A Comiket wouldn’t be complete without Alstroemeria Records.
As usual, Alstroemeria’s albums can be a hit or miss (usually misses). In FLASHLIGHT, Alstroemeria has its usual cast of vocalists in Nachi Sakaue, Mei Ayakura, mican*, ayame, and guest vocalist Sae Tsukiyama.
In this case, the crossfade sounded decent. Minoshima tends to go towards the heavy and harder EDM style nowadays, which I don’t like as much compared to his older style. But there are a few tracks that I liked from the crossfade, like track #2 with Nachi, #3 with Mai Ayakura, and #7 with guest vocalist Sae Tsukiyama.
There are also two remixes of Alstroemeria’s older works. The first is a remix of Bad Apple, but I still prefer the original arrangement by Minoshima from Lovelight (R4). The second is an remix done by REDALiCE, of End of Daylight. It’s a very fast pace arrangement that’s typical of his style.
I don’t think FLASHLIGHT will be as good as Cloud 9, but we’ll see!
01 FLASHLIGHT – Pretty standard Alstroemeria opening, with some radio calls mixed in.
02 PUNISHMENT – Nachiiiii! kind of sounds like Nuclear Fusion at the start. First time I’ve ever heard an arrangement of Winds of Time. Overall good beats and excellent vocals by Nachi.
03 WITCHCRAFT – Wow, the segment right before the vocals started was pretty nice. Excellent build up and drop. I would have liked to have heard a bit more of Mei Ayakura’s voice in this one, as her role seems to only be for building up the song. In a way, it’s not too different from her vocals in TIMELESS ROMANCE in CLOUD 9 (R11), except that arrangement had the sickest drop.
04 potential curve – Camellia’s track. I didn’t have high expectations for this track as I didn’t like it during the crossfade. However, my favorite track from CLOUD 9 was ECCENTRICITY, which was arranged by Camellia. Quite heavy with the electro compared to the previous tracks and ECCENTRICITY.
05 Hell’s Sun – Nhato’s track. Now this time the arrangement is actually of Nuclear Fusion. A bit of DnB mixed in with electro, with synthesizers carrying the theme. Not bad…
06 EDGE – A bit of a more bassy track which I can imagine being a little overpowering on some systems. I love mican’s vocals, but can’t say the same for the instrumentals in this track.
07 BLACK EYES – A guest track by Tracey from Amateras Records, along with guest vocals from Sae Tsukiyama. A smoother, slower style similar to the one usually found on tracks with Ayame. It would have been a good final track if not for Ayame’s track coming up next. Is that Phantom Ensemble I hear in the background?
08 DREAMS OF LOST – Like mentioned in the last track and in the preview, Ayame is usually given the last track in the album since she has a soothing voice that really fits with the slower pace of the arrangement. Overall good like usual, but nothing special to rave about.
09 Bad Apple!! (2014 Refix) – Yet another Bad Apple arrangement. Okay, well it’s a remix of Masayoshi Minoshima’s arrangement from Lovelight (R4). It’s a “Refix”. Whatever that means. I don’t know how this sounds like through apple earbuds but this version certainly doesn’t sound better than the original. Overall there’s more noise in this mix, more compression, and a little bit of extra sounds added in. Stick with the original.
10 End Of Daylight (REDALiCE Remix) – The original End of Daylight arrangement from Fragment Reactions is one of my favorite arrangements by Alstroemeria Records. Aside from the vocals, the track is completely transformed. It sounds like exactly like what I’d expect from from REDALiCE; very upbeat and fun, but takes away the magic that the original had with the guitars and Nachi’s more pronounced lines.
I couldn’t help making comparisons to CLOUD 9 in this review. Overall CLOUD 9 is just the better, more fun album; The individual tracks with their respective vocalists were much better on CLOUD 9 than on FLASHLIGHT with the exception of Ayame, since her tracks usually tends to be very similar sounding. I would like to see Minoshima or a guest arranger try something different with her vocals. And on the albums as a whole, CLOUD 9 was much more cohesive sounding, especially with the transition from DAYS to BEAUTIFUL MOMENT to end off the album. Not taking the two remixes into account, I felt that tracks #7 and 8 with Saw Tsukiyama and Ayame were redundant because of their similarities in tone and overall feel of the arrangements.
Now… FLASHLIGHT isn’t a bad album by any means (Alstroemeria’s own DECADE OF EXPOSE (C84) and POP | CULTURE (C85) come to mind). It’s just that it wasn’t particularly good or special, especially compared to CLOUD 9. I know that the genre allows for sub-par mastering and sound quality, but an average Dynamic Range of 3 begs the question, “Wtf is up with that?”. A lower average DR (especially under 5 or 6) results in a very compressed sound, with limited dynamics and range of volume of the vocals and instruments in the album. For reference, CLOUD 9 had an average DR of 6.
Of course, music is very subjective and I respect those who like the style found on the album. However, it really isn’t for me. Ultimately… I ended up only liking track #2 and #3 and that’s not enough to convince me to buy the album.
3.5/5 – Fairly lacking. Could be much better.