Anime, Game Music, Japanese, Reviews

Kenji Ito Wants to be a Pop Star: DystopiaGround #003 (Review)

Kenji Ito Wants to be a Pop Star: DystopiaGround #003 (Review)

March 25, 2011 | | 5 Comments Share thison Facebook Kenji Ito Wants to be a Pop Star: DystopiaGround #003 (Review)on Twitter

Ever heard of DystopiaGround? If you’re like me, probably not, but I’m sure a few of you out there have. In their own words, “This group of musicians is aiming at becoming the number 1 A-Pop artist in the universe.” I hadn’t realized that A-Pop had become its own genre, but I think you understand that this group creates the J-Pop and J-Rock tracks that you’d expect to hear as anime opening and ending themes.

While vocalist nao is the heart and soul of DystopiaGround, the body is provided by an assortment of composers, which now includes Kenji Ito. I was not only fascinated by the concept of this ‘A-Pop’ group, but more so that Kenji Ito, who most of us know for his orchestral and live instrument work, would be involved.

Join us as we take a look at DystopiaGround #003 featuring Kenji Ito and other artists.

As you can tell from the album title (this is actually more of a single), this is the third CD in a series. #004 was actually released in December 2010, with their first single coming out in May 2010.

Let’s jump in.

DystopiaGround #003 features two tracks, the first of which is composed by Kenji Ito. The track takes a J-Rock approach with live guitar work by Demetori, who are well known for their work in the doujin scene. Their guitar solos are a nice contrast with Ito’s emotional string backing. While certainly not flamenco in style, I’m reminded of Ito’s work on the Culdcept series with the combination of strings and guitar. Nao also performers wonderfully, covering a wide vocal range in this track. While J-Rock generally isn’t my thing, I definitely love this track, as it brings together the best of both worlds (anime and games).

The second track comes courtesy of Chiyomaru Shikura, who you may recognize as the lead man at 5pb Records. I never even knew he was an artist! He’s actually a very prolific composer and lyricist according to VGMdb. He provides the composition and arrangement here, combining rock and chip elements and alternating between super upbeat sections with nao’s vocals, and rather ominous, almost Castlevania-esque interludes between verses. It’s a lot of fun.

Unfortunately that’s all that’s here. The disc features illustration by Elmer, who’s done some pretty amazing illustrations for the series, and the single-page booklet features artist credits, lyrics, and what appears to be a story/commentary for the album.

There isn’t a whole lot of information available for this album, but I believe it was released at M3. I can’t even find it on the 5pb Records website! In the meantime, head on over to the official DystopiaGround website and for information about those involved and to stream samples from DystopiaGround #004.

What do you think of this project? Are you surprised to see names like Kenji Ito and Shinji Hosoe involved?

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