お帰りなさい?ハルカリ!(Welcome Home, HALCALI!)


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HALCALI are back! I guess, sort of, uh who knows... You know I've been maligning their lack of musical output for a while, well, of late... Nobody reads this blog so I don't know why I bother to talk to people as if they were actually reading it... Perhaps I'm gearing up for when eventually I do have readers... I'm no Marxy, I'm no Momus, I'm no Jean Snow... I'm just this guy, you know?


I haven't been reading the HALCALI Diary, frankly beyond the snaps of who they were working with and what anime cons they were performing at, I got tired of seeing the food they were eating and the way they were painting their nails... I leave that perusal to the fine folk(s) over at HALCALI DAY BY DAY, a site which Wikipedia's furfag editors label simply as the descriptive "HALCALI-Related Blog"... I think everyone thought that the HAL/CAL crew had dropped the ball when they switched to Sony leaving behind For Life... I'm sure Sony gives them better distribution, but in the end, gave them piss-poor public relations...


Let's take a look a the aftermath of the For Life departure... We left on a good note, Baby Blue! Was a single that, I'm not ashamed to say, actual brought a tear to my eye in it's infectious (not infectious like, you know, the hemorrhagic fever, but, uh catchy) style and HANPANDA theme... This is what HALCALI is about, fun, bouncy, crazy, inventive music that puts a smile on your face... Okay it was a bit of a sell out to include a popular commercial item in the video, but that can all be forgiven...


Fast forward to the near future, where cyborgs roam the earth and the planet is populated by those too sickly or old to leave for the Offworld colony, wait, that's bladerunner, but that's a good enough analogy, because THAT'S HOW FUCKING LONG AGO Baby Blue! came out.


Halcali is not Stanley Kubrick, they aren't Radiohead, where they can fuck off for four years and then put out some brilliant record and come back on the scene. But that's just it, they didn't put out any brilliant record, the next thing they dropped after Baby Blue! was the grievous Christmas ep, Tip Tap Tips... Oh lord.


Tip Tap Tips was supposed to be HALCALI growing up... Nobody wants to see HALCALI grow up... Remember the joy you got out of Tandem and Giri Giri Saafu Raida? No, okay fuckoff... But do you get my point? Tip Tap Tips was a "pretty" video of Halca & Yukari blithely wandering around the forest like winter nymphs (not sexually you wota jerks), showing us how mature they'd become as performers... To coin my own most often used phrase, FUCK THAT NOISE. The saving grace of the single, which probably should have been the A side was the more early-HALCALI-esque halcali'n'bass, with it's fake-guitar intro, and actual HIP HOPish beats, and overall some sort of Rhyming going on, or rapping or whatever it is you want to ascribe to the likes of groups like HALCALI, Namie Amuro, and BENNIE K. It's like the talk-singing of the French New Wave groups of the mid to late seventies but with a cheap drum beat over top of it, the same drum beat, ill repeat too... let's cut down on the distortion, okay Yuusukeサン?


I don't quite remember the song ピスドリ (PISUDORI), but come on... a contraction of PEACE & DREAM... the made up word makes me think of something like PISS DREAM, since the Japanese language wouldn't distinguish between the two types of sylables... Yikes.


Next Up: Twinkle Star... Okay,.. this is getting a little better, in fact, MUCH BETTER. I can "get" the whole grown up HALCALI now, even though they look like people who might be reading PINKY on a regular basis... what's with all the makeup and the over-done hair? The song apparently takes quite a lot of audio influence from The Magnificent Seven, or some such thing--- I'm sorry, I read this at one point time and I completely forget--- I'm not as obsessive as I could be about my second favourite Japanese band... (If you're wondering who the first is, they're named after a Korg keyboard...).


Here's the big problem with Twinkle Star... maybe someone should have clued HALCALI's PV producer into the notion that it's probably not socially acceptable to have a black man with a huge stereotyped afro (the Japanese LOVE afros... Why? there aren't any Black people in Japan... well, not that many, and none that I met had afros...)... Yeah, maybe it's not the best idea in the world to have a black man morph into a huge ape.... but hey, the Japanese aren't exactly known for their ability to care or ascertain what happens to be racially offensive to the entire rest of the world... See Bobby Ologon & Little Black Sambo respectively... The B-Side, Check!! Check!! It!! (Again, I love the Japanese fo their wanton use of the exclamation mark... like the favourite band I referred to earlier, what better a title could their be on an album than, Hey! Bob! My Friend?)... Yeah, the B-side is pretty throw away HALCALI and you don't stop... Can someone introduce Japanese HIPHOP producers to NAS or something... I don't need HALCALI to be all 'ARD but the party-raps get a bit cliche after a while. Okay So CheckX2 It!! isn't entirely offensive to the ear, but it's not melody gold either...


Next on the rotation is the possibly regrettable single, LOOK. (Holy Fucking Christ! Another Christmas themed album? That's how long it took them to make this single, after Tip Tap Tips, their debut on Sony). It starts with the lyric a few beats in, HALCALI, AND WE DON'T CARE... Not caring is probably something that Jim Jones does, but HALCALI definitely SHOULD care... I know they're just aping party-rap, or what have you... But, uh... Yeah... You could completely miss this too-fast dance/rap without too much worry... That's about all I have to say about this side of the record, while the disco-influenced B-Side Sister Ship deserves a simple bit of criticism... Ladies, or uh, whomever produced this, this song sounds like Andrea True Connection made a song with an Alesis Vocal modulator and slapped a cheesy disco-instrumental on it. Frankly, it sounds like a mash up that should have never happened.... The scariest thing on my mind is that somewhere, some ganguro couple is Para Para dancing to this...


Okay, Now we get to the meat and potatoes, the nabe pot of this blog entry... For brevity's sake, I'll skip over the download only tracks which I haven't had much time to listen to, Slalom '06, 2 Higher Clap 007 (why is there a two in there?), and Girl! Girl! Girl!, whose name along seems to frighten me.













Not a few days ago, Tougenkyo (桃源郷), in Japanese this means something like paradise, b/w Lights Camera Action dropped. I'm not all that sure, but I'm not quite positive the folks over at HALCALI DAY BY DAY are all that fond of it, well, I'll say they do have some criticisms--- it being a sort of a abasement of their earlier sound... but fuck that, I love it!


The video features a HALCALI not afraid to look a little cool, to dance to the music unconsciously... They look cute again, what we expect out of a couple of girls from Meguro who won a Rip Slyme contest to look like... The video kills at the point (again with the distorted drum beats) where Halca does her best urban styling and sings "One, Two, Three & Four..." I can finally forgive the blase' 80's hip hop ripoff because the song executes an amazing array of styles, and yes, I CAN FORGIVE the air-guitar, an air guitar which I will agree is to a 'generic' guitar to begin with... But the video seems what I missed so much about HALCALI: fun.


Look, I'll just end this blog post right here... I want to end on a positive note, I wont even comment about the b-side, Lights, Camera, Action which again is a simple disco-filler... I can listen to Tougenkyo enough to satisfy, and failing that... I'll go back and listen to Highway to The Beach, a bit of HALCALI nostalgia that makes me smile.


So, Halca, Yukari, okaeri nasai... Please keep making more songs like Tougnekyo, and fewer songs like Sister Ship & Lights, Camera, Action. I promise to love you regardless, but, don't forget that you can rock out w/ your rock-box out too.



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