HAMIDASYSTEM merges music and storytelling in “Yoru no Hakoniwa”

In a first half of 2018 that – except for a few records – has been pretty slow in terms of noticeable releases (even though everything points towards a much more interesting second half), atmospheric Idol unit HAMIDASYSTEM has been relentlessly grinding in the depths of the underground Idol scene, releasing new music at a constant pace and expanding their audience with more live shows, while also marketing themselves in a more aggressive way through various web platforms.

Since the release of their track “Semi no Koe” last year, I had a great feeling about HAMIDASYSTEM, and so far it’s safe to say that they have exceeded any expectation. With atmospheric tracks that make smart use of Electronic, Rock and Ambient elements at the service of ethereal singing and space-y soundscapes, their music is something to relax and reflect to more than anything, portraying a floating sense of sadness and oppression that sets their sound apart from most Idol units out there.

Their recently released track “Yoru no Hakoniwa” seeks the same kind of vibe, and successfully conquers it with a simple yet extremely effective execution that hides a remarkable songwriting and attention to details. A rather tricky beginning infused with bright synths sets a dreamy soundscape right away, just to wipe it away a few seconds later with melancholic guitar arpeggios and a hefty chord progression backed up by an oppressive layer of synths, an impactful combination of sounds that reverbs throughout the whole track to fit the girls’ ethereal and sinister vocals, that beautifully fit the whole atmosphere; I can’t stress enough how much the interpretation of the members in this track contributes to its whole atmosphere, as each girl balances each other shifting between heartfelt vocal extensions and delicate singing, delivering a various array of emotions while keeping the track engaging and various to compensate the redundant instrumental. It’s a greatly crafted song, that’s accessible and apparently simple on the surface, but that hides many details and showcases a great songwriting ability and on-point delivery by the members.

It’s also worth noticing how “Yoru no Hakoniwa” is the first of a total of five tracks that are going to be released on the 30th day of each of the next four months, as part of a project that merges music and storytelling: for each track released, a part of the story is released on their website, and “Yoru no Hanokiwa” is just the beginning of it. Also, the release of each track coincides with a live performance by the unit at particular venues, ultimately leading to their first one-man live in September (the unit also set up a crowdfunding page, and they’re very close to reach their goal for this project).

It’s a very interesting project for the unit, that merges music, storytelling and live performances, also unveiling the desire of these girls and their production team to create their own space and rise in a niche that’s surely crowded, but still has a lot of space for acts who want to bring the Idol scene and culture further from an artistic standpoint. So far, HAMIDASYSTEM has definitely gave proof to have everything it takes to leave an influential mark in the scene. Listen below.



– Alex

Curumi Chronicle – Touch Me | SINGLE REVIEW

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Independent idol Curumi Chronicle definitely made her notice during the last year since her debut in 2013: With a cute and natural identity and her strong collaboration with the promising young producer/DJ Usagi Disco, the lovely Curumi already released a (very good) first album and a recent EP under the independent label PAV Records, showcasing great quality production, a versatile voice that sounds anything but conventional for an idol, and a nice mix of Techno-pop, J-pop and EDM that defines the clear inspirations of the Osaka-based idol while still showcasing great personality and yes, even some pretty unique elements. After the celebration of her first anniversary as idol, Curumi is now ready to release not one, but two singles contemporarily, each one focusing on a side of her sound, with Touch Me entirely dedicated to her more techno/EDM side, and 17 on the J-pop/Idol-ish part, for a double release that splits into two the music identity of this girl. Accomplished experiment?

Rise of the EDM School Girl

The stronger of the two releases kicks off with Voice, a track directly featuring Usagi Disco that immediately defines the attitude of this single: Limited lyrics, repetitive vocals and a lot of electronic music goodness to dance with, especially with drops like the one towards the end of the song that alone makes the listening of this track worth it; From the heaviness of the beats to the synths and the melodies everything is perfectly balanced and combined with Curumi’s voice, something that not always worked in her previous releases, and the result is nothing short of amazing. After all it’s clear that the composition is better than ever with this single, and there’s also space for new elements: While mainly rotating around the EDM sphere, the entire single welcomes different influences such as Techno, Trance and Dubstep elements, 80’s dance, and even some pretty brutal Drum n’ Bass goodness identifying the second track FLIGHT, that explores an unknown side of Curumi’s sound personality with a dark vibe made of heavy and dramatic synths and a touch of electric guitar perfectly coupled by the vocals that prove once again her versatility in singing different genres (you gotta love this girl’s voice); The piano solo at the end softens the mood giving a nice closure to a song that’s as unusual and dark as very, very good. Touch Me is the song that will ultimately conquer your heart and ears, as the hypnotizing voice of Curumi and the pure 80’s beats of this titletrack will lead you to a wonderful explosion of dreamy synths and melodies coupled with soothing, relaxing vocals performed by Curumi: It’s music that makes you fly with your mind, and between sensual melodies and a glitchy bridge that unifies past and present vibes, you’ll find yourself looping this song way more than once; With great atmosphere, balance, and masterful composition, this song is one of the best pieces of this single and of Curumi Chronicle’s career, a gem that will be remembered for long by the fans of the young idol and not only. Brilliant.

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The last two songs Seventeen (original) and KITTY (Touch Me mix) are a nice addition to the package that strengthen the identity of this single, with the first being a mix of the titletrack of the coupling single 17 (that’ll be analyzed in the next review) with a less noisy but heavier arrangement and the second a heavy EDM revisitation of the cute track from the Second SpringEP. Both mixes are worth listening, and while the first doesn’t go that far from the other version, the Touch Me mix of KITTY gives new life to this piece with interesting  ideas and some pretty badass EDM passages that makes this song worth to be blasted in your car and to be danced at your parties.


Verdict

Touch Me is an amazing single: It’s strong, powerful, various and full of great and valuable moments, proving once again the versatility and the personality of Curumi’s singing that’s clearly getting better and better with time exactly as the strength of her production team that crafted a single that’s well balanced and masterfully composed, with cascades of electronic music that won’t make you tired not even for a second.

Curumi Chronicle and Usagi Disco packed a single that’s worth all your time and also the attention of the major labels of the industry. This is great music, and an exciting promise for the future of Japanese EDM/Techno-pop.

Vote: 9.5/10

Tracklist

01. Voice feat. Usagi Disco
02. FLIGHT
03. Touch Me
04. Seventeen (original)
05. KITTY (Touch Me mix)

– Alex