NOISE NOVA’s stirring sound and impressive talents shine through in the compilation album “PERFECTION NOISE Original Soundtrack”.
PERFECTION NOISE is the name of the newest franchise by TEAM Entertainment – creators behind the popular DIG-ROCK franchise. It is part of the recently announced new TEAM Entertainment sub-label, Spica.
PERFECTION NOISE so far counts with one group in its roster, NOISE NOVA.
To get to know more about this project, the group and its lineup, head over to the PERFECTION NOISE’s introductory article here at The Hand That Feeds HQ.
Title: PERFECTION NOISE Original Soundtrack Label: Spica / TEAM Entertainment Inc. Release date: 31/03/2021 Genre: R&B / EDM / Pop / Minimalistic EDM
1 - True Place (NOISE NOVA) 2 - Deep (Narumi Kurazuki solo) 3 - Turning Point (Sena Ichijo solo) 4 - Down to Zero (Akito Sakisaka solo) 5 - Achromatic (Chisato Kurumiya solo) 6 - True Place（Instrumental） 7 - Deep（Instrumental） 8 - Turning Point（Instrumental） 9 - Down to Zero（Instrumental） 10 - Achromatic（Instrumental） 11 - NOISE NOVA 12 - 彼らの日常 13 - 晴天の中で 14 - それぞれの思い 15 - 前へ進みたい 16 - 光が見えたら 17 - 葛藤と焦燥 18 - もう一度輝けるなら 19 - 居場所 20 - はじまる新たな日々
Track by track analysis (soundtrack songs not reviewed):
1 – True Place
NOISE NOVA’s debut song, True Place, embraces EDM and blends pop, R&B and hip-hop in it, giving the song an interesting twist with the addition of their double centers, Shoya Chiba and Soma Saito.
The soundscape in True Place is airy and ethereal, with a dreamy piano melody leading the way, atmospheric synths creating a vast soundscape that envelops the listener.
The beat is infectious although slow paced, it gives a unique, danceable touch to the track. In the verses, the triplets create an urban pop vibe that blends perfectly with the song.
The bass is deep and pulses throughout the song, enhancing the beat whereas electric guitars add a fancy twist to the song, channeling strong summer vibes. Those guitar accents make this song sound more than your regular EDM-meets-Pop track.
On a first listen, something that stands out a lot to me is how weirdly mixed is the song in the chorus.
The vocals of the centers are, of course, paned to each of your speakers (or each side of your headphones) but, due to that, when the chorus hits, they are almost suffocated by the background and pitch vocals that take a lot of the spotlight, more than you’d normally add if you wanted the centers to standout.
The 2nd chorus is actually a bit easier to digest, and the only thing that was done was removing 1 of the synths playing in the background.
The 1st time you listen to the chorus, it will be quite intense and overwhelming. Fortunately, it doesn’t carry over to the 2nd and 3rd chorus but is still quite the surprise on a first listen.
On the vocal end, Shoya Chiba and Soma Saito are kings of their own castle.
Shoya Chiba got the biggest share of clean singing parts whereas Soma Saito got a solid mix of rap with clean singing that, at times, makes him standout a bit more as his performance flows from rap to singing parts and singing to rap parts pretty seamlessly.
The contrast between Chiba’s lower, nasal-y vocals and Saito’s high, clear vocals works like a charm for this group, with both adding a unique touch with their quirks and quality as experienced singer-songwriters.
This is something that few will pay attention to but, while not required of seiyuu, I deeply appreciate when the English parts are actually clear and clean with a pronunciation that doesn’t make you go “Hmm?”.
Soma Saito is that member for NOISE NOVA.
His English parts are clean and clear and flowing seamlessly between languages which is yet another commendable point.
But let’s not forget about the sub-vocal and sub-rapper for this group.
Although barely in the spotlight and with very few parts, Ryohei Kimura and resident sub-rapper Kaito Ishikawa, added a unique flavor to this track.
They are responsible for most of the background vocals – even if the double-centers still have a lot of influence in there – and keep the group locked in a consistent, charismatic performance from start to finish.
I am quite impressed with Kaito Ishikawa’s vocals as the last time I head him was as part of Swiiiiiits and his performances for that group were all sub-par.
In NOISE NOVA, although he is not on the spotlight and only has 1 clean singing part – and a couple of rap parts -, his singing was solid and blended well with the high level of the rest of the group.
2 – Deep
Knowing how the PERFECTION NOISE is being presented and the music genres it will be exploring in the future, it is safe to say that my expectations for this entry were rather high, especially after NOISE NOVA’s refreshing debut single, True Place.
I expected the same intensity however, in a pleasant turn of events, Narumi Kurazuki’s solo entry showcases his colors in a more sentimental way, and Deep reflects those is a solid way.
Deep is an acoustic, slow paced R&B song with a nostalgic undertone that guides the listener through a distant, melancholic soundscape.
The instrumental builds up from the slow paced, minimalistic beat and dreamy synths sound into something a bit louder and more intense in the chorus.
I can’t get to grips with the chorus.
Between the backing vocals – with the volume for those set a bit higher than you’d usually want in a song, almost covering up the leading vocals – and the intense leading synth, there’s too much going on.
Some elements could have been panned out, put in the background or completely scrapped and the song would still sound good as a whole or, I reckon, even better.
There are times in which the 2 backing vocals tracks and low pitch vocals overcrowd the background, completely stealing the spotlight from what should be the main vocals, something that I find a bit sloppy in the mixing.
If this was intentional, then I can’t even grasp what was intended by the composers of this song, as the focus in the chorus is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
Doesn’t sound that good, especially in contrast with the robust, tight, emotional R&B verses.
Aside from the choruses, the song conducts itself in classic R&B fashion, a pity that the chorus, the song’s hook – made to grab everyone’s attention – is incredibly confusing and crowded, taking the attention away from it instead.
In contrast, on the vocal end Shoya Chiba delivers a flawless performance.
From the sweet, gentle vocals in the verses lullabying the listener, to the intensity in his performance in the chorus, Chiba hit all the right spots and did some more to impress the listener.
I find the voice tone he’s using in this song – and overall with NOISE NOVA – to be extremely pleasing to the ears.
Pair that with his skills and technique as a singer and he managed to deliver a natural performance filled with emotion.
Although with a confident, robust core, Deep is a song that struggles to find its way in the chorus due to, most likely, being overproduced and having a messy mixing, with the latter issue having also been encountered on NOISE NOVA’s debut single.
As it is, Deep is a solid entry into the PERFECTION NOISE franchise and who Narumi Kurazuki is as a character.
3 – Turning Point
Turning Point slowly makes itself comfortable, with a rhodes piano leading the way into a room. The vibe is alluring and intimate, with a slow paced, heavy bass-driven beat at its core.
The rhythm is intense and tight, something you’d expect of the sound you get in a club.
Sena Ichijo takes the listener to an exclusive environment alongside him. This intimate, intimidating and sexy vibe is fleshed out by Soma Saito’s lower toned performance with bits of legato, something that enhances the dangerous and seductive vibe of Turning Point.
The second verse introduces new dynamics with a trap beat and brass hits in the mix, as well as a different set of synths finding their way in the background.
The break is intense and hypnotizing, building up again tension for a fantastic outro in which the beat slows down, ditching some synths and hitting harder than ever.
The build up to the chorus is smooth and natural, leading to an explosive, afrobeat-meets-EDM sound with a powerful beat and dirty synths.
The chorus is 90% in English – the song itself is 75% in English – and Saito pronounces every single word clearly, erasing any quirks that the Japanese language could have left in his accent.
Pretty impressive how his “English” switch turned on and he delivered a performance in the chorus that you couldn’t say with confidence that it is actually a seiyuu pulling it off.
For a moment, I forgot that this is, as well, a song coming from a member of a 2D group.
The intensity, the power, that chorus, the quality… all drew me in and I found myself enthralled for 5 minutes, wanting more and more after that.
Sena Ichijo has loads of charisma, result of Soma Saito’s confident, seductive performance. Saito is not the type of singer to be a showoff but, for this performance, and as Sena, he shows off confidence in both his skills and his appeal. This is truly one of those performances that you can’t take you eyes – in this case, ears – off of.
4 – Down to Zero
“Down to Zero” has quite the old-school sound, channeling a bit of the edgy pop sound in the 00s, bringing guitar riffs into the mix, adding cheeky synth stabs and a deep bass drum-centric beat in the background.
The verses are focused on a tough, urban pop sound in which guitars take center stage, leaving much of the background open for Kaito Ishikawa’s vocals to explore.
The chorus invites trap into the mix, with orchestral hits exploding in the background as a tight beat hits in an imposing way.
I quite enjoy the chorus to this song. It really does channel the classic 00s J-pop sound that I am most familiar with – you know, that time when pop groups thought that sounding tough meant having guitar riffs in their music – and, almost 20 years later, it still works pretty well, of course, with a new coat of paint on top from EDM and trap.
This is, of course, a deliberate choice to reflect the character’s attitude or vibe, so nothing unexpected here.
What was unexpected was the throwback j-pop sound in the chorus and how good the song sounded as a whole.
Now, let’s talk a bit about the vocals.
Kaito Ishikawa delivers quite the interesting performance. His singing has improved a lot, I must add, a whole lot since I last heard his singing (2018).
He holds himself pretty well in the verses yet he still sounds like he’s opening his mouth a bit too much to sing notes that do not require that much effort. This may have been a performance that strained his jaw in result of that much effort.
Still, massive improvement (and I can see – hear – him improving even more in future releases) and, in the chorus, he sounds the part, imposing and powerful like expected of Akito Sakisaka’s image.
All in all, “Down to Zero” is an unexpected surprise. Addictive, imposing sound, clean mixing, good vocal performance.
5 – Achromatic
NOISE NOVA’s Chisato Kurumiya takes the spotlight with “Achromatic”, song that counts with a deep, ethereal soundscape crafted by atmospheric synths, pulsing bassline and delicate percussion hits.
I love this dreamy, distant, summery vibe to “Achromatic”; it sheds a beautiful light over the lyrics in the song and adds another interesting layer to NOISE NOVA.
The verses slowly build up tension, introducing a bass-driven beat with snare accents, evolving into a dramatic and intense chorus with a slightly claustrophobic vibe.
Simplicity is still key and, in no occasion, do we get a crowded section or synth heavy part like in previous songs. In a way there is a certain purity, rawness in the sound.
It is devoid of flourishes and any distracting bits, all for you to focus on the vocals and those emotional lyrics.
On the vocal end, Ryohei Kimura brings the sweetness in his raspy voice to the table, adding a lot of emotion to his performance, conveying Kurumiya’s thoughts and emotions with care.
With an instrumental that delicate, the raspiness in Kimura’s vocals comes as a really tasteful touch, it is as if it is a weakness, a show of fragility, raw emotions, and it works so well with the lyrics at hand in “Achromatic”.
Although not as intense as the previous two solo entries in the PERFECTION NOISE franchise, Chisato Kurumiya’s “Achromatic” is a solid song carrying a lot of emotion on top of an instrumental that takes you to a simplistic yet beautiful soundscape.
The PERFECTION NOISE franchise wrap up the 1st set of CD releases with this special compilation + soundtrack CD, opening the door for new music in 2021.
In PERFECTION NOISE Original Soundtrack, you find NOISE NOVA, group pumping new life into the 2D idol scene delivering a unique blend of EDM, rock, hip-hop and ballads in their complex sound.
Their music is expressive and intense – on various degrees – being especially striking individually with Sena Ichijo‘s “Turning Point” and Akito Sakisaka‘s “Down to Zero” being prime examples of that.
The members’ individual colors are distinctive, with Narumi being rather soft and emotional in his performances, Sena being intense and charismatic, Akito having a unique duality to his rough vibe and Chisato also being emotional but with a twist.
NOISE NOVA have an all-rounded lineup with powerful double-centers in Narumi (CV: Shoya Chiba) and Sena (CV: Soma Saito) with a lot of chemistry and the perfect backing duo in Akito (CV: Kaito Ishikawa) and Chisato (CV: Ryohei Kimura).
For their debut song “True Place“, the quartet showed but a fraction of their skills and talent, having plenty of room left for further improvements and growth.
Only time will tell, but from what this song showed me – minus the minor mixing issues going on with its chorus – is that the group has the potential to sweep everyone of their feet.
Their sound is refreshing, being nothing alike the music other 2D idol groups have been performing, and their lineup is among the most versatile currently active in the 2D music industry.
The tools are there now, all that is left is for the PERFECTION NOISE project and its composers/producers team to come up with good follow ups to all these songs.
The focus will be, as you may have noticed, into following the story running parallel to each release, so it’ll be even more interesting to see how little details in the story (and individual stories) will reflect into the music that is released.
Strong individually, and even stronger as a group, NOISE NOVA are set to be one of the best and most consistent groups in the 2D industry.
Similarly, the stories and characters in the PERFECTION NOISE franchise make people genuinely care about every single detail that then carries over to the music.
I guess I speak for all of you – fans of NOISE NOVA – that we do need more music by the group as well as new set of individual CDs to continue the stories and showcase further charms and talents on the vocal end by each of the skilled seiyuu in this group.
If you’ve just found NOISE NOVA by chance or were deliberatly looking for music performed by any of the seiyuu in this group, and don’t know where to start, this a perfect starting point.
If you’re one to love the stories behind the characters, then I suggest checking the individual CDs instead of this CD.
All in all, PERFECTION NOISE Original Soundtrack bundles all songs released so far by NOISE NOVA in a neat package that even includes the soundtrack to some of the most emotional and introspective moments in the drama CDs.
Now that a chapter is closed, I’m looking forward to what the PERFECTION NOISE franchise has in store for us in 2021.
PERFECTION NOISE Original Soundtrack is not available for purchase at CDJAPAN.
PERFECTION NOISE Original Soundtrack is available for streaming on Spotify.