Shiina Ringo
Shouso Strip


5.0
classic

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (179 Reviews)
November 24th, 2013 | 101 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Transcendental.

I've been on a certain musical journey lately, a quest to find the most transcendental/ethereal-sounding music in the world. It's fascinating to hear music that sounds completely out-of-body and brings us to the realms of fantasy, in which we may never want to come back to reality. So far, new age and folk have been doing the trick, as well as various works in jazz and ambient music. What surprises me, however, is that one of the most gorgeous examples of an otherworldly musical experience comes in the form of an early-2000s Japanese rock album. Shiina Ringo (also known as Ringo Sheena), however, is not your everyday J-rock/J-pop diva; while firmly rooted in J-rock in the traditional sense, she also combines a plethora of other genres such as jazz, classical, hip-hop, punk, you name it. What's really different, though, is the way she executes the work she creates, and Shouso Strip is no exception.

We could talk about how opener "Kyogen-sho" is a powerful hard rock number with a soaring vocal performance and a nice distorted bass sound to support the chilling jazz fusion-influenced guitar chords that lay above. We could talk about how "Gibusu" is a delicate piano ballad that explodes into a heavy-as-hell power ballad by the first chorus, and the nice variation in dynamics throughout the experience. We could even talk about how "Yami ni furu ame"'s heavy orchestral layering creates a vast soundscape for Ringo to work her diverse vocal chops over. However, as I said before, it's all about how everything is executed, along with how well it's combined as a whole work. First off, the dynamics really make a good chunk of this record's quality possible; whenever Ringo explodes into a powerful, distorted chorus, it gives you chills. As such, the buildup in ballads like "Gibusu" and "Izonshou" is always welcome, as it builds subtle layers of instrumental texture and vocal variety. However, the dynamics lead to the biggest thing about this album: the atmosphere. Behind the layers of distortion and high-energy vocal lines, there's a very airy and almost heavenly quality about the entire experience. It runs through every song, no matter if it's a punk-based number like "Byoushou Public," a dance number like "Yokushitsu," or one of the numerous ballads. However she made this atmosphere possible, it boosts this album to immeasurable levels of listenability and replay value. You're always listening to the album again to find what instrumental subtleties you missed, or just to experience those stunning transcendental choruses and intros yet again. The songs on this album were already great, but with the musical environments they're set in, they become enthralling.

Once you reach the ending of closing power ballad "Izonshou," there's not only the happiness from finishing a great album, but an impulse to revisit immediately and acquaint yourself more with it. Never before have I heard a musical experience so gorgeous; honestly, the record may never be replicated ever again. Sure, Shiina's released other fantastic albums that have garnered her acclaim, but this is the record where everything is absolutely perfect. It's an experience that you might not want to come back from; I sure-as-hell know I didn't.



Recent reviews by this author
DragonForce Maximum OverloadPorcupine Tree Deadwing
Queen Queen IIOpeth Heritage
Metallica Master of PuppetsEd Sheeran x
user ratings (80)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
Kevin K (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
FiveLeavesLeft
November 24th 2013


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This review probably sucks but, listening to this religiously these days, I couldn't resist doing a
write-up. This album has fucking changed my musical landscape forever

championofthesun
November 24th 2013


39 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really like the album, but the reason I wont rate it higher is that the production isn't great. I think I might have have gotten hold of a bad copy. How was it for you?

Chrisjon89
November 24th 2013


3669 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

agreed ^ gives me a headache, which is a shame cos musically it rules

FiveLeavesLeft
November 24th 2013


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I actually like the rawer, louder production, but that's just me

championofthesun
November 24th 2013


39 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Does Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana improve on it? I've just started checking her stuff out and reckon it's worth trying out too.

FiveLeavesLeft
November 24th 2013


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, if you like cleaner production, that album and Muzai Moratorium are for you

championofthesun
November 24th 2013


39 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Will check them out, thanks.

FiveLeavesLeft
November 24th 2013


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

No prob. Muzai's my personal second favorite, and has a lot of the elements of this album

InfamousGrouse
November 24th 2013


3514 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty solid stuff but i'm not in awe of this like most people tend to be

Digging: Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson

treeqt.
November 24th 2013


9704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well you're wrong : D

ShitsofRain
November 24th 2013


5899 Comments


i come back when i listened to this

Digging: Anthony Shakir - Frictionalism 1994-2009

Cygnatti
November 24th 2013


21352 Comments


yeah like wow wat a loozer rite :D

Digging: Jon Hopkins - Immunity

treeqt.
November 24th 2013


9704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

high5 man : D

ShitsofRain
November 24th 2013


5899 Comments


http://www.sputnikmusic.com/forums/image.php?u=856808&dateline=1385303698

Paracletus96
November 24th 2013


306 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I disagree, the production on this is a marvel of audio engineering.

But hey, 90% of this site thinks that In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is badly produced so lul whatever.

FadedSun
November 24th 2013


1276 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

There are two version of this. The original and the MoRa version. You might like the MoRa version production better if you didn't find the original.

DrHouseSchuldiner
November 24th 2013


5643 Comments


Idk why i love this,sweet rev btw.

treeqt.
November 24th 2013


9704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

because wag

KILL
November 24th 2013


71854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wew!

Digging: A Guy Called Gerald - Black Secret Technology

WashboardSuds
November 24th 2013


5017 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sweet



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy