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FresCon 2017 by Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

April 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

FresCon, Fresno State’s geek culture convention took place on April 1-2, 2017.

FresCon is a non-profit and educational event that showcases Fresno State and the surrounding community through the collective enjoyment of geek culture including movies, television series, books, comics, video games, board games, card games and cosplay.

Some of the main events include “Street Fighter V” and “Super Smash Brothers 4”. Also, featured was “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” for the Nintendo Switch.

The event featured panels on game designed by Geek Wise Academy and voice actress Erika Harlacher who did a Q&A plus a signing session on Saturday and on Sunday she did another panel about playing “Kingdom Hearts 2: Talking Games”.

FresCon also showcased modern anime such as “Fairy Tail”, “Mob Psycho 100” and some nostalgic anime such as “GTO”, “Gurren Lagann” and “Cowboy Bebop”.

Also, the event premiered the first episode of “Attack on Titan” season 2.

They also had panels dealing with cultural importance of genre fiction and storytelling which included Dr. Frederick Raswald for “Alien Lifeforms: Beyond the evidence”, “Philip Cable: How to Make and Market a Feature Film”, Lady Lindsay: “Character design what your concept?”, “Chris Zimmerman: The story of Labyrinth” and “Kyle Villarama: Batman and Psychology”.

 

On Sunday, after the cosplay contest, they had videogame cover band Super Soul Bros., a San Jose base Jazz band that covers music from videogames and cartoons.

FresCon for 2017 was a very enjoyable event! It is the type of event that if you’re not that into all aspects of a particular genre. And I personally feel that they have done a really good job of creating an environment for the true geeks and younger fans to come out to the event and enjoy.

Photos By Derek Orchard

Visit the FresCon 2017 Photos Gallery


 

SHIBUSASHIRAZU – SHIBUKI (a J!-ENT World Groove Album Review)

January 28, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

SHIBUKI

SHIBUSASHIRAZU

AVEX IO

Click here for “SHIBUSASHIRAZU – Shibuki” album sample (Mono/Low kb)
[kml_flashembed movie=”http://j-entonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/shibusasirazu-shibuki.swf” height=”55″ width=”150″ /]
[Streaming audio permission granted to J!-ENT use by Avex Entertainment, Inc. in accordance to JASRAC rules]

Catalog #: IOCD-20200 | Dur. 1:06:29
Release date: January 10, 2007

1. Fight on the corner
2. Hamachikaze
3. a song for One
4. Dust song
5. Nakajimazamokuten Co. Ltd.
6. P-Chan ~Rearrange~
7. We are a Fisherman Band
8. Theme for Inuhime
9. Bonus track: Theme for Inuhime

Note: On track 8-9, at the request of the artists, has been incorporated as a medley into a single title. Tracks 8-9 are displayed spearately on playback devices with a title display function.

For more info. visit webs.to/shibusa or
www.avex-io.com/shibusashirazu

REVIEW:

Sure, you hear it many times when people enjoy a type of food and they say it’s “better than sex”, well “SHIBUKI” the latest album from the very large jazz ensemble from Japan known as Shibusashirazu (“Never be cool”) is just a pleasurable listening experience.

So, you maybe wondering who is Shibusashirazu?

Shibusashirazu is a band created back in 1998 by popular bassist Daisuke Fuwa (who functions as the bands conductor).

The band which consists of around 25-30 musicians playing wind and brass instruments such as various sax, trumpet, flute and clarinet. String instruments such as violin, guitar, bass and harp. And also several percussionists and a musician playing keyboard or Hammond organ.

Also, included as part of the band are several regular and BUTOH dancers and several vocalists. All which make up the band known as Shibusashirazu.

But if anything, the band is known for its live performances which they defy the typical sense of jazz performances with it’s energetic musicians, flashy costumes and painted and half-naked dancers.

Their performances that are so popular that they attract a diverse audience, even those who are not jazz listeners because of the hype the band has received.

With the release of a new album “SHIBUKI” on the Avex IO label, the album features a total of nine tracks.

I listen to a lot of jazz and I really enjoy how many jazz albums (and classical music) have embraced the Super Audio CD format for those whoare audiophiles. This CD takes benefit of that.

For those wanting to know a little about Super Audio CD, where typical (Red Book) audio CD’s are 44.1 MHZ, Super Audio CD’s are 2.8224 MHZ and utilizes Direct Stream Digital (DSD) and may contain a surround 5.1 mix.
“SHIBUKI” is a hybrid album which means it comes with a Super Audio CD layer and normal audio CD layer.

With that being said, I can tell you that the audio quality is awesome! The mix is superb. On certain tracks, you will definitely notice various instruments coming out of different speakers.

The first track “Fight on the Corner” is interesting because it starts out with brass instruments and transcends into a rock song featuring electric guitar and then the brass instruments in unison. Showing the effectiveness of the electric guitar and saxophone solos on this song.

The second track “Hamachikaze” starts of like a 50’s diddly but becomes a track showcasing the brass musicians and string musicians. Very cool because you can notice one speaker utilizing the saxophone solo and the other utilizing the electric guitar solo and all of a sudden it switches to one speaker showcasing strings and on the other speaker wind instruments and then piano and all instruments starting to come together. Awesome track featuring great mix utilization and spotlight of various instruments.

The third track “a song for One” features a slow jazz ballad and vocals which features the piano, violin and sax. As the song nears its final two minutes, the song becomes a Santana-like ballad where the electric guitar becomes the focal point.

The fourth track “Dust song” is reminiscent of a Marsalis New Orleans jazz song with the brass, piano, percussion and bass jiving until they get halfway into the song and really start going off.

The fifth track is titled “Nakajimazaimokuten Co., Ltd.” and is an interesting track. It’s almost of a fusion of jazz and rock as both sax and electric guitars battling for a dominant position of going jazz and the other going for a rock sound until the realization that the fusion of both instruments and styles work well in unison.

The sixth track “P-Chan ~Rearrange~” is a slow song that is reminiscent of Hollywood in the 1920’s and 30’s. Featuring a piano solo but then joined by the brass and wind instruments that sounds like an old school detective-story theme song.

The seventh track is “We are a Fisherman Band” and the second track featuring vocals with Shinichi Watabe on vocals and has a very James Brown-like feel to it.

Very funky and another track showing interesting mix of instruments and vocals playing on different speakers. With electric guitar going off one speaker and brass going off in another while the percussions and vocalist provide a funky background.

The eighth and ninth track is titled “a theme for Inuhime”. A jazz number utilizing the same title and are two medleys. With track eight being a mid-tempo song focusing on the band and utilizing the speakers to feature different instruments on different speakers such as the piano and acoustic guitar. And also a large variety of instruments as the track progresses.

The ninth track featuring a faster-pace song focusing on the piano, bass and percussion then leading to a violin and an electric guitar solo,

As for contents on the album, the CD comes with a sheet explaining Super Audio CD (SACD) and Direct Stream Digital (DSD).

As for the booklet, liner notes in Japanese and English by Takao Ogawa (writer for EXCITE Music’s Jazz “Keep Swingin’” blog (blog.excite.co.jp/ogawatakao) who on Shibusashirazu’s music and their live performances.

Takao writes about how the band is fully experimental and how they are able to utilize their dancers on free jazz.

Also, interesting in the notes is also about how Shibusashirazu is a jazz band that has twice as many members than typical jazz ensembles.

And also, band founder and conductor (and of course world reknown bassist) Daisuke Fuwa and his style of conducting the band which is not conventional and sometimes features the conductor sitting and smoking a cigarette while facing his musicians.

But most of all, writing about his impressions and respect for the band’s music and what they have accomplished.

And listening to many jazz albums and then listening to Shibusashirazu’s music, I agree 100 percent with Takao. This band is truly unique.

I’m very impressed with the music that this band has produced on “SHIBUKI” and I can see why Shibusashirazu has been gaining momentum in different parts of the world.

Their music is full of energy and what can be a slow or mid-tempo track will slowly build up and explode with a variety of instruments coming at the listener furiously. You can call it an audio orgasm.

It’s obvious that the band’s foray into instrumental and musical experimentation works wonders for their live performances and also listening to the CD.

I really enjoyed the band utilizing different styles of music and keeping things exciting fresh on different tracks.

All in all, “SHIBUKI” is a satisfying jazz album that I wholeheartedly recommend. It’s a very unique style that you can appreciate.

— DENNIS A. AMITH

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