In the context of Japanese society, the feeling of authenticity expressed by certain underground acts becomes kind of fascinating. These artists have the power to tell stories from the perspective of regular people living in a huge metropolis, opening up to the listener by letting their lives flow through music and lyrics: whether it’s the thoughts passing through their minds when they’re walking back home, when they eat alone in a small restaurant, or when they’re staring at the Tokyo skyline from the last train home, these artists make music that, in a way or another, many can relate to.
Oyasumi Hologram is a duo composed by idols Kanamiru and Hachigatsu, and they perfectly represent the above description. The project falls into the alternative idol category, but it looks and sounds more like two simple girls backed by a producer, performing just for passion and to express their artistic potential. As clearly shown in their music videos too, simplicity is the key-word of this project, but it comes in an interesting form instead of a boring portrait of every-day life.
After a debut record that gained good exposure in the underground scene, this year the duo released its second studio effort, titled 2. Despite the short running time, the new work from Oyasumi Hologram experiments with quite a few musical influences, that work well in some areas, but lack consistency in others. The opener Kaerimichi kicks off with relaxing rock/jazz influences, exposing right away one of the highlights of this project, which is the vocal balance between lower and higher notes: the girls never sound out of place, and their voices pleasantly compensate each other throughout the record. The following too young successfully merges delicate beats with fast electric guitar melodies, showcasing strong personality and a nice structural progression, setting the pace for a record that shines the most in its atmospheric and reflective pieces. Underwater and 11 bring the duo back to accessible rock sounds, subtly implementing melodies and little details (like a flute, or a synthesizer) that enrich the texture of the instrumentals, making them charismatic and recognizable right away.
Throughout its duration, 2 constantly proves to have interesting ideas, and while it succeeds most of the times, it falls short of its ambitions in a few occasions. our future features a solid and well-layered instrumental coupled by some of the nicest vocals of the record, but dares too much by trying different drum patterns and tempo changes, that damage the track in several sections, strawberry flirts with noise influences, but sounds brutally out of place due to a bland chorus and filtered harsh vocals, that clash with the mood represented in the rest of the record. In a much more successful attempt, the closing track Neuromancer goes full electronic with an upbeat tempo and sharp synths, that create a beautiful atmosphere; it’s the track with the most interesting vibe of the record, and despite not being representative of their usual style, the girls showcase great versatility and sound genuinely good on it.
Oyasumi Hologram’s 2 is a record that shows a lot of potential: each track exposes strong personality and a smart use of different influences and details, while the girls’ vocals pleasantly complement each other, showing remarkable interpretation and versatility. The record dares too much on a few occasions, but it’s not enough to ruin an overall enjoyable experience. It’s clear that the girls are trying different patterns to reach a solid formula for their sound, and so far the result is mostly promising. Oyasumi Hologram has everything it takes to be a relevant act of the alternative idol scene, and we’re looking forward to their next work with good expectations.
Words by Alessandro Tofanelli