Review | Jin Ogasawara “TURBO”

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Although with interesting ideas at its core, a couple of rock tunes to jam to, mixing issues make it so that “TURBO” ends up not impressing.

Regular
Title: TURBO
Release date: 15/12/2021
Label: Beyond The Music/MAGES.
Genre: Electro-Rock / Punk-Rock / Funk-rock

Tracklist:

1 - TURBO
2 - Guns&Loudness
3 - Out of the Frame
4 - Only one thing
5 - TURBO – off vocal –
6 - Out of the Frame – off vocal –
7 - Only one thing off vocal –
8 - Guns&Loudness – off vocal –

Track by track analysis:

1 – TURBO

Funky guitar riffs lead the way on top of intense, snary drums and a punchy bassline.

The verses are a blast to listen to, being incredibly fast-paced and intense with Jin Ogasawara delivering a performance that mixes clean singing and rap, adding a lot of groove to this song.

The chorus changes things around, bringing that funky sound from the verses however putting Ogasawara’s vocals well in the back – higher pitched than expected – as the instrumental introduces dubstep elements to it.

Even after listening to this chorus plenty of times at the time of writing this review, I still can’t find myself enjoying it despite the verses being incredibly good.

While it was nice to change things around after a set of two pre-debut singles that were all about their rock sound, I feel like this song doesn’t quite capture how interesting of a singer Ogasawara is and instead tries to be incredibly intense to stand out, which is not a good strategy.

It should be the vocals standing out, not the instrumental, hence I do not understand the mixing in the chorus – putting the vocals in the background.

Still, “TURBO” is an enjoyable funky tune with a couple of exciting parts at its core.

2 – Guns&Loudness

[As previously reviewed]

Shredding guitar riffs and a punchy bassline kick-off “Guns&Loudness”.

The instrumental has a dirty touch to it, brought to the spotlight by the low, bassy sound going on by the bass and drums.

The verses have a comfortable tempo however, there are massive changes when the time comes for the chorus to take the stage. The build-up to it doesn’t let out how explosive and high-octane the chorus is.

Drums are pounding at a fast pace, the guitars shred across the stage, the bass delivers punchy accents to the track.

The chorus is everything a fan of rock music loves: intense, fast-paced, not crowded, and with a lot of groove.

On the vocal end, fans can expect a performance with 2 dimensions.

In a way, fans have Jin Ogasawara’s clean rock vocals, packing a massive punch and with an edge that screams to you; on the other way, there’s some vocals manipulation going on in the first half of each verse.

The latter can put off some people that arrive at this song expecting a straightforward shredding tune but given how brief those parts are, the song doesn’t suffer much in its overall quality.

I’ve been enjoying Ogasawara’s growth into one of the most exciting new talents venturing the rock route for their solo career.

His vocals are developing into a reliable tool for him to deliver passionate, intense performances while keeping the performance clean and “safe” for his vocals.

He’s been finding his groove, a voice tone that he can call “his” and not just the one he uses for character songs. That takes time but he’s slowly easing into a style of performance and voice tone that sounds natural, not forced or strained which is good news.

3- Out of the Frame

The other new song in this single is “Out of the Frame”. This song brings overdriven guitar riffs to the spotlight, opening this fast-paced electro-rock tune.

The verses have an interesting groove to them, with the drums standing out for their technicality – not only bringing traditional rock style of playing but also breakbeat, the latter only in the chorus -, being the heartbeat to this song. Guitars power their way through the song as looping glitchy synths come forward.

The chorus is fast-paced, with splashy drums leading the way, contrasting with the synths.

The glitchy, high-pitched synth lead ends up being a bit too much to deal with, especially when the instrumental was so good without it, to begin with.

As far as vocals go, Jin Ogasawara spices things up a little bit with a mix of clean vocals and even some brief screamo parts in the background.

4 – Only one thing

[As previously reviewed]

Jin Ogasawara makes his solo debut with the digital single “Only one thing” and what an interesting debut this one is!

Only one thing” is a song that explores a crunchy electro-rock sound that will put you both on the edge of your seat as well as make you want to dance along to it.

The verses ride on a comfortable tempo, with the bassline being punchy at all times. The beat is a mix of live drums and sampled beat, with the samples giving the track a groovy twist.

The verses build up the tension in a seamless way. When you notice, you’re already in the edgy chorus in which electric guitar and synths fight for the spotlight.

From this instrumental, I get strong early 00s pop-punk-meets-electronica vibes and I really enjoy this.

It’s been a while since I last listened to a song in this tone and with such a vibe. In a way it is nostalgic yet it feels refreshing at the same time.

When it comes to the vocal performances, Jin Ogasawara has put to test everything he’s been learning and improving upon through his work as part of GYROAXIA in the FROM ARGONAVIS franchise.

He’s grown a lot as a singer – and has a lot of potential to improve even more – and he shows that by delivering a consistent performance filled with groovy mid-tones and delicate falsetto.

I was feeling the excitement in his performance, something that is also a good indicator that Ogasawara’s solo debut derives from his passion to sing rather than just a gimmick.

When “Only one thing” wraps up, you’ll hit that replay button again.

The song goes by in a flash, there’s a lot going on in the instrumental that deserves multiple listens to catch and his vocals are really pleasant to listen to.


Final considerations

Jin Ogasawara makes an interesting debut but one far from being perfect.

TURBO” brought a couple of new ideas to the spotlight while bringing as well the two previously released singles “Only one thing” – still to this date, Ogasawara’s best song – and “Guns&Loudness”.

Out of the two new tracks, “TURBO” has freakishly awesome verses, embracing funk while adding a massive groove to the track however its chorus is fairly strange with Ogasawara’s higher-toned vocals blasting a bit too strong when his performance didn’t need to go that high to contrast with the punchy bassline.

The addition of dubstep to music is always something I dread as that music genre has no depth whatsoever, sounds bad at all times, and doesn’t flatter anyone’s vocals. If the focus was to sound “edgy”, within EDM music, there were plenty of other options in terms of drums/beat fills or synth leads that could have been added to replace those dubstep sections, something that would make “TURBO” instantly an ear-catching song.

As it is, “TURBO” is a fun track but with a passable chorus, at least, in my opinion.

The other new track “Out of the frame” also has awesome and less good parts.

The awesome ones are clearly the drums and guitar work, with the drums being particularly riveting, immediately catching my attention. The less good part belongs to the glitchy lead synth though ended up being a constant in this song, ending up being a nuisance instead of an accent to a song that, without it, already had a good instrumental.

All in all, Jin Ogasawara shows promise as a solo artist, with his singing skills slowly developing with each song he releases but his sound still needs to be “found” or perfectly tailored to his vocals and the skills he now has.

Aside from “Only one thing” and “Guns&Loudness”, I didn’t feel like any of the new songs highlighted his vocals, with “TURBO” even going as far as putting his vocals in the background. That shouldn’t be the focus, especially for a rookie solo artist. You want to highlight his vocals not how “good” an instrumental may sound.

Regardless, Ogasawara has the potential to turn into an exciting solo artist, he just needs to further polish his vocals – something I believe he’ll be able to do pretty soon – and have music that actually suits his skillset.

Curious to see what he pulls off next and especially if there is any leap in quality in his music.


TURBO” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

TURBO / Jin Ogasawara
Jin Ogasawara
TURBO / Jin Ogasawara
Jin Ogasawara

“TURBO” is available for streaming on Spotify.


Do not support piracy. Remember to support Jin Ogasawara by streaming via official outlets.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

TURBO
Guns&Loudness
Out of the Frame
Only one thing

SUMMARY

Despite having good ideas at its core - electro-rock and funky - Jin Ogasawara's debut single "TURBO" ends up underperforming quality-wise. There was a strange focus on making the instrumentals stand out as opposed to putting the spotlight on the vocals and that persists across the 2 new songs in this single. While this is a debut CD - and debut CDs only in a rare chance are perfect and groundbreaking -, "TURBO" failed at the simplest thing it could achieve: showcasing how good of a singer Ogasawara is. I believe that the focus in a debut release should pass through that and even if Ogasawara didn't, let's imagine, feel comfortable singing, there were ways to mask that in post-production instead of burying his vocals in loud instrumentals that, at times, don't even add anything new to the songs in question. So, my criticism is directed towards the music and how the producer decided to put Ogasawara in the backseat for the new songs when he should be the star. Hopefully, this was just an experiment of sorts and the next release will have the production quality of "Only one thing" or even "Guns&Loudness" because those two songs are still, to date, his best releases, songs that actually highlighted his singing skills and musical sense. As with any new talent - or even experienced or veteran talents - I'm wishing he'll get to fully display the type of singer he is in further releases. The future is bright however Ogasawara needs a concrete sound and direction to start standing out.
Vanessa Silva
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder, content creator, and music reviewer. Basically, the only person managing everything at The Hand That Feeds HQ. Stumbling upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" in 2011 was the start of this journey. If music is thought-provoking or deep, you may find her writing almost essays (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). She's the producer and host of the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).

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Review | Jin Ogasawara "TURBO"Despite having good ideas at its core - electro-rock and funky - Jin Ogasawara's debut single "TURBO" ends up underperforming quality-wise. There was a strange focus on making the instrumentals stand out as opposed to putting the spotlight on the vocals and that persists across the 2 new songs in this single. While this is a debut CD - and debut CDs only in a rare chance are perfect and groundbreaking -, "TURBO" failed at the simplest thing it could achieve: showcasing how good of a singer Ogasawara is. I believe that the focus in a debut release should pass through that and even if Ogasawara didn't, let's imagine, feel comfortable singing, there were ways to mask that in post-production instead of burying his vocals in loud instrumentals that, at times, don't even add anything new to the songs in question. So, my criticism is directed towards the music and how the producer decided to put Ogasawara in the backseat for the new songs when he should be the star. Hopefully, this was just an experiment of sorts and the next release will have the production quality of "Only one thing" or even "Guns&Loudness" because those two songs are still, to date, his best releases, songs that actually highlighted his singing skills and musical sense. As with any new talent - or even experienced or veteran talents - I'm wishing he'll get to fully display the type of singer he is in further releases. The future is bright however Ogasawara needs a concrete sound and direction to start standing out.