Aoi Teshima returns with a second album of classic movie song covers with “La Vie En Rose ~I love Cinema~”. No word on the songs yet but expect it to be more of the same minimalist approach with just acoustic instrumentation and soft vocals. HPM enjoyed the original, so this bodes well for the new collection too. Release date is 10th of September!
Last month was Higher Plain Music’s biggest month to date with almost 2,000 views in the month alone and two of the busiest days of the sites history. In December Sarah Slean topped the tables after threatening to do so for the past few months. However due to region restrictions we were unable to buy The Baroness Redecorates to review it so we will have to wait until its released over in the UK for download/CD release before we can do so. Nevertheless – Happy New Year and here’s Decembers top 10!
01) Sarah Slean (2nd Last Month/ 3rd Month on Charts)
02) Hiroki Kikuta (6th Last Month / 3rd Month on Charts)
03) Charlotte Martin (1st Last Month / 3rd Month on Charts)
04) Vienna Teng (New Entry / 1st Month on Charts)
05) Gackt (New Entry / 1st Month on Charts)
06) Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (7th Last Month / 2nd Month on Charts)
07) Aoi Teshima (New Entry / 1st Month on Charts)
08) Julia Marcell (New Entry / 1st Month on Charts)
09) Stephane Picq & Pierre Esteve (Re-Entry / 2nd Month on Charts)
10) Joe Hisaishi (Re-Entry / 2nd Month on Charts)
Aoi Teshima has had a busy 2008 releasing two albums. The first is this one, entitled “The Rose ~I Love Cinemas~” which takes eight well known movie famous songs and then gives them the Teshima treatment.
Opening with title track “The Rose” we’re treated to the soft elegance of Aoi’s voice. In harmony with a gentle piano, you can imagine this being what heaven’s waiting music would be. Also it must be noted that the album is completely in English and the elocution is near perfect.
Next up is a beautifully relaxed version of “Moon River” with just vocal and acoustic guitar which is just dreamy and is followed by the serene “Calling You” which hushes you to sleep with a lullaby even with its downbeat nature.
“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” is possibly the only song that doesn’t work perfectly. While trying to turn it into a swing song, the lack of drums or upbeat bass really hampers the overall mood. It’s still a nice version but with percussion it’d have lifted it up. Then we have the song that I’d been waiting for Aoi to sing since I first heard her voice. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is typically stripped down and bare and also beautiful however I surprised that the tempo was faster than say the Eva Cassidy version. I’ve often thought of Aoi’s vocal being the Japanese Eva and so I’m surprised they didn’t milk this song for every second it plays.
“Beauty and the Beast” follows from the Disney film and this is definitely softer and just as effective as hearing Mrs. Potts sing it! VGM fans will notice Fabian Reza Paine from FFX-2 Piano Collections as the pianist. An excellent choice of song with a nice instrumental section which is completely unrushed unlike the previous track.
“What is a Youth?” is the song with the most backbone to it. Its great to hear something a bit more upfront and powerful. This has a downbeat feel to it with a rousing middle that you want to shout out and is a welcome departure from the rest of the album. “Alfie” returns to the piano/vocal ballads that work so well before you end on an acoustic guitar version of “The Rose”.
Fans of her first album will not be disappointed however if like many, you were looking for a bit more variety and versatility you will find that this album is even more streamlined to one sound than Earthsea was. “The Rose” plays to all of Aoi’s ballad strengths to make a completely weepie / relaxing experience but there’s more in the box if she’d only be allowed to let herself go. Japan’s Eva Cassidy? You bet!
The girl lucky enough to sing and then be offered lead actress in a Studio Ghibli film had her dreams come true when straight after her début album “Tales of Earthsea Kashu” was released. The ten track album is full of Aoi’s beautifully serene vocal talent but is that enough?
“Kazoeuta” opens the album with just Teshima singing sparsely. It’s a tender introduction to a tender album. “Ryu” brings in a foreboding sounding piano which quickly gives way to a gentle touching ballad that has a bass driven bridge. The interesting chords used gives it a fresh sound compared to other ballads.
“Tasogare” is much more folksy and traditional with guitars, zithers and rain sticks at hand. This is much more epic in scale and the style of music really suits Aoi’s voice. This is definitely a highlight of the album. “Betu no Hito” is cute. Half folk half waltz and a smattering of accordion does this track no harm.
“Tabibito” slows things down again with a piano/vocal track. The addition of strings helps this song pass through smoothly with its catchy chorus. Even when a chorus is rousing, Teshima always has a certain sadness and wisdom in her young voice which makes the song here. “Nanakamado” is the other stand out along with “Tasogare” and “Tabibito” as this is the sole happy folk song. There’s a bounce in the songs step which makes it irresistible to listen to however It also makes you wonder why every other song is slow.
“Sora no Shuten” is bitter-sweet and reflective in sound and completely in offensive, as is “Haru no Yoru ni” although the latter is much more delicate and spacious. That then brings us to the Tales songs. “Therru no Uta” is a beautiful song and still shines on its own merit. Fresh and haunting with a sweet ending, it never loses its appeal. It does however showcase that this album is completely one sound. If you liked this song, then be prepared for 10 very similar songs. “Toki no Uta” completes the set in typical fashion.
So the first album could be either completely justifiably solemn and minimal or completely uninspired depending on your view. I think the term sometimes on this album is “Lazy”. This is essentially an extension album from the film songs that done so well. Therefore sticking with a winning formula they’ve diluted the magic they had. No song is bad but played together they lose their sparkle a bit. One thing is certain though, she has a voice to sing me to sleep night after night after night…
Aoi Teshima is this weeks Live Vault artist with a beautiful rendition of “Rainbow” which is the ending theme for “The Witch of the West is Dead”. This has yet to be released on an album of her’s so sit back and relax to her silky smooth whispers and shy charm.
Aoi Teshima, the vocalist whom rose to fame by taking the lead female role in Studio Ghibli film “Tales From Earthsea” has a new album coming out soon. Entitled “Niji no Kashu” there will be a limited edition with a DVD containing two music videos. The press statement said the album contains bossa nova tracks which could prove very interesting. Watch this space as we’ll review her début album in the near future.