s energy and charm (though it certainly seems like kors k handled the bulk of the work here). Immediately after is Nakahara’s remix of “Caramelldansen”, which he manages to bring up to the brightness of his peppy style. Aside from the kors k collaboration, the new tracks basically more of the same as far as the album goes, but that means that it’s catchy, energetic, and quite fun.
As with other BEMANI albums the remix disc is quite varied. Most of the remixes keep with the electronic dance feeling, though they branch out their influences starting with DJ YOSHITAKA’s fun samba infused remix of “Second Heaven”, and carrying on with great remixes like SUPER STAR’s euro “So Fabulous!!” remix (complete with his occasional quirky vocal interjections), and Keiichi Ueno’s dance “Mahoroba” remix. Some highlights include kors k’s somewhat disturbing but insanely energetic gabba “waxing and wanding” remix, and Sota Fujimori’s “Be quiet” remix which takes the glitch and techno even further rather than de-making the song in his own style. The other two standouts of the remix disc are the quieter moments: NekomataMaster’s “blooming feeling” which has his signature world electronica sound, and wac’s beautiful “Narcissus At Oasis” which starts off slowly and meditatively with a spacious arrangement that blossoms. Great work from the remixers, with remixes that are varied but still consistently enjoyable.
Those fortunate enough to secure a first press edition or purchase the album in the limited edition of beatmania IIDX16 EMPRESS receive an extra disc of songs from Nakahara’s Seiryuu alias, which has higher BPM, particular synths, and pitched vocal samples as the signature sound. The first is “waxing and wanding”, which already received a fine extended edition on CARDINAL GATE Conclusion. This version is not much different, except some remastered synths and an out-of-place extension of the introduction that doesn’t add much to the track. “Time to Air” and “3y3s” follow in similar footsteps, but the former’s piano bridge sounds very awkward, and “3y3s” is now a bit too repetitive. “blue moment” is a new track, which is actually much slower and more reflective than the other Seiryuu tracks, and missing the aforementioned signature sound. It showcases a different side of the alias, less melodically focused and more expansive. It’s a pleasant enough track, though like the rest of the bonus disc it’s not something to be sorely missed by any who can no longer get their hands on the disc.
Ryutaro Nakahara’s first album starmine is a fine first effort, presenting an entertaining package of mostly high energy songs. The first disc doesn’t have much in the way of new material for the old tracks, but they sound as good as ever and the megamix flows well. The four new tracks are enjoyable enough, and fit in well. The second disc has a good amount of variety, and each track is enjoyable. It’s true that Nakahara’s compositions lack depth, but it’s really not much of a damper on an album that is just plain fun, and even a little (or likely for some, very) addictive.
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Posted on February 18, 2015 by Christopher Huynh. Last modified on February 18, 2015.