I didn’t really know much about Kraster until recently, when I picked up this album by chance. Kraster is from a completely different batch of circles than the ones I usually listen to, so it’s a pretty interesting change. Mostly pop/rock in this album, with only vocal songs.

Kraster appears to be made up of two people, the arranger 羽丘淳(Atsushi Haneoka) and the vocalist Ne;on Otonashi. From what I’ve heard so far, it’s mostly fairly normal sounding rock/pop, with some interesting twists. Most of the arranges are pretty similar to the originals, so people who like faithful arranges will probably like this album.

Ne;on seems to feature regularly on other circle’s albums, and Atsushi has done a guest arrange for forestpiero before, but I’ve never really heard too much about Kraster since I don’t usually go out of my way looking for this style of music too often.

Circle Name: Kraster
Album Name: 東方雨月譚
Website: http://kraster.jp/toho_ame/

  1. Princess in reticulated cage
    A rather interesting yet faithful take on Kagome Kagome, this track features vocals and arrange by Atsushi. I’m not too hot about the male vocals, but I really don’t like male vocals in general so I’m biased there. Atsushi handles arranges for all tracks in this album, so I won’t mention arrange credits again. The use of rain sounds is quite original, though I don’t think it fits too well with the overall theme of the song.
  2. Desire?
    This was the song that caught my interest the most in this album, with a very alternative rock-style arrange and excellent sounding vocals. Ne;on provides the vocals for this track, and she does an excellent job of carrying the main melody. It’s not often that I hear vocal Plain Asia arranges, so this was quite an interesting track for me. I especially liked the way the vocals are distorted and seemingly sped up for the non-peak parts.
  3. Relations△
    Starts off sounding like a hymn or something, but livens up after the first 30 seconds. Features vocals by ハイジ(Haiji), who is a guest vocalist on this album. I don’t like her as much as Ne;on, she seems to have a much more boring voice, but she does well enough. This track seems to get better as it progresses, which is rather rare for Love-coloured Master Spark arranges, since I dislike it alot. Actually quite decent.
  4. RIVAL☆☆☆
    A track with vocals by Ne;on and Haiji, with a very lively arrange. Not too surprising since Dream Battle is a very high energy original, which carries over well into this remix. I’m impressed with how well the non-chorus bits sound, most Dream Battle arranges seem to fail those parts. The dual vocals also adds nice energy to the track, and complement each other quite well. The modifications to the original melody don’t seem to work out too well in some parts though, which is disappointing.
  5. Dark&Light
    Another track with vocals by Atsushi again, with a darker sound this time. I don’t mind this too much, since the vocals seem to blend well with the instruments rather than being the main focus, which results in the male vocals not being too grating. I usually like vocal arranges of Voyage 1969, but since this is a male vocal… not quite as much. Not bad, but not really that great either.
  6. 恋するウサギは切なくてアナタを想うとすぐ瞳を紅くしちゃうの
    That is quite a title. Anyway, this is an arrange of Invisible Full Moon with vocals by Ne;on. I’m quite in favour of arranging Invisible Full Moon with such a cheerful sound, it’s always highly amusing and generally quite interesting. Having cheerful vocals plays well into Ne;on’s strengths as a vocalist, and results in quite a well done track. One thing that bugs me is the transition around 2:30, which doesn’t really go anywhere and distracts from the overall feel of the song.
  7. Remember History
    An arrange of Old World, with Haiji on vocals this time. I don’t really like Old World arranges that much usually, since the instrumentals can be quite overpowering and tough to manage. Atsushi does a pretty good job on blending the different instruments together though, and doesn’t let the vocals get overpowered. Does sound a bit same-y towards the end though, which is a disappointment.
  8. とあるゲームの電導空間
    Another dual vocal track with Ne;on and Haiji again. It’s actually a bit hard to tell the difference between the two vocalists in this song, they really do have quite similar sounding voices, especially when they’re singing along the same pitch. I still lke Ne;on a fair bit more than Haiji because there’s something about her voice that makes her sound a little bit different from most other vocalists. A very vocal focused song, with everything done well.
  9. Labyrinth in the past
    Has a distinctively different approach than what we’ve had so far, almost sounds like R&B at some points. A much more funky feel than the previous songs, with vocals by Atsushi adding to the funkiness. Actually not bad at all, the vocals accentuate the music quite well, and the whole track develops nicely and is quite well balanced.
  10. 寄る辺なき月の下で…
    Yet another dual vocal track, but this time it’s with Ne;on and Atsushi! The two differing vocals add a nice contrast to the song, and is actually quite catchy. Stays rather loyal to the original melody for the vocal bits, with some new stuff thrown in during the off-vocals. The breakdown near the end is handled well too, and adds alot of depth to the song. Quite an excellent track.
  11. Fall in umbrella
    It’s quite rare to see sad-sounding arranges of Umbrella, since it has quite a funky melody and is rather unsuitable for slow-paced arranges. This shows alot in this arrange, with the melody not really suiting the slower pace and not fitting well at all, only improving when more instruments are introduced. Vocals for this by Haiji, and she does a valiant job but it’s not really enough to save this song.
  12. Never ends world♪
    A cheerful sounding arrange of Native Faith, with vocals done by Ne;on. There appears to be some sort of weird post-processing going on with her voice though, shifting octaves for no apparent reason. Not too fond of that, but other than that everything sounds pretty well done, if somewhat generic. Kind of a disappointing end to this album, especially considering how original some of the tracks are in this album.

I don’t really think this is an album that holds together well under closer inspection. It seems to be mostly done as a compilation of single tracks, and the album as a whole doesn’t really give any added value. Listening to each track separately and listening to this whole album at once would probably yield no difference.

Single tracks in this do quite well though. It’s not really bad, just lacking in inspiration for some tracks and lacking an overall feel for the album.