You Review Things: Viz Major on MIGMA SHELTER’s

Actually by @VizMajor

One of the best things about listening to a concept album is immersing yourself into the music and simultaneously living in that moment of the sounds being produced almost as if you had astral projected directly into the experience. With MIGMA SHELTER’s newly released full album “ALICE” we get transported right into the wacky, twisted, animated world of the classic story of Alice in Wonderland. Anyone familiar with the Disney animated film adaptation can take one glance at the song titles in the tracklisting and notice words or phrases that relate to the story and even see that it is also in chronological order. One thing I will recommend here: wear headphones because you will want to hear everything on this album.

The album opener “In Wonderland” immediately sounds like you are being taken on a journey, one can even imagine a moving aerial shot of the landscape of Wonderland. We are greeted by spacey percussion-like synths and a warm violin melody that seamlessly pans between the left & right channels in a ping pong effect. This first song is also where we are introduced to a recurring theme in the sound production of this entire album: soundbytes of nature & living things (weather, animals, insects, etc.) One in particular that I found quite unique in this song is in the 1st half before the tempo picks up there is a hi-hat that rolls & playfully skips around from left to right channel that sounds really cool.

The second song “Rabiddo” features fast escalating buildups paired with falsetto vocals and an interlude of strings that would fit well in an old movie score to a sunny day in the Classical era. It’s a very dramatic song with captivating melodies & alluring vocal harmonies. The next song “Drops” begins with a sinister bassline that can remind one of the bass in the Pink Panther theme and when paired with an old sounding piano enables one to visualize a dimly lit, smokey lounge. The song picks up the pace into something reminiscent of a Burlesque theater chorus line leading into a nasal zipper synth which is then washed away by bubbling water, water drops, & faded vocals followed by a return of the theater music to finish.

Now we get to the middle portion of the album starting with “Egg Head”, a maniacal composition consisting of 7 or 8 transitions and featuring instrumentation in the forms of timpani, midi synth, string melodies, marching snares, and even a rooster’s crow that is sampled & chopped up to fit with the rhythm of the beat. I found this song to be one of the more complex & fun productions on this album. The 5th track “Y” either samples or contains an interpolation of “Pink Elephants on Parade” from the Dumbo soundtrack which serves as a fantastic tuba & trumpet accompaniment. This song follows along in the story when Alice meets the hookah smoking Caterpillar who’s deep voice can be heard speaking his famous line “who are you?” during the percussion break at the halfway point. Fantastic brass instrumentation and full, powerful kicks in this song.

Song #6 “It doesn’t matter” is where we get a change of pace by slowing down the madness and bringing in a feeling of tranquility which not only shows a different side of MIGMA SHELTER but results in one of the highlights of the album. Starting off we are treated right away to warmly tuned acoustic guitar strings & outdoor ambience of birds whistling giving the feeling of being around a campfire singing indie folk music. To top it off, the girls’ singing on this song may be the best we heard from them yet. There’s a strong bass pad that sounds great as it envelopes the atmosphere and leads into the sound of rustling leaves as a bird flies out from a tree which transitions perfectly. The thunder & rain is also a very nice addition to the sonics and really works in setting the mood. Very dark & mysterious soundscape that matches well with the Cheshire Cat character who also said to Alice the phrase “it doesn’t matter” in the story.

Following this song is “Unbirthday”, the song that is most fitting to the psychedelic trance soundscape. The music here has intervals of an Arabian theme melody and the familiar tone of sci-fi synth trance patterns. The chorus in this is probably the catchiest & most memorable on this album with the girls singing the lyrics “a very merry unbirthday to you”, which is what the March Hare & the Mad Hatter were singing at their tea party. The placement of sound effects in this song was also mapped out very well. The next song “Road” I will say is one of the best produced records I have heard this year. This composition is structured in about nine different sections. The pop beat & rhythm in the beginning flows into a gritty smug rap-like vocal cadence which then mellows out for a short break before returning to an electronic dance breakdown. What follows is the most interesting section of the song: a flourish of fanfare that swells & builds up into an incredible drop of background static & electric guitars and finally finishes with a guitar solo.

The second to last song “QUEEN” I can only describe best as serving as battle music for a last boss in a JRPG. There are brooding & pulsating bass synths and backing choir vocals. This song also features on production Chapa Didgeridoo who plays the didgeridoo and provides that low frequency rich bass & strong vibrations. The second half of the song kicks up the tempo to make everything feel more intense. I actually think this one may be the fastest BPM that MIGMA SHELTER has ever done before. The final track “My Wonderland” is a 9 minute epic that encapsulates all the elements we experienced throughout the album and is formatted into a song that perfectly expresses the feeling of accepting this wild & weird Wonderland until the last two minutes where we seem to slowly drift away from the dream into a beat that could play during the ending credit roll of a movie. The chirping of birds and even what sounds like a faint voice saying “Alice!” eventually wakes us up for the album to come to a close.

The factors that really make this album great are the always superb production & mixing of AqbiRec recordings and the high attention to detail in the sonics & compositions. Every song was carefully planned and song structures & melodies meticulously pieced together. It feels like an art performance piece or avant garde painting projected through music. It’s difficult to say this album can be completely labeled as Trance since there are so many different genres & orchestrations found here: Pop, Goa, Classical, Experimental, Rock, R&B, etc. The members of MIGMA SHELTER each have great voices and vocals are arranged in a fashion where harmony is melodic & contributory to the instrumental. In 10 songs there are so many ideas & layers that can fill two albums. Transitions are executed flawlessly, vocals are performed well, and the songs have a good replay value. This is definitely one of the best albums of the year.

Official Homicidols Rating

Score: One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews

5+

Catching up with DAIDAIDAI

I was at a party back in February, back when doing that kind of thing was normal and not a sign that you’re a degenerate who should be shot out of a cannon, and as is often typical of Fiancee when we’re gabbing with new people, she brought up this here fancy idol website and ol’ Maniac’s predilection for off-beat Japanese music. After fending off the requisite with “no, it’s nothing like BTS” and “nope, haven’t been and probably won’t” and the like, one person asked the most game question of all: What do I like best, and would I play it?

This of course was an agonizing question because, like, what do I like best, especially with a couple of quarts of beer in me, and how to choose an example? I obviously want to convert these people into fans, right? So maybe Hanako-san isn’t the best look. But what about … and I scrolled through my Spotify until I found the sublime MUDAI album and rapid-fire toured through tracks while explaining in terrible pop-culture terminology exactly what this madcap record is, and why there’s an idol group doing whatever that all is called DAIDAIDAI and that I love them so much it hurts.

Anyway! Yeah, they were on my follow list even during hiatus, so I’m not completely out to lunch with this stuff, though yes there were things I missed and if I honk a detail here or there you can call my lawyer, capisce? But this is otherwise me catching up with DAIDAIDAI the better to get them more or less updated on the site and happy in my heart again!

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NEO JAPONISM Is the Reward

Gee whiz, gang, now that I’m alive again, which idol should I write about first? I know! Let’s put the giant-ass index that D built into a tumbler and pull out something at random!

/puts giant-ass index into tumbler
//spins tumbler
Oops!
///tips tumbler over
Oh no, what have I done
////rifles through entered idol names until I find the one I want

What a random coincidence! It looks like I get to write about NEO JAPONISM again! Continue reading

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Have You Heard The Good News Of RAY?

The glorious RAY posted on their twitter to look forward to an upcoming announcement, which sounded very promising for once, as opposed to all the downtrodden news we’ve gotten recently. “Yes please o’ etherial shoegazing idols , give us something good!! We need this!!”, we were all thinking to ourselves…

And so today, (Which is is actually now yesterday as of this publishing.) the good news was delivered! Have you heard? Listen and listen well, those who believe, and welcome to the light, those of you who are new…

https://twitter.com/_RAY_world/status/1250378525732786176

 

Yes, Sweet Hipster Moses, RAY is releasing their first album!! I swear the sun came out and bathed the Earth is a pink glow while the Corona virus cowered a little today. Everything just got a little better. And oh, guess what else? For a limited amount of time, the album in it’s entirety is uploaded on YouTube, to let you taste the rainbow a little bit early!

Maybe before I say anything more about the details, I’ll leave the embed right here and let you dive in. So go ahead, breathe in, and savor a full preview of RAY’s very first full-length album, entitled “Pink”

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This Is the Shittiest Thing You’ll See All Day

I don’t want to have to watch it again! So let’s dispense with the incredible urge to pun this thing to death and instead focus on how Watanabe clearly wanted to get back to the magic of “Hoshi ga Matataku Yoru Ni” by taking a hopped-up punk number and literally turning his performers into human toilets. Even the choreography recalls “Hoshi ga”!

Good lord. BiS2’s album is out next Wednesday. May the gods have mercy on us.

2+

Zsasz Dropped a Little Zszomething

Holy zszhit! After starting out strong with their dark take on Neverland with Peter Peter, months of teasers on Twitter and a quick YouTube drop of Shokuji/EAT, Zsasz’s digital debut is finally here!

For those not in the know, Zsasz are produced by the legendary and incredibly handsome gothic Vocaloid producer UTSU-P! Eagle eared listeners might have even heard several of their songs before, for instance the lead track on the album originally had vocals from digital diva Kagamine Rin. We at Homicidols tried to reach out to Miss Kagamine to learn how she feels about the cover of her song, but on account of her not being a real person she just didn’t want to give any comments! Celebrities can be so difficult. Continue reading

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The BiS MV Arrived and Is Everything a 90s Kid Could Hope For

We did it! Despite the very best efforts of the world to destroy humanity before the new decade was more than a few hours old, we got to the day when the full album of the fully rebooted BiS came to fruition with the MV that will lead it into the sales wars. And what an MV! Maybe you saw it during yesterday’s aborted leak. Maybe you saw enough that, when combined with the title, you had no choice but to think of certain late-90s punk touchstones and tributes to an aesthetic that never should have died. I don’t want to say that every little thing in it is completely deliberate, but come on. Just look at this:

Yep, that definitely hit all of the right notes. Maybe the only thing truly missing is one of the actors suddenly having their face twist into a horrifying hell rictus, or a lo-def shot inexplicably shaking and turning to convey wackiness or something. Otherwise, from colors to setting to styling to the exploitative use of little people in the guise of show business icons, I’m back in the waning years of rock music’s last best decade.

And the music? Well yeah, that’s good too. I think we all figured that’d be the case, right? Like, they got the less saucy stuff out of the way on the last album preview — given all the rest of their body of work so far, for BiS3 to drop anything less than an all-out punk barrage would be the biggest surprise of all. And yeah, all in all I do think that this album has shaped up to be the best by a group named BiS in quite a while, though we should wait for the official release just in case Watanabe decides to pull some shenanigans.

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All-but-final Songs and Details on the New BiS Album

Ah, and now we reach the point in the promotional machine when a new release (specifically, a WACK release) is laid almost completely bare before the world and all of its details are known and we get to speculate wildly about what might fill the otherwise-empty informational crevices. Behold, the new BiS album, now more than just a bunch of stuff on Soundcloud:

A title! A track list! A … a cover that looks a lot like it’s really playing up an appropriate punk rock association while also trying very hard to avoid being sued by Green Day! Good lord, after these tracks, there’s just the one left to show off, and it could also be a Green Day reference if you’re willing to stretch a little, and I’m guessing that’s where the MV will come from, the only question really being when, it being a real shame that we’re still more than a month from the release date, I say again.

But let’s listen to the new songs, which you can also still download for a hot minute (I’m sorry!): Continue reading

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Let’s All Appreciate the Week That Maison book girl Just Had

This is the other big item from earlier in the week that I wanted to make sure to highlight, like really highlight, and I’m doing it wantonly because it’s a lot and they deserve it. Yeah, I’m talking about Maison book girl, who I still can’t believe I write about as favorably as I do nowadays after quite a long time of both pretending that they didn’t belong and being too xylophone-reliant to take all that seriously. Here we are!

The point of the post, though, is to acknowledge that Maison book girl released an album earlier this week, and it is excellent, the kind of high art that I think just enough of idol has embraced. They also, in conjunction with that release, dropped a couple of MVs that you may or may not agree are the best songs on the album, but I read the selection as “these songs sum up the album go buy it.”

The first, from the day of the release itself: Continue reading

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Hey! Go Get These Other Excellent BiS Songs!

Thank the gods for some down time! I’ve been dying to get a few minutes to really catch up on some of the excellent things that happened in idol this week, the latest couple of pre-album track releases by BiS among them. Friends, they do not disappoint.

First things first, if you know what’s good for you, take advantage of the fact that you can download these things and have them:

Should you need additional convincing (like, if the last one of these pre-releases didn’t have you absolutely twitterpated), just listen to these suckers. I will warn you, though, that this is music of excellent quality, one of which will threaten to put you in the hospital. Continue reading

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