Written by Kevin Kurber
Now here is an album that’s built for a niche audience. It’s a damn fine album, one that has the capacity to tug at your heartstrings, but you’ll find that you will be able to get the most out of Ventla’s fansubbed last words if you happen to be a gamer and/or lover of Japanese things. Ventla has been quite prolific since his debut in 2011, and he has quite the ambition under his nose: according to his tumblr and last.fm page, “Ventla is in the process of releasing 100 digital albums for free over the coming years.” His latest album, ultraviolet, marks off one-quarter of this goal as album number 25. Though I have only heard a few of his albums, the one to grab my attention first was number 20, fansubbed last words, and it’s easy to see why.
This is a very immediate album, it wastes no time getting into action and laying all its cards onto the table at once. An excited “fujix” opens the album, instantly and eagerly establishing the album’s sound, getting straight to the core of the song with a nostalgic looping synth piece and some faded guitar strumming. Right when you’re about to sink into the warming atmosphere, the song ends. Wham bam. Looking at the tracklist you’ll see this is simply how the album works; every one of FLW’s 19 tracks is only 1 minute in length, and every one of them follows the same premise. Melodic synths, Game Boy sampling, warped, funky electronics and a taste for 90s geek culture. No time is wasted with this 20 minute feel trip of assorted homebody sentiments, flashing from teary-eyed Sega Genesis jingles to dreamy anime backdrop tunes like a pack of ringtones. Actually, the songs here do make for pretty good ringtones (I made “hot news” my ringer as soon as I heard it). While this makes for a snappy listen, it also leaves a lot to be desired in its short runtime and lack of song evolution. There’s ultimately not enough depth to warrant much longevity, but what’s here is very charming for what it’s worth. If you happen to have an affinity for the niche this album caters to, you’ll find these little songs to be sweet, dainty embellishments of your childhood (or present) with a distinct Japanese sound and a penchant for 16-bit gaming. If that sort of thing tickles your fancy, you will enjoy but may still feel underwhelmed by fansubbed last words, which is truly over before it really begins. Well, at least you have 99 more albums to look forward to.
Ventla’s discography is available for free download on his last.fm page here: