Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fire those retro rockets

There are some things I wouldn't willingly listen to, like atonal music and by extension most pop music. Oldies are included in that list and I've only ever wanted to listen to that stuff due to purely academic reasons, like passing a contemporary music history course.

It's not that old music is strictly bad, but I am not a child of that era or, it seems, any era at all, so I feel this generational disconnect. Although digital recovery from analog sources has worked wonders, it's a strike against me for not being able to shake off the stigma that songs still sound old even if they are light years better than before.

It is probably also a strike against me for using anime as an excuse a gateway into the past. Well, whatever works. I know of several people who would never in their right mind listen to big band jazz, but for whom the jazz soundtrack contributed to Cowboy Bebop's appeal.

So far Doujin Work's ED is the only stand out feature amid a standard OP and mostly mindless content. Mai continues her fun retro schtick in Yumemiru Otome [320 kbps], hauling in a Dixieland band, walking bass, and backup vocals. Jazz clarinets defy classical conventions perhaps solely because they're not played in a classical fashion. Thin reeds, bright sound.

The rhythm section keeps things on a pretty even keel. Only the clapping falls on the back beat. There isn't much in the way of typical jazz syncopation other than in the instrumental breaks, and Mai's accents tend to fall on all of the beats. This is written like a march, something that most songs try to avoid if at all possible. But, as Yumemiru Otome proves, marches don't have to be dry and boring affairs. They can be, dare I say it, fun.

Nakashima Mika is listed on her profile as one of her favourite singers. That's hard to see, as the two seem only connected through the very large umbrella known as jazz. Within that sphere, their singing styles are polar opposites with Mai so far being much brighter and upbeat.

I'm still impressed that she is only 15. She carries a maturity and understanding usually possessed by singers at least 3 years her senior, although whenever I think this I should remember that Utada Hikaru and Tamaki Nami, among others, hit it big at 15. Miracles seem to happen more often than I'd like to think.