Japanese, Reviews

Prescription For Even More Sleep: Hibino Sound Therapy Lab (Review)

July 26, 2010 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Prescription For Even More Sleep: Hibino Sound Therapy Lab (Review)on Twitter

I had talked about the music for this strange, relaxing iPhone App last year. But, at the time, only four songs were available to check out via the app. Let’s face it: that’s not good enough! We need *more* sleep medication! And by “medication,” I mean “soft music from Norihiko Hibino!” No drugs required here.

Though, it should be noted, there is currently a P4S package sold in Malaysia containing this CD along with an “herbal supplement” in tow. Unfortunately, when reviewing this album, I did not get to try any of said herbal supplement. Maybe it’s not FDA-approved or something.

In any case, you should just click the “more” button, because after the jump, we have a full review of the complete 11-track album, entitled “Hibino Sound Therapy Lab.”

Prescription For Tracklists! Hibino Sound Tracklist Lab! Et cetera et cetera!!!

01 Crescent Moon
02 Hikari
03 Prayer For Asia
04 Body Healing
05 Morning Light
06 Awakening
07 Sun Comes Up
08 Peace In My Heart
09 Quiet Morning
10 Joy
11 Universe

So, this album doubles as a form of relaxation, and as a generic “Sound Library” sort of album. Good times.

The first two I want to focus your attention to are”Sun Comes Up” and “Peace In My Heart.” New Age, to be sure. Anyone who has listened to the Falcom “Preprimer” albums from Michio Fujisawa will immediately recognize the style. Bowed strings (violin, cello, etc) with piano, guitar, and on “Sun Comes Up,” waterdrops as the only form of percussion… definitely an enjoyable mix of instruments. “Sun Comes Up” *sounds* like a sunrise. Not a glorious sunrise, but a simple at-home, look out your window sort of sunrise. A gentle spring sunrise. Maybe this particular song is a “prescription for afternoon nap” instead of full sleep? At four minutes, it’s a nice, traditional Western tonal piece. “Peace In My Heart” is a great follow-up to it; the simple chord progression, relying on secondary dominants to build the momentum, just enough to get your attention, only to lull you back with the chordal resolution. And the piano and flute working back and forth on one another? I can imagine hearing it as a Sunday recital by my children and their cousins when they’re older. At least, that’s my own personal dream…

Moving forward, “Quiet Morning” is more of the same — In a good way. We again find a simple, andante tempo 4/4 piece with the same instrumentation (piano, strings, flute, guitar). There is a rhythm to this piece, though it may be hidden to some people. The piano holds it, and it goes… 1 2 3 (rest), 1 2 3 (rest), 1 (rest), 3 (rest), 1. This pattern, on such a slow piece, and with enough melodic variation, is utterly soothing. Good compositional choices all around!

The shortest track, “Joy,” is probably the most powerful and jarring piece on the album, or at least it is an equal to “Prayer For Asia,” what with its accented notes. After this powerful, short piece, we are treated to the longest piece on the album (minus the extremely long opening, “Crescent Moon”). “Universe” is my favorite track on the album. If I had to pick one track to loop to help me sleep, this is the one. It is sparse from start to finish. Random notes played on each of the previous instruments. Simple, reverberating staccato. The plucked violins are an especially nice touch. It’s the sort of musical pointillism that makes you think of staring up at the stars. But it’s more than that. It is the absolutely perfect “prescription for sleep.”

I did just talk about tracks 7 to 11 in order. There’s a reason I did that. Alongside skipping the previously-released stuff, I will say that I was not particularly fond of the other two tracks found in the first half. Interesting note, the first three tracks (which includes some of the original 4 P4S tracks) are composed by flutist Minako Takizawa, another member of GEM Impact. But, as I was saying, the old tracks, I’ve spoken about before, and the other two, meh. Yes, I just said “meh.” I am the worst music reviewer ever.

Non-conclusion: whether or not you have trouble sleeping, it might be a fun exercise going to bed and listening to this album at the same time. Plus, you’ll be supporting a Japanese game composer, which is a total bonus for many of our readers. This album, which was made available late last year, can be found for purchase at GEM Impact’s site. Catalog number is XQEF-1006, and it retails for 2,000 yen.

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