Miu Sakamoto – PHANTOM girl

February 2, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Posted in Miu Sakamoto | Leave a comment
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  1. The Blue Hour
  2. Phantom Girl’s First Love
  3. Destination
  4. Interlude I: Whispers Within
  5. The Magic Hour
  6. Far Across The Sky
  7. Interlude II: Nowhere In Between
  8. Silent Fiction
  9. Our Home
  10. A Girl’s Waltz

I had no idea who Miu Sakamoto was until last year when she released her sixth album PHANTOM girl. I kept on hearing about how great the album was and the cover art was really interesting so I caved in and listened to the album. I’m not familiar with her previous work but for this album she teamed up with Dave Liang from The Shanghai Restoration Project.

The Blue Hour begins with very traditional instruments. It’s a very calming sound that gradually progresses as synths are added and Miu’s vocals come in about halfway through. I was very impressed when I heard her vocals for the first time. They’re so surreal and they have a deep, luscious quality to them. This is a lovely piece of music and is a great introduction to the album. Phantom Girl’s First Love is easily one of the most interesting songs on the album in terms of sound and vocals. The first verse consists of a burst of synth followed by Miu’s deep vocals and some more instruments are added to the arrangement when she sings in an incredibly gorgeous high voice. After this point the music becomes much more vibrant. The chorus is stunning with its magical synths and Miu’s breathtaking vocals. I adore its uplifting and relaxing atmosphere. The second verse features more instruments than the first and they’re very unique. This song is perfect from start to finish. Miu continues singing in a high register for Destination and the effects on her vocals enhance the beauty of her tone. The arrangement begins with synths and as the verse progresses more instruments are added making the song more upbeat. The music slows down a bit during the bridge and Miu’s backing vocals are so angelic. There aren’t many changes in terms of the arrangement but it’s simple and effective.

The first interlude on the album, Interlude I: Whispers Within, consists of Miu vocalizing along with some light synths. The Magic Hour is somewhat more relaxed compared to the previous tracks. This song features a simple yet elegant piano and Miu’s vocals are high and delicate. The notes that she hits before the chorus are lovely. For the chorus, her vocals are a bit stronger and the water drop-like sound in the background is a nice added touch. The piano for the second verse is replaced with a xylophone which makes the melody even sweeter. Far Across The Sky is one of my favourite songs on the album. Miu’s voice acts as part of the instruments as her backing vocals are used throughout the song. The English lyrics are really nice and I love her vocals in this track, “somebody’s always watching over you/can you hear the voice flowing in your sleep?” Her vocals are luscious and during the chorus she sings in a gorgeous high tone. It’s so atmospheric and magical. The synths, piano, and xylophone are all fantastic. This is such a peaceful and gorgeous track. In Interlude II: Nowhere In Between the vocalization from the previous interlude is used again along with new vocalizing from Miu that’s even more beautiful. There’s a lot more going on in this interlude which makes it much more interesting.

Silent Fiction is a very interesting track as the verses consist of Miu whispering and some light instruments. As the verses progress she starts to vocalize in a high tone before the chorus. The synth becomes darker and grittier during the chorus and the sweet piano contrasts nicely with it. I love how at the end of the track you get to hear the lovely piano with her ad-libs. It’s such a fantastic way to close the song. Like the interludes, Our Home consists of Miu vocalizing but this time in the form of a full song. It’s a very simple song with a beautiful piano and Miu’s vocals are definitely the highlight. This is a stunning song and it has such a soothing vibe. It’s the type of song that when it’s over you’re left wanting more. The final song on the album, A Girl’s Waltz, is another song that consists of just vocalizing but she sounds sweeter as does the piano. What I love about this track is that at times I find it to be really uplifting and serene while at other times I find it to be very sad. I like how the song is able to play with those feelings. It’s a perfect way to end the album’s magical journey.

Conclusion: Miu Sakamoto has wowed me with PHANTOM girl. It is such a surreal listening experience that is breathtaking. Miu and Dave make a great team. His production is magical and suits her gorgeous voice perfectly. Her vocals are very special and I love how they weren’t just used for singing but also acted as a part of the instrumentation as well. If you’re feeling up for something interesting you should definitely give this album a listen.

Recommended Tracks: Phantom Girl’s First Love, Far Across The Sky, A Girl’s Waltz, Our Home and Destination

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