Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Spangle call Lilli line, Live, On CD

Spangle call Lilli line's live album. Posted by Hello

This is live albums week. In my last post, I wrote about Live 4 Live by Tokyo rock band Plectrum. Now I’ve discovered another fantastic new live album, this one by Japanese art pop band Spangle call Lilli line. The two albums have been my constant iPod companions of late.

The Spangle call live album, called 68scll, is pretty expensive, at Y3,800 (about US$35). But the price tag didn’t matter to me– a fevered owner of their three great albums, I wanted to listen to anything I hadn't heard of theirs before the new Spangle album comes out in the spring. The reason 68scll is so expensive is that it is an album and art booklet in one, the booklet containing photos, pictures and graphic design illustrations. Looking through it, I found an essay that said an amazing thing about Spangle call: each of the three members of the band have full-time non-music jobs. That is to say, Spangle call is a part-time project for them. I know many Japanese musicians who do part time jobs to support their musical lifestyle, but I don’t know of any that do music only part time and still succeed so brilliantly. I mean, how is it possible to create such gorgeous music on a part-time basis?

In any case, the 68scll booklet is Spangle’s own creation, with the illustrations done by the singer Kana Otsubo, the photos by Kiyoaki Sasahara, one of the guitarists, and the design by the other guitarist, Ken Fujieda.

The 68scll album itself is a must-listen for any Spangle fan, and highly recommended for any music lover. The quality of the performance that was recorded in the CD is simply astounding. 68scll begins with the sound of a string section tuning, like the start of a symphony concert, and when the music begins and the guest violinists play as part of the rock ensemble, the resulting sound is in itself a happy discovery. Unlike other rock bands for whom a string section is something extra, an embellishment to help make their songs sound arty, in Spangle’s case the violins feel like an integral part of the music, and fit perfectly. Otsubo’s singing voice, which I tried to describe along with Spangle's musical style in an earlier post, soars lazily like it does in Spangle albums but with more immediacy because it’s live. Consisting of nine long songs, with one song, Piano, lasting nearly ten minutes, 68scll nevertheless makes me forget time.

(By the way, in a funny mislabeling, iTunes lists this album’s genre as New Age. Impossible. Don’t worry, you won’t hear chirping birds or traveling astral objects in 68scll.)

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