Most music that you receive as a music reviewer is just that, music. That isn’t a problem, after all, that is the nature of the job. But writing about music that comes accompanied by a video is a much more immersive affair, sort of the difference between watching a standard 2D film on TV at home and the experience of a big-screen 3D blockbuster. Some videos are simple adverts for the band or the single, a sort of self-referencing circle of promotion but, in a way, that is to miss the full potential of the video format, or at least it is the way that most artists approach things. Any artist with an imagination will look at that blank space where their future video will sit and see the opportunity of telling a story, making a point or sending out a message. And that is what ATLS PLAZA N.D. does.
I’m not saying that I know exactly what the story is about but it is easy to see that the music seems to punctuate and underscore the video and in return, the visual narrative heightens the effect of the music, a perfect audio-visual dance between the two mediums. And knowing what the story is about isn’t even the point. What is life without a bit of mystery? Do we have to understand something full to derive pleasure from it? Is beauty easy to describe in mere words? Surely art exists in such places? Questions, questions.
If the previous track, Multi-paradoxical Consciousness, wandered some lush dream-pop and ambient electronica soundscapes, 虹香瑠 Ｐａｒｔ ４９does much the same, ebbing and flowing between understatement and gentle euphoria, though perhaps slightly more beat-driven, reflecting the faster editorial cuts and the visual action that it is acompanying. That said, we are still in some chilled realms, one where synths wash and wander, where a simple constant, central metronomic beat is surrounded by skittering percussion and sparse, delicate fills, where the main riff is built of simple repetition, a blend of harmonics and hypnotic motifs and where the backdrop is again one of spaciousness and atmospherics, a place where less is certainly more.
The visuals this time round are darker and more dramatic but rather than play the obvious sonic cards, rather than adding a score that is big and bombastic, here ATLS PLAZA N.D. conveys the action through sonic sensation, through music that evokes feelings and which stirs emotion. A much better option than taking the listener by the hand and making them walk the route through the experience that you have decided for them. Better to just present the package and let them react to it, interpret it, explore it and relate to it in any way that they should see fit.
That’s the great thing about music (and video) of this kind. The creator might set out to write one story, something specific to them and their vision but what they are actually doing is offering a starting point for thousands of stories and letting the imagination of the listener fill in their own, relatable intimate and individual chapters.