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Mitsuto Suzuki’s Neurovision: Blissful Electronic Music (Review)

September 11, 2009 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook Mitsuto Suzuki’s Neurovision: Blissful Electronic Music (Review)on Twitter

I’ve been a fan of Square Enix synthesizer operator Mitsuto Suzuki since the Square Enix Bootleg series. If you’re not familiar with the three Official Bootleg iTunes releases, I encourage you to get up to speed as they offer some great music from a number of Square Enix composers and sound team members. There are even a few tracks from the Bootleg series that are remixed on Suzuki’s two solo albums.

But the Bootleg series is for another time. Neurovision is Suzuki’s second solo effort that has been published by Square Enix, with his first being In My Own Backyard, which Patrick told you about last month. While In My Own Backyard introduced you too Mitsuto Suzuki the artist, Neurovision expands on his signature sound, delving even further into the mesmerizing electronic soundscapes that he so masterfully crafts for your listening pleasure.

Relax and get ready to see things through the multi-faceted lens of Neurovision after the jump.

The album opens with the title piece, “Neuro vision,” which is a dreamy vocal track. The melody is absolutely beautiful, and there’s something magical about the simplicity of it all as tons of tiny little synth elements come together just perfectly, hitting you with one of those “Why couldn’t I have written this?” moments. The first time I listened to this track I was out for a drive, and it was amazing how all the stress of driving in Southern California melted away, and time itself seemed to slow to a crawl.

While that’s definitely a tough act to follow, “Spring coat” is a stellar track in its own right with rich, vibrant belltone chords that sound as though they’re reaching out into space. From here, the meticulous layering of sounds begins. A highly reverberating piano matches so well with the deep synth bass, creating a nice contrast of sounds. The next track, “Dream reel,” on the other hand, plods along at a walking pace, working in funky digitized vocals that are indiscernible at times, but still insanely catchy.

“A view” is minimalism at its best, with ethereal phasing pads and lovely tonal chords that start and stop like waves crashing on the untouched shore of some distant moon. The use of lots of short electronic blips and tones gives the piece a distinct futuristic sound that still remains pure and natural, which is accented by the ambient insects chirping in the background. One of those remixed tracks I mentioned from the Bootleg series is next, coming in the form of “Clear (Free Style Ambience Dub),” which is a more laid back and highly reverberating version of the track that I found much more enjoyable.

“Seasons of Change” takes a more traditional approach with its standard 4/4 percussion, but still sports enough reverb to put your mind into orbit along with its whimsical melody that takes you through the seasons as seen from space. The album then takes a turn for 80s synth pop with “Something,” complete with Casio-esque flanged percussion sounds, fat electronic bass, and dreamy vocal lines. It may sound like a strange track to throw in the mix, but it’s absolutely wonderful, and I don’t even care for the 80s!

“Realize” changes gears once again, taking you to the dance floor with its heavy percussion and gritty synth work. “Recall,” on the other hand, is an experimental electro tune that features the call and response of two digitized robotic voices working through a series of seemingly random words like “rocket,” “orbit, “space man,” “satellite,” “robo,” “android,” “humanoid” and “AI” among others. It’s highly addictive despite being completely bizarre.  The final track, “The Sheep That Lived a Million Times” is a sweet lullaby that draws you to sleep with its peaceful piano progression and tick-tock sounds, making you wonder if the last hour spent listening to this amazing album was simply a dream.

I can’t get over how great this album is. Even the artwork conveys a message of decisive simplicity with its saturated colors and rendered objects. While Neurovision did appear and disappear from the US iTunes Store momentarily, it has been confirmed that it is now available on iTunes around the world (thankfully).  You definitely need to check it out, as it’s definitely one of my favorite releases of 2009. I haven’t been this entertained by an album since Katamari Damacy, and given the quality electronic sound featured here, I’d love to see Suzuki’s take on a space-based series like Metroid. Every track here is a winner, and you owe it to yourself to give it a try even if electronic music isn’t your thing. We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything about it being released outside of Japan, but in the meantime, check out the Neurovision website for some samples and a brief video (in Japanese) of Suzuki working on the album. In My Own Backyard and the Bootleg series are also available to wet your appetite, so get to it!

Have you been following Mitsuto Suzuki’s work at Square Enix? Would you pick up Neurovision if it was to suddenly become available again on the iTunes Store?

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