Producer: Islet (Raku, Tazuneru)
Release Date: April 28th, 2019
Vocaloid: Hatsune Miku, IA
A common occurrence in the Vocaloid community is year-old albums that have relatively no views, downloads, or anything to attribute success to the producer for making a pretty good list of songs. Now, I’m not saying this is an album specifically, but it does have a rather low view count on VocaDB with only 1 person saying they own the album- or the only person who cares to say: “Hey, I bought this!” but this is a subject for another day. Right now we’re going to swing through Islet’s second album available in CD format, Evanesce, like a blazing guitar solo, which this album actually has at some points, and that makes me happy. On we go!
Emotion Rating: Look under the song titles in the “Detailed Review” to see Mr. Opinion Face’s emotion on the song. Plus, if there is a “Sawbat Approved” Icon, the song is top notch as mine and Sawbat’s favorite of the album- we have the same tastes.
9-10: (⋂‿⋂) – Love It!
7-8: (•‿•) – Good!
5-6: (•~•) – Meh!
3-4: (•︵•) – Disappointment!
1-2: (╥﹏╥) – It Sucks!
1) 春愁 – feat. IA
Emotion: (⋂‿⋂) – Love It!
Pronounced Shunshu, it starts the album off not unlike an anime opener which just fits. It’s soft enough from IA singing to a piano and a drum beat and then kicking it into gear with violins and a slightly depowered guitar with a slight, slight overdrive. The guitar isn’t prominent, but ads a deeper frequency that admittedly should be there to add girth, which it does not fail at that job. The bass is easily heard and has a stable bassline that exemplifies IA’s vocals. One thing that makes this song a good kicker is the smooth balance and transitions between the low parts and the loud parts, as it tends to somehow get inside your head making you question where the transition was exactly. It’s that smooth- like a knife through the air. Amongst the varying melodies that don’t seem to clash in the slightest, IA sings her way in Japanese, if you didn’t know this was a Japanese album. There is also a pretty groovy guitar solo just off in the background, and if I can touch on the guitar more, I did notice the left and right guitar are different, where the right leaves a space open to let the left ring notes. That’s what’s called good composition!
2) Antarc – feat. Hatsune Miku
Emotion: (⋂‿⋂) – Love It!
Miku’s childlike voice was almost odd like I thought it was another Vocaloid and the sites got the Vocaloid wrong. But as a producer who knows how Miku works… roughly… I will say this was a vastly superior decision than what I and most others do, just using her base voice on really slow, rock ballads like this song. Yes, this is a full-on synth-rock ballad. Nothing in here sounds rockish until it hits this pure melodic guitar solo. Most of the beats and melodies are from synths other than the piano that carries the entire song. The snaps within the transitions between Miku’s singing creates an atmosphere of semblance that resonates with the rest of the song. Then we rise into the chorus using a deep guitar strum. The chorus is the only thing in this song that throws me a little bit off because with Miku’s childlike voice, she goes really high in the notes so much you can hear some imperfections as at that moment, you can hear Miku’s voice sorta separate so hard into both ears that the backing vocals behind Miku sound a few milliseconds behind. Admittedly, this is only for about half a second, so this is negligible to me- a guy who likes everyone else’s music but hears so many imperfections in his own that I spend months trying to fix one song. Either way, this is a very good soft rock song.
3) 然れど零に帰す – feat. IA
Emotion: (⋂‿⋂) – Love It!
Yet another anime style song with a fantastic beat and guitar melody in the left ear. The violins return as IA sings more passionately than in the first song. Drums? Well, they are far more fast-paced than any other song in the album because we’re getting around 12 snares per second, along with a sweep of the toms. There is a synth in the mix that ALMOST sounds like it’s from Yuyoyuppe’s album Story of Hope. A generic rock song with a lot of band crescendo with a passionate fire of determination and a very, very slight diminuendo to slow it down to complete silence while IA still sings. It’s a song that tries to do a lot, and it doesn’t fail to do that one thing that holds everything together… that’s right- the Emotion! The emotion had me gripped for the bigger part of the song until the sudden stop and the drums slamming faster than the rest of the song.
4) カラードハート – feat. Hatsune Miku
…is that a sax? Have I ever told you that I like my brass? I’ll be honest, this song reminds me of a lot of Layetri-P’s music that I regularly review which you should check out if you haven’t already. Miku’s voice is childlike again, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. It certainly adds a personal style to her that can make you think, “Yep, that’s Islet’s Miku!” Because with about one-tenth of a million people, if not more, using her for music, that’s just necessary at this point. If I were to compare this song’s structure to something you would already know, I would say it’s a straight idol pop song from idol video games or idol anime. With sparkles almost everywhere throughout the song with claps and piano chromatic dives, it really wants to add instrument after instrument from brass, bass, guitar, sparkles, claps, piano, acoustic guitar, the elusive triangle, even changing up the drums every so often to a marching beat like from school practice. Miku, at points, has filters over her voice that permeates lyrics already sang normally, and it creates a sudden depth I was not expecting. I have to admit, this sounds like a modern orchestra.
- It’s been brought to my attention that I apparently work less than I want to if I’m not paid. I have successfully gotten a clean $0.00 profit since starting this website/youtube/music/etc. and I’m even in the hole by around a couple thousand dollars. 5 years and nothing is kind of pathetic if you ask me, and frankly I’ll be honest: I’m not giving up! Since Patreon’s losing a lawsuit and may go bankrupt pretty soon due to its underhanded deplatforming schemes, there is literally no point to have it anymore. So this is an easier donation option. Press it, choose either $5, $15, or $25 because it doesn’t let you choose others, and put in your credentials and BOOM… you help me.
5) Evanesce – Instrumental
Emotion: (⋂‿⋂) – Love It!
Alright, the namesake of the album. What do we have to offer in this? Remember a few lines ago where I said it was like a modern orchestra? This starts off like a classical one, piano with what I imagine is the whole string section. Then, for some dramatic reason, it switches headfirst into digital grinds and methodical arpeggios and the piano getting a sharper sound to it. Soon, the violin takes over the melody from the piano, and after it’s done, the steel guitar gets the reigns. What’s that? Not complete without a flute? Oh well, you got it buddy, just where you thought it would be at. It’s an odd, but satisfying conglomeration of real to life sounding string instruments and backing digital basses, guitars, and whistles. Of course, gotta add that sparkle at the end to send the piano off.
6) 残灯 – IA
Emotion: (@~@) – Love It?
(‘’’O _ O) This sounds too much like that song, “Beautiful Soul” by Jesse McCartney… a little too much honestly. Well, it’s mostly at the verses and it’s not exact by any means, but it’s too uncanny for me since that was one of my favorite songs as a little kid. Of course, I can’t remember if Beautiful Soul had violins or not, but my brain suddenly lost all cognition as for some reason, probably due to stress, I started hearing notes that aren’t there… You know, like when you hear a song with expletives and then hear the clean version with the drop in it, your brain automatically hears it without it actually being there. Either this is a hint that I need more sleep or I’m just run too deep on this very day I’m reviewing it. It’s not like IA sings the same melody at all, and the chorus is not remotely identical at all, but the acoustic guitar and bass with the snappy drums are waking up that earworm from listening to that song over and over and over and over and over again a really long time ago. I’m getting confused. Let me sort through things and I’ll come back later and give you another review.
DAY 4: Nope, still hear it.
7) lyricism – IA
Emotion: (⋂‿⋂) – Love It!
The atmosphere is genuinely encapsulating, truly it is. The flow of this song really extends a hand to the radio, as I could seriously see this on a western radio if it had English lyrics. It’s more synthetic than not, with some sound effects perfectly placed to match the song, such as bubbles, glass breaking (I think), and what I believe to be a xylophone but I could be wrong about that. The chorus is a full-on synthetic melody without singing, which is a nice touch. After the first chorus, it does a very slow crescendo to all of those sound effects I told you about with a clean electric guitar, as adding distortion would almost ruin this song. It’s not a song to get heavy, but it does have slight overdrive, even slighter than the other songs mentioned having it. Ironically, I can’t see this song surviving a dance, because the slowness really can’t be danced to in my opinion, but the chorus and ending are dance-ready, which makes the song slightly off-center, which isn’t bad, just would have preferred a different instrument such as a violin or flute even. Soft, but not too soft as it were.
8) 群青メモリウム – IA
Emotion: (⋂‿⋂) – Love It!
And I thought the last song was soft. The verse is literally piano and guitar… that’s it, eventually, a tambourine comes in and mixes it up with a straight 4/4 beat but overall it is overshadowed by IA’s magnificent singing, which is the most powerful part of the song. From beginning to end, IA doesn’t seem to want to let the other instruments get their shine in the sun- and I imagine her stopping for a breath and thinking, “There, that’s your shine.” But she’s not all bad, because, like the lyricism, a synth piano with a sharper tone comes in with a very slow, slight dance rhythm. One thing that I think could have been better is to drop the backing vocals, that you can hear in both ears, on the very quiet parts, where only the piano is playing and it’s playing a soft note every one second. I feel 3 IA’s is a bit too much at that moment and should be mono instead of stereo to add a powerful expansion when the back comes back- understand what I mean?
8 out of 10
Emotion: (•‿•) – Good!
So let me explain why I gave this an 8 when most of the songs were the highest grade I could give them… and it really has nothing to do with number 6 because I’m not faulting the album for my weird brain taking a detour every time it played. A few songs such as Antarc, lyricism, and 群青メモリウム had a few things I wish would have been done a bit better for my personal taste, and I’ll say that for others it might be their favorite album of all time. I can see that, believe it or not because it has that potential you don’t normally get from a Vocaloid album. However, all that said, the biggest perk for this album was it’s the biggest downfall for me, that it had too few songs. I’ve always grown up on albums with 9 or more songs, and I feel I would have been more than satisfied with at least one more song. Plus, I almost feel like Islet held back, not at some portions of this album where it really slammed into an overdrive of potential, but in the structure of the album itself. I have to be careful now when I say “If I was this producer” because I am a producer and understand just how horribly difficult it is to keep an album flow going like this, but if I were Islet, I would have put Evanesce at the head of the album, since it has a more soft sound and more variation than any other song on the list, but I understand this song is like an interlude to bridge both sides of the album. It has an orchestra, guitars, synths, real-sounding drums, and drum machines, and flutes, all that would tell you exactly what to expect from this album. AND THEN make a song much like it but with different variations and a different feel which would make 9 songs and you would have number 5 in between 4 songs on each side. But one of the reasons is that Number 5, probably due to the Beautiful Soul problem, doesn’t transition to Number 6 quite as well as I’d hoped it would. So, do you agree or disagree? It’s your call, but none of this takes away from your rating of the album. Never forget to support the artists and I’ll catch you with a new review soon!