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Now Hear This: Saga - Dark Model

Rating: ****1/2

Must Listen: Rage and Redemption, Survivors, Storm Goddess

Skip: None. (Seriously listen to all of them)

Tatsuya Oe is one of the most important names in independent electronic music. His project, Dark Model, has been featured in movie trailers, nationwide commercial ad campaigns, and the first album (released in May of 2014) was nominated for the 14th Annual Independent Music Awards (The IMAs) in the Dance/Electronica Album category. Needless to say I was pretty excited to check this one out.

Check out Rage and Redemption here:

My first impression of “Saga” is that it sounds like awesome video game music. The first track, Prelude, sounds like it could be used in an action flick. It’s intro sounds like the theme song to a perpetrator being 2 steps behind you. It then picks up a blistering pace that leads to the songs crescendo. Awesome stuff. Track 2, Avalon, sounds like a post-apocalypric victory march. But you’re not exactly sure if it was the good guys that won. Survivors starts with a dramatic violin intro and then moves into an almost hypnotic Mega Man-ish 8-bit vibe. This is definitely the song you listen to after you just spent 30 hours beating a video game in 1989. The best groove on the album thus far. Rage and Redemption sounds exactly like the title would lead you to believe. A high-paced tune with haunting chant harmonies. Inferno Suite and Labyrynth continue the trend of haunting techno-orchestra with the latter being especially horror film-esque. Storm Goddess stand out due to it’s incredible machine gun beat. Another amazing track. The Edgar Allen Poe inspired, Danse Macabre, sounds like a very nuanced anime soundtrack. The vocal track alone can inspire a trance. Elegy has a different pacing than the rest. It’s the album’s first ballad and is a welcome change to the frenetic energy of the first eight cuts. The last song is called Dawn of Resurrection and it starts slow. That doesn’t last long as it builds and builds until we get to the anthemic and harmonized outro. A perfect ending. Dark Model gives you the option to listen to Rage and Redemption, Inferno Suite, and Danse Macabre without the choir at the end if that’s your thing.

Listen, if instrumental-video game-techno-orchestral-anime-horror film music is what you dig the most, then this album is perfect. Even if you don’t generally like that, it’s close to perfect. Go get on a treadmill, put on your headphones, and pretend that there is a killer chasing you. This is the soundtrack for it. You’ll burn some calories and an hour will seem like 10 minutes. Seriously. You gotta hear this.

Dark Model is Tatsuya Oe

Produced by: Tatsuya Oe