Review | Hoshikuzu Ryodan “Hoshikuzu Yoreba Monju no Chie”

Hoshikuzu ryodan

Hoshikuzu Ryodan are absolutely flawless in the loungy “Hoshikuzu Yoreba Monju no Chie“.

JAZZ-ON! is 2D Jazz music project created by Akatsuki Inc. To get to know better about the story and each group including key visuals and first song previews, check THIS article.

Hoshikuzu Ryodan consist of Makoto Furukawa, Yoshiki Nakajima, Kento Ito, Yoshiki Murakami, Haruki Ishiya, Kengo Kawanishi, Takeaki Masuyama and Shun Horie.


Title: JAZZ-ON! Sessions 「星屑寄れば文殊の知恵」
Label: UNIVERSAL MUSIC JAPAN
Release date: 21/02/2020
Genre: Jazz

Tracklist:

1 - Exodus from 東京エンダーメフィスト 星屑旅団JAZZアレンジバージョン
2 - トウモロコシ畑のヌムホグ 星屑旅団JAZZアレンジバージョン
3 - 星屑旅団 Drama Tracks #3
4 - 星屑旅団 Drama Tracks #4

Track by track analysis:

1 – Exodus

Exodus” kicks off with the main melody played in 8bit fashion however, don’t be fooled into thinking that this isn’t a serious take on jazz music.

“Exodus” brings to the table funky guitar riffs, loungy rhodes piano melodies and slow-paced drums paint a laidback late summer soundscape.

The bassline is punchy and groovy at all times, adding depth to this track as well as further fleshing out this summery soundscape you’ll find yourself falling into.

The verses are melodic and funky, with wah-wah guitar riffs and the Rhodes piano standing out for the elegance they bring to this song.

There are trumpet melodies going on and in a perfect measure especially when you take into account that both Nakajima and Kawanishi’s characters play trumpet (it could get messy if the focus on the song would be on both facing off in solo section).

On the vocal end you can find Yoshiki Nakajima performing while playing around with his range. He goes high for the chorus sections and embraces his mid-tones for the verses, creating quite the dynamic performance. At the same time, Kengo Kawanishi delivers a solo performance riding on his robust mid-tones.

Their individual sections shine, with both delivering entertaining performances filled with elegance but it’s for their unison/group parts that they really impress. Their harmonizations are insanely good, with their voice tones perfectly blending to create a pleasant chorus.

2 – トウモロコシ畑のヌムホグ 

Tomorokoshi hata no numuhogu” brings the flamboyance of jazz with an exuberant performance.

If you’re looking for a jazz track with an old-school feel, this is the one for you.

It is fun while riding on a comfortable mid-tempo, the bassline and piano melodies give it a bouncy touch that makes this song perfect to enjoy on the dancefloor.

The melodies are upbeat yet with a bit of decadence underneath – jazz’s charm -, exploding in the addictive chorus.

The song counts with classy trombone and saxophone solos that add a lot of quality to this song.

On the vocal end, Takeaki Masuyama and Haruki Ishiya were impressive. They’re both performing resorting to mid-tones and showcasing their vibrato with a confidence that is striking.

Out of both, I was only unaware of how Haruki Ishiya would sound like as a singer, but I must say that I am pleasantly surprised. Sweet mid-tones, good control over his vibrato and knows how to harmonize. Takeaki Masuyama is comfortable throughout, having fun with the song while spread some of that fun with the listener through his performance.


Final considerations

Hoshikuzu Ryodan went the classy, loungy route for this entry which is yet another unexpected thing coming from them.

I was anticipating more bebop jazz – there’s never enough bebop – but what listeners get here is jazz-funk goodness with a wink or two to 30s and 40s jazz – which is also highly welcomed.  

Exodus” capitalizes on that jazz-funk sound, creating a comfortable mid-tempo tune that takes the listener to a summery soundscape in which good vibes and a lot of elegance go hand-in-hand.

The Yoshiki Nakajima – Kengo Kawanishi duo worked fabulously for this performance, displaying a good sense for performing jazz music at the same time that showed their confidence and control as singers through some tricky sections and harmonies.

Tomorokoshi hata no numuhogu” is a classic take on swing jazz that makes you gravitate to its irresistible buoyancy in the rhythms. You’ll find yourself reacting almost immediately as the song starts playing.

This is that music one music genre that makes nodding/shuffling/dancing/tapping your feet along to it come naturally and certainly not intentionally – to sum it all up, swing jazz is infectious.

And that’s one of the reasons I love swing jazz. It’s such a tasteful and fun music genre with rich rhythms going on and it always adds a decent amount of energy plus puts a smile on your face. And the punchy basslines in this jazz sub-genre are delightful.

Vocally, Takeaki Masuyama and Haruki Ishiya deliver the best performance on this CD. Man, that was fun to listen to.

They matched the flamboyance of swing jazz and added a lot of flair and energy to their performance, creating a performance that I want to play on repeat and I’m sure I’ll never get tired of it.

Hoshikuzu Ryodan’s 2nd entry in the JAZZ-ON! franchise is flawless. A bundle of fun that explores the fun and unpredictability of jazz music in two completely different ways that will take you to the dancefloor in no time.


Hoshikuzu Yoreba Monju no Chie” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Exodus
トウモロコシ畑のヌムホグ
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Also, the only person managing everything The Hand That Feeds HQ related. In 2011, I stumbled upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus". Since then I have been writing about male seiyuu music. You may find me writing almost essays whenever music is really good (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). I also host the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).

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