Heart Vibration

ShibayanRecords is a circle that has a very distinct, electronic sound to it. It’s one of those rare circles where I can almost instantly pick out a track done by them just by hearing it. Their style is heavily influenced by Justice, and it has a very synthesized, distorted sound. One key difference from Justice though is that Shibayan incorporates more vocals into their songs, while retaining the electronic house feel.

Shibayan didn’t always have this style of music production – if you listen to his older albums, he has a much more trance-oriented style that isn’t as heavily distorted. Personally, I like this shift towards more distortion with a steady house beat, but that’s more an issue of personal preference than any artistic merit. If you like Daft Punk or Justice, you will probably like this album.

As for this album, ココロバイブレーション means Kokoro Vibration, which means Heart Vibration. I haven’t listened to Shibayan’s newer albums besides Crystal Stone, so my only recent impression of Shibayan is from their featured track on Where is Love, which I liked alot. The style for this entire album is consistent with that track, so I do like this album alot as well.

Circle Name: ShibayanRecords
Album Name: ココロバイブレーション
Website: http://homepage3.nifty.com/shibayan/stal1002/

Youtube links are rather inconsistent for this album but I’ll link them if I can find them.

  1. WAP-WA
    Immediately the heavy distortion of Shibayan’s style strikes me when I start listening. Heavily distorted synthesizers lead a drum machine in, very much reminiscent of Justice’s style, but considerably more funky. There’s a fair bit of playing with cuts, breaks and fading as well, which is quite interesting to listen to. Does get rather tiresome after a while though, the melody doesn’t develop as much as it should, resulting in a merely average track.
  2. 秋扇
    Starts off lighter than the previous track, with a somewhat less synthesized bass leading it in and maintaining a steady house beat throughout. ℃iel provides vocals for this song, with a slightly high pitched voice. The vocals flow smoothly with the instruments, contrasting well with the heavy distortion. It ends up sounding quite well balanced throughout, with the constant development of new melodies stopping it from becoming boring. The breakdown is an interesting choice, but it strengthens the melody so it was definitely well executed.
  3. 荊の城
    A rather interesting start to the song, sounds rather dark, with a slightly faster drum this time. 深水チエ on vocals, who is less high pitched than ℃iel but somehow manages to sound higher pitched. Odd. Still, the vocals sound quite interesting and are definitely not bad, just strange. I like the integration of vocals with instruments by Shibayan – it never sounds like one is trying to overpower the other, and end up enhancing each other. The light, fairy-like vocals balance out the darker sounds of the synthesizers, and the result is a splendid track.
  4. MyonMyonMyonMyonMyon!
    Amusing title. Starts off quickly with the drums, with synthesizer backup. 3L(Another high pitched singer) provides vocals. The way the song peaks right before the vocals start is rather interesting – I don’t quite know what that would be called but it’s quite good and adds to the feel quite a bit. Whether or not you would like this song depends alot on how you feel about the vocals – if you don’t like them then the entire song is compromised, since all the instruments are essentially providing backup for the vocals, and its’ central premise of Myon x infinity.
  5. 花のいろは
    Very interesting starting. There’s a constant light drumbeat in the background, but it sounds quite distant making the song feel quite empty. The synthesizers don’t quite fill in the gap, so the result is a strange feeling of emptiness that makes the synthesizers sound alot better, and adds alot more power to the main melody when it finally kicks in. Vocals by yana, less high pitched this time and more normal sounding. I haven’t heard her sing before but I like her vocals in this alot. I don’t think Riverside View is good for vocals to be taking up the main melody since the pitch varies alot and is generally quite difficult to do properly, but yana does a splendid job of it and it’s definitely a good track. Would have liked better integration with the instruments though.
  6. 月齢11.3のキャンドルマジック
    Starts off with what by now feels quite standard – heavily distorted synthesizers leading in the drum, and more synthesizers added in progressively. Vocals by 3L, and again the vocals are doing the heavy lifting. I don’t really mind when vocals do the main melody for Locked Girl since it’s usually quite amusing and good, and this is no exception. Sounds actually quite similar to the previous songs, apart from the melody changing and some new instruments being played with. I like how the climax of the song is handled, with the vocals(which are clearly sampled and overlaid into the song, not sung out continuously) peaking quite nicely.
  7. ホシノナミダ
    A purely instrumental track. Start is different from the “standard”, but does end up sounding the same once the track starts up around the first minute. A disadvantage of being quite strong with your style is that you also become quite predictable, so this song did not surprise me at all. The main melody of the track is handled quite well, with an interesting lighter and less distorted synthesizer playing most of the melody, which contrasts nicely with the heavily distorted sound that’s oh-so-constant. Something that’s reminiscent of an organ is also introduced partway in to spice things up, before falling back to the funky synthesizers. Overall, rather well done track.
  8. うさぎ大爆発
    An Invisible Full Moon track! How exciting. Once again the start is quite familiar, but this time it does have a rather different sound to it due to the lighter synthesizer while still retaining the same overall feel.  坂上なち(Nachi Sakaue) provides vocals for this one. I like her voice, and have heard songs by her before(she does songs for Alstroemeria Records as well). She actually has quite a wide pitch range, but for this song she sounds rather young and somewhat high pitched. The whole song sounds quite interesting, though I was quite disappointed with the take on Invisible Full Moon, which, while interesting, was not really what I wanted.

I’m actually somewhat lukewarm towards this album – listening to it in the background is pretty good, but active listening doesn’t suit it quite as well. It’s not that I don’t like it, but more of the fact that there’s not much to it beyond what you initially find – there’s almost no change in style or sound through the album, and as an album it doesn’t feel well balanced or well planned. However, if you just listen to the tracks on their own they’re pretty decent. It’s rare for me to have an album where every single track is good on its own. I’m more used to the reverse, where single tracks are bad but the album as a whole is good.

Somehow it leaves me feeling disappointed if I listen to the whole album and try to analyse it, but if I don’t it’s okay and actually pretty good.

How weird.

Anyway, if you do like this album then I suggest you check out songs by Daft Punk or Justice. If you only liked the vocals, I recommend Syrufit or Alstroemeria Record’s newer albums. I think I should do this as a regular feature, where I suggest recommended bands/circles at the bottom of a review.