Grid Review – A Player of Your Drama

Note: This is a review I wrote on March 21, 2007. It was most likely originally published on Audio Asia. I post it here today because Audio Asia no longer exists (it died out several years ago) and because I have yet to post any music reviews on this site, well, that concert review from April can’t really be said to be a music review.

Grid, Move’s first, and only, release of 2006 starts off slow but ends up as one of their most rocking albums to date.

Several songs will be familiar to Move fans as they were featured in single form months before this album’s release. The single songs are Angel Eyes, Freaky Planet, Disco Time, and Raimei (Out of Kontrol). They appear here as they did in their respective releases.

Almost all of the songs feature T-Kimura (normally just the maker of “phat beetz”) on vocoder, giving each song a little futuristic robot sound.

Right when the album begins, you’re greeted with Gothica (Symphony No. 1), an opening that’s half-industrial, and half-orchestral, and half-choral (three halves?) welcoming you to “2006 Move Point Grid.”

Track two, Faded, carries the choir of the last track and creates an amalgamation of musical influence. You have rapping over violins and choir, then rapping over drums, electric guitar, and more choir. In the end, it’s a nice effort, but isn’t Move’s best.

“How many lies are there in your Angel Eyes?” asks the third track. It would not be a Move album if there wasn’t at least one straight song in the middle of a pile of Trance, Rock, and Rap. This is very singable and Yuri shines in it. This was the last of the singles released prior to the release of the full album.

And then we move right into Disco Time, my all-time favorite from this album. It’s jumpy, it’s fresh, it’s got a beat, and you can dance to it. All winners in my book, and this song is the embodiment of the Awesome.

White Fox is one of those Move songs that really ended up on the wrong album. It’s a ballad in the middle of rocking Trance and Rock. Motsu raps about a Lullaby Forest, Yuri sings about a little boy. This really should have been cut from the album. I’m sorry, that’s my opinion. Same goes for the next song, This is My Heartache. It has a nice sound, but doesn’t strike me as being a Move song. It just seems forced.

Track seven is Namida 3000. “Namida” is the Japanese word for “Tears.” Move returns to the rocking sound that they started in Deep Calm mixed with a little of that Trance from Synergy. This is an excellent companion to Disco Time, as both are fast and frentic. It really moves you. (Please kill me if I continue to use the word “move” to describe Move).

Did someone hook up a Super NES up to the synthesizer? Track eight, Misha, sounds as though it belongs in a SNES-era RPG, like Final Fantasy VI or something. That’s not saying it’s a bad song, it’s awesome.

Freaky Planet was one of the first tracks released as a single in the Fall of 2005 and was the first Move track featured on Sony’s AcidPlanet website to be remixed. This track is the “original” Move version. It was also the first new track to showcase Move’s updated rock sound. It’s all here. The Trance bits, TK on vocoder, rockingly awesome guitars.

Girl (You Wanna Move) is the next track and it picks up the Arabic influences that T-Kimura first expirimented with back in 2003 with DECADANCE and combines it with their more current Rock sounds. The result is a track you can move your head and feet to and not feel silly.

Disinfected Generation is a funny name for a song, as it brings to mind images of a group of young people in a hospital being kept away from contamination. The song itself I can only describe as being “dirty rock” as all the guitars have their overdrive switch on. The vocals are raw and gritty and seem to be telling the Disinfected Generation in question to rise up and take over the hospital.

Raimei (Out of Kontrol). Raimei is Japanese for “Thunder”. Raimei was the third of the four singles released in the months before the album’s release. Like Freaky Planet and Disco Time before it, this track rocks.

Sail Away sounds as though it belongs on Move’s Synergy album. It features a full Trance sound that seems reminicent of half the songs on Synergy, mainly the songs “Let’s Rock!” and “Venus in Paradise.” Everything comes together in this track, Motsu’s rapping in this song are among the best he’s ever delivered, Yuri’s singing harmonizes with the music in a way that only her voice can, and T-Kimura once again proves that he is among the best of the best when it comes to Trance.

The most interesting tracks on this album are the last two, the Freaky Planet remixes.

Where Akira Yamaoka’s iFUTURELIST album had a track that T-Kimura (lead musician of Move) collaborated on, this album has a track that Yamaoka remixed himself. Called “Freaky Planet -rosy mix-” this mix is anything but rosy. At the beginning the track sounds as though it would belong in a Silent Hill game (of which Akira Yamaoka is the producer and musician) it quickly turns into a catchy tune that’s quite hummable, that is, as far as industrial drums and percussion goes. It also features a bit more of that synthesized voice that T-Kimura seems to love as of late.

The last track, and last Freaky Planet remix is interesting as it originates in the US. In the Fall of 2006 Sony’s AcidPlanet (a website promoting Sony’s AcidPro music sequencing software) hosted a remixing contest where the goal was to remix an English language version of Freaky Planet. Unfortunately there aren’t many vocals in this mix, dubbed “Groovy Planet – London Stomp Mix-” but it does feature some sick sounds and excellent production values.

In the end, this album is equal parts “totally awesome” and equal parts “close to being awesome” combined, these two parts create a cohesive whole that is better than the sum of its parts.

Mentioned site: Acid Planet link.

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