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Music review: Yasushi Yoshida – Secret Figure April 19, 2008

Posted by ashiah in old.
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Noble records has made a good name for itself; it’s home to some of the best Japanese musicians working today. Because Yasushi Yoshida is the newest member of the Noble family, he instantly gets good press. Pre-orders for his debut album Secret Figure has been on the Dotshop charts for months now. It seems most people could care less if the album is actually good or not. He’s on Noble!

So with Yoshida’s comfortable spot at Noble, on first listen, the “best musicians in Japan club” doesn’t exactly shine through. Sure it’s all sparkly, pretty and typical for Noble, but when compared to people like World’s End Girlfriend, Yoshida doesn’t seem dynamic enough. On second listen, I stopped comparing Yoshida to others and just listened to the music for what it was. As a stand alone, the album comes to life (as cliched as that sounds). It’s a superb exploration of everyday sounds and emotional calmness.

Based on cinematic music, Secret Figure fuses the piano, guitar and violin with splashes of electronic beats. Opening track “Silent Park” begins with a dramatic piano solo and quietly a violin swoops in and builds the rest of the song. The next track, “Parade for Closure,” isn’t a real track and is basically just a warm up for “Parade,” another beautiful arrangement that relies on guitars and strings, carrying the song above our heads and beyond. “Chair Father” is a stand out track that starts off sad, then builds to give a sense of quiet hope.

The album pauses for a brief intermission with “Octave Leaves” and then eases back into the action with “Dance Piece,” which starts off somber and then kicks in with a loud bass and a piano immersed with strings. “Remembrance in Glass” is the most forgettable track, but luckily things pick up again with the best track, “Picture of Three Life.” The song, which starts off like early World’s End Girlfriend, begins with happy bleeps and bloops fused with joyous chimes; then the strings kick in and carry the song, while keeping the cute chimes in the background.

Yoshida has proven himself to be among like-minded people at Noble. If this is what his debut album sounds like, one could only dream where he’ll be next.

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