Various Artists

Exit Tunes Presents: Vocalostar

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Vocaloid is something of a craze in Japan, a software package that allows the user to synthesize typed words into speech and add melodies. Club DJ in a box. Add to the mix anime-styled characters to represent the various available voices, and there's potential for full-fledged fad-dom. On Vocalostar, a number of self-styled DJ pieces using the Vocaloid program are presented, ranging from slightly tango-infused balladry to hyper-saccharine girl pop. Most use the most recent and popular Vocaloid voice, Hatsune Miko, though a few additional voices (with more character and less sugar) are presented for good measure. The album as a whole is something of a mishmash of styles as well as quality. A few pieces are standouts, tech-heavy and tech-savvy singer/songwriter stylings. Others are lackluster pieces of over-produced shininess with chipmunk-style vocals but without a soul (somewhat literally as well, being synthesized). Fans in Japan have, and will, snap copies up. Others should probably avoid in favor of more authentic formats.