Title: im Gedenken (Translation from Japanese: To Commemorate Something)
Artist: Rotten Lily
Release Date: 2014 Jan 20
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Pricing: Free / Stream Only
I think I’ve fallen into a pattern of picking pranksters this week. Well, at least this release and the previous release from The Fucked Up Beat have a bit of a prankster-ism to them. See, the title for this release, and all the tracks on it are in Japanese, So, the best I can guess about this release based on Google translation is that Rotten Lily commemorates something, but no clue what is being commemorated.
Rotten Lily Commemorates Something
But, I have to say I am happy to have this release. When I reviewed Blame! by Rotten Lily, I teamed it with their single Servo. Shortly after posting the review, the Servo single disappeared, which was really annoying because I loved all three tracks on the single. Fortunately, all of those tracks are on this release — albeit with Japanese translated titles.
For giggles, I’m running the Japanese titles through Google Translate, and come up with:
I. In Commemoration of Something
II. Feces coming from the fan (Originally ‘Incoming Shit Thru Fans’ on Servo single)
III. Fuck this noise
IV. Lullaby for shallot
V. Dream crush butterfly
VI. Ten come detection grid (Originally ‘Servo Grid Radar’ on Servo single.)
VII. The second opinion of scale increased
VIII. Mother (Originally ‘Mother’ on Servo single.)
IX. And destruction
X. Bells and mandolin
While I bet the band would probably be horrified of me doing these translations, at least it gives me a way to talk about the tracks without trying to insert Japanese into the body of this review, which will not display properly.
Since I’ve talked about the tracks on the Servo single before, I will focus on the remaining tracks for this review.
The opening ‘In Commemoration of Something’ is a bit of a surprise. First it takes a bit to build into a piece. But, when the guitars and drums come in it feels like we’re on a bit of a subdued version of Rotten Lily’s earlier works…but not for long. A quick break, and we’re on a more familiar angular style arrangement that I’ve been in love with since I first heard Rotten Lily. But – there are a few more surprises: the addition of 8-bit sounding (or at least a cheap Casio type) keyboard, a flute in the bridge of the track, and a guitar sound that is straight out of the 1970’s.
The 1970’s styles keyboards are used throughout this recording as they are a motif. ‘Fuck this noise’ opens with these keyboards in the middle of crunchy guitar riffs, before the song turns into something that sounds like it came from a Broadway show, before another riff is introduced with the spoken / yelled title “fuck this noise”. The virtuosity is just dripping from this track.
But, not all the tracks are crunchy, twisted guitar celebrations. ‘Lullaby for shallot’ is quite literally a lullaby in ever sense of the word. And shows that there is a more gentle side to this group of merry pranksters, even if only for a few minutes.
I could go on talking about each track on this release, but I would just be babbling on enthusiastically about each track. Instead I would recommend listening to this whole release from start to finish. Immerse yourself in it.
This release isn’t flawless, in my opinion. The three tracks from the Servo single feel slightly out-of-place on this release for a couple of reasons. First, they don’t pick up on some of the things that make this release unique, like the use of 70’s / 8-bit style keyboards that show up on many of the other tracks. Second, there seems to be a bit of a difference in the production and levels of these three tracks. I suspect they were originally produced during the same sessions for the Blame! recording, and something changed between the two sessions.
But the thing that does remain consistent between this release and the Blame! release is the concept of the ‘supergroup’ that I brought up in my Blame! review. Each of the musicians in Rotten Lily is exceptionally talented, and each beings a different set of influences into the group. When combined, the results are far greater than the sum of the individuals. If you don’t believe me, just consider ‘Lullaby for shallot’ and ‘Bell and mandolin’ compared to the rest of this release – this is where their individual influences come out in relation to the rest of the release.
But, still, I love the idea of Japanese influenced rock that comes out in this release. It is a bit of a different direction for Rotten Lily, but still it’s worked within the style of their previous works in a way that shows flexibility and an even more expressive range.