Friday, June 21st, 2013

Anamanaguchi – Endless Fantasy

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Will Adams: What pushes “Endless Fantasy” beyond mere throwback is that function comes before form. It’s basically a trance song with 8-bit synths subbed in, providing the same euphoria with an extra kick of kitsch. Sure, it meanders, but it’s a pleasant journey.

Brad Shoup: Something really endearing about the whole enterprise, like a Midwestern emo band paying tribute to “Rhythm of the Night.” The topline is delayed and scuffed, while the expected VG bits are merely flourishes in a full-blooded, Booker T-honoring, honest-to-Nayru instrumental.

Iain Mew: The album to which this is the title track sees Anamanaguchi expanding their chiptune-grounded sound in a lot of pleasing new directions. The FamiDM of “Endless Fantasy” is a much less inspiring move, a drawn out bid for seriousness where the tools don’t match the atmospheric goal and the thrills end up spread too thinly. Also, Deadmau5 has already combined his stuff with video games better in the opposite direction.

Patrick St. Michel: Do you know how much terrible chiptune music is out there? You used to be able to spend hours listening to people armed with Game Boy Colors making songs that were more like impatient reflections of youth on MySpace. You could probably still do this on SoundCloud, but I’m too older and wiser to spend any of my time doing that. Anamanaguchi have been trying to do more with 8-bit bloops for a while now, with varying degrees of success. This year, they released the ambitious Endless Fantasy, a 22-track collection that aims to show just how diverse video game noises can be, the songs running from manic pop to New Wave meditations to EDM-esque bangers. The title track is one of their finest efforts yet, a long-running (for them) affair that shows how affecting bleeps can be. It features dramatic build-ups and ecstatic releases, mirroring dance music. They develop tension, all through sounds that rise above cheap nostalgia. 

Anthony Easton: I think that the limiting oneself, but not having a full phrase, without it being glitched out is a played out aesthetic strategy. But, the phrases they have chosen are not interesting enough, without some kind of digital intervention, and so kind of need this badly integrated glitching. 

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Like “Meow”, “Endless Fantasy” showcases Anamanaguchi’s penchant for 16-bit sounds. Unlike that memeified blaze, here the band apply their chiptune approach to more exploratory songwriting. “Fantasy” has real peaks and valleys, allowing space for the band to find more in their lead riffs than the expected jolly nostalgia. There’s a prettiness to these sounds that extends beyond kitsch and even approaches melancholy. Perhaps it’s that the presentation of “Fantasy” skews towards thoughtfulness and even catharsis — during the many builds from quiet to loud, it sounds like an unholy union of progressive trance and post-rock. So Anamaguchi have found new ways to present their aesthetic. The next step is for the group to smooth out the rough edges — they weren’t kidding about the “Endless” part of the title — and keep plugging, finding new ways to present the computerised music of the past.

Alfred Soto: I called AlunaGeorge’s “You Know You Like It” treacly — a word that applies here too when those choral synths go major.  

David Lee: I’m down for a hero’s journey marinated in a Big Gulp of lean. But I’m also a fan of brevity.

Reader average: [5.33] (3 votes)

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