Toshiki Masuda “This One” (Review)

Toshiki Masuda‘s debut single is out. “This One” is the aftermath of combining a talented singer and high quality  instrumental pieces together creating relevant and unique music while bringing out Masuda‘s talent out. “This One” is full of surprises.

Title: This One
Label: Toy's Factory
Release date: 06/03/2019
Genre: Pop/Jazz

Tracklist:

01. 風にふかれて
02. 夏空の雨
03. フレーズ

Track by track analysis:

01. 風にふかれて

Kaze ni fukarete kicks of with a loungey and funky instrumental piece, delivered to us by the delicate and legato like strings, pads and a funky guitar. Above anything else, the funky vibes we get from the intro are produced by the groovy bass and the guitar, elements that persist and follow the instrumentalization throughout the whole track. To add to that, the piano which was mixed in in this instrumental piece adds a jazzy and playful dimension, making Kaze ni fukarete all the more interesting. This track does, in its core, pend more towards this refreshing, funky and laid-back instrumentalization than anything else.

Occasionally, one will notice that the once funky guitar will turn melodic, much like the performances we can listen to in rock music from the 80s, yet for some reason that transition adds more flavor to the instrumental piece. Kaze ni fukarete has two dimensions, instrumental piece wise. We have the inicial one, and perhaps the majority of this track, which is more focused on a funky guitar and groovy bass with simple drum work and also pads much similar to the triangle; then, we have the second one which is the most delicate and perhaps even minimalist part of this track’s instrumental piece, focused more on the strings that we could listen to in the intro and the piano that has stopped its playful and jazzy performance to take on a delicate approach, much more appropriate for this part of the track’s instrumental piece.

Kaze ni fukarete certainly has the coming together of some old-school elements and the modern approach in the same place. This track has a well executed and, at times, even simple instrumental piece, but that does not take away from Masuda‘s vocal performance which exuded confidence and control over his vocals, even when he went to sing in a higher vocal register. 5/5

02. 夏空の雨

Natsu sora no ame kicks off with a delicate synth pads, once again very similar sounding to the triangle, a jazz organ and a simple bass, but noticeable performance nonetheless.

This track has an extremely laid-back atmosphere provided by the use of instruments that make one create an image of literally looking at the sky and listening to soft summer wind, much like the title of the track. Natsu sora no ame continues its jazz endeavor and the funky guitar and the playful piano make their appearance the second time we reach the pre-chorus, making the instrumental piece all the more airy and easygoing.

Natsu sora no ame, as the previous track, has a guitar that becomes melodic in its solo moment, as the rest of the instruments seem to have taken on a backseat so as to provide enough time for the guitar to shine. It is in moments like this that one takes the time to really appreciate the instrumental piece, as Masuda is not singing, there is plenty of time to enjoy the instrumentalization. That is not to say that Masuda did a bad job, in fact far from that. Not only did he sing well, but he also managed to transpire the same laid-back vibe that the instrumental piece gave off when he sung. 4.5/5

03. フレーズ

Phrase‘s intro is delivered to us by airy strings and simple drum performance followed by a guitar. A piano and groovy bass follow each other’s performance while the guitar, strings and drums are individually delivering a different performance that complements one another. Let us take a moment to notice how beautiful Masuda‘s falsetto sounds as him and the strings go to higher notes. Almost resembling the songs in japanese movie about teenagers and youth in general, there is a sort of ending feelings attached to this track’s instrumental piece. That feeling is amplified with the legato strings and the build up in the instrumentalization, as well as Masuda‘s vocal performance

This track brings fourth Masuda‘s vocal potential and new trumps up his sleeves. Be it for his falsetto or the medium tone notes with a slight touch of vibrato in certain moments, he impressed everyone with his control and diversity when singing. 5/5

Final rating:

Masuda‘s debut single, This One, is a statement which proves that not only did he grow over the years as a singer but also that he can as well sing quality music. Long gone are the years when he would sing in some other projects, such as Marginal#4, and be overwhelmed by other seiyuu’s vocal prowess or simply when Masuda was lacking the technique when it came to singing. Ever since then up until now, and this single is proof of this, Masuda has  been upgrading himself, and showing that he can sing well, to the point of impressing those who have been following him since the his first endeavors in anything music related, such has been his growth.

This One has an old-school pop-rock vibe with jazz influences that carry as far as the guitar in the instrumental pieces to the whole vibe of the tracks themselves. Although retaining its modern influences with a laid-back sound, the track, Kaze ni fukarete, has more than anything else the coming together of the past and the present, something that Masuda executed so well that perhaps only the more knowledgeable listener will tell.

The same happens with Natsu sora no ame. Not only does this track’s instrumental piece retain that duality of old and new in the same instrumentalization up it also takes it up to another level when instead of focusing so strongly on the funky and jazzy approach Natsu sora no ame‘s focus is aimed towards an easy-going vibe.

Phrase is the ending track of this single and one certainly understands that while listening to the track as there is a certain ending vibe present in the instrumental piece. This track certainly brings fourth the best we could’ve expected from him, vocal wise, since it is not always that we get to listen to Masuda singing in falsetto or using his vibrato like he did in Phrase.

Overall, This One is much like the pinacle of the improvements Masuda has achieved in the last couple of years, and with that being said, we are certainly interesting in Masuda‘s future releases.

This One” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

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