It’s not easy to blast funk four-by-four dance beats with the utmost power without giving me a splitting headache, and it’s even harder to make smooth funk without boring me to tears; fortunately, Saury has that balance and does so for the length of the tape. Yeah, the album and Saury’s overall oevre is mostly technical just French house mixes of older Japanese pop and jazz songs (like a lot of early future funk), but i feel there really is craft on their part with regards to not only crafting a new beat out of one song that had a definitely different one, but also arranging and choosing sampleable songs in such an order to fit a rather coherent theme. Really, beyond this review i highly recommend checking out Saury’s other output; even by niche internet music standards, they are indellibly underrated in my opinion.
There are copious amounts of bangers that can simultaneously sound downkey and whistful. It’s not often dance music calms me down and allows me to focus without losing its catchiness. This is because very few tracks are on full blast thruout the entire song; instead opting for speed at a minimum, amplifying an original sample’s groove rather than shoving it into everywhere on the track. The song “Sands of Time” sounds like a closing credits song for a Persona game because of this countering, and also because of the harmonica from the original sample; as “Katsushika” is an ascending groove with the guitar and horns accentuated by the added percussion elements that never break the groove the aforementioned lead instruments create. Both songs also smoothly lead into the next one, and while “Dreamland” and “1989 Porsche 911” are both great, it’s clear they are more breather than banger.
The album, like everything put out by Saury and many future funk producers, has some feminine anime motifs. Not just by the music itself, but also in the titles, art, and flavor text (which doesn’t show up on this album). Judging by the fact i cannot understand sung Japanese beyond a weak threshhold, and the progression of the album title names, and the visuals’ basis in feminine Japanese animation and comics; i’d guess it’s about a girl who dreams of meeting a soulmate in the day, finally meets them at nite, and drives off into the city. There’s a 70% chance i’m wrong, but really any narrative or extra flavor on a future funk helps. I can see this anime/ manga deal turning off a lot of people, but as far as i can tell Saury isn’t a creeper for Japan (or Korea) like some of the “cringy horror story of a person” weeaboos out there. Moreover, i’ve always had an affinity with dance music not just about nonspecific relationships or dancing itself, not to knock artists who let the music speak for itself.
I chose this album for two reasons: 1) it’s the only thing they have on Spotify, and 2) because even as i sit here praising their entire catalog, this is a cut above. There are no dead zones or poor mixes for me here, and it’s not a hard find as of this writing. Even the amount of music i got was just right. I can indeed find and point out personal gripes i have with the album, but i don’t want to. I like it that much, and i will continue listening to it for a very long time.