alan – Voice of EARTH

September 5, 2012 at 8:07 PM | Posted in alan | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
alan – Voice of EARTH

1. Tennyo ~interlude~
2. Ashita e no Sanka
3. Sora Uta
4. Natsukashii Mirai ~longing future~
5. Hitotsu
6. Kaze no Tegami
7. BRAVE
8. Yume no Garden
9. Gunjou no Tani
10. my friend
11. Liberty
12. Tsuki ga Watashi
13. RED CLIFF ~Shin・Sen~
14. Megumi no Ame
15. Together

♦ ♦ ♦

Voice of EARTH is the Japanese debut album by Tibetan singer alan, released on March 4, 2009. The album reached #15 on the Oricon chart, where it stayed on the chart for 10 weeks. It has sold approximately 23,568 units.

The album starts with an instrumental interlude, Tennyo ~interlude~, which really sets the tone for the entire album. It already starts with alan’s amazingly high Tibetain wail, after which an erhu and a nice pop beat drop in. The music is very traditional, and yet there are some hints of contemporary music. This goes on for about three amazing minutes, perfect intro.

Which leads perfectly into alan’s Japanese debut single Ashita e no Sanka, a winter ballad with a piano melody, chimes, echoes and strings. It’s a very good continuation of the introduction track because she immediately takes out her wailing talent again in the chorus. Her vocals in the verses are a lot deeper and softer, while she belts it all out in the chorus. It was a very strong debut and it still comes out as one of the best tracks on this album.

It was a very good move to make Sora Uta the next track on the album since it’s a little more uptempo, and alan’s uptempo’s are kinda rare. This track also has both traditional and contemporary influences. The traditional feel comes from the Asian strings while the electric guitars, synths and percussion make it a bit more modern. Just a couple of wails from alan here to not overexpose her talent for it, her normal vocals are beautiful too.

I still feel that 懐かしい未来 ~longing future~ is one of her best songs ever, it’s been one of my personal favorites for the past 3,5 years. It’s such a peaceful ballad/midtempo track with a euphoric feel to it, strengthened by the children’s choir later in the song. alan does a couple of her perfect wails again in this track, but these are the only ones that gave me goosebumps yet. The erhu in the bridge gives the perfect ambience for the entire track, it’s pure perfection.

Then we have alan’s second Japanese single, Hitotsu, a song that I have come to appreciate more and more over the years. It’s one of the softest ballads on the album with the most traditional influences from the erhu and strings, just like Megumi no Ame (but more about that one later). The piano creates the lovely atmosphere best of all the instruments, adding a sense of dreaminess to the track that I really love. I underestimated this one for so long, should be over by now.

5th A-side in a row. Kaze no Tegami just so happens to be the next agressive track on this album that is a little more uptempo, and it features the best electric guitar arrangement in any alan song to date. This single represented the element Wind, which is pretty obvious since it has a nice ethereal sound with the strings and echo effects. I love it how alan can sound both peaceful in the verses and fierce in the chorus, just like the music in those parts.

BRAVE is one of a kind, both on this album and in alan’s entire discography. It’s an agressive song like the previous track, but even more heavy on electric guitars and explosions of other instruments. alan does some of her amazing wails in the hooks again, and they sound very different and unique because they’re auto-tuned, which I don’t think is a bad thing since it’s very original. She’s close to having a dance track here, but not quite. Still pretty cool.

The next new track actually sounds just like its title. Yume no Garden sounds like a flower garden full of butterflies if I have to think of a scenery that goes with the music. It’s slow, with just a piano, chimes and another ethereal sound I don’t quite know but it sure sounds epic. It’s a very breezy and beautiful song, with just a couple of electric guitar chords sometimes to balance it. It’s lovely, really.

Gunjou no Tani has to be alan’s strongest uptempo A-side ever since it’s also her most agressive song when it comes to both the music and her vocals. She just puts everything she’s got into her performance, belting out her lyrics, using less wailing and more of the higher head voice notes later in the song. The percussion and strings are very heavy this time, creating a fierce sound that I really love. She should do this more often.

So I know alan has a lot of ballads on this album, but in her case that’s what I love about it. This next one is pretty unique on this album, and it’s a new track as well. my friend puts the focus on the acoustic guitar and alan’s harmonized vocals, and although it’s the most simple track around, it’s also one of the prettiest and most memorable if you ask me. Strange, right? Well, just wait till you hear it if you haven’t already.

Another new ballad track is Liberty, a piano/strings ballad with soft bells and percussion, that has the chorus as the real highlight in the song. There, the music crescendos to eventually soften during the verses, it gives the feel of something that is some kind of power ballad. It’s not her most appealing track, but still it’s quite a pretty creation and it fits the rest of the tracks (that are mostly older A-sides) very well.

Apparently alan chose to make the new tracks mostly ballad, since Tsuki ga Watashi is another one. In a sense it’s like the garden song, Yume no Garden, mostly because of the chimes and the fast piano melody in the verses, but it’s a pretty serene song that starts to stand out as soon as the chorus comes in. Now I see that when you mix Yume no Garden and Ashita e no Sanka together, you get this.

I can be pretty short about this one since everyone probably knows this as alan´s signature song. RED CLIFF ~Shin・Sen~ is mysterious, dramatic, and yet still inviting because of alan’s pretty vocals and the genius arrangement with the strings, harp and very soft percussion in the background. The music crescendos near the chorus to add the drama even more and what comes out is probably alan’s very best track to date in my opinion. I love it to death ❤

Megumi no Ame is the beautiful A-side track that makes everything on this album come full circle somehow. It features an erhu, a piano and strings for most of the time, and the instruments alternate each other perfectly, they’re very complementary and complete a melody seperately. Everything in this song just works together to create the most perfect and balanced sound on this album. Definitely among my favorites.

Together stands out already because I know alan was the one to create the beautiful arrangement for it, so because of this it’s immediately the most special song on the album. It has the most traditional sound of all with the soft tribal percussion and a feel that is just so full of Chinese heritage. What’s even more special is that alan included a part in which she speaks Tibetan to the sound of strings, very beautiful and I can’t think of a better way to close the album.

Voice of EARTH brings all the elements together in the tracks, they all represent Water, Wind, Fire and Earth in their very own way and the last two tracks bring everything together in harmony. I know that may sound like some spirital crap but it’s actually true when you listen to the album, it’s just so feng shui, everything is balanced and I can’t think of a reason not to love this. This album caused me to love alan’s songs, her style, everything about her. Because of this, I’m the fan I am today. So I recommend this album to everyone who can stand listening to ballads, traditional Asian music and a lovely, soft, strong voice belonging to a talented girl named ALAN.

Favorite tracks: Tennyo ~interlude~ | Ashita e no Sanka | Natsukashii Mirai ~longing future~ | Hitotsu | BRAVE | Gunjou no Tani | my friend | RED CLIFF ~Shin・Sen~ | Megumi no Ame | Together

OVERALL RATING

5 stars

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