When brilliant green singer Kawase Tomoko donned on the persona Tommy february6, she created music akin to the idea of performance practice in classical music.
Performance practice entails playing music from the past on the same kinds of instruments used when the music was written, such as playing Mozart on a piano that would have been built in the 1800s.
Tommy february6 goes a step further, creating new material in the same style as synthetic pop of the 1980s, using the same timbres. In fact, she was a bit too successful — her brand of ’80s pop possessed as much of its charms as its weaknesses.
brilliant green guitarist Matsui Ryo follows suit, but his focus of study is British rock from the late-’80s to early-’90s.
Matsui enlisted a who’s who of British rock collaborators — Sice from the Boo Radleys, Gary Stringer from Reef, Manda Rin from Bis, Loz from Ride, Nick Beggs from KajaGooGoo, even Howard Jones.
I met the music, meister’s debut album, painstakingly recreates the buzzsaw guitar rock of Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride and My Bloody Valentine. The entire album is sung in English, with the majority of lyrics written by Tim Jensen.
On paper, it seems like a dream project — guitarist for one of Japan’s most successful rock bands creating authentic British rock with some of the music’s most recognizable names in a language suitable for international success.
But like Tommy february6, meister manages to capture both the charm of British rock’s fuzzy guitars and its major weakness — a penchant for homogenous music.
At times, it seems the only way to tell when one song ends and the other begins is when the singer changes. And when one singer is used on multiple tracks, it can get easy to think a track repeated itself.
That’s not to say the material is weak — if anything, Matsui and crew do an incredible job crafting a larger-than-life sound.
The robotic melody of “Be Love” isn’t much of a fetching opener, but thick fuzz backing “Dignity” and the ringing arpeggios of “I Call You Love” make up for it.
“Maestro” shows off the most impressive guitar work on the album, while “My World Down” connects the dots between Jesus and Mary Chain and the brilliant green’s Los Angeles album.
Comparatively speaking, meister shows much more diliberation and thought than Tommy february6. I met the music hangs together better as an album, and despite the overall homogenous tone, there’s fewer filler.
Fans of music from that time and place will find I met the music a satisfying album, but listeners not as savvy to that style may find it trying.