Review Summary: Slow Riot for New Zero JapanThis music is only for the one person.
I made this music for the life who couldn't stay in this world for a long time.
This music is for leaving evidence of that soul who are no longer with us.
This music is in return of Joy and Humor that I was given from that life.
This music is in return of Grief and Loss that I was given from that death.
Music is beautiful, Human life is sweet.
Let's play music together someday all through many reincarnations.
I dedicate this music to my dearest child in the world, "巡（MEGURI）".
The above message can be found in the description of the music video for Meguri
, and is one of the very few public statements that Katsuhiko Maeda (World's End Girlfriend) has made about his music, as well as in general. WEG, who has been churning out his own brand of neo-classical post-rock opuses consistently since the turn of the century, has chosen to remain outside of the spotlight throughout his career and let his music do the talking for him. But Meguri
is not just another one of his musical endeavors – it is a story of loss, a journey through life and death, a speculation of what lies beyond. The unfortunate muse of grief is what afflicts WEG here, and he wants us to know it.
I don't want to pick apart the entire above message, as I think it would be better for anyone who reads it and listens to this album to come to their own conclusions as to what it all means. I do, however, want to offer a definition of the word "meguri" as I feel it's important to consider in regards to the music. "Meguri", according to the few Japanese-to-English dictionaries online that I checked, is a noun that most closely means either "circumference", or "the circle around something". There is also a similar Japanese word, "meguru", which is a verb that means "to circle around", or "to tour around". In the instance of this album, I believe "meguri" is referring to the continuous circle of life, death, and either the afterlife or reincarnation.
The mini-album begins with Hello, Goodbye
, a short ambient buildup that leads into the title track, which is a nine-and-a-half minute waltz (this in itself holds a bit of irony, since the title of his previous album is Last Waltz
). The waltz begins playfully with notes from a glockenspiel chiming on the first beat of each bar, echoed by a palm-muted guitar on beats two and three. Gradually the string bass begins to give the waltz a solid foundation, the drums alternate between bass drum and snare hits at the beginning of each bar, and the violin takes up the melody. The first half of the song treads lightly, with the lead guitar and string bass occasionally picking up the melody with the violin, and the drums eventually adding cymbals to progress the beat. Meguri
then crescendos, with the assistance of an additional electronic drum beat, into a climax that is intentionally drowned out by what is, with my best guess, the digital whirring sound of an oceanic wave. After the wave subsides, the violin and glockenspiel emerge at the forefront again and take up a new melody. This is added to once again with the other instruments in the composition, and eventually features a short electronic part that reminds me of a robot excitedly coming to life for the first time. Meguri
crescendos one more time, and the digital wave appears again and lasts until the end of the song, which concludes with what sounds like a note from the synthesizer being thrown into the atmosphere and then disappearing.
The third and final track, See You Again
, is a synth-driven ambient song. Somewhere in the background of this track, one can hear a sad-sounding, slow-paced piano melody, as well as choir-like singing from distinctly male and female voices at different times. The ambience continues for about seven minutes, until it fades out completely, leaving just the persistent piano melody to slowly disappear on its own, in a manner in which it literally sounds like it's being drowned in water. After a brief moment of silence, one final ambient movement of nearly equal length of the Hello, Goodbye
concludes the song.
, as the title implies, is cyclical. Hello, Goodbye
represents conception and birth (saying "goodbye" to the womb); Meguri
represents life, from the playfulness of childhood to the seriousness of adulthood; and See You Again
represents the process of dying, with the final movement symbolizing the new life that comes after death. We will likely never know what affliction WEG went through that caused him to churn out such a dark and beautiful piece of art, but the themes that drive Meguri
are so relatable that anyone who gives this album a fair listen will surely be moved by it to some degree.