Album review for Kaoru Ono’s Music Tranquilizer

For lovers of Shibuya-kei music, albums by new hip-and-groovy artists are becoming harder and harder to find in modern Japan. Thankfully, Kaoru Ono is bringing this sound back into fashion. His debut album, Music Tranquilizer, reminds me so much of Capsule’s “space station No. 9”, that I expected Kaoru to be another cute apple-cheeked female with a bobbed haircut – not so!

Mr. Ono is not alone in his retro adventures; two members from Domo artist JABBERLOOP make cameos in tracks 4,7, and 8 wielding both the sax and the trumpet. There aren’t really any lyrics on Music Tranquilizer until Suzuyo Miyamoto and Cho (from Pablo) kick up the tempo in track ten. It’s a short album topping out at nine compositions (including the intro), so the three bonus remixes stretch it out to proper length.

This jazzy lounge album blends seamlessly into one unit of sound without silence between tracks, so it’s absolutely ideal for setting ambiance at a little fête or event. It is ideal pool party material, so perhaps this is why the graphics of this album revolve around water. The external shots are big and blue, depicting children floating in a public pool. The album booklet has two-page spreads of young adults relaxing at Iceland’s gorgeous geothermal spa Blue Lagoon. Even if you can’t say it in Icelandic, Bláa lónið, you can still enjoy the cool beats of Music Tranquilizer. Now, where is my bottle of Wild Cherry Phosphate?

Until I can find it, check out this Youtube video of Kaoru Ono jamming with (Daisuke and Makoto from JABBERLOOP) on the song “Liquid Sky”:

written by Jessica Aves

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Kaoru Ono: Music Tranquilizer

Track List
01. Geometric Gate
02. Jazz Affect
03. Ladybug Soul
04. Batucada feat. DAISUKE (from JABBERLOOP)
05. Future Lounge ’71 feat. Ray Tekuramori
06. Tranquilizer
07. Liqud Sky feat. DAISUKE & MAKOTO (from JABBERLOOP)
08. in the Air feat. MAKOTO (from JABBERLOOP)
09. While Waiting For…
Bonus Track
10. Batucada (outerspace extended vocal mix)
11. Tranquilizer (outerspace Remix)
12. Jazz Affect (RUDEJACK Remix)

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