June 24, 2009 may just go down as being the worst day for single releases in I’ve history – three maxi-singles dropping on the same day (albeit two of them reissues from the frankly disastrous “Departed to the Future” box set) is something of an event in itself, but the fact that not a single one of them is really worth buying negates any ‘cool’ factor such an occurence may have had on its own.
Of course, since its sister releases snIpe and L’Oiseau bleu already received their due in an earlier review, I ask only that you draw your attention to the new Eiko Shimamiya release Super scription of data: that, and that you refrain from mentioning in the comments section that snIpe wasn’t actually bad at all, because clearly the presence of the Budokan ’09 version of Close to me… on the B-side is enough to make that one a must-miss. Now on to the review.
島みやえい子 (Eiko Shimamiya) – Super scription of data (2009, Frontier Works)
1. Super scription of data
2. electric universe
3. Super scription of data -instrumental-
4. electric universe -instrumental-
Kazuya Takase must have really liked making WHEEL OF FORTUNE. Hard to blame him, since the song (his first theme for Frontier Works’ seemingly unstoppable Higurashi no Naku Koro ni mystery/horror franchise) was an absolute blast from start to finish, referencing not only Tomoyuki Nakazawa’s beloved work for the previous Higurashi anime, but rarities from Shimamiya’s back catalogue (most notably, a throwback to her singing ‘Tooryanse’) and Takase’s well-loved bag of tricks (the Red fraction guitar sound and some triumphantly dated synth strings brand the song as his from the get-go) as well. Seeing how well the song turned out, Takase proceeded to recycle it wholesale for MELL as “KILL”, and now he’s more or less making it for the third time (at least) for Super scription of data.
Except, unlike the other times, it’s actually not any good in Super scription. The elements that made its Takase Sound Factory Model A predecessors so enjoyable are indeed present, but the implementation this time around is joyless enough to make Takase’s earlier misstep RIDEBACK sound like a triumphant return to form by comparison. Switching gears with little rhyme nor reason, the song imitates WHEEL’s loud-quiet-loud pattern without any pesky distractions like ‘smooth transitions’ to worry about, changing from a guitar-heavy industrial groove to a happy, vaguely uplifting chorus and back again without giving the listener much time to get used to either. The fact that neither the dark nor uplifting bits can really stand up to the corresponding parts in WHEEL doesn’t help, nor does the particularly awful Engrish forced into the chorus, but this one was dead in the water even if it was a good copy – Takase shouldn’t be able to get by on coasting at this point in his career, especially after he’s wasted so much of fans’ goodwill making songs like U make Ai dream.
Of course, unlike Takase, B-side arranger SORMA has an advantage in that his ‘electric universe’ comes off a seemingly career-long string of failures, and thus expectations aren’t particularly high for his silly piece of fluff. Continuing the trend of incongruous A and B-sides on Higurashi theme releases, electric universe offers up a bit of SORMA’s characteristic pseudo-ethnic (dig that shamisen!) ambience in contrast to the more straightforward opener, and it’s boring as fuck but by SORMA standards that more or less means it’s a smash hit. The song meanders like only boring songs with just-shy-of-6-minute runtimes can, never bothering to make an impression save for some occasional pangs of “Eiko, stop using English, you’re awful at it” as the singer mangles the words ‘electric universe’ until they sound like the monsters from Silent Hill look. Eventually the song makes a turn for the ‘awful’ around the 3-minute mark, but it’s likely lost half its potential listeners before that point anyways. Saying anything about it is like attempting to make sense out of a painting that consists of a single line on a blank canvas: yes, there might be something the artist (or arranger, in the song’s case) is trying to say, but the whole thing’s just so boring you don’t even want to look for the meaning. Not when you could be listening to better I’ve or, for the sake of our metaphor, looking at more interesting art at the very least.