QUELL “Hidden Eclipse” (Review)

Hidden Eclipse” is QUELL‘s first entry in the RE:START series. QUELL used their trademark ethereal sound to their advantage, ending up creating a unique soundscape with sounds never before explored in the Tsukipro franchise.

Title: SQ QUELL RE:START series vol.1 Shu&Eichi
Label: Tsukipro/Movic
Release date: 27/07/2018
Genre: Electronic-Pop/Minimal-electronica

Tracklist:

1 - Hidden Eclipse 
2 - Hidden Eclipse -off vocal-

Track analysis:

1 – Hidden Eclipse

Distorted synths, giving a broken layer to the instrumental, lead the way for QUELL‘s “Hidden Eclipse“, their first song in the RE:START series.

The theme “natural phenomena” isn’t an easy one to tackle in music composition, even if its sub-theme is more specific thing such as an “eclipse”. However, when you listen to this song, all the glitches, distortions, clean and wet instrument parts, all play a roll into creating a broken sound so frail and unpredictable that actually captures well the uncertainty of a natural phenomenon. It’s simplistic, much alike the majority of QUELL‘s songs released so far, and it’s that simplicity that makes this theme sink in and sound this haunting yet addictive. The instrumental counts with a distorted, broken lead synth, gated reverb bass-driven drums and ethereal synth pads, a simple formula that executes the theme to perfection.

On the vocal end there are a couple of surprises. First off, Shunsuke Takeuchi brought to the table R&B riffing, ad-libs and sweet mid-to-low tones. Koutaro Nishiyama‘s performance ended up being the most unexpected thing in this whole song. He’s starting to show some consistency in his mid-tones, can tackle a bit of falsetto (noticeable in the chorus), hold longer notes without major issues and, the biggest surprise of them all, deliver sweet ad-libs. As impressive as Takeuchi‘s performance was, Nishiyama ended up stealing the show with a whole lot of improvements. He was even able to go head-to-head with QUELL‘s top singer and sound good while at it, something that, in past releases, wasn’t possible at all for him. Even when harmonizing or tackling falsetto, Nishiyama held his own incredibly well. His growth is something that is certainly starting to impress. If he ends up improving like, for example SolidS’s Yuichiro Umehara did in the past year, we might have a shift in balance within QUELL, shift that might take the group to greater heights. It’s certainly exciting times for their fans.

All in all, “Hidden Eclipse” is a simple song that, although not as memorable as previous releases by QUELL, managed to perfectly craft a soundscape that fits like a glove with the “natural phenomena” theme. It’s ethereal and broken with an underlying inconsistency that grabs your attention. To top it all, the vocals stole the show. Solid entry in the RE:START series.

Final rating:

SQ QUELL RE:START series vol.1 Shu&Eichi is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

SQ QUELL [RE:START] Series / Shu Izumi (Shunsuke Takeuchi), Eichi Horimiya (Kotaro Nishiyama)
Shu Izumi (Shunsuke Takeuchi), Eichi Horimiya (Kotaro Nishiyama)
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