Review | Loulou*di “INCOMPLICA:I/F~Idéal~”

Loulou*di

Loulou*di keeps on pushing the boundaries of what elegance in 2D music is. “Idéal” is yet another flawless entry in their repertoire.

Loulou*di consists of Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Shunsuke Takeuchi, and Daiki Yamashita.


Title: INCOMPLICA:I/F~Idéal~
Release date: 25/06/2021
Label: Movic
Genre: Epic orchestral / Baroque pop

Tracklist:

1 - Project Archive: L 2-7
2 - Project Archive: L 2-8
3 - Project Archive: L 2-9
4 - Project Archive: L 2-10
5 - Project Archive: L 2-11
6 - Intro: Idéal
7 - Final Direction
8 - Butterfly Knife

Track by track analysis (instrumentals not rated):

6 – Intro: Idéal

A delicate arpeggio welcomes you to this intro track. Slowly, strings swell in the background as a clock ticks.

A pounding bass drum rhythmically hits as the strings build-up to “Final Direction”.

7 – Final Direction

Final Direction” has a jaw-dropping intro, with strings and piano faintly painting and emotional soundscape as Toshiyuki Toyonaga goes center stage for a spine-chilling mix of lyrics, long, dramatic notes, and ad-libs.

This is the intro alone because you’re not ready for what awaits you on this track. Takeshi Hama went crazy with the composition for this song, layering it quite a lot with a wide variety of instruments and channeling influences from several music genres in this impressive piece.

The verses are powerful, intense yet simplistic for the first part. Slowly, strings bring urgency to their performance, building up the tension for the mesmerizing chorus waiting for you.

There’s a classic touch to this track in the chamber music elements Hama brought to this song’s composition, with strings swells – provided by a mix of violins and cellos -, as well as wind instruments – I recon a bassoon is playing far in the background and you can also listen to a tuba and trombone -, classic piano playing and harp melodies.

That is the core of the chamber music that was brought into this track.

Then you have the electronica elements – a staple in Hama’s music – taking the form of bassy synths, a pounding beat, and atmospheric synths that help fleshing out that grandiose vibe to this song.

Additionally, rock elements give a twist to this track, with live drums and an electric guitar – yet heavily processed – joining in in the chorus to give it an extra punch to the composition.

When you add all these elements – there’s more, believe me, I’ve only scraped the surface – you have this song that feels like it could belong to a soundtrack to a movie. It has a massive cinematic feel and its grandiose vibe makes a big impression far beyond the first listen.

I’ve said this before but Takeshi Hama’s compositions always give that classic “Bond” movie vibe that I love. There’s a sense of exploration but never forgetting the drama. He does so in a genuinely elegant way that will render you speechless.

On the vocal end, Toshiyuki Toyonaga opens the curtains for this song with a power intro but there’s more to this insanely tricky song on the vocal end.

The performance requires solid control over long notes, the ability to match or even overcoming the emotion in the instrumental as well as being able to belt those beautiful, almost ethereal high notes that will make chills run down your spine.

The trio more than has that quality to deliver a performance that will literally make you go quiet in admiration for a whole 5 minutes.

Their low notes are somber, their mid-tones overflow emotion, their high notes are crystal clear and powerful. And when it comes to their harmonies in the chorus… the trio follows Shunsuke Takeuchi’s lead, sounding incredibly dramatic, something that, with those string swells may be able to steal a big reaction from you.

Daiki Yamashita is an absolute beat across all fronts. He’s performing in tenor and faux baritone ranges in this song, with his low, somber notes being in the faux baritone register while his high notes and harmonies have him return to the comfortable and natural tenor range of his.

If you pay closer attention to the background vocals – yes, it can be tricky with so much going on in this track – you’ll notice Toshiyuki Toyonaga going for those high, head voice notes that embellish this track.

Final Direction” feels like a soundtrack. It is epic, dramatic, and classic, with a performance that will make your jaw drop in awe.

8 – Butterfly Knife

Wrapping up this CD is “Butterfly Knife”, a song that has Loulou*di exploring a picturesque sound. A lonely banjo melody leads the way as strings slowly envelop you.

This vibe is, right from the start, pretty unique within the group’s repertoire yet a welcomed change.

Fatalistic love and longing are at center stage for this track and that is explored in a simple composition that best highlights those emotions.

A fiddle and violin join in mid-way through, helping create a really unique soundscape that gives a sense of going on a long journey and, in a way, missing someone throughout.

It has a raw simplicity that works really well with the emotional lyrics and performances.

Do expect a lot of English going on in these lyrics – with different pronunciation outcomes depending on the singer – yet don’t let a slightly slurred part stop you from enjoying this pearl of a song.

There’s no need this time around to sound solemn or heavily dramatic and that reflects in the sweet performance that all members deliver. Simple and to the point, Loulou*di’s first take at a song with “love” at its core is pretty good.


Final considerations

Loulou*di went the extra mile to deliver another set of unique performances that put their versatility as singers while Takeshi Hama made sure you’d be exploring exquisite instrumentals.

There is not much I can add about “Final Direction”. That song is an epic in its composition, counting with multiple layers of instruments, allow carefully put together to create a cinematic experience for the listener.

It sounds and feels like a proper, epic soundtrack song. It tells a story from its instrumental alone.

The intricate composition, the unique transitions, and little details in the background add to the enjoyment I got from this song.

Then you have the vocals and what more can I say about this outstanding lineup that I haven’t said before?

They really covered all bases and delivered a dramatic performance that will have you hit that replay time and time again to catch those details in their pitch vocals or harmony in the background you may have missed on a first listen.

As far as replay value goes, “Final Direction”, with the various and complex layers it has, is one of those songs you can repeat to no end and you’ll be sure to catch something different with each listen.

Butterfly Knife” is a song with a different style to what fans are used to from Loulou*di. Instead of epic chamber music with a soundtrack feel, this track strips everything down to a simple, picturesque sound that will put you on a journey while reminiscing about love.

Both the theme and the composition are new to the group and a welcomed change of gears for them that both showcase their skills and versatility as performers (and unit).

As a whole, “Idéal” is an outstanding sonic experience.

Regardless if you’re a fan or a newcomer, this CD will be sure to leave you in awe. The music – with its intricate and out-of-the-box compositions – is unlike anything out there for 2D groups, the performances (and lineup) are among the best.

If you’re looking for something completely different, something that will send you chills down your spine, something that will literally make you stop and listen, sinking in everything that is happening, Loulou*di’s “Idéal” is a perfect CD for you to check.


INCOMPLICA:I/F~Idéal~ is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


Idéal” is available for streaming on Spotify.


Do not support piracy. Remember to support Loulou*di by streaming via official outlets.

SUMMARY

“Idéal” is an outstanding sonic experience. Takeshi Hama - the group's composer - went all out to create a unique, grandiose sound for "Final Direction". When you think there's no way he can exceed himself... he does exceed himself and delivers epic, out-of-the-box compositions with fairly basic elements at their core but so well put together with other complex parts that are at the core of his complex and deeply layered music. "Butterfly Knife" is an interesting twist to the group's sound. Fatalist love takes center stage and the composition goes quieter than ever, embracing a picturesque sound that puts full focus on the vocals. Regardless if you’re a fan or a newcomer, this CD will be sure to leave you in awe. The music – with its intricate and out-of-the-box compositions - is unlike anything out there for 2D groups, the performances (and lineup) are among the best.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Final Direction
Butterfly Knife
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
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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