Kashiwa Daisuke
Program Music II


3.3
great

Review

by Pon STAFF
April 28th, 2016 | 58 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Though it plucks the heart strings like everything else he's done, Program Music II tragically shows Daisuke at his most phoned-in.

Program Music II feels as if it’s born out of an existential crisis, forced into being by the unwarranted comparisons to Kashiwa Daisuke’s 2007 masterpiece that his later material has consistently been hampered by. You can almost hear Daisuke muttering as he brainstorms for material, “you want another Program Music? Here, have it”. Never mind that Program Music I’s very title implied the advent of a sequel, it just seems so unlike him that said sequel has even come to fruition, given his unwaveringly blithe line of action. The problem is that Program Music II doesn’t come across as a true successor in terms of intent or quality. Worse still, it feels like Daisuke on auto-pilot, however lovely it might be to listen to.

The opening motif on “Crystal Valley” sounds like a minor alteration of the one from Re:’s version of “Deep Blue”, and while the songs unfold in ways completely unlike each other, you can’t help but get the impression that Daisuke is resting upon his laurels a bit. Not that Program Music II is without its moments, of course; “City in The Lake” is the only song that is more comparable to “Write Once, Run Melos” than to “Stella”, and as a result is by far the most distinguished. It somehow finds an accord between Daisuke’s touching piano and violin work and his upbeat jazz rhythms, featuring a plethora of dynamic shifts that induce an emotional dichotomy of sorts. “Airport” and “Subaru” are similarly broad in scope, although they differ in their means. The former has an arpeggiated prop around which a swathe of strings and percussion flares up and subsides, while the latter is more in line with “City in the Lake”, revelling in its contrasts amid colour and form. However, songs like “Blue Beryl” and “Like a Starhead” are devoid of impetus, doing little if anything to stand out or even tie together the songs that bookend them. Even “Meteor”, with its lush crescendos and nuanced percussion, is a little too cyclical to leave a proper lasting impression.

The filler-esque quality of these tracks – and the vagueness of this album’s purpose, by extension – can be put down to one thing: the total absence of impulse whether via glitches, breaks or even real-world samples. Program Music I isn’t revered for simply being “beautiful”, because it was Daisuke operating at his freest. He took otherwise fine arrangements, tore them up without a care, and with the remnants constructed something far in excess of what their intact forms could have ever hoped to be. Program Music II on the other hand lacks that spontaneity, that lack of limitation, and for that reason its apparent status as the original’s heir is a mystery to me.



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user ratings (71)
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
siIverspawn (5)
Boredom is just a lack of attention...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Pon
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2016


5062 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice album but I'm disappointed, bitterly so.



Couldn't find a soundcloud or bandcamp link to embed, unfortunately.

Keyblade
April 28th 2016


30217 Comments


nooo, say it aint so

LotusFlower
April 28th 2016


12000 Comments


so youre saying that even if you removed the idea that this is supposed to be some sort of follow up to PM1, it still isnt anything all that special? Darn.

Pon
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2016


5062 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It isn't all that special regardless, but my disappointment is compounded due to it being called "Program Music II" D:



My score would've been the same, tone of my review however...

LotusFlower
April 28th 2016


12000 Comments


Hm, its a shame but I suppose it was expected. Dont think ill be going out of my way of dragging this one out of the pits of hell to listen to since theres no streams otherwise. Good review btw.

Pon
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2016


5062 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks man. I'm not sure why Daisuke's latest albums have had almost no hype surrounding them bar word of mouth, maybe he doesn't care idk

LotusFlower
April 28th 2016


12000 Comments


seems that way, prolly realized he could never live up to the hype around PM1.

brainmelter
April 28th 2016


7566 Comments


awe man, was hoping this would be better :c
will check regardless

Digging: Occulsed - Crepitation of Phlegethon

Calc
April 28th 2016


16751 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

mostly boring stuff here but why in the hell is he calling this program music II? call it literally anything else but he's doing himself no favors right off the bat with that title.

DirEnRefused
April 28th 2016


3664 Comments


he knows his art better than us, maybe he saw it as a successor for some reason

that said this is pleasant but bland

Prognoz
April 28th 2016


292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ouch. I really hope this is really good to my ears.

iswimfast
April 28th 2016


1513 Comments


does dialed-in make sense in the summary? i always thought dialed in was a good thing.

maybe phoned in is what you're getting at?

DirEnRefused
April 28th 2016


3664 Comments


dialed in generally means focused, i think dialed down would be more appropriate

then again neither have an inherently negative connotation idk

Essence
April 28th 2016


6524 Comments


tell me it isn't true =[

good review as always jaq

ashcrash9
April 28th 2016


3134 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I mean, I'm pretty sure the "Program Music" part of the title is just there to imply that the music is...you know, program music. It's not like PM II was ever necessarily going to be a sonic successor of its predecessor, just his 2nd album of program music. Can't help but feel like people were putting an unrealistic degree of hype behind this.



That said, great review Jacq, though I mostly disagree. Even the more "dialed-in" parts of this I still really enjoy on their own, I just wish the album had something more impactful to open and close it.

hogan900
April 28th 2016


3220 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So sad...

Great review as always man.

Pon
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2016


5062 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"maybe phoned in is what you're getting at?"



I think you're right. I've seen the phrase used in a negative context to mean exactly that a few times before, but I'll change it anyways if it's causing confusion. Thanks y'all.

LotusFlower
April 28th 2016


12000 Comments


"I mean, I'm pretty sure the "Program Music" part of the title is just there to imply that the music is...you know, program music. It's not like PM II was ever necessarily going to be a sonic successor of its predecessor, just his 2nd album of program music. Can't help but feel like people were putting an unrealistic degree of hype behind this."

I dont know that much about Daisuke's work, but isnt most of it programmed? Or is his other stuff organic?

DirEnRefused
April 28th 2016


3664 Comments


yeah i think this was pretty clearly named as some form of successor to the original and not because of the instrumentation method lol


Mort.
April 28th 2016


16546 Comments


good review man

i get bored every time i try to listen program music I

Digging: Unbroken - Life. Love. Regret.



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