REOL’s debut album Sigma was released on October 19 2006. REOL consists of Giga the composer, Reol the lyricist and vocalist, and Okiku the video director. With that said, while this is REOL’s (the group) debut album, it’s also Reol’s (the singer) 3rd album.
Preceding album’s being, No Title (in collaboration with Giga), and 極彩色 (Gokusaishiki).
Sigma is an electronic dance album, which features a fair share of both up beat, and slower songs. Surprisingly the album as a whole has a dark theme when it comes to the lyrics. Themes include growing up, fatigue of humanity, a desire to break from the status quo, and more.
For those of you curious, here’s the official preview for the album.
Ever since digital media became a thing, physical media disappeared from my purchases. With that said, upon hearing about Sigma I knew I just HAD to buy a physical copy of it. I mean I’ve been following Reol since 2013, I had no choice. 仕方がない。 What this meant for me was that on top of the four months of waiting, there would also be an additional week of waiting for the shipping. Nevertheless I persevered, and somehow survived the wait. Totally worth it.
The limited edition includes a DVD which contains the Music Videos for ギミアブレスタッナウ, 宵々古今, and ちるちる. All three of which are view able on YouTube and is linked accordingly. Also on the DVD is making of footage for the ギミアブレスタッナウ music video, which lasts just over an hour, and is an interesting watch. Also of note its that for the Limited Edition, the album comes in a sleeve which has the black bars you see on the art. So pulling the album out of said sleeve, reveals Reol’s face. On to the songs then.
1. VIP KID
The first track to the album, and a fantastic way to start it off. It starts off cleanly with Reol’s vocals, singing, and being edited for effect in a way that escalates to a held out “Ohhhhh” which is accompanied by the introduction of the music, and then the beat. Basically it’s 20 seconds of build up leading to a bang that tells you that you’re in for a treat. The rest of the song consits of a steady and ever present beat, with Reol’s vocals presenting the melody which very much so makes you want to move. Basically it’s a jumpy track which true to the dance portion of the albums genre, “Electronic Dance” makes you want to dance. The lyrics generally pertain to loneliness, nostalgia, and the pains of growing up.
ギミアブレスタッナウ, or rather Give Me a Break Stop Now is what I’d call the flagship song of Sigma. This was the first song we heard from the album, via the music video that was uploaded to her channel on August 18, 2016. This was also when the album was announced, and the first time she’s shown her face on the net.
Give Me a Break Stop Now, follows suite with VIP KID‘s jumpy feel, but goes ahead and adds some attitude to it, which makes for a rather infectious track. Reol also jumps from singing and rapping throughout as we hit the songs various stages. While I greatly enjoy this song, towards the end the line “Give Me a Break Stop Now” ends up feeling just a tad bit overused. The lyrics are a cry of distaste and weariness of certain modern trends, I found them pretty amusing and enjoyable.
Yoyoi Kokon starts off with a festive traditional sound, which set’s the tone and theme for the song as a whole. Yoyoi Kokon is rather fast paced, throughout, only slowing down for the pre-chorus, and then only to pick right back up again with it’s almost trance like melody, accompanied here and there by background chanting which adds a very slight haunting feeling to it. The lyrics are full of cultural references, with intentionally contradictory thoughts on the human race. As a whole Yoyoi Kokon has a bit of a surreal vibe to it.
4. コノヨ Loading…
If the title didn’t give it away for you, Konoyo Loading… very quickly makes itself know to be rooted in 8-bit chip tunes. The song is for the most part pretty upbeat, and gives off a somewhat silly vibe. Admittedly the chorus is a bit repetitive, but the verses in between, and the bridge defenitly make up for it. Contrary to the sound Konoyo Loading… gives off, the lyrics are a bit pessimistic, portraying life as a game.
This is where I feel Sigma starts to “chill out” for the lack of a better word. It’s not as loud, and takes a more melodic approach than the previous songs did. Even then RE: is pretty upbeat, and for some reason brings to mind bubbles. Just bubbles flying everywhere popping around me. I guess you could say this song has this sort of “pop” sound to it that brings it to mind. That or I’m a Lunatic. The lyrics are the closest we’ll get to a normal love song, Reol even sings it herself.
While RE: was where Sigma started slowing down, Lunatic brings it down to a steady beat, with what I’d call an almost ambient sound going for it. Accompanying Reol’s vocals, is a slight echo. Something about this song gives off an underwater feeling. It’s a rather comfortable suppressed feeling. The lyrics are fitting to the title, and becomes slightly disturbing when Stockholm Syndrome is mentioned.
Kamisama ni Nattahi starts of with a solitary melody that when the beat joins in, feels as if you’re emerging from the depths of the LUNATIC sea. That submerged feeling is gone, and the song simply takes you by the hand and takes you on a journey. Reol’s vocals are a soft rap for the verses, while the chorus is sung. While Kamisame ni Nattahi sounds upbeat, and inspires movement, it defenitly carries sad undertones that reflect the lyrics (pertaining to regret) perfectly.
Amusingly enough ChiruChiru keeps with the aquatic feel the last two track had, but once again gives it to us in another way. This song is full of energy that’s trickled down upon us with its infectious beat and tune. The lyrics revolve around unrequited love.
9. – FINAL SIGMA –
More of an intermission, than an actual song – FINAL SIGMA – starts off with a few chords from a piano, then moves onto beats. There are vocals from Reol edited to sound more electronic, which towards the end of the track references the albums “flagship song.” There are no official lyrics provided for this track.
10. DetaramE KiddinG
Something about DetarmE KiddinG really just comes off as aggressive. Oh right, that attitude from Give Me a Break Stop Now is back. You can just hear it in how Reol is singing, but unlike from before DetarmE KiddinG is slower, and what I can only describe as “harder” which really emphasis the aggressive feel this song has. Somehow it’s both really chill, and in your face. It’s fantastic. Lyrics are somewhat all over the place.
Summer Horror Party does not sound scary at all, just getting that out of the way. In fact Summer Horror Party is a steady going happy sounding song which really does convey generic summer imagery. The song is upbeat the whole way through, and musically is a really feel good song. Ironically enough the lyrics are more or less about hating the summer, and preferring to stay indoors instead… among other things.
12. 404 not found
One word: Melancholic. 404 not found starts off with the piano, followed soon after with Reols vocals and the beat. The piano sets the mood of the song from the get go, and remains a constant in the verses. Further setting the mood are strings which take up the pianos mantle in the chorus. Stringed instruments always work wonders for this sort of song, and this is no exception. It’s not a huge presence but it defenitly helps with the mood. The song does pick up for a bit near the end with a rap, before finally closing with a final chorus. I’d say that the lyrics are existential in nature.
Just as VIP KID opened Sigma perfectly, the final track VIORA ends the album perfectly. It’s neither exclusively super upbeat, or slow and “chill,” rather it’s a bit of both. VIORA starts off with 404 not found‘s chorus in a instrumental form, before being joined by a louder more, persistent track coupled with the beat. VIORA balances it’s two sides rather well for a song that’s both relaxed, and somewhat aggressive. The lyrics fit it perfectly in the way it’s about a loveless relationship.
As a whole I feel as if Sigma can be broken down into three acts. The first act consisting of tracks 1-4 which serve as the hyper upbeat opening, while Act 2 tones it down with some slower songs, before finally Act 3 being made up of tracks 10-13 bring the album to a close with a healthy mix of both acts prior to it. I really can’t get over how great these songs were ordered Interestingly enough the lyrics remind me of my own writing, and appealed to me greatly because of it. If you liked what you heard in the preview, I recommend Sigma to you. If you like J-pop, I recommend Sigma to you. If you like EDM, I recommend Sigma to you. If you…. well you get the point. Here’s looking forward to REOL’s future projects.