Illion - UBU


Run time: 46 minutes 56 seconds
Number of tracks: 14

Written By: Rachel Yarwood
Release Date: 25th February 2013

Brain Drain
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Yojiro Noda's solo project "Illion" sees the release of his debut album "Ubu" taking Europe on a new musical journey before his first performance in London in March this year. 
Already we have heard a sneaky preview of "Brain Drain" on his own YouTube channel, so when the album opens, the familiar introduction of piano is both a welcoming and exciting piece for your ears. 
The opening song "Brain Drain" is unsurprisingly in English but as the second track "Aiwaguma" opens, and Yojiro Noda begins on vocals, his lyrics are unmistakably Japanese. Another change early on with "Ubu" is that we have lost the piano melodies and instead we have a replacement of a prominent and constant beat from the drum. The percussion can be considered rather dominant for "Aiwaguma" as the simplicity of the bass rhythm and guitar melodies in the beginning of this song are perhaps a little masked. However as the song progresses the guitar does pick up and adds a fantastic electronic rock edge to the slightly tribal sound of this track.

"Planetarian" follows and we are back to the piano and the English lyrics. It doesn't sound out of place though as you might be imagining because it keeps to the same pace; it is still upbeat. The chorus especially picks up the pace even more as the drums and the guitar accelerate giving us a more conventional dance mood. 

The fifth track "Beehive" changes the style and the mood of the album. The guitar and the snappy beats of the percussion both contribute a jazz feel now that continues through out the track. It is an interesting musical quirk that will possibly make this song stand out, it will certainly make this stand out from the other songs so far, and this experimentation continues even further as the album develops. 

"Gamma" opens fairly... normal... with a low key piano melody and interesting, near monotonous, vocals from Noda. However what is particularly interesting about this track is the way the melodies have been used. Noda overlaps the positive notes with the more haunting and edgy notes that really help to reflect the lyrical work, but there is also another strange addition to this song. There are snippets of what sound like white noise in the beginning, but as "Gamma" continues, this sound fully comes to light for the duration of the instrumental and to the end which is both odd and compelling. 

"Gasshow" is another that is a highly memorable song. Following perfectly from "Lynch" and "Un&Do", which are both exceptionally lovely ballad tracks, "Gasshow" continues with the down-beat pace but now with a slightly Japanese element to it. This is not just with the lyrics alone but also with the musical composition. Amongst the rhythms, drum beats and the harmonious melodic vocal work, there are also oriental style percussion and instrumental notes. These all contribute to this song being a dark but equally beautiful addition to "Ubu". 

It might now be hard to top this track after listening to the album for the first time, but what Noda does next is cleverly add an instrumental ("Inemuri") between "Gasshow" and the final two songs "Especially" and "Birdie".

"Birdie" is the final song on the album and as a closure, this song dramatically slows the tempo of the album down. It is a half indie, half ballad, sounding song with nice guitar melodies, a simple beat again, and extra smooth vocals. It brings us back to the charm that we heard with the opening of the album, so it's almost as if we have worked a full circle, wrapping everything up together nicely. 
"Ubu" will be released here in the UK on the 25th of February. It will then be released again on the 6th of March in Japan and then the 29th of March in Germany and France. The Japanese Edition of the album will feature an additional bonus track.