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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tougenkyo PV

Why am I still awake at 1:30am? I switch on the internets and discover to my delight that the PV for one half of the new double A single has been played on Space Shower, copied, upped, downloaded and passed about (torrent here on jpopsuki).

Like I said, it's late, which means my first impressions after listening to the full version might not be the most cohesive (but possibly the most truthful). As we all know, the best way to go about these things when you're falling asleep is to either go to bed or make a list. Bear in mind that I wrote this after only a few listens:


* For a generally cheerful pop/rap band, It's a surprise to think that this is the peppiest song they've put out since last years Twinkle Star. It certainly doesn't plod along unobtrusively like Tip Taps and LOOK did.

* I love the break down/rap part of the song, which comes on suddenly and jarringly and sounds like it's been cut out of another song. It's one of those great 'sit up straight and pay attention!' moments that's been missing from the last couple of singles.

* You could probably dance to it without too much effort.

* I like the PV too, even if it is more than slightly reminiscent of that short video they made to promote Ongaku.

* Yukari's hair looks great.


* That guitar riff is generic, like a Kaela Kimura b-side. It either sounds incredibly similar to another song whose title escapes me, or it's so stock that it's just giving me the impression that I've already heard it a dozen times before.

* I don't know why, but as soon as the video started I thought "please don't do any air guitar".

* Here's the points that probably won't let me sleep for another hour at least-
regardless of whether you like it or not- is it even a Halcali song? What does a 'Halcali' song constitute these days anyway? After the schizophrenic jumps they've made with recent releases (listen to Twinkle Star, then LOOK, then the download singles, then listen to this), do they still have the strong identity they used to?

As long as the songs are good though, does that even matter anymore?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Here you go...part 2 (Giri Chocolate)

Here's a recording of the new song, (tentatively titled) Giri Chocolate, taken from their recent acoustic cinema gig (scroll down a couple of posts).

I'm guessing the third voice is Yosuke's, and personally I think his voice is on the track a little more than I'd like, but everything else about this- from the song to the performance to the audience clapping along- I love.

Apparently they've already played it on their slot on Buzz Room, which means they've already taken it into the studio, which hopefully means that it'll be on the next album (although a song about Valentine's Day on an album released near the summer might jar a bit). Although the track sounds a little Ongaku No Susume-lite in this setting, i'm sure a lot more has been done with it in the studio.

From the recent download only tracks, to the b-sides of the last three singles to this, in recent months it's felt like if you want to get at Halcali's best post-For Life work, you really have to look for it.

Giri Chocolate

(40 seconds of)Tougenkyo

The official site updated with the new single artwork and the briefest of previews of the Honesty produced Tougenkyo half of the double a-side release.

Firstly, as we already knew they aren't rapping. They aren't really doing any circa Ongaku No Susume style singing either. In fact, they sound like they aren't really sure what they're supposed to be doing.

So far it sounds pleasant enough in an easily ignorable sort of way, but when Halcali's talents obviously lie elsewhere, why give them this stock pop/rock tune to sing?

I love the artwork though- grown up, but not too grown up.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Halcali Acoustic Show

Haruka posted an entry in the blog about the Halcali Valentine Acoustic Live show they played last Friday night (2/9).


Even though it was a Friday night, so many people came to see us that the place looked sold out. Thank you so much!

Although it's hard to gauge actual figures from that until we know the size of the cinema they played in, it's hard not to smile at the thought of being able to use "so many people" and "Halcali" in the same sentence again.

Although Haruka doesn't post the setlist, she mentions a new song they performed, written with Yosuke@Home, called
義理チョコ (Giri (obligation) Chocolate; a phrase used to describe the act of giving chocolate on Valentine's Day to a boss or other superior, not out of affection, but out of a sense of obligation or duty), which should hopefully end up on the new album. It's interesting that Haruka says it was a song written "with" (not "by") Yosuke, perhaps indicating that, as with LOOK, Peace Dream and (half of) Wakakusa Dance, they wrote the lyrics.

Haruka goes on to apologise at not being able to do an encore, and thanks everyone for clapping and cheering for one. Clapping, cheering, nearly selling places out- this is all great news for a band that, based on recent record sales, I was concerned was commercially dead in the water.

For an acoustic gig, it's odd to see Halcali's live DJ, DJ Non up there with his decks, but he had a bit more information to share on his blog (including another picture). Yosuke apparently played a guitar, ukulele, and even a harp throughout the show. Apart from the new song mentioned above, the only other information I could find concerning the setlist was in the comments box on the blog entry, where poster NO NAME says they also played the gorgeous
この世界に、この両手にIn This World, In Both My Hands) from the Strawberry Chips single.

It sounds like it was an amazing gig, we can only hope there's a recording of it somewhere.


amj points us in the direction of Excite.com, which carries an article about the gig:


Halcali held a Valentine's concert in cinema mediage theatre 5, in Odaiba, Tokyo's 'amusement facility' Mediage.


Including the singles Strawberry Chips and LOOK, Halcali performed a gentle 7 song set. As the gig took place in a cinema, images were transmitted onto the screen during the gig for the lucky 150 guests who, selected from 5,000 hopefuls, were left intoxicated by this early Valentine's Day performance.

As the article also reminds us, Mediage is the same place that Halcali designed the Christmas '06 tree for (I know 'amusement facility' is too direct a translation of アミューズメント施設, but I couldn't resist).

I really like the idea of 5,000 people wanting to get in to see the show. Surely that alone is enough evidence to give Halcali another shot at a couple of headlining gigs to promote the new album?

Yukari also updated the blog with her impressions of the gig. My earlier guess was right, and both Haruka and Yukari (along with Yosuke) had a hand in the lyrics for new song Giri Chocolate* (as they keep writing- that title is only temporary). Apparently they're going to play it on Buzz Room tonight.

All in all, doesn't that sound like the best gig you never went to?

* We should think of a decent English translation for this song title. Obligation Chocolate obviously sounds a bit odd.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Here's a random fan made mashup I just came across. This time Tandem takes on Kelis' Bossy.

As Halcali mixes go, it's one of the best I've heard, although I'd still like to get the chance to put Halcali together with something that obviously wasn't already made to fit.

Anyway, give it a whirl if you haven't already (third track down).

A couple of people have mentioned problems downloading it. Get it here if you're having trouble-


Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I just noticed that the official site is calling the new Tougenkyo/Lights, Camera, Action! single a double A-side (両A面シングル).

If this means neither song is taking precedence, does this also mean we'll get a promo video for each?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Here you go...

Originally I was left feeling non-plussed and ho-hum about these download-only tracks after listening to the thirty or so second samples. They just didn't sound like much.

Well, turns out I was wrong. I mean, really, really wrong. After the past year or so of long waits ending in disappointing singles, anime tie-ins and the general feeling that Halcali's potential was being wasted by their new label, it's these songs that reminded me why I started this blog in the first place.

All three are a lot of fun, but right now I'm leaning towards Cubismo Grafico's 2 Higher Clap as my favourite. It's got that same spark that Twinkle Star and Tandem have; all handclaps and sing along choruses. Which makes me wonder- why couldn't we have got this instead of LOOK?

I mean, what a waste. Why has all of this bands best material been relegated to b-sides and obscure projects like this? well, at least we've got it now. It hasn't always been easy to say this about Halcali over the last few months, but I can say it with confidence now-


1. Slalom 06 (December. Produced by Handsomeboy Technique. This song is a re-write of Slalom 03: Queen of the Slopes that originally appeared on the limited edition Strawberry Chips single)

2. 2 Higher Clap 007 (January. Produced by Cubismo Grafico)

3. Girl! Girl! Girl! (February. Produced by Nakatsuka Takeshi/Lyrics by Nomiya Maki)

Limited Edition Halcali

Friday, February 02, 2007

Girl! Girl! Girl!

The third and last download only Halcali track, Girl! Girl! Girl! was released February 1st, bringing this odd and slightly frustrating project to a close. Like the last two releases, it's nothing particularly special, but give the link above a click and listen to the preview.

Composing credits go to Nakatsuka Takeshi, with lyrics by Pizzicato Five's Nomiya Maki.

From M-Flo through to Fantastic Plastic Machine, Cubismo Grafico, (part of) Rip Slyme, Supercar, Yuki, Cibo Matto, Pizzicato Five and all the others, it seems like almost every name you would want Halcali to be associated with have been at some point in their past. These name producers love them, the public don't. Perhaps if everyone who recorded with them or wrote a song for them also bought 2,000 copies of the record, we'd be getting somewhere.