Wednesday, December 12, 2012

defspiral's Reply ~tribute to hide~ review



It is hard to describe the impact of any one musician, this case is no exception. Year after year, the legend and legacy of hide still remain as strong as ever. There has never been just one word that could describe hide’s music. Instead, he created a world of music that was fused with different genres. It was through his creative genius, that the doors have been opened for many other musicians. Defspiral has been and continues to be one of those bands.

Defspiral, which is made up of TAKA (vo.), MASATO (g.), RYO (bass), and MASAKI (dr.), have their own personal history and continue to show their appreciation for the legend. They even collaborated on rock musical Pink Spider--inspired by the music of hide in early 2011. Defspiral continued to show their dedication and appreciation of hide through their maxi tribute single ”--Reply ~a tribute to hide~”.

Enter into a world where you can feel the passion and dedication as two worlds fuse together with every note, working as one in harmony. That is the true beauty of this tribute maxi single. --Reply ~a tribute to hide~-- takes us through defspiral‘s journey to express their appreciation towards the brilliant, masterful composer Hideto Matsumoto, most commonly known as hide. Originally named TRANSTIC NERVE, defspiral was discovered by hide and his staff in 1996. It is because of this that you can feel something great in each cover as if you can take part in their special connection to hide — something that can only be truly felt while listening to it. When I first heard it, I found myself speechless. It was truly magical.

As the tribute maxi single begins, defspiral grabs your attention right off the bat with their own high energy rendition of Rocket Dive. As the opening of the piece begins, defspiral leads you into the world of hide. This track stays mostly true to the original composition, maintaining hide’s trademark twang with the added touch of TAKA’s grounding vocals. Every time I hear this song it enthralls me with the same explosively playful nature from the original composition. It was as if you could feel hide. Though, at the same time, I was still touched by the presence of defspiral, especially through the vocals. TAKA’s baritone echoes throughout the piece, fusing defspiral’s flare with hide’s world. This is especially evident during MASAOTO’s energetic guitar solo at 2:22-2:47. With each beat of the guitar throughout the piece, you can feel how defspiral’s rendition of Rocket Dive has stayed true to the original. This cover set the tone for the remainder of the journey through this maxi single.

In Doubt,  the band brings an explosive version of another classic. As the piece opens, TAKA’s dark, trance-like and borderline deranged voice immediately puts an intoxicating twist on the piece. His vocals seep through from the background, as if he is talking to himself like a crazed madman. You can hear it as it consumed by an electrifying guitar, bass and drum twisted dance that just takes you into their world for the first 57 seconds. At this point, TAKA lets out a blood-curdling scream that just shakes you. This scream ignites the darkness as it enthralls you with heavy clashing of industrial drums and broken guitar rhythms. The darkness feels like a whirlpool of some form of psychedelic rush of energy, consumed with blind rage. This psychedelic rage and emotion continues throughout the rest of the piece.

When you listen to the song, you can feel a sense of outright self-loathing rather than internalized anger towards someone else like in the original version. However, unlike the original, TAKA sounds like he is screaming at himself out loud while hide sounds like he is internally screaming at someone in his own mind. Though as the piece continues, one can also tell that defspiral’s version of Doubt is more guitar heavy than the original. This suits their piece more as it balances out TAKA’s rough vocals. In this song, the boys of defspiral truly bring their own unique version of the song alive. By far, this version of Doubt is one of my favorites out of all band that have covered this piece.

Out of all of hide’s songs, Pink Spider has always been considered one of his most well known songs. The song is a semi-autobiographical, taking it’s name from hide’s nickname. It was released as a single on May 13, 1998, just 11 days after his death. It’s a rocking, electronically charged, riveting piece about a spider yearning for freedom. The spider feels trapped and asks a butterfly for their wings so it can fly away to its own freedom. The original composition of this piece feels like the essence of hide as a musician in my opinion. It is beautiful and hard to describe in words, just like the man himself. Since the composition embodies in essence the spirit of hide, most bands that have attempted to cover “Pink Spider” have kept extremely close to hide’s original composition. However, defspiral decided to combine their own flare with hide’s in their own memorable version of the third piece on the tribute maxi single.

When Pink Spider starts, one can hear a monotonic version of the hide’s famous riff before it changes at :20, warping the original notes while slowly inclining. As the piece continues, it feels like the entire song is being played through an electronic-fused timewarp. This effect can be seen most heavily with TAKA’s vocals, making it seem as though he is echoing from a far. This is different from the original piece where you can it clearly feels like hide is singing directly to you. There is clearly a difference in the way synthesizers are used in the original and defspiral’s version. In the original version, the synthesizers seem to be working in harmony with the guitar and bass, making hide’s voice come out loud and clear. Whereas in defspiral’s version, the synthesizers are more fused with TAKA’s vocals, distorting the voice and amplifying the guitar and bass. In this version, you feel a fusion of the music created as the two worlds collide. At the end of the piece, you can even feel hide’s presence throughout each note of this version, even with defspiral’s tweaks to the original. It’s truly an awesome experience to hear.

The fourth and final piece on the tribute single is Flame. When I first listened to Flame, it took my breath away. It is so beautifully arranged that I became lost in my thoughts. TAKA’s voice has such an angelic, delicate feel as it floats throughout the piece. Even when the drums and the guitar pick up at 3:54, TAKA maintains this gentleness. In this piece, you can feel hide’s presence the most through TAKA’s delicate vocals as they glide through the violin and piano playing in the background. The violin and piano add an angelic side to the piece, which separates it from the original by creating a feeling of serenity. This feeling of serenity and delicacy continues when the guitar, bass, and drums enter the piece for the instrumental section at 2:34-3:10. Overall, this piece is a masterpiece all it’s own by adding to the beautiful blueprints of a musical genius called hide.

I still find myself speechless after listening to the tribute single. You can feel the fusion between the two worlds and above all else, defspiral’s deep appreciation for hide. This cover tribute single showcases defspiral’s evolution, especially in the echoes of Flame and Pink Spider, which they first played as part of the Rock Musical Pink Spider in honor of hide in the first half of 2011. In a video comment the band made for MusicJapanPlus in November 28th, 2011, the band told viewers that they wanted to put all their feelings and emotions for hide together in a form of a record. They achieved this just in time for hide’s birthday (December 13th). It is safe to say that, at least in my case, their feelings reached me with every note. I give this record a 5 out of 5 stars.



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This review of Defspiral's Reply ~tribute to hide~ was written by Rita Nokkaew (Ayva Trance)

Follow me on twitter at @AyvaTrance


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