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Monday, January 22, 2007

Halcali on Getsumen Mina (finally)



novaforever was good enough to upload Lights, Camera, Action! to Youtube, as it features over the opening credits to late night Fuji TV anime Getsumen To Heiki Mina.

Before we get too carried away picking this apart, bear in mind that a) This is, of course, only a preview and B) LCA! will just be Tougenkyo's b-side, and as a late night anime catered to a fairly specific crowd, it's unlikely that anyone will be expecting this song to carry the single in terms of it's chart success.

With that said, while I wasn't exactly set alight the first time, after only a few listens it is starting to grow on me, and I already like it more than LOOK.

Even so, there has been this strange 'middle of the road/ho-hum' feeling hanging over Halcali's recent work, and it's been there ever since the label switch. It was there on Tip Taps, it was really there on LOOK, and here again we have this almost wimpy verse/chorus combination that, while pleasant enough (and again let me say it's growing on me), could it even be called memorable? For us who are, no doubt, going to be pouring over these 1 minute and 19 seconds of new Halcali until Tougenkyo is released- yes perhaps. But what about everyone else? The sales figures for their last two releases have shown us that if Halcali do have a fanbase (and I know they do), it's relatively small.

Is this song going to be any more than just a second rewrite of Tip Taps Tip? I seems to linger in that same "well, it's OK I suppose" corner.

Hopefully the 'rock song with a full band' tune Tougenkyo will produce something a little more forceful and memorable.

But still, it is only a brief snippet of the finished product, and a snippet of the b-side at that.

Did we really need another "keep on and you don't stop" though?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Halcali on Getsumen Mina (or not)

As I'm sure you know by now, the new Halcali/Cubismo Grafico collaboration, Lights, Camera, Action! was supposed to feature as the opening theme song to the new Fuji TV anime Getsumen To Heiki Mina.

However, for reasons even a search round the internet can't clarify, appartantly the opening theme song wasn't broadcast as scheduled. Mysterious.

(I did find this on Youtube. Presumably this is LCA!, although the sound quality is so bad, it's hard to tell)

Halcali play Tandem at Rhythm Nation

Here's the link to Halcali performing their first single at Rhythm Nation.

Tandem

Despite being dwarfed by the enormous stage, they put on a solid performance of a great song. It's just a shame that Halcali look like they're having more fun than the audience (watch out for the uncomfortable "clap your hands!" moment).


Thanks to Arossthaboss for uploading this!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

In at #471

This month’s Oricon Style comes with a nice little pull out booklet ranking the 500 best selling singles and albums of 2006.

Tip Taps Tip was the 471st most popular single of 2006, reaching 27 in the charts (although we knew this already of course) and shifting a total of 17,579 copies.
It’s odd that TTT qualified for the list at all, since it was released in 2005, although I assume that all singles that survived into 2006 were counted.

Although those record sales beat both Twinkle Star and LOOK combined, let’s remind ourselves that for a manufactured pop band on a major record label, having only one single barely make the top 500 cut after an entire years worth of work is a fairly shocking statistic.

With one single just released, another on the way in March and the third album to follow soon after, let’s hope 2007 is a more prolific, artistic, and yes, commercially successful year for Halcali.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

And the blog...?

This is probably nothing, but neither Haruka or Yukari have made a post since December 18th.

Technical difficulties? Extended Christmas break? They're usually pretty generous with posts, and it seems odd there was no "happy new year!" message at least.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Lights, Camera, Action! update (that I should have posted earlier)

From Japanese record shop chain Shinseido:



「桃源郷」はHALCALI制作史上初のバンドサウンド♪プロデューサーにHONESTY(會田茂一&高桑圭の制作ユニット。木村カエラ、スネオヘアーのプロデュースでお馴染み)を迎えグリグリのロックチューンに仕上がっています。勿論ラップもちりばめてます。もう1曲「Lights, Camera. Action!」はフジテレビ系アニメ「月面兎兵器ミーナ」のオープニングテーマ曲に決定!こちらのサウンドもアレンジャーにお洒落サウンドメーカーCUBISMO GRAFICOことチャーベを迎え、4打ちのハウスサウンドに仕上がっています。

Tougenkyo will be the first time in their career that Halcali have recorded with a full band. It's a full on rock tune produced by HONESTY (comprised of Shigekazu Aida and Kiyoshi Takakuwa*, familiar as the producers of Kaela Kimura and Suneohair). Of course they'll be rapping on it too. The other song, Lights, Camera, Action! will feature as the opening theme song to the Fuji Television anime Getsumen To Heiki Mina! The song, with it's 'house sound' is being written and arranged by fashionable producer CUBISMO GRAFICO.


So it looks a little like Tougenkyo (Eden) will be the main event and Lights, Camera, Action! will be the b-side (not that anyone really uses such a term anymore)? I certainly wouldn't complain if that aspect of the release was pushed into the background.
There's a lot to look forward to here, what with Cubismo Grafico's involvement a major plus for me (he's been a consistantly impressive writer, producer and DJ) and I've been partial to some of the Kaera Kimura stuff Honesty has produced. They've had experience working with Halcali before- they wrote 伝説の二人 (The Legendary Couple) for Ongaku No Susume.*
With this coming out on March 14th, and the new album set for spring/summer this year, it looks like things are getting back on track.

I wonder why Shinseido has all this extra information HMV doesn't? Open up your press releases, guys.

According to cdjapan, the first press (of the "rocking new song") will come with stickers.*

*Thanks to Sora Kara!

2 Higher Clap 007

Why is this collaboration with the talented Matsuda Gakuji (Cubismo Grafico, Neil and Iraiza) and wasted on this limited edition download only single that hardly anyone is likely to even know exists, let alone hear?

Check out a sample of it here.

Expect the third and final (Valentine's Day themed) download to come out February 1st.

p.s I wrote this 5 minutes before discovering the information I posted about above...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Lights, Camera, Action (!)

I think it might be possible to predict when a new Halcali single might be due just by studying the television schedules and seeing what new anime are on the horizon. Is this really what's become of them?

Anyway, according to HMV, Lights, Camera, Action! is scheduled for release on March 14th, which is strange as the anime it's attached to starts on the 13th of this month.

Unless something comes up sooner, I'll stay up late on that Saturday night and get it up on YouTube.

Going from a morning anime aimed at little kids to an anime for the late night otaku crowd. Another triumph for Sony's marketing division.

Thanks to sora kara.

Excite!

Well, maybe just a bit. Halcali left a new years message on the Excite homepage. It's a fairly run of the mill look back on 2006 (although they at first mistakingly say that the number of singles they released last year was 3, not 2. Those crazy kids!), but near the end they state that they have the third album scribbled in for a spring/summer 2007 release. Still a few more months to wait, then.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

#173

Feel that? The dull thump of your heart dropping right into your stomach?

Early, sheer incredulous feelings at LOOK's performance in the Oricon charts have slowly given way to the sad realisation of the fact that I never wanted to admit: no-one cares about Halcali.

Given the highest placement of their new single, that seems almost comically obvious. Despite personally caring little or nothing for the song (the b-side is still great though), all of the recent efforts that Halcali have been putting into the promotion of the group made me believe, and believe strongly, that LOOK would hit the top #30 at least. Let's put aside the numerous concerts, TV, radio and magazine appearances (including that Zipper cover) and remember that Sony used this song as they used Tip Taps Tip, on the back of an anime.

Tip Taps Tip got to number #27. So what happened here?

OK, so LOOK wasn't exactly a candidate for single of the year, but I'm way beyond trying to equate "quality" with "chart placement", and isn't the (also Tanaka Yusuke penned) Tip Taps Tip in the same vaguely bland ballpark as LOOK?

The grim irony here is that Halcali made consistently better sales on an indie offshoot label than a full on major.

I wonder if Sony/Epic even cares. With yet another anime theme song coming up this month, it seems logical to suppose that the company took the most interesting and innovative J-pop band in the past 5 years and decided to waste them filling up some dead air in between one set of commercials and the next.

But still, an enormous feeling of increduability remains- for a band on a major label with nationwide exposure, just how did this happen?

Thanks to Jamie for the news.

SLIGHTLY MORE LEVEL HEADED UPDATE: The single reached number 82 on it's second week. Which means that at the very least, it did better than Twinkle Star. Scroll down this site to see.

Thanks to amj for noticing this.