Sunday, August 14, 2011

Revived Spotlight: L'arc~en~Ciel

This spotlight was originally posted on April 2002. We're re-posting it again now, since it's timely. L'arc~en~Ciel has been celebrating their 20th anniversary since the start of the year and has been doing concerts throughout 2011. The most recent, L'Anniversary Concert, was held last May 28–29, 2011  at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo.

Here's Firesenshi's original April 2002 article. My updates are at the very bottom.

>>> L'ar~ En~Ciel
One of Japan's leading JRock groups joined other elite members of the Japanese music industry in putting up songs for the Rurouni Kenshin Soundtrack.
When Tetsuya was forming a band, he just thought the french word for "rainbow" sounded cool. He probably had no idea how fitting the name would be for their rock group. Their sound is as diverse as its members, and as colorful as their band name. It's a mixture of heavy metal, techno, rock and pop.

L'arc~en~Ciel (Raruku to their most beloved of fans) was formed in February 1991. Its original members were Tetsu (bass), Hyde (vocals/guitar), Hiro (lead guitar) and Pero (drums). When Hiro left the scene, Tetsu decided to phone longtime friend Ken, who was then taking up an architectural course in a university. Well, our beloved bassist and band leader Tetsu must have awesome powers of persuasion, because he did talk Ken into joining L'arc~en~Ciel. It was smooth sailing then for the band, because by November of 1992, they have already released their first single, "Flood of Tears". Unfortunately, though, by December, Pero left the band. It was then that Sakura came into the scene, becoming an official member by April of 1993. It was also this time that L'arc~en~Ciel released their first album, "Dune". Success was spelled out for the band, as they soon made tours, videos, albums, and concerts from left to right.

But in 1997, Sakura was arrested for illegal drug use. L'arc~en~Ciel's career came to a halt. Their single, "Fourth Avenue Cafe" was cancelled (but for a time, it was made into RK's ending theme, before the whole incident with Sakura). However, after a few months without any sign of the band, it suddenly rose to the surface with a concert in Tokyo Dome--and a new drummer in tow, Yukihiro (who was an old member of the band Die in Cries). To say that their fans welcomed them back with open arms is an understatement. Their tickets were sold out in a total of four minutes, breaking the record of ticket sales in Tokyo Dome.

As of now, L'arc~en~Ciel continues to be one of the biggest jrock names around. Not only have theysold over 500 million copies of some double albums, but they also continue in making over a score of hit singles, and quite a number of albums to their credit. To the anime, manga and RPG fandom, they are best known for their songs "Niji", "Fourth Avenue Cafe", "Blurry Eyes", and "Spirits Dream Inside". The first two songs were included in Rurouni Kenshin OSTs; the third was made into DNA2's opening song; the last one, was used as the theme song of the amazing Final Fantasy movie, "Spirits Within". It doesn't end there. They make themselves known outside Japan, too. Their song "Lose Control" was included in the asian release of "Godzilla" OST. Another one, "Passion Road", rocked the scene of a Toyota commercial which was aired in Asia.

To most bands trekking Japan's hottest pop and rock music scenes, this is as big as it can get. And it doesn't look like they'll be fading any time soon--if the years they've spent in the limelight is any indication.

Skysenshi's note as of August 14, 2011

After Firesenshi wrote the above article, the band went into hiatus for a couple of years, while the individual members went on to pursue solo projects. Proving that L'arc~en~Ciel can stand the test of time, they reunited in 2004 and released "Ready Steady Go", which was later used as the opening theme of Fullmetal Alchemist.

Perhaps one of the most interesting reinventions they did as a band was when they called themselves P'unk~en~Ciel. Though they have gone through incarnations as The Zombies and D'ark-en-Ciel, it was as P'unk~en~Ciel that they actually changed roles: Hyde on guitar, Yukihiro on the bass, Ken on the drums and Tetsuya on the vocals. Having Tetsuya do the vocals actually affected their sound so they really came out sounding more like punk than rock. This is surely a testament to their vast array of skills and versatility. Besides that, they're still looking good as ever. It's hard to believe that in other countries, they'd probably be considered old men.

We're definitely looking forward to more of their ingenuity for years to come! =^.^=

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