Review | Sena Ichijo “Turning Point”

PERFECTION NOISE

Hypnotic, alluring and intense, Sena Ichijo‘s (CV: Soma Saito) delivers one of the best dance tracks of 2020 with “Turning Point“.

Introduction to PERFECTION NOISE

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.

Just like DIG-ROCK, this franchise is going to release drama + music CDs however, unlike DIG-ROCK, this is going to be a more eclectic franchise and drama parts in drama CDs are actually going to be “situation” driven.

PERFECTION NOISE so far counts with the dance and vocal unit, NOISE NOVA (Shoya Chiba, Ryohei Kimura, Soma Saito and Kaito Ishikawa.

For more details on this new 2D music project and its upcoming releases, please refer to The Hand That Feeds HQ’s introductory guide to PERFECT NOISE.

Review

Sena Ichijo PERFECTION NOISE
Title: PERFECTION NOISE Vol.2 一条瀬那
Label: Spica / TEAM Entertainment Inc. 
Release date: 23/12/2020
Genre: EDM / R&B

Tracklist:

1 – 最愛の兄
2 – こんなヤツがマネージャーなんて
3 – 優しい人
4 – 大事なものを失うとしたら
5 – 呪いなんかじゃない
6 – 居場所はここにあった
7 – もう心配しないで
8 – Turning Point (Sena Ichijo solo track)

Track analysis:

8 – 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.

An interesting point that I want to touch upon before wrapping up this review: the mixing.

I’ve previously mentioned that NOISE NOVA‘s “True Place” and Narumi Kurazuki‘s “Deep” have mixing issues, with some tracks within those songs having sound levels way too high that put the vocals in the background, or are overcrowded in the chorus.

In Sena Ichijo‘s “Turning Point” you do have a song that is packed with layers and layers of synths and percussion hits and samples but this time around, the end result showcases clean mixing and neat production.

You can clearly tell apart the main elements in the instrumental and those don’t overshadow the vocals because the sound levels are all correct across all tracks in the song.

This is the polish in their sound that I was hoping NOISE NOVA – and now, the members in their solo releases – had since the beginning. It took 2 songs for those issues to be sorted out and what we get in this release is a really tasteful, clean mix.

I hope compositions and mixing continue to be this clean from hereon because, with this quality – and with decent exposure -, this project and especially NOISE NOVA, have everything to be popular.

All in all, Sena Ichijo’s “Turning Point” is a show of confidence, charisma and sex appeal with an exotic and addictive sound and, on top, Soma Saito’s masterful English performance.


PERFECTION NOISE Vol.2 Sena Ichijo is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

Perfection Noise / Drama CD (Soma Saito)
Drama CD (Soma Saito)

SUMMARY

With all the mixing issues in the previous releases in the PERFECTION NOISE franchise solved, Sena Ichijo (CV: Soma Saito) ended up shining more than expected. Sena Ichijo's "Turning Point" is a show of confidence, charisma and sex appeal with an exotic and addictive sound and, on top, Soma Saito's masterful English performance.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Turning Point
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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