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ghost last won the day on January 21 2016

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    Running in the night
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    Japanese music, horror, playstation, food, cooking, photography, design
  1. I knew I'd be seeing some born on this list
  2. Digging the monthly format! You can never categorize too much I say. Two fist-bump pounds for Dezert winning 2 tracks AND a being in the runners-up category.
  3. Hello fellow Monochronians! Here's my End-Of-The-Year list of 26 albums that I enjoyed in 2016. To be honest, there weren't a lot of Japanese albums that caught my interest last year so it'll be practically non-Japanese. As you'll see, it's a little synth heavy (as I really got into that genre last year). But, there's a little bit of everything so take a look and don't be shy to leave any comments! *I organized albums alphabetically and I put more of a focus on genre for my list. JAPANESE Babymetal - Metal Resistance [Pop/Metal] A super solid sophomore release by the cute but deadly trio. Metal Resistance is a more serious take on the pop and metal infusion, but equally as enjoyable as their self-titled. The instrumentals are excellent and there are many catchy melodies to be found. Yui-Metal and Moa-Metal are also featured a bit more prominently. There were quite a few surprises sprinkled throughout as well like the dreamy yet hard-hitting From Dusk Till Dawn and how the ending of Tales of the Destinies seamlessly transitions into THE ONE and perfectly ties up the album. Highlights: KARATE / YAVA! / Meta Tarou / From Dusk Till Dawn / Sis. Anger / THE ONE ----- born - Abnormal Head Machine -Remastered- [Visual Kei/Indie Rock/Industrial] I never imagined born would remaster and release their first album in its entirety. This album has remained a favorite of mine with it's dark, industrial and raw sound, but the muddled mixing has always left me wishing for a remaster. If you liked Abnormal Head Machine the first time, you'll like it even more. It isn't drastically different, but a lot of the density has been removed to allow for a cleaner and crisper sound. Highlights: Extemly waltz / Tragedy / white harmony / Innocent Bullet / Rotten cherry / -tHiNk- / THE END ----- Dezert - Saikou no Shokutaku [Visual Kei/Indie Rock/Hardcore] Saikou no Shokutaku ranks among the top of favorite Dezert releases for me. It takes the musical groundwork that the band has built and twists it into something a little stranger. The result is a delightfully quirky and fun album. While it may be lighter in tone as a result, their heavy and rough sound is still present. Highlights: 「あー。」/「君の子宮を触る」/「ここにラブソングを」 /「問題作」 /「追落」 /「排泄物」 / 「 おいしい脾臓は笑わない」/ 「セイオン」/「宗教」 /「ピクトグラムさん」 ----- Kiki Hitmoi - Karma no Kusari [Electronic/Dub/Reggae/Enka] Karma no Kusari was a surprise hit for me. I listened to the album based on the cover art alone and am I sure glad I did. This album mixes Dub Electronic, Enka, and even some Reggae to create a uniquely Kiki Hitmoi sound. You'll be listening to her sprite-like rapping over funky bass lines one moment and Japonesque melodies swirled with sonically rich electronics in another. Everything was recorded analog so the audio has a warm lo-fi quality to it that gives the album a more personal feel. Highlights: Nightwalkers / Yellow Story / Pink No Kimono / Yume No Hana ELECTRONIC Andy Stott - Too Many Voices [Techno/Experimental/Downtempo/Abstract] A more lighthearted follow up to the bleak and violent Faith In Strangers, Too Many Voices is Andy Stott's fourth full album release. It still features Stott's signature dark and grimy sound but it is more straightforward and, with the inclusion of more vocals and elements of hip hop/RnB, gives off a more laid back and downtempo feel. Highlights: Butterflies / New Romantic / Selfish / On My Mind / Too Many Voices ----- G.H. - Housebound Demigod [Drone/Experimental/Ambient/Dark/Industrial] This was another artist I gave a try based on the cover art. The cover looked dark and foreboding and gave off a feeling of a bad omen. And, much to my pleasure, the music reflected the tone of the cover. It's industrially monotone but at the same time savage and primal. Through drab drones and pulsating subbass the album churns out its front of black and nefarious sounds making for a mechanically surreal listening experience. Highlights Screamin' Demon Pickups / Mickey Cosmos / Angels and Doormen / Yorkshire Fog / Bikini / Housebound Demigod ----- Com Truise - Diffraction [Downtempo/IDM/Synth] Com Truise has already made his name in the retro synth scene, but this is the first release by him I've listened to. His latest EP features 5 rhythm-driven tracks with intricate synth melodies that play off the percussion. The bass kicks and snare are punchy and the synth parts sound crisp and perky making for some lively and refreshing head-bobbing compositions. All the tracks hit this sweet balance of sounding math-y but also being danceable. Highlights Sunspot / Diffraction / du Zirconia ----- Tycho - Epoch [Postrock/Chillwave/Ambient] If I'm being honest, Tycho albums are all kind of the same. They're all chill and easy on the ears, but it's hard to tell one song apart from the other. However, there are notable changes in style with each new album, and with Epoch it's the band's greater focus on technical performance that stands out. I really have to give props to the drummer. He lays down some amazing drum work that really brings life into this album. In general, there are more lively compositions, such as Glider and Slack and these are the tracks that I find myself coming back to most often. Highlights Glider / Horizon / Slack / Local ----- In Love With A Ghost - Let's Go [Chillwave/Electronic/Downtempo] Let's Go is probably the most low key release on this list. It's written by a French artist and released by a small Slovakian indie cassette tape label called Ztapes. It's a very short EP too with only 4 tracks that aren't very long, but it manages to woo me with its sweet and delicate melodies and interesting use of pitch distortion on vocals. The simple use of piano adds a cute factor and the sampling of soft noises, like gently sifting water, placing something in a bowl, or moving dishes, makes the album feel cozy and inviting. Highlights we've never met but, can we have a coffee or something / flowers (feat. nori) / sorry for not answering the phone, i'm too busy trying to fly away ----- FM-84 - Atlas [Synthwave/Retrowave/Synth-Pop/Dreamwave] Atlas is full of dreamy sun-soaked melodies that'll take you back to the 80's. The compositions are lush with radiant synth notes and filled with a sonic warmth that sends chills down my back. The album is a mix of instrumental tracks and tracks with vocals, but I enjoy the tracks with vocals more. There are a lot of featured singers but I especially love powerhouse vocalist Ollie Wride. His voice is electric and he adds so much emotion to the songs he's featured in. This is the kind of album you listen to driving through the night at high speeds with windows down while shouting the lyrics like a teen. Highlights Running In The Night (Feat. Ollie Wride) / Tears / Let's Talk (feat. Timecop1983 & Josh Dally) / Arcade Summer / Wild Ones (feat. Ollie Wride) / Jupiter / Goodbye (feat. Clive Farrington) ----- Gost - Non Paradisi [Synthwave/Slasherwave/Darkwave] Non Paradisi is a loose musical adaptation of the epic poem "Paradise Lost" by John Milton which is about Lucifer's fall from heaven and ascent from the Lake of Fire. This is Gost's first more conceptual work and he really captures the essence of the poem. There's a greater focus on atmosphere than on his past works and you feel like you're taking a dark and gritty journey to the gates of hell. The album is full of hellish explosive moments that'll have you headbanging like a fiend and, by the end of this whole thing, you'll have felt like you've seen the face of Satan. Highlights Commencement / Lake of Fire / Supreme / 4th / Arise / Maleficarum / I Am Abaddon ----- Perturbator - The Uncanny Valley [Synthwave/Darkwave] *Artwork features nudity NSFW If you like post-apocalyptic cyber punk darkwave synth music, look no further than Perturbator. His latest work is full of hard-hitting compositions full of pulsating synth lines, relentless and percussive rhythms, and dark and sinister atmosphere. He makes excellent use of several featured artists, like Greta Link and Hayley Stewart, who greatly enhance the songs they're featured on with their vocals. And, the mix of hard, dance-y, and ambient tracks leave no dull moments on the album. It's probably his most complex album to date and, consequently, my favorite release so far. Highlights Neo Tokyo / Weapons For Children / Venger (feat. Greta Link) / Disco Inferno / She Moves Like A Knife / Sentien (feat. Hayley Stewart) / The Cult of 2112 / Souls At Zero (feat. Astronoid) ----- The Midnight - Endless Summer [Synthwave/Retrowave/Synth-Pop] The 80's may be long past but The Midnight won't let you forget. This album is ripe with synth-soaked pop melodies, amazing vocals, and even a healthy dose of saxophone. It goes in between tracks with vocals and instrumentals, but I like the vocal tracks more. The range of emotions this album makes me feel is wide. Songs like Jason and Vampires get my blood pumping while songs like Synthetic and Comeback Kid move my heart with their deep lyrics and powerful vocal performances. Only 80's kids will remember the 80's like they do, but only twenty-tens kids will remember the 80's like we do. (btw, I couldn't find an official term for the years 2010-2019. Chose what sounded best to me from my google-ing!). Highlights Sunset / Synthetic / The Comeback Kid / Vampires ----- Tommy '86 - Transhumanism [Synthwave/Darkwave] A dark and electrifying dark synth album about A.I. taking over humanity, Transhumanism features lots of blood pumping compositions and gritty buzzsaw synth lines melded with bleak melodies. This has quickly climbed to the top of my favorite synth albums of the year because of the story it weaves through its music. Much like Gost's Non Paradisi or Perturbator's The Uncanny Valley, Transhumanism's conceptual conception gives the album a very strong sense of direction from beginning to end. Each track feels necessary in building up to the final moments of the album with songs like Command and Control and Doppelganger building desperation and suspense and songs like the despondent and desolate No Man's Earth preparing the way for the dramatic closer Transhumanism. In this vast sea of synthwave, Tommy '86 manages to stand out with his own brand of sounds and I can't wait to see what he does next. Highlights Citymulation / Sequential Slavery (feat. Dan Terminus) / Animus and Assimilation / L.V.T.H.N. Central Unit / The Shutdown of Humanity / Transhumanism ----- Trevor Something - Soulless Computer Boy and The Eternal Render [Synthwave/Retrowave/Chill/Synthpop] Trevor Something is a unique artist as I find his music to tread a fine line between synthwave and r&b/hip hop. While his music is unmistakably synth heavy, his lyrics and singing style are often times similar to a lot of pop/r&b artists. As a result, I didn't initially enjoy his music. But, with more listening I've really grown to like Trevor Something and even find him to be special. His fourth album is a dreamy and ambient entry with much more atmospheric tracks featured than before. In fact, the first half of the album are vocal tracks while the second half is instrumentals. As one of his song titles accurately details, the second half is like experiencing a "digital cleanse". That isn't to say that he's completely left behind his pop sensibility. Tracks like Do It Again and The Real You are catchy and a lot fun to listen to. It's a more serious direction for him but a welcome exploration into what else he's capable of. Highlights Girlfriend / Do It Again / The Real You / Digital Cleanse / I Came Back For You / Waiting For The Cold / Beyond The Infinite ----- Waveshaper - Station Nova [Synthwave] 2016 was a great year for dark and atmospheric space themed synth music, but Station Nova stands out as the galactic dance party of the bunch. It nails that sense of space travel but in a much more lighthearted mood. You can help but dance to tracks like Future Vision, Pixel Stars (feat. Robert Parker) , and Hardware Passion. What really makes this album memorable are the melodies. Waveshaper has great melodic sense and every song is catchy and memorable. You really can't go wrong with a retrosynth space disco album. Highlights Future Vision / The Engineer Part II / Vector Dream / Pixel Starts (feat. Robert Parker) / Hardware Passion / Airlock Love / Escape To Eternity ----- Shoutouts Dynatron - The Rigel Axiom [Synthwave/Extraterrestrial/Darkwave] Fantastic space-like synthwave to give you intergalactic chills. Atmospheric and immersive. Highlights Contact / Stones ----- Dynatron - The Legacy Collection Vol. I [Synthwave/Extraterrestrial/DarkwaveRock] It's like The Rigel Axiom but a lot more upbeat and more on the rock side with prominent use of electric guitar. Highlights Throttle Up / 37 Million Horserpower / Intergalactic Highway / Zero Gravity ----- Makeup and Vanity Set - Brigador Vol. I [Synthwave] Fantastic space-y and atmospheric synthwave album with plenty of upbeat compositions and fantastic percussion and rhythm. Highlights Solo Nobre / There is No Law Here / No Way Out / March / Great Leader Has Fallen / It's Our Rules Now ----- Orax - Cometa [Synthwave/Italo-Disco] Synthwave but with an Italian Disco twist. There's a lot of dance rhythms to be found but also an underlying tone of benevolent darkness. Also, there's a fantastic use of a narrator, Tom O'Bedlam, on "Alone" who has a wonderfully deep and ancient sounding voice. Highlights Broken / Stay / Roof of Love / Empty / Alone ROCK eskimeaux - Year of the Rabbit [rock/lo-fi/bedroom pop] This is a sweet little EP with simple and lovely melodies spoken through pensive melancholy lyrics. The themes presented here are all too relatable whether it's about being so busy that you lose track of time or feeling good about a new year but not really believing it. But the tone is always upbeat and presented in a bedroom-pop/rock style that makes listening to the album fun. Highlights Year of the Rabbit / What The Fxxx / Power / Drunk / Bulldog ----- The Fall Of Troy - OK [Math Rock/Post Hardcore/Progressive Metal] OK marks an interesting time in the band's history as it's their first album in 7 years since their disbandment in 2009. The album was also self-released. While it doesn't stack up to its predecessors (minus In The Unlikely Event), OK manages to be an enjoyable listen and even pull some surprises. After their over-produced last album, It's a much needed return to form focusing more on slick and technical guitar lines and solid song structure. Songs like Inside Out and A Single Word even sound reminiscent of their earlier works using similar phrases or melodies. One thing the album does better than their earlier works is balancing their harsh and chaotic play style with more melodic passages. As a result, Its easy to listen to the album on repeat. Highlights 401K / Inside Out / A Single Word / An Ode to the Masochists / Auto Repeater / Your Loss ----- Setentia - Darkness Transcend [Black Metal/Avantegarde/Ambient] I haven't listened to much black metal, but Darkness Transcend is the first album in the genre that really caught my interest. Its destructive precision softened out by gloomy ambient passages creates a chasm of chaos that swallows everything in its path. Anything in the way will be ripped to shreds and assimilated. However, it's the incorporation of melodies and how the band balances that with the harsh thrashings that keeps me engaged. Highlights Throne Of Thrones / Beyond Myopic Blame / Seeds Of Death (Departure) ----- Show Me A Dinosaur - Show Me A Dinosaur [Black Metal/Post Rock/Ambient] Unexpectedly, another black metal album made it onto my list. This time it's by Russian post rock/black metal band Show Me A Dinosaur (although there are a few more genres you could smash in there). While the music is aggressive and relentless, its tone is tragic and desperate. This is most notably expressed through the vocalist whose unrestrained shrieks tear through the whirl of guitars and flurry of drums. With the harder moments also come the more soft and ambient moments with tracks like Ochag and Hearth which are darkly somber and desolate. Highlights Rakev / Vjuga / Ochag / Lights / Gone / Wojna SOUNDTRACK Over The Garden Wall [Jazz/Blues/Classical/Folk/Country] The soundtrack to the hit mini-series Over The Garden Wall features a sweet collection of folk and bluesy medleys. They're cute and cozy compositions that have an antique sound and feel like they belong in another time period. Much like the cartoon, this lovely soundtrack will warm your heart. ----- Stranger Things [Synthwave/Score] Not only is this show amazing, but the soundtrack is too and greatly interested its listeners to the synthwave genre. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein did a superb job in creating music that complimented the shows throwback to the 80's. There were nostalgic tracks that brought back feelings of being a kid, ambient and foreboding songs for tense and suspenseful moments, and gritty and hardcore nerve wracking tracks for moments of danger and peril. I can't wait for Season 2 to see what new compositions the two composers will bring to the series.
  4. The pond in my neighborhood was frozen yesterday! So, I braved it and took a self-portrait on it. It was frozen pretty solid so I actually ice skated a little too (haha).
  5. Earache is SO good
  6. Yes, I knew artists like Perturbator were involved in metal acts becoming their current synth-washed reincarnations. I'm very familiar with Blood Music! I absolutely love that label. I don't know if you've been keeping up with his social media (you probably have), but the label guy just finishing up his 24xLP Emperor Emperor boxset project. This is guy is freaking passionate. I definitely agree. Especially this slasherwave style of synthwave is so hardcore and rhythm driven.
  7. Just ran across this and there's some nice stuff. It's a mix of hip hop/electronic/cuushe(?)/folk.
  8. Last night I saw 2 synthwave artists, Gost and Perturbator. They were both amazing! So much stage presence. The crowd was full of energy, I think probably the most fun I've had. They looked like metal fans but the atmosphere felt like a dance party. I felt so comfortable being myself going from headbanging and throwing up fists to dancing and jumping. My neck and back are incredibly stiff now though xD They stuck around after the show too for photos and signings. Definitely a night I'll remember!
  9. Yeah I love that song! Ohhh I didn't know that. I guess compared to his other work, I like his other songs more. Wait, was she the crazy pink haired girl that jumps out of the TV? D : I just checked and the video doesn't "play in my region". So everytime I played through the playlist it would skip and I had no idea. Ahhh gomengomengomengomengomen!
  10. Sorry for a late review @Platy! Holiday family obligations kept me from really taking time to write a proper review. But, I finally found some time to go through the playlist thoroughly and write down some detailed thoughts. Platy's mix was sent to me via Youtube playlist so some of them had video to go with it as well. -------------------------------- Pity - Equalize The mix starts out with the laid-back Brazilian rock track Equalize. Interestingly, the song feels like a cocktail of different genres, but they seamlessly flow between each other: The quiet moments are more folk/bluesy and the chorus is more pop/rocky-y. The vocalist is the star of the song though. Her vocals are clean and powerful, which can be felt especially when she belts out in the chorus, but they can also be soft and delicate. The song is a bit more bluesy and lighthearted than my tastes are, but I thoroughly enjoyed my intro to Brazilian rock. Monoral - So Long Now, this is exactly aligned with my tastes! Dark, chilling, and a bit on the heavier side. The soft reverbed guitar cadence at the beginning is haunting and gives the song an ethereal atmosphere. The guitar harmonies sound exotic or a little dissonant which adds to that other wordly feel. I'm not a big fan of the vocalist though. In comparison to the instrumentals, his vocals sound flat and shaky. Even when the chorus hits he sounds casual. While I think he did his best, I'd be interested to hear this track with a different vocalist. D=OUT - SM D=OUT is one of those bands where I've seen the name here and there but have never actually listened to them. I think SM is a pretty fantastic way to get introduced to them! The song is emotional, which is strengthened by the piano and violin accompaniment, yet rocks really hard. It's almost like post-rock in some sections. The tempo is pretty upbeat but it's balanced out by the vocalist's smooth and flow-y melodies. (As a side note, the violin melody sounds like Zelda's Lullaby from Ocarina of Time!) My Chemical Romance - Sleep This is another band that I know is pretty big but have never listened to. I guess this is a mix of alternative, pop punk, and emo (according to online descriptions anyways) which are all genres that I'm not too familiar with. I think the track is okay. I like the song structure, the vocalist is really good, and the melodies are pretty memorable, although they have a sort-of commercial sound to them. Symphonic Odysseys - Someday the Dream Will End The mix takes a shift in sound with a purely orchestral song (and a live performance at that!). While it sounds powerful and was performed very well, the main melody didn't really hit me. The most memorable parts for me were the flute melodies and the oboe solo. Perhaps if I listened to this song in a different context it would have a different impact on me. Still, anything orchestral is a win for me! Final Fantasy 13 - Dust to Dust (Shoku no Nai Sekai) Soooo basically anything Nobuo Uematsu writes is pure gold, and Dust to Dust is no different. The mix of orchestral and electronics is perfect and transcended by the heavenly female vocals. Listening to this song is like experiencing a spiritual cleanse. (I wish I included memories of lightwaves from FF X-2 in my mix!) Neir OST - Emil ~ Sacrifice If the mix keeps up these orchestral songs I just might cry. This is a very simple and classical song, utilizing only a few strings and a vocalist, but the melodies are memorable and emotional. It's very sad sounding but the chorus is more uplifting. Do As Infinity - Yesterday & Today I was surprised to see that we had a mutual artist! Just as for @Platy, Do As Infinity is a band that I go way back with and Yesterday and Today is one of the first songs I've listened to by them. It's a slow ballad, beautifully accompanied by a small string section, with the first two/thirds of the song building up to the chorus. But, when that chorus hits, all my nostalgia does too and I find myself singing along as I did the first time I listened to this. As the song fades out with the vocalist singing the melody in "la"'s, I'm left with goosebumps and memories. 9goats black out - Tenshi *live version* This is a band that is also very dear to me and Tenshi is one of my favorite tracks by them. It's melancholy yet radiant and delicate yet rock-y. It's been a while since I've listened to them so it's great to revisit them through this song. Gumi - Wrinkle The mix takes another turn in genre this time shifting into something more upbeat and poppy. At first, I didn't really like the track, but it's really grown on me. For one, the vocals have this vocaloid quality to them that I don't usually enjoy. However, I've learned to appreciate them in this song and I really like the articulations and inflections in the line delivery. The melodies are uplifting and catchy and the chorus is heartfelt. The breakdown midway through is really good too. *The music video is really sweet! It's basically about growing old with the one you love. I definitely felt a bit emotional on this one. Aicle - Shunkashuutou The high energy continues with Shunkashuutou. I like to call this kind of energy hyper-rock because there are practically no quiet moments and everything is really fast. The vocalist kind of has a high, nasal-y mosquito voice (no offense!) that really fits in with this type of genre. I'm typically not really into this, but I really like the melodies and overall mood of the song. GIRL - DAOKO It's ironic that a mix that started out so calm and serious is ending on such a cute and hyper song. I don't really like the first part of the song as it's really sweet and cute electro jpop, but the second part of the song is more my jam. It's more downtempo and hip-hop and even mixes in symphonic elements. The vocalist is really good. She has a cute voice but, especially in the second act of the song, she can be seductive and calming with her whispering. TBHQ, my ASMR was triggered in these sections. Even if I don't typically like this genre, it's a really unique and dreamy song that keeps me coming back (I just found out the vocalist is the same one on "Me!Me!Me!" by Teddyloid!). And, I think it's the perfect bittersweet ending to an emotional mix of songs. *The music video is amazing. It's super colorful, the animation is fantastic, and the visuals are fantastic. Kind of erotic though so NSFW. --------------------------------- I'm really glad you enjoyed my mix because I really enjoyed yours! As a mix, I felt like all the tracks fit the trade-off theme very well, and as individual songs I enjoyed practically everything. It's always good to receive a mix with songs that appeal to my liking, but it's even better when it has songs that challenge me to listen a little harder and expand my tastes a little more resulting in an enriching experience. Thanks for a fun and feel-y mix Platy!
  11. It always interests me when a band as old as the GazettE reaches back that far into their catalog. I wonder if this will be just a simple one-off-re-record-for-fun type release or if they'll be considering their old (old old old!) and new styles and thinking about where to take their sound next. I would definitely not mind hearing the GazettE's take on a "Disorder/Dogma" blended album. Bring back punk-GazettE in 2017! Or heck, I'd settle for a "the GazettE HEADBANGERS BEST ALBUM 「TRACES VOL.3」" and just include "wife", "the social riot machines", "carry?" and "filth in the beauty".
  12. That's true. If you don't care about variants then I don't see anything wrong with waiting this off. The colored might sell out in a few months though. If you want the green version you can always buy a copy now and buy a record player in the future ; D
  13. Cave in and get one! $23.50 (total shipped to me at least) for color double vinyl release is such a darn fine deal!
  14. MONO's debut album Under The Pipal Tree is getting reissued on deluxe double LP format. There are 2 variants available: Black Forest Green Two-Tone Marble Colored (1000 copies) *2016.12.23* There are still about 500 copies left Pre-orders are open and it is set to ship around January 20th 2017. *2016.12.23* I'm unsure how long this applies, but currently you can use the discount code "TRL20" to save %20.