The beauty of traditional Japanese music and traditions seeps through Haruto Kujikawa’s “sapphire x morganite”.
ROCK DOWN consists of Yukitoshi Kikuchi (leader), Yoshiaki Hasegawa, Takuya Sato, Taito Ban,Takuya Masumoto, Keisuke Koumoto.
Title: 久慈川悠人-sapphire×morganite- Label: Tsukipro/Movic Release date: 28/05/2021 Genre: Rock / Traditional Japanese
1 - ドラマ「二人の休日」
2 - ドラマ「Enjoy the holidays!」
3 - 冰凛
4 - Boogie Woogie SAMURAI
5 - 冰凛 -off vocal-
6 - Boogie Woogie SAMURAI -off vocal-
Track by track analysis:
3 – 冰凛
“Hyorin” kicks off on a traditional Japanese tone, with a beautiful koto melody leading the way, slowly introducing the listener to this fusion rock tune.
The soundscape is delicate but what comes forward after the gentle intro is a powerful rock sound with shredding, low guitars, mid-tempo bass-driven drums, and a punchy bassline. This core rock format blends with the traditional elements – koto, shakuhachi – and makes it so that the song shines for itself.
On the vocal end, Yoshiaki Hasegawa delivers an enka-inspired performance in which drama and beauty coexist.
While his performance in the verses is quite impressive with that classic drama – well, if you have been following VAZZROCK and especially Haruto’s CDs, it’s not as impressive but more like expected -, in the chorus, he goes for a tiny bit of head voice to enhance that drama, giving a boost to those traditional enka-style vocals.
4 – Boogie Woogie SAMURAI
Wrapping up this CD is the duet song “Boogie Woogie SAMURAI”. The tone changes quite a bit, with rock taking the forefront while putting all traditional elements in the backseat.
The rock sound in this song lends some elements from 50s and 60s rock, bringing a danceable, carefree twist that will catch your attention. You can expect to find in the middle of those electric guitars some synth stabs however, synths are never the focus in this song.
The chorus is brief and straightforward, having a traditional Japanese festival vibe to it. It is upbeat, and it demands your participation.
On the vocal end, Yoshiaki Hasegawa and Keisuke Koumoto team up to perform “Boogie Woogie SAMURAI”, delivering a surprisingly consistent performance. Hasegawa and Koumoto’s vocals ended up working better together than I expected, with both sounding comfortable at all times while delivering a fun performance.
Although not at the same level as “Hyorin”, “Boogie Woogie SAMURAI” is a rock-solid duet track in this 3rd season of the bi-color CD series.
You can always expect a taste of the beauty of traditional Japanese music with Haruto Kujikawa. And this time around it was no different.
Enka is not an easy music genre to perform so I keep being impressed with how consistent Yoshiaki Hasegawa is when it comes to tapping into the traditional Japanese vibes and making that timeless beauty come forth in powerful, emotional performances.
“Hyorin” is the song that impressed me the most on this CD.
Simple at its core, incredibly emotional, and with a beauty that stays with you after the song wraps up. The way the vocals work together with the main melody performed by the koto and those longing shakuhachi notes is simply too good.
Yes, rock and traditional Japanese music is a mix that is far from being a novelty, however, when done right – like in this case -, it is a treat to listen to.
“Boogie Woogie SAMURAI” was a tad different in vibe. The theme was still revolving around traditional Japanese music however instead of the sound being necessarily “traditional”, it was more the whole atmosphere in the instrumental and the lyrics that gave life to that concept. It is a fun song, one with a classic rock sound at its core, bringing a danceable vibe to “Boogie Woogie SAMURAI” without having to go the funk or EDM route.
All in all, Haruto Kujikawa’s “sapphire x morganite” is a solid entry that explores with pride the beauty of Japanese music and traditions, counting with two passionate performances.
sapphire×morganite is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.