Home > Music > Susumu Hirasawa – Vistoron (2004)

Susumu Hirasawa – Vistoron (2004)

This one was released under the “KAKU P-MODEL” label. Parts of it are similar to the ’90s techno/pop/ambient sound that P-Model purveyed in the mid ’90s (Ambient doesn’t really apply until Fune was released, of course). Like most attempts by Susumu Hirasawa to employ said sound within his solo project, the overall intensity of things is usually higher than normal, but still somewhat softer than the original thing. Arguably, this is an oddity within the discography for having such a hybrid approach – it’s written similarly to Blue Limbo (2003) and other recent solo works, but outside of the multitracked choirs (Technique of Relief is smug in the corner), most of the sounds and techniques used date back to 1992 or 1993 or so.

Anyways, this album is supposedly themed after George Orwell’s 1984, but the song titles mostly don’t suggest it, “Big Brother” notwithstanding. I don’t know Japanese, but someone translated the lyrics of said song, and they’re fairly 1984ish. Take a look. Arguably, it’s the “single” of the album – it’s actually available legitimately from his site as a free download, along with a few other songs. On the other hand, it’s not the best song of the album – this album is frankly middle-loaded, and anything from tracks 3-8 will provide the best listening. Case in point: #3 (Anti-Vistoron) has some good sounding deep vocals in the chorus, a set of catchy melodies delivered through abrasive synthesizer lines, and another one of those impressive improvised guitar solos. They’re rarely complex or shreddy or anything, but they’re made up on the fly and always complement things rather nicely. #4 (ADORE ME, I AM TV) is colossal, with lots of reverb, dissonant phrases, another guitar solo (more chaotic and minor key to fit the mood of the pieces), and so on.

A lot of this album is sparser sounding than average for Hirasawa, possibly simpler at times, yet it’s given the same care and attention to detail as otherwise. It doesn’t really have as many tracks that clearly stand out in terms of quality (Those would be Anti-Vistotron, Space Hook, Darkness Pi-Dual), but everything’s consistently very good – personally I think Hirasawa’s best solo album so far is Technique of Relief, but if anything, this is a close second.


  1. Jehovah Phil
    2013/04/23 at 13:16

    Thanks for this. There is so little written about Hirasawa’s albums in English that is not just fanboy gushing. I disagree on one point – I actually really dig the first two tracks. The way “Dual Perspective” sort of flips back and forth is the sort of thing I find fascinating. “Big Brother” is just full-on insanity. I can see why someone may be put off by it but I like that side of Hirasawa.

    One of the things I always liked about SH is that even as he began to move into more ambient, orchestral, or New Age territories he remained that same synthpop guy that you hear on the early P-Model records. He has lately been writing a lot of great melodies that intersect with each other in very interesting ways. The layered ending of “Anti-Vistoron” is a good example. Overall this album seems to bounce around a lot, though for Hirasawa it’s actually quite consistant in sound. You can tell he wanted KAKU P-Model to be its own thing seperate from his solo work. For that reason I really do like the title track, if only for its relative simplicity.

    Any plans to review Philosopher’s Propeller?

    • 2013/04/24 at 10:41

      I have a general long-term plan to review a lot more of Susumu Hirasawa’s work (including P-Model recordings), but it’ll probably be over a fairly lengthy period of time, given the rapid rate at which I listen to new music. I suspect the next review of his works will either be “Sim City” or “Siren”, since those two albums have this weird dichotomy of further developing musical techniques Hirasawa started using on Aurora and used more on later albums, while having some particularly unusual aesthetic/songwriting choices that seem to be unique to themselves (probably because they play up the “Southeast Asia” angle so much).

      I should probably try to learn Japanese to get more out of Hirasawa (and also the band Gargoyle), aber ich habe Deustch gestudiert, und meine Deutsch ist nicht sehr gut…

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