Wednesday 1 May 2013


I really like this song. But it's a shame because I always keep finding these songs that are months, even years old - this one is like a year old as it is. But then I think, "What does it really matter?"

And as I keep saying, if it's the first time you've heard it, it's new. Like, I don't think I ever heard Jimi Hendrix's 'All Along The Watchtower' till I was 18 - and what? I'm still alive. No lightning bolt has hit me. No gods are angry with me... I think. And so it is with this lovely song from Japanese electro trio CRYSTAL called 'Haru no Umi' ('Ocean in Spring') - oldish tune, but hey it's new alright.

How I found these guys was as simple as Teki Latex mentioning them on Twitter, just offhand. Then I discover that that they are actually the new signings to his label, Sound Pellegrino. But yeah this is all blah blah, let's listen to the song.

From the rippling and totally chilled intro, it's a glorious blend of chiptune-style music - the kind of thing you'd find on the title screen of an old but obviously totally cool videogame - of Japanese style music (because I can hear in there that the melody keeps to a Japanese musical scale and whatnot), and also of electro house music. Ok, 'electro house music' is a rather generic term, but I get this mainly from the totally in-yo-face beat: wide hammering snares and pulsing kick, with handclaps added for good measure. Like a zingy cocktail, people may look at you strangely for ordering it, but boy-oh-boy is it satisfying.

EDIT: Ok, so Ryota from CRYSTAL told me that it's their own rendition of a traditional Japanese song played around New Year called, likewise, 'Haru no Umi'. "The song is originally by Michio Miyagi and composed in 1929," he said. "And it is well known in Japan. While New Year holiday, you can hear the song in every restaurant and shopping mall in Japan :)" - fun fact! And you should listen to the rather stunning original.

Catch my drift on this, or not? I really like it. I don't know where this fits into the grand scheme of things when it comes to CRYSTAL's "official" releases. Maybe this isn't even by them. Maybe it's all a big joke. Well, ha-ha if so. And if not, then I am glad to have found it because it shows off their skills quite nicely; a great ear for dynamism within a song, composition and for the sheer good-humoured nature of having fun with synths. The base of all good electronic songs I'd say, no?

It's quirky, different, and comes with enough bite to warrant multiple listenings (and you can download it for freeee). In any case, this is more than enough for me to listen to on repeat until their first EP on Sound Pellegrino, called Get It, comes out on 20th May!

You'll find a more stripped-down, chiptune version of this song if you mosey on over to CRYSTAL's Geocities page - old-school.

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