What does Tetem. and Yusuke Tsutsumi sound like?
Gothic folk drama.
The review of Tetem. and Yusuke Tsutsumi – One Cut Deeper
I’ve previously been familiar with Yusuke Tsutsumi’s bewitching singer-songwriter style. She plays the piano beautifully in a fragile and dainty manner, often overscored with beautiful strings. Her voice is almost always clean, quiet and like a little pickaxe in a void. For “One Cut Deeper”, a four-track music selection for the game “Seventh Lair” she has collaborated with Tetem. who to put it mildly, doesn’t go quiet. Tetem. instead is all about dramatic tom drums, raging guitar noise and large burst or synth orchestras. To say this is a gothic drama is an understatement.
Each track reminds me of the Nier series and a bit of Ico too. There is a cross over between elegant folk melodies and gothic melodrama. The guitars and plucked instruments in “The Voice of Fairy” are lush and bountiful, allowing Yusuke’s softer and airy higher register to flourish. Add in some harp and strings and you have a devastatingly beautiful piece. “One Cut Deeper” takes the gothic route, building up a dark piano and vocal melody into a cacophony of tom drums and dramatic string stabs. This is extended upon with the symphonic “Land of Nowhere”. Vocally, Yusuke reminds me a little of Sarah Blasko with her lower register which is on full display here as the rhythmic strings march on around her. The finale is the dramatic brass led synth orchestration “Maybe It’s Not”. Here, the brass is a little torte to the ear and pierces it a little too much for my personal taste but the melody is a brooding blossoming of uncertainty.
Whilst there are some minor mixing issues and the odd vocal note that doesn’t quite land perfectly, I find it part of the music’s charm. There is something honest and transparent about how clean and unfettered Yusuke Tsutsumi leaves her vocals. When everything else is exploding into symphony around her, thanks to Tetem.’s work, it’s hard not to feel a bit of emotional overwhelm at the juxtaposition of scale between music and vocal. That’s why this collaboration works and it’ll be something I’ll return back to time and again.
Recommended track: Land of Nowhere
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