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Friday, March 25, 2005

Reviews (4) HALCALREMIX



Listening to this album was a bit like watching the new Star Wars films. The first time there's an uncomfortable atmosphere of something so familiar being twisted around into something new. It's only after listening a few times that you move on from "this guy's jumping all over my favorite song!" to "this guy's doing something interesting with my favorite song!". I'd say that counts for a large chunk of the songs on this album, which i'm happy and a bit surprised to say that I liked a lot more than I thought I would. It really kicks out the fun stuff again, we're back to the full on pop of Halcali Bacon and it shows at the very least that most of these remixers have a better idea of what makes Halcali good than Halcali did themselves on the last album. The Halfby remix of Giri Giri Surf Rider is the crowning moment. Halfby is clever and inventive enough to pick out the catchiest moments of the song, revving them up and looping the vocals to brilliant effect. For the 4th time in my life, I might have found a remix that beats the original. Yuka Hondas remix of Tandem is equally smart, turning the song is something resembling electro-clash while keeping the giddy spirit of the original.

With 10 people contributing, there's an inevitable quality dip here and there, although it's not as pronounced as I was expecting. DJ Mitsu the Beats' effort misses the point of Peak-a-Boo completely, producing something drab and forgettable. Equally boring is Takkyu Ishino's idea of turning Electric Sensei into some ho-hum techno. I'd like to ask him not only what kind of DJ he thinks would play this, but also who on earth would want to dance to it?

Elsewhere it's likely that your opinion will be divided, but whatever you think of adding wah wah guitar to Strawberry Chips, at least Yasuyuki Okamura was sticking his neck out a little bit further than most. It's the ending of that song that upsets me the most though. It starts with these sweeping, vaguely P5-esque strings, only to fade out and end 5 seconds later! More confidant and adventurous is the last track (alright, there's a Halfby cut and paste job of a bunch of Halcali songs as the official last track, but it says BONUS TRACK so i'm not counting it), a ska remix of Baby Blue! by YOUR SONG IS GOOD, who as well as having the best name of any remixer here, are also the only remixers on the album to add their own vocal track. The result sounds distinctive enough that you can clearly hear the remixers' own input (it's louder here than anywhere else) but familiar enough so that it still sounds like Halcali. It's a shame the other remixers didn't take their opportunity as far as this.

At any rate, this album goes well beyond the 'for completests only' tag that I thought i'd end up giving it, and it's fun enough to take the bad taste left by Ongaku's more leaden tracks away. Only a great third album can banish that entirely though. The sooner they get that out, the better.

TRACKS

1. Yuka Honda- Tandem
2. Takkyu Ishino- Electric Sensei (this song was also included on the Halcali Day by Day DVD)
3. Yasuyuki Okamura- Strawberry Chips
4. HALFBY- Giri Giri Surf Rider
5. FORCE OF NATURE- Nifuku Hoshi (2 Lucky Stars. From the Strawberry Chips single)
6. K.U.D.O- Marching March
7. KOHEI JAPAN (MELLOW YELLOW)- Ai (This song is a remix of Halcali's contribution to the Magokoro covers album)
8. DJ Mitsu the Beats (GAGLE)- Peek-A-Boo
9. Hiroshi Kawanabe (TOKYO NO.1 SOUL SET)- Styley Styley
10. YOUR SONG IS GOOD- Baby Blue!
11. [BONUS TRACK] Halfby- Halcali Beat Edition (this was included with Day by Day as a bonus CD)

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5 Comments:

Blogger Kenneth said...

my was i surprised when i came across a halcali blog...hell yea, its 'bout time the girls got some english-rep

6:47 AM

 
Blogger jariten said...

Thanks for tuning in. I wish I had the time to do a better job with this though, more information, more reviews, that sort of thing.

12:05 PM

 
Blogger nodmonkey said...

Hurrah for your Halcali blog in English! I discovered Halcali at a listening post in a small convenience store on a remote Japanese island almost two years ago, picked up the album that day and had it playing heavily since. It's so fresh and fun! Anyway, haven't yet had the chance to get hold of the second album (not having high hopes, it seems the Rip Slyme boys are a necessary ingredient to the magic).

I really wanted to comment because I can't find an e-mail address to contact you on and was interested where I could find some more information about the bands you like as listed in your Blogger profile. I really like the half I've heard of, but have no idea about the other (I assume Japanese) half. Where does this post-rock / quality indie-rock and Halcali link come from??

9:04 PM

 
Blogger jariten said...

I've added my address to my profile now so feel free to email me. I can't recommend the Japanese bands in my profile highly enough. At the minute i'm really into Escalator Records- Harvard, Neil and Iraiza and Yukari Fresh are the main ones, and I listen to constantly. I don't think a link between post rock and Halcali really exists (other than in my head, I love them both)

10:42 PM

 
Anonymous Brian said...

Wow,what a great site! Since I heard Halcali about 2 years ago I've been getting my friends into them too.I love the new remix album and I even bought the Japanese Godzilla tribute CD as they appear on one track-it's a good one too.Was the interview you printed the one from Barfout magazine? I got that issue just for the pictures but dont read Japanese....Keep up the good work :)

11:21 AM

 

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