Rui Aiba “ptarmigan” (Review)

The 3rd entry in the GALACTI9★SONG Series, brought to the table the excitement of rock with the contrasting gentleness of Japanese traditional music.

Title: GALACTI9★SONG Series #3
Label: Rejet/Pythagoras Production
Release date: 20/02/2019
Genre: J-Pop/Rock


1 - ターミガン
2 - パルコ (Rui ver.)
3 - ターミガン (off vocal)
4 - パルコ (off vocal)

Track by track analysis:

1 – ターミガン

This release brings traditional Japanese music to the spotlight. ptarmigan mixes rock with traditional elements, with shamisen and shakuhachi melodies setting a delicate tone to this tune. The song has interesting tempo shifts in the verses that often come with changes in the instrumentalization, making the contrast between rock and traditional music even more noticeable.

Takahashi delivers a textbook pop performance with a traditional, lyrical touch to it, further enhancing the song’s clashing soundscape while exploring the “life” theme that we encounter on this song. Solid performance. 4.5/5

2 – パルコ (Rui ver.)

Contrasting with the previous track is パルコ (Parco). This ballad, with a sound and vibe commonly found within Marginal #4’s repertoire, is the only song that will be common to all releases in the GALACTI9★SONG CD series. A delicate piano and strings melodies set the tone for this gentle ballad. Slow paced, bass-drum drums, melancholic guitar riffs and a noticeable bass line add the final touches to this instrumental. A nice touch – that might go unnoticed – is the rhodes piano melody play in the verses, enhancing the song’s melancholic tone. The pacing is deliberately slow, leaving the way open for vocals to shine.

Takahashi has a natural approach to this song. Sweet mid-tones make the lyrics flow smoothly with this ballad. However, for a singer such as Takahashi, this performance feels too safe, avoiding flourishes for the most part. While this is not necessarily something that hinders the experience, the difference is clearly noticeable when in comparison with previous takes on this song. Good performance but it lacks something on the vocal end to make this song shine. 4/5

Final rating:

The 3rd entry in Marginal #4‘s GALACTI9★SONG Series put Rui Aiba on the spotlight. ptarmigan is an interesting song with some quirkiness in itself. The song’s instrumental counts with a traditional Japanese touch that, although not a unique listen – due to how common this sub-genre now is -, it is still incredibly tasteful to listen to.

This release’s 3rd release is a rather interesting release. Traditional Japanese music made its entrance in this series and did it with flair. The song’s simplicity, the playful shamisen melodies, the longing shakuhachi, all make this a song with a traditional Japanese touch and all fit the character’s personality and ways.

On the other hand, Parco is this series’ resident song. Now on its 3rd performance, we already have a variety of takes on this mid-tempo ballad. Takahashi‘s performance fits right with the best performances, sounding incredibly natural and comfortable with his tone and song’s vibe. In comparison with previous performances, it seems that he perhaps played safe with his approach to the song, taking little to no risks in his performance. If this was the only take on this song, it would be a highlight. However, this is the 3rd one and there have been some impressive performances in past releases that instantly make this one stand out for how flat it sounds.

All in all, this 3rd entry is a solid addition to this series. It has its flaws but also a lot of charm that can be found in ptarmigan, song that stands out in this series.

GALACTI9★SONG Series #3 is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

Vanessa Silva
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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