And no, I’m not referring to my later-than-usual blog update.
I began writing a review for a Japanese band this evening. I already knew that this internationally popular band, one of my favorites of all time, had disbanded four years ago. On a lark, I searched for their official website to see if it was still active and if anything was on it.
Lo and behold, it was online. After a brief Flash clip of a music video I had not seen before, I was greeted by a large photo of two of the band members. I was then incredibly and very happily surprised to note the release of a new album dated 2009.09.30.
Have you ever seen an episode of the Simpsons where Homer runs around ringing his hands and repeatedly exclaiming, “Oh my God!”?
Do As Infinity reunited in the fall of 2008 and recently released a new album entitled Eternal Flame.
Now, as I have been huge, long-time fan of D.A.I., one must raise the question: Under what meteor, on what planet, and in what galaxy was my head buried for the last year?! >_< A reunion and a new album! I can’t wait to get my hands on it! This is so freakin’ awesome! 😀
Anyways, on with the brief bio and review.
Clippings from various publicity photos and album covers for Do As Infinity, in (loosely) chronological order.
Do As Infinity is a Japanese pop/rock band formed by and named after Dai Nagao in September 29, 1999. Through auditions, Nagao chose Tomiko Van as vocalist and Ryo Owatari as guitarist. After an illustrious six years, they disbanded in September 29, 2005. Van then pursued her solo career while Owatari continued working with his own band. Nagao returned to his primary work as a song writer and collaborated with several other artists. D.A.I. officially reformed on September 29, 2008 with Van and Owatari at the forefront.
Although Do As Infinity has a plethora of popular singles, the band is especially well-known for their contributions to the Inu Yasha anime soundtracks. Fukai Mori is the closing theme of the show’s 2001 season and is considered by many fans to be D.A.I.’s most memorable song.
Do As Infinity’s discography presents a diversity of styles and influences, including indie rock, soft rock, ballads, “radio” pop, and contemporary rock. D.A.I.’s songs have a unique quality and sound that stems from the mixture of different elements (a trend also present in songs from other Japanese musicians). They have the ability to take two or more seemingly separate elements and meld them together extremely well. Fukai Mori is a perfect example of this kind of orchestration. From the moment one hears the first guitar chords strumming, it seems as though it would be a simple ballad, almost folk in origin. Then, it builds into a great piece of soft rock. There are also the song’s most notable sounds, the flute and the clarinet. However, it’s only while listening carefully (or with the right equalizer settings) that one realizes there is a wonderful accompaniment of violins in the background throughout most of the song. Its lyrics are splendidly poetic, but even through its instrumentation alone, Fukai Mori is an incredible composition.
Collectively, the band is a powerhouse of talent. Tomiko Van has a deep voice that has the strength suited to rock, as well as the smoothness ideal for pop and ballads. She has a great vocal range and presence; and though D.A.I.’s music is far from symphonic rock, Tomiko can hold notes while making it sound effortless. Ryo Owatari’s performance on the guitar is absolutely phenomenal. Not only does he have impeccable timing and great technical skills, but his playing is fluid and expressive.
Dai Nagao’s genius as a song writer shines through on many of D.A.I.’s songs. It is unfortunate he has not returned for the band’s reformation. There have been other equally talented composers and lyricists working with the band, and they have contributed just as much or more to D.A.I.’s musical growth. Tomiko Van’s awesome, very recognizable voice and Ryo Owatari’s crisp, powerful guitar-playing will once again be giving life to the songs. Still, given the loss of one founding member and a span of four years, I look forward to the new album with the expectation that their overall sound might change. Nevertheless, it’s an exciting time for me as a fan of Do As Infinity who, not too long ago, could only dream of this reunion. ^_^
ps. Yes, I noticed. Tomiko Van is as gorgeous as ever! <3 /swoon … LOL! I know, I’m such a fan boy ^o^
These and other Do As Infinity CDs and DVDs are available on Amazon.
If you’re looking for original releases from Japan and Hong Kong, Play-Asia has a great selection of Do As Infinity compilations and singles.