Review Summary: An interesting variation on orchestral electronics This Japanese producer living in New York seems to have had an anime movie in mind when he concieved this album.
Saga is just the second album of the Japanese electronic producer Tatsuya Oe under the name Dark Model, But it is far from him being unknown on the electronic scene and even wider. Not only has he worked under different aliases such as Captain Funk, and OE, but has had remixes and collaborations with no less than an artist like James Brown, Serge Gainsbourg, and Chic and enlisting fans among other producers themselves, including the likes of Fatboy Slim.
The name of the album itself, Saga should already steer you in the direction in which Oe is aiming here. If it reminds you of an Anime film title, it should, because Oe is obviously a fan (and he should be) and with this album has created some sort of an imaginary soundtrack for a possible anime adventure. It would be no wonder if somebody in his native Japan (Oe now resides in New York), decides to come up with a movie based on an already existing soundtrack.
Now the moniker, Dark Model, is yet another clue of what kind of music is to be expected here. Definitely dark and brooding, constantly holding one foot in orchestral classics and the other in a good beat that can give the classical side a certain pace, even danceability. The song titles, to what Oe himself calls “musical narratives” also have an air of the dark and brooding atmosphere Oe has created on this album. Although in many aspects parallels can be drawn with something that is named symphonic progressive rock, Oe quite successfully throughout Saga escapes the pompousness usually associated with that musical style, but at the same time, will certainly grab the fans of such music with this one. Even fans of straight ahead rock bands like Boston might get a liking to this one.
On the other hand, dance downtempo fans will also find points of interest, because Oe, like for example DJ Shadow know his way with a good beat as well a when to through in a left-field soundscape akin to somebody like Four Tet. Frankly, although I’m quite choosy when electronic music is concerned, I know I’ll be coming back to this one. Maybe along with a good anime.