Tag Archives: Laruku

“Sacrifice” – Luzmelt

Okay, y’all. I got about thirty minutes before Between the Lions comes on, and I’m not about to miss my “stories.” Haha.

I stumbled upon this single entirely by chance. I liked the cover so I thought I’d give it a listen. I don’t know if you guys love experiences like that, but I sure do.

Luzmelt is a new-ish visual kei band that I had not heard of until yesterday. But apparently they played at Tekkoshocon back in April. They were right here in the U.S. and I didn’t even know it! They have released two mini albums called “Swallowed Scenery” and “Luz-Destination” which I’m going to check out as soon as I finish this review. “Sacrifice” is their first single.

Sacrifice begins with a slow piano opening, which to me felt like a tip of the hat in the direction of the older style of Japanese rock from the late 80s and early to mid 90s. Then the song explodes into a hard, driven rock paradise with some impressive drums and robotic-sounding vocals. Totally unexpected. The song is a great journey through many styles of music. It moves from classic rock, to some techno elements, and into a comfortable Visual Kei sound. I also have to give props to the vocalist. He seems very talented and for some reason his vocal style reminds me of Hyde in his younger days. The space-oriented PV for the song made me think of XodiacK’s PV for Kimi ni Furu Zetsubou no Ame. I miss XodiacK so much.

Under the Starlight is a nice compliment to the a-side. In fact, I liked this song just as much as Sacrifice. That’s rare for me.

The final song is a remix of a song called Blind Scope which I’m going to assume is on one of the two mini-albums. (Yup, it is. The original is found on Swallowed Scenery.) I liked this remix, but would not feel comfortable saying much else considering that I haven’t heard the original.

In Conclusion: I can’t wait to hear what other songs Luzmelt has to offer. In a world seemingly dominated by Visual Kei bands that all sound the same, its tough to find one that stands out. This band is seriously worth a listen because its not your average v-kei. The borrowed elements from other genres all work perfectly in their songs. Now, I can only hope that this band doesn’t suffer from “XodiacK Syndrome” and suddenly decide to break up as soon as I start listening to them. That would be enough to make me tear my lungs out through my ears. 😛

~Alisa~

Reader Question: What is the best song you’ve ever stumbled upon by chance?

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Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection

My L’arc Will Go On

Japanese culture in the United States is pretty much hit or miss. Either you love it or you know nothing about it. Not too much gray area. Besides that, a lot of Japanese cultural elements are stripped out of popular anime like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh, to Americanize them. Names get changed, the theme songs get replaced with English ones, and really bad ones at that. Thanks a lot, 4Kids. Consider this video:

When you have to change rice balls to sandwiches or donuts or anything BUT rice balls, you are totally ruining the Japanese-ness of the show.

So where does L’arc fit in to this rant?

Listen. If you like anime, you’ll at least know about Fullmetal Alchemist. If you know about Fullmetal Alchemist, you’ll know L’arc. Maybe I’m being disgustingly linear, but for me, L’arc was the band that introduced me to Japanese music through FMA. Shows like Fullmetal and InuYasha were ones that didn’t entirely lose their original themes when they were dubbed and brought to the U.S. Sure, Fullmetal cut down their ending themes to 30 seconds and lost two out of four openings when shown on TV, and InuYasha never had opening music on TV, but at least you got that tiny snippet of Japanese music somewhere. That made all the difference.

An anecdote:

One August day in 2005, I was in my local record shop buying Pocky. I noticed they had a small bin of CDs labeled “anime.” Curiously, I looked through and saw soundtracks from popular shows like DBZ, FLCL, and some others. Then, I spied a copy of L’arc~en~Ciel’s SMILE album (lots of people didn’t like this album, but it is my favorite!) with a big sticker slapped on the front reading “FEATURING ‘READY STEADY GO’ FROM THE HIT ANIME FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST!” I bought it.

My experience with SMILE was gradual. At first, I played “Ready Steady Go” over and over and over again. Then, I eventually accidentally hit the shuffle button instead of repeat, and the song “Revelation” played. I adored it from the first listen. My interest was piqued, and before long I had listened to every track and learned every lyric.

I thought, “hey, this is really good. I bet there is other really great Japanese music out there too!” I began to research popular music and order albums from the big names like Ayu and Utada. Loved ’em. I discovered all kinds of music, even the superindie stuff that I’m so hardcore about these days. All thanks to L’arc.

I can’t call L’arc my favorite group, but I will always credit them as my jumpstart to loving and appreciating not only Japanese music, but international music as a whole.

In this way, L’arc~en~Ciel will always be the most enduring Japanese musical act to me. I also think they will endure because they are everywhere. Besides Fullmetal, they have tie-ins all over the place, and Hyde himself is one of the most recognizable figures in Japanese pop culture.

Maybe this rant makes little sense to my readers, but I wanted to take some time to thank L’arc for bringing their music and culture to a nation where a lot of it is silenced and diluted.

Reader Question: What was your first experience with Japanese music?

~Alisa~

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Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles

Mild Changes

Hey, wow, my blog is getting really really popular now! Thanks to everybody who reads and/or contributes!

I’ve removed the “Requests” page to make my blog a little less cluttered. Now you can e-mail requests or comments to sakurayumeblog@gmail.com          I’ll post the e-mail address in my affiliates tab as well.

I’m also considering revamping my “List of Reviewed Items” page to make it more user-friendly. I’m a dreadfully lazy bum, so we’ll see how that pans out.

My next post will be an examination of L’arc~en~Ciel and why I feel they are the most enduring band in Japanese musical history thusfar. Take it easy, guys.

~Alisa~

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Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Site News/Updates

Aquamarry Update

Its been almost a month since I ordered this album, and its still on backorder. The company has done its best to keep me posted while I wait, and I very much respect and appreciate that, but I want my album!!!!!

Next review will be Dahlia’s Nude Lumiere album. Its a couple of years old but I’ve recently discovered it so its new to me. Anyone else heard it? Then, hopefully I’ll have heard D’s 7th Rose and be able to review it.

~Alisa~

(I’m going to start ending my posts with what I’m listening to! Feel free to comment or tell me what you’ve got playing!)
Now playing – Revelation (L’arc~en~Ciel)

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Filed under Sakurayume's Collection