Sunday, 20 June 2010

DJ Sharpnel goes denpa on 「爆萌電波注意報!」

A lot more denpa stuff came out at C77 than you might have read about on this blog. It's our duty to keep you informed about the good stuff... but the rest of it can wait. That's not to say that DJ Sharpnel's unexpected 「爆萌電波注意報!」 is complete crap, but it just doesn't compare with the cream of the crop. It's most likely being shunned by their hardcore fans and it doesn't click with this denpa fan at all, so who's this for anyway?

Let's back the fuck up. Who or what is DJ Sharpnel/Sharpnelsound? This is a denpa blog after all, so let's go over a quick overview for you guys. Formed in 1998, DJ Sharpnel is actually a doujin circle consisting of these two guys Jea and Lemmy (Sharpnelsound is the label). They are known internationally for their 50+ speedcore/trance/gabber/etc. releases, most of which are compilations featuring many other artists. Even for their most dedicated fans, it's almost impossible to keep track of everything they have released or are featured on, because they are heavily involved with other circles/labels/groups such as Mob Squad Tokyo, M-Project, and the list goes on.

Let's direct our attention to the focus of this article, their so-called denpa album 「爆萌電波注意報!」 which came out at C77 and went public in February 2010. It features two musicians each doing three tracks, namely Killingscum (one of Jea's many aliases) and m1dy, commonly referred to as Japan's King of Speedcore (check out his latest album 「Lector In The Sky With Diamorphine」 to hear for yourself). These two guys are seminal icons in the Japanese speedcore scene, so why would they waste their time with a denpa mini-album?

Well, they may be speedcore gods but they're also hardcore nerds, in the strict sense of the term. This accompanying blog entry explains their leitmotiv as well as provides track-by-track analysis of their denpa sideproject. If you can't read Japanese, chances are you'll at least notice the constant "MOSAIC.WAV" namedropping. That's right, these guys are big fans of akiba-kei and wanted to have a go at it for the longest time.

Musically, it works... in a "this is not too bad" way. Maybe they had a MOSAIC.WAV homage in mind when they wrote some of these songs, but these guys have been making music for a very long time and it shows. Don't forget we're dealing with 6 original tracks, all of them lovingly crafted by two musical geniuses. Some of it feels like sped up new wave, overdistorted punk rock and standard fare denpa. The highlights are probably m1dy's fast-as-fuck 「くろゅめ!」 and Killingscum's 「ねらって スナイパーたそ」 which honestly sounds like a kooky anime theme song from the eighties.

So what's the problem here? THEY FUCKING SING, THAT'S WHAT THE FUCKING PROBLEM IS. There's no denpa rulebook, but male vocals are usually a big no-no unless they're hot-blooded screams like Kayapi as the Akibattler or Kota-tune on Tulip Kaiser. What we have here is two grown men in their thirties acting like soccer players faking injury. This pansy stuff is made worse by the extreme vocal plugins abuse, not that it would be palatable without that junk in the first place. This is one instance where instrumental versions are desperately needed, but then again the tracks were clearly composed with lyrics in mind so they would have felt empty without vocals.

This aspect of the album feels like they just wanted to satisfy their ego, some kind of "bigger than Jesus" claim. They can't sing to save their lives, so all six songs are a complete loss because of this poor decision. It baffles the mind that they didn't decide to collaborate with some up-and-coming denpa songstresses such as ななひら, ゆきまめ or even リズナ. They can't reach their hardcore fans with this album either way, but at least they would have made a ton of new denpa fans had they gone with female vocals.

There you have it. It's a shame but this mini-album is certainly not one for the history books, unless there's one for the really bad stuff. If you somehow still want to acquire this (for the lolz?) then head on over to akibaoo or Guhroovy. However, dust is best left settled on this one. Let's hope that if they ever revisit the exploding world of denpa, it'll be in company of the female variety.


Ѯ said...

I didn't beleive at first, but you was right, it's horrible.

Unknown said...

Someone's never heard of the word "parody".