Friday, June 8, 2007

Rocky Chack - Little Goodbye

I recently started into Zegapain, which I will get around to talking about when I've completed it. Little Goodbye is the ED theme for the bulk of the episodes. Rocky Chack seems to be pretty new — the name doesn't ring any bells, they don't voice any characters, and their discography only lists the Little Goodbye single. From the cover art, looks like one guy, one girl, and they both do vocals. It's impossible to say what their style is like, or if they've found a sound they're comfortable with. Their B-side, also an ED theme on Zegapain sounds like a throwback to the 60's with a style and sparse arrangement akin to the Beatles in their introspective period. And Hisaaki Hogari had a hand in arranging both the OP and ED, and both have a bit of the same feel so I speculate he had a significant influence.

Both the OP and ED are ethereal, very much chill out, but I'm liking Little Goodbye a lot more, because it's got a bit more edge to it, which anchors the track. The OP, which is Kimi he Mukau Hikari by Arai Akino, is very floaty. I don't dislike it, to quote Kawasumi Mai (of Kanon fame), and this is something I would listen to if I was on a balcony overlooking the city as the sun rose, but I would also listen to Little Goodbye for the same thing, and probably loop it more.

At the risk of making me out to be a fool, if I haven't already done so, Little Goodbye incorporates a vocal style that is very…sexy. Both vocalists are subdued and seductive, discreet. In the short bridge into the chorus, they are literally sighing as they drop off their phrases. Listening to the karoke version, there isn't much harmonic support from the band; the vocalists are providing most of their own harmony, and it intensifies the sparse feel. The most prominent instrument is the violin section, which introduces clipped motifs in the bridge, and a muted but arcing lines in the chorus. The male vocalist also has clipped interjections in the little interludes, intro, and outro. They're for trance-like purposes, trying to get you to zone out.

The lyrics, which I don't assign much weight when listening to music in a language I don't understand, are reflective of the feel of the track and the anime itself. The track is melancholy and wistful, especially in the chorus, but has some subdued optimism. Melancholy mixed with some element of strength is the kind of feeling that I do get when I've pulled an all-nighter and I see the sun rising through my window. It fits the scene quite nicely.

A bit of counterpoint in the chorus is a bonus, and the richness it adds enhances the mood.


Sometimes revisiting old articles like these can be beneficial. Japanese DVD's for Zegapain have had some time to percolate through the system, and what can only be the official Little Goodbye AMV has appeared online. The AMV is very much in the vein of the series ED sequences, with focus on the characters in mostly static poses. There isn't any spolier material, so it's fine to view. Check it out:

A first-pass through the video tells me that a different edit from the single was used. At around 3:40 in that bridge, the female vocalist is supposed to murmur, The sky…the sky. Given the imagery in this passage it would have been fine to have left it in.

Intimate, atmospheric, fleeting, both video and music are representative of the bittersweet feel of wabi-sabi.

Another edit: I lied. There were no edits to the song, it was just that maybe my volume was too low or YouTube reduced the audio quality. A higher quality version can be found on Stage6. In my own small way of trying to preserve that video for as long as possible before it's likely taken down, I won't be linking to it. Just search for Zegapain.