Yes, yes, I know. Originally I wasn’t planning to review Secret Sensation by TK from Ling Tosite Sigure since inside myself I already know TK’s work is without equal but this means playful war after having read the Secret Sensation Mini Review at Pon De Way Way Way. You see while I do agree that TK’s Secret Sensation is a further diversification of his already eclectic signature sound. There is a divergence of opinion on how I view the division of the strengths and weaknesses of the songs on the mini.
Let’s just say not even personally but from having listened to Secret Sensation I couldn’t help but feel that the title song, Secret Sensation, wasn’t all that great. At best I would classify this as an alright song. Due to how it sounds forced. I think the main culprit here being that Electronica music is more free-spirited and unfortunately TK’s sound (whether in his solo or band) relies heavily on structure. I am unaware of if others notice this but it’s true. When you experience it in a care-free state it feels like it’s coming right at you spontaneously and liberally but this is an illusion.
OK. OK. All this might have you thinking perhaps TK should stick to not playing around with Electronica based songs. And you’d be wrong. Simply because though I see Secret Sensation as a failure, Subliminal, feels like a much more successful effort by TK. Before he already had an even more singular sound than even in his rock band, where he is going even farther but with Subliminal he’s basically making something even more of a hybrid. If that is even possible. The key here unlike in Secret Sensation. He’s moving himself into the realm of soft vocals with murmury qualities that are on the verge of too much sensuality but it works for him considering others have never done it like this. He’s attentive at it and even as he’s delicately singing you know that the warping music around is the centerpiece to the voice. And honestly, I would be a little scared of people who couldn’t appreciate Subliminal since not only is TK going for something never done in music vocally but also because that scorching guitar playing at the most importune moments is a hell of a lot refreshing. Albeit in a bittersweet way. Both pleasant and almost too much to handle.
Everyone. We must applaud the miracle that is ear+f. This song is perfect! What I like best about this is TK is actually having fun with his singing. You can tell this in the intro of ear+f. Not to mention that guitar screech that is an attention-seeker right off. As is always the case with TK’s solo work which I am a huge follower of he has beautiful, elegant piano (whether acoustic or electric), violin, and drum pieces interspersed and what I like best is he lets them work in his favor, especially when there are moments that allow a rise in the music. And thankfully those are the best times for him to unleash that operatic-like voice he has. But perhaps the most awe-inducing part of ear+f is the way that the song has a sort of cut-off point where TK goes for more conventional singing clustered in with some minor euphoria-inducing electronica trimmings. In some ways, while ear+f has stopped being a more Electronica heavy song, this is perhaps the best place TK’s music works at.
Finally, we have like there is tomorrow. Another flawless song. This is not personal opinion but rather observation for what it is. Many of you who read the Fantastic Magic CD Album Review may know it already but I did not list tokio as one of the songs off Fantastic Magic as a favorite. Simply because while I realized what he was going for it just didn’t seem like TK’s piano skills had matured enough. tokio a more piano heavy song seemed too amateur on TK’s part, no offense. But now with this mini I am happy to say that has changed and it is only natural. A lot of time has gone by since Fantastic Magic’s release and therefore enough time for TK to perfect his piano playing. like there is tomorrow has a great introduction with both TK’s soft, delicate singing and piano playing, yes, done by him as it says on the album’s booklet. And his playing skill has improved. It comes more freely and that makes for an easier passage for TK to lull you into something only he knows with short rests used with great effect. I think the biggest take away from this is TK’s more piano heavy songs might just be more quiet affairs. Though technically not completely so given that unbelievably euphoric guitar outburst. Though like there is tomorrow is still undeniably minimalist (which I have to applaud. Not many can do this and do it well), he still managed to change it up with the addition of his electric guitar.
What I learned from listening to Secret Sensation is that somehow TK’s solo music still has potential to outgrow, as we can see from this mini with the incorporation of Electronica elements. While TK hasn’t completely mastered Electronica he’s still somewhat capable. While in the meanwhile you can enjoy his more than capable piano playing, because hey the guy is not just a guitarist but a piano player too.
For the mini album review. No mention was made of White Silence (at Billboard Live OSAKA 2015.7.20) since I have already listened to White Silence on various other occasions and this offering off the mini was simply a Live version. Plus, White Silence is a perfect song in terms of composition structure but not an absolute favorite of mine and thus I felt no need to further address it.
My Personal Favorite Songs from Secret Sensation
2) like there is tomorrow
Unlike previous times I chose the order of my favorites out of measuring how well-constructed they are. I think with TK’s solo work I can do this since he has great mastery in music composition so I can afford to be a little more critical with his music.
Secret Sensation by TK from Ling Tosite Sigure [Limited Edition]
-I love the artwork for Secret Sensation. By happy coincidence TK’s artwork for his releases whether in Ling Tosite Sigure or TK from Ling Tosite Sigure fit with my tastes. No complaints here.
-Actual packaging for Secret Sensation on LE seems to have gained an improvement in comparison to both Fantastic Magic and Flowering.
-Inserts or small booklet was pretty interesting.
Secret Sensation Recording Credits: Produced by TK. All tracks written by TK. Recorded and Mixed by TK at Hansa Studios and Studio 4. Recording Assistant: Nanni Johansson [Hansa Studios]. Mastered by Tom Coyne at Sterling Sound. Final Master Sequenced by Mitsuyasu Abe at Sony Music Studios Tokyo. Coordination in Berlin: Yuko Asanuma.
Secret Sensation Musician Credits: Secret Sensation-Vocal and Guitar: TK, Bass: Hinatch (Hinata Hidekazu), Drums: BOBO, Violin: Ayasa. Subliminal-Vocal and Guitar: TK, Bass: Hinatch, and drums by BOBO. ear+f-Vocal and Guitar: TK, Bass: Hiroo Yamaguchi, Drums: BOBO, Piano: Mamiko Hirai, Violin: Honoka Sato. Like there is tomorrow-Vocal, Guitar, and Piano: TK, and Drums BOBO. White Silence [at Billboard Live OSAKA 2015.7.20]-Vocal and Guitar: TK, Cello: Toshiyuki Muranaka, Drums: Jumpei Kamiya, and Piano: Haruna Ogo.
[Support musicians are usually subject to change in TK’s solo music project]
[CD] Disc 1
- Secret Sensation
- like there is tomorrow
- white silence (at Billboard Live OSAKA 2015.7.20]
[DVD] Disc 2
- Secret Sensation [Music Video]
- like there is tomorrow [Music Video]
Secret Sensation LE Availability
TK-Toru Kitajima Music Artist Biography
TK’s Official Website: http://tkofficial.jp/
Find out More: Last.fm
Composer/Songwriter | Singer | Guitarist | Pianist
From Ling Tosite Sigure to TK from Ling Tosite Sigure. A band who is remarked as possessing post-hardcore and progressive rock connections. TK’s real name is Toru Kitajima. He writes the lyrics and music to all of Ling Tosite Sigure‘s songs as well as for his solo work. When performing music in the band he provides lead vocals and plays the guitar. He also helps with sound engineering, mixing and mastering. In 2012, under the name TK from Ling tosite sigure, he released the solo album “Flowering”. “Fantastic Magic” is his second album release. And now, Secret Sensation is his second mini album to date.
Featured Off-Site Blog Mention: Pon De Way Way Way-TK from Ling Tosite Sigure: Secret Sensation – Mini-Album Review
Edited on April 11, 2016 for better clarification since music is, in fact, so hard to review due to it being hard to conceptualize into words.