[Poplica*] love

Poplica*’s C80 release, and one of his best yet.

It seems that I’ve reviewed almost every full release by Poplica* already – Replica, Live-A-Round and now love. I like Poplica*’s style alot, and have always found it to nice and unique so you can pretty much guess what I think of this album already.

It’s pretty good, yeah.

For those unfamiliar with Poplica*, he’s an arranger who was previously known as TAK-sk and frequently works with Syrufit and Alstroemeria Records, and has a very trance-ish style with some D&B influence. Most of his albums are pretty vocal-heavy, but also with a nice number of instrumentals to pad it out. Most of his albums are released by Syrufit, but sold under the Poplica* name.

I do miss Replica quite a bit though. It’s alot more emotional than Poplica*’s recenter works, and I feel that it’s still better than any other vocal album I’ve listened to.

This is the last release by Syrufit that will carry the “love” name. Presumably they have something else planned for the future…

Circle Name: Poplica*
Album Name: love
Website: http://www.syrufit.jp/lover/love/

  1. Poplica* – love.
    Has a very 80’s vibe to it with the drum pattern at the start, but eventually introduces some more traditional trance synthesizers. Rather interesting take on Hartmann’s Youkai Girl, and quite impressive for an introduction track. Has a nice amount of power, without being overwhelming, as well as good balance and development throughout the track.
  2. Tsubaki Ichimatsu – Ten Desires.
    love. segues nicely into this track, which has vocals by the lovely Tsubaki once again, who has starred in every Poplica* album so far. She seems to be much better than what I remember from Replica and Live-A-Round, which is a pleasant surprise. I like her vocals quite a bit now.

    Some light piano plays the standard Touhou title screen chords, which is a nice contrast to the more noisy elements that are carried over from love.. It’s relatively OK-ish as far as instrumentals go, but there’s no doubt that the vocals are the main factor for this song.

  3. Mei Ayakura∕Tsubaki Ichimatsu – P:rhythm Players.
    Mei Ayakura sure sounds alot weirder than Ayakura Mei, so I’ll stick with the latter. Ayakura sadly plays second fiddle for mots of this song, backing up Tsubaki’s vocals, but there’s some pretty nice interplay between the two different vocalists, with Tsubaki’s sound being much more mature while Ayakura is somewhat more cute sounding. Combined with the constantly changing pitch of the vocals, this makes for a very entertaining track.

    Once again, the instrumentals aren’t bad at all but they’re still stuck supporting the vocals, so they’re not as good as they could be. I like the use of piano for the melody of Phantom Ensemble, but it’s somewhat soft in comparison to the vocals. Definitely some D&B influence in this track, quite interesting there.

  4. Mei Ayakura – ruins.
    Rather weird use of Ayakura’s vocals at the start, which I’m not very fond of. It gets better towards the middle though, so that’s great, although I think I would have preferred hearing Tsubaki’s vocals on this.

    Finally, the instrumentals are coming into their own. This track has much more focus on the instrumentals than the previous few vocal tracks, and it shows quite well. The same old D&B influence is still here as well, but there’s a somewhat disco-ish feel to it as well. Very interesting, very good.

  5. Poplica* – Hanamatsuri.
    Once again, the 5th track is a purely instrumental, slow trance track. I used to dislike this quite a bit since I preferred vocals more, but over time I’ve grown to like this quite a bit. It helps balance out the rest of the album, and provides a short break from the emotional vocals.

    I think this time this track is better than Live-A-Round’s one, although I doubt anything will ever live up to the Wind God Girl arrangement in Replica. Anyway, this track is very soft and soothing, almost enough for me to want to call it chill-out music. Smooth stuff.

  6. Tsubaki Ichimatsu – Reach for Tomorrow.
    I like Tsubaki alot more now, especially with this track. The vocals for this track are simply fantastic, with lots of emotion while never wavering, quite simply as good as vocals can get.

    Quite a promising start for the instrumentals, has a very D&B feel with traces of trance here and there. I liked the sparse use of breakdown throughout the track, and it builds up emotion quite nicely over the track’s length. Excellent stuff.

  7. Mei Ayakura – gratitude.
    This is probably the best song by Ayakura Mei on this album. She sounds very delicate and soft, while still managing to convey alot of emotion and also sounding quite strong. It also sounds rather sad, which is always a plus.

    Quite clearly a D&B track right from the start, and an admirable one at that. The vocals suit this style of instrumentals alot, so that’s a nice job by Poplica* coordinating both vocals and instrumentals nicely.

  8. eerie – maplelove.
    I haven’t really heard too much of eerie so I don’t know what to think of her. She does okay in this track, but it’s nothing particularly special or outstanding.

    A more softer, but much more cheerful sounding track for the instrumentals. I like this track’s placement, coming after gratitude. it’s quite a suitable change in tone. It almost feels like a lullaby at times, very chill-out and relaxing. Good stuff.

  9. Syrufit – Nowhere Residents.
    An instrumental track by Syrufit, this has a rather beautiful start with some light piano. It feels alot like Syrufit’s other tracks, with a very soft, delicate instrument and a much deeper instrument in the background. It definitely ends up feeling very beautiful and delicate, almost like a pane of stained glass that could shatter if you touch it. Very relaxing and very much like a “goodybe” or “farewell” song.
  10. Mei Ayakura – good-bye days.
    It’s very sad sounding right at the start, which is fitting considering that the “love” project is coming to an end. It’s almost like a ballad, but with more energy. The slow buildup gives the climax much more meaning, and the lyrics are rather beautiful as well. Ayakura Mei does a splendid job on this song, and it builds up ever so slowly that I didn’t even notice that it was changing until it was almost over – truly a fantastic track, and the best way to end this album.

I hope Poplica* continues making arranges. I’ve always enjoyed his albums alot, and it would be a shame if he stopped arranging music altogether to pursue other things. While this is probably a great opportunity for him and Syrufit to both try out new things, I do hope they continue releasing stuff at Comiket, and I hope they continue participating in the Doujin scene in general.

I’m very fond of this album overall, but I still like Replica alot more. I doubt anything can really change my mind about Replica, since it’s one of the first albums I really liked and listening to it always gives me a slight tinge of nostalgia.