Nujabes/Fat Jon
Departure


4.5
superb

Review

by ComeToDaddy USER (48 Reviews)
January 1st, 2015 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album for all seasons.

The number of mundane experiences one can remember with absolute clarity simply because of music is often astounding. Personally speaking, the ability to slot an album into the daily humdrum is extremely important, as a huge portion of my music listening isn’t done from the comfort of my own home. It’s caught somewhere between different pieces of my everyday life; the walls of the uni library, city lights, noisy train commuters, the grocery store at midnight – the point is that most albums aren’t suited to a wide range of activities. This is what makes an album like Departure special, an album that epitomizes formlessness. The composers have created a faceless friend that is able to stand with you anywhere you go; offering you no direction or drive, but simply existing for the purpose of companionship. It’s a blank canvas, and it’s the listener’s job to fill it in.

The release is split between the two artists involved, with Nujabes taking the first half and Fat Jon taking the latter portion of the album. While the entirety is stylistically similar to Nujabes instrumental hip-hop, comparisons to past albums should be avoided. His full length albums relied largely on experimentation and ebbing from natural highs to lows, while Departure is homogeneous to an extreme degree. Dividing the release down the middle would ordinarily result in a split personality, either too top-heavy or bottom-heavy to succeed as a cohesive statement. However, here we find two artists totally at peace with what they set out to accomplish – an infectious feeling that pervades the atmosphere and attracts even the most reserved listener. Compared to other soundtracks in the series, like the varied and creative Impression or the driving and clunky Masta, Departure plays the role of the mature older brother. It’s in no rush to get anywhere, and has nothing to prove – the older brother simply does what he does best, in his own time, and we wouldn’t ask for anything else.

While the cascading guitar lines of ‘Aruarian Dance’ and the percussionless ‘Mystline’ are some of the highlights of Nujabes’ entire body of work, they don’t really do anything. Even Fat Jon’s eclectic mix of styles, exemplified in the creeping ‘Ask’ and upbeat ‘Funkin’, feels perfectly in sync with the rest of the album. The entire run between bookends is an escapist’s dream – a world without words, but this careful synergy is what makes the opener such a tricky task, and where the distinction between an album and a soundtrack damages Departure as a standalone piece of music. ‘Battlecry’ is offbeat, driving hip-hop with a purpose, acting as the antithesis to everything else found in this package; however it is a necessary opening track given its importance in the series. ‘Shiki no Uta(Song of the Seasons)’ on the other hand, is a perfectly suited close to the album despite being the only other song featuring vocals. It’s a derivative built from ‘Beat Laments the World’, being perfectly content to wander around the driving beat while resting on the more comfortable grooves to captivate the listener. It ends the album on a simple note, but that’s perfect for a simple album.

Maybe I’m not the right person to review this. As soon as the album begins to play, I get lost in this summer daze and become overwhelmed by the memories attached to it. Not great times, not bad experiences, just…. Memories. Pointless, simple moments that are imprinted indelibly on my mind solely because of the music that played at the time. Critical examination becomes impossible when a certain degree of nostalgia is attached, but in retrospect, maybe that makes me exactly the sort of person that should review it. This album was never intended for the foreground, it’s a soundtrack, and it’s designed for someone’s adventures. Notwithstanding how many times I’ve watched the show in question, these songs aren’t an accompaniment to the escapades of Jin, Mugen and Fuu anymore - the music is mine, it’s something I’ve made my own, and it feels like that’s what the artists had always intended.



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user ratings (63)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ComeToDaddy
January 1st 2015


1792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First review of the new year is for an album I've loved for a long time, and it's a lot more personal than most of my writing. Was out of my comfort zone the whole time, so constructive criticism would welcomed and appreciated a lot! Also on a whim, I threw a bunch of little Nujabes easter eggs in there

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 1st 2015


41666 Comments


werd the fuck up

Digging: Edyth - Bare II

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
January 1st 2015


6681 Comments


gonna crash rn, but props for reviewing this and I'll read when I'm thinking straight

ComeToDaddy
January 1st 2015


1792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cheers Johnny, and happy new year

Gwyn.
January 1st 2015


17169 Comments


YES
great review great album

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 1st 2015


29862 Comments


Great review as usual man

ShitsofRain
January 4th 2015


8115 Comments


word up

Digging: DJ Jenifa - Jag Trax

Gyromania
January 6th 2015


26603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i enjoy your reviews more than most user reviews, but sometimes they're dressed up in purple prose when they should have been simpler. this is a good review, although i feel like it suffers from bubbly descriptors and the occasional awkward sentence - sentences like these: "Personally speaking, the ability to slot an album into the daily humdrum is extremely important, as a huge portion of my music listening isn’t done from the comfort of my own home."



really glad you reviewed this though. once you got into the meat and bones of it and started to talk about the music, i was hooked. i agree with a lot of your points on the material here - it's especially strange how hypnotizing songs like mystline are when they're so stripped back and simple. conversely, i feel as though departures stands tall as a standalone album. i've listened to it many times with and without the show and, while it compliments the show very well, it's an excellently arranged album that plays the full gamut of emotion just on its own.

ComeToDaddy
January 6th 2015


1792 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I understand that, this is the first time I've added so many personal notes to a review so I struggled with most of the sections like that one. Thanks a heap for the feedback, I'll keep that in mind for the next time I write for a similar album. Glad you enjoyed the review outside of that though.



Out of curiosity, what's your opinion on the other Champloo soundtracks?

Gyromania
January 7th 2015


26603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

no problem my friend, glad to have someone repping good shit like this! i actually can't believe this wasn't reviewed until now.



i like the other soundtracks well enough, but none quite as much as this. that said, some of the best material is on the other soundtracks - like silver morning, who's theme, sincerely (especially love this one), pretending to, you, silver children, same ol' thing, thank you, fly - put those together with the best stuff here (genome, mystline, how you feel, arurian dance, chambers, no way back, battlecry) and it'd make the best soundtrack ever.

HalfManHalfAmazing
January 9th 2015


1968 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so much of Nujabes and Fat Jon's stuff is just amazing. Battlecry was one of the sickest opening themes ever

HalfManHalfAmazing
January 9th 2015


1968 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so yeah I finally gave this a solid listen and I'd have to say, Nujabes input trumps Fat Jon's input pretty glaringly.

Gyromania
January 9th 2015


26603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

idk if i'd say glaringly - fat jon produces some truly beautiful tunes. tsutchie is really good too and contributed some ace songs to the ost. check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqmjsPRHtxM

HalfManHalfAmazing
January 9th 2015


1968 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

maybe i'm too much of a Nujabes fanboy but i thought his contributions were better than Fat Jon's, perhaps not glaringly but at least noticeably.

IronGiant
March 31st 2015


1614 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

so glad I finally gave this album a listen. I've been on a bit of a Nujabes kick lately and this definitely satiates my thirst

Gwyn.
May 31st 2015


17169 Comments


Dududududuuu

Lord(e)Po)))ts
May 31st 2015


41666 Comments


fat jon is a legend

Gwyn.
May 31st 2015


17169 Comments


Minmi's song kills it

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
April 2nd 2016


18541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

some days some nights

Digging: Godley and Creme - L

brainmelter
July 10th 2018


6267 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i still love ask so much, brings much nostalgia

Digging: Aethyrvorous - Demo



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