Translation

Sound Detective: Fragrance

I was translating the next chunk of The Air Moon when I got to this part where someone says what they hear during the spoken part of “Fragrance” as performed live. Unfortunately I don’t have the Kagen no Tsuki DVD (for shame!) but with clips on YouTube I can sort of understand why they heard the particular thing they did. In contrast, the myriad things I hear include:

Five…one…zero…fish…

I…sell…borrow…fish…

I…so…self…ish…

I…finish…myself (←Particularly interesting possibility in light of his amorous advances on that mike stand and the fact that his left hand disappears under his coat for a little bit after singing this part.)

Now, the live version is different from the album version, but I don’t know if it’s the same as the single version (“Fragrance” was the b-side to “ANOTHER WORLD,” released in the fall of 2001, over a year before the tour began). In any case, the album version would be impossible for Gackt to have performed completely live, as his singing starts overlapping with his whispering around the 3:45 mark. For 13 years I’ve heard this part as “Whisper whisper…whisper mouth sounds…really soft whispers…kimi dake wa…whisper whisper…more intense whisper…kimi ni todoku you ni…” The parts I could make out translate to “Only you… So that […] reach[es] you…” Given that, I always assumed this was the usual Gackt-esque lyric about not forgetting, hugging, and reaching, and never tried to investigate further despite absolutely loving this track. But after reading the question in The Air Moon, I decided to do some sleuthing.

First, I listened to the track again, several times, and couldn’t make out anything other than what I’d always heard. Then, I Googled in Japanese the same question that appears in the book. I got this page with one possible answer. After reading it once, I went back to iTunes to see if I could hear any of those words without reading them simultaneously. I couldn’t. And since I didn’t want to be influenced into hearing those words, I decided to turn to iTunes’ built-in equalizer to try to isolate the whispering as much as possible, temporarily halting the online search.

You might want to try this yourself before reading my conclusion. Of course, I’m a n00b when it comes to sound engineering, so if you know more than I do, you can probably think of a better way. Also, since everyone’s hearing is different, I don’t know if I can give any general tips other than “Use an uncompressed file or at least a not as bad file such as AAC if not the legit CD itself,” “Use good headphones in a quiet environment,” and maybe, “Eliminate all frequencies ≦500Hz.”

No matter which headphones I used (Sennheiser HD555 & my $20 Audio-Technicas worked the best, the Koss Porta Pros were meh for this) or what I was listening from, doing the last thing definitely helped. I was able to pick out more of the whispers without reading others’ conjectures this way.

Using the MOON CD, I got the most audible whisper using the Classical preset as my starting point, then dropping all frequencies equal to and less than 500Hz, and dropping all others by 3 steps from their preset positions. I also dropped the preamp and had the Sound Enhancer (in iTunes preferences) set to High.

Using the MOON CD, I got the most audible whisper using the Classical preset as my starting point, then dropping all frequencies equal to and less than 500Hz, and dropping all others by 3 steps from their preset positions. I also dropped the preamp a bit and had the Sound Enhancer (in iTunes preferences) set to High.

 

Had to drop things more with the AAC file. Also, I forgot to check with the CD what setting the Sound Enhancer to "Low" would do, but as it made the whisper significantly harder to pick up on the AAC file, I assume the same would have happened with the CD.

Had to drop things more with the AAC file. Also, I forgot to check with the CD what setting the Sound Enhancer to “Low” would do, but as it made the whisper significantly harder to pick up on the AAC file, I assume the same would have happened with the CD.

Ultimately, what I heard was closer to what’s posted on this other page by user skyhigh8183, although for the life of me I can’t catch the part I highlighted in red:

君との約束を守れなくて本当にすまないと思ってる
どうしても言わなくてはいけないこと
君だけは無事に逃げて欲しい
この手紙にのせた僕の想いが君に届くことを

kimi to no yakusoku wo mamorenakute hontou ni sumanai to omotteru
doushite mo iwanakute wa ikenai koto
kimi dake wa buji ni nigetehoshii
kono tegami ni noseta boku no omoi ga kimi ni todoku koto wo

I truly feel bad about not being able to keep the promise I made with you
What I had to say [to you] no matter what
I want only you to run away safely
I [wish for] my thoughts, written in this letter, to reach you

The words in brackets aren’t explicitly stated, but are understood from the rest of the grammatical construction. Also, while the red in the second line is completely incomprehensible to me, the red in the fourth line, “omoi” (thoughts) is sort of there. Honestly to me it sounds more like “oe,” which, by itself, would make no sense. “Koe” (voice) would make sense, but there’s no hard k sound in there. I think it probably is omoi and my brain just can’t put it together properly in the same way I thought Taylor Swift was saying “Gotta love those Starbucks lovers” for the longest time.

Anyway, the user who posted below skyhigh added, “This was in some magazine a long time ago,” but as they don’t give any further details, there’s no way for me to feasibly track it down. It doesn’t appear to be printed anywhere in The Air Moon. However, now when I listen to the track with all the frequencies in, I can’t not hear these words (save for the parts in red). So, I’m pretty sure that he is whispering if not these precise words, something very close to them.

18 thoughts on “Sound Detective: Fragrance

          • lol ‘She sells sea shells by the sea shore’
            Now I kind of want to hear a tonguetwister from him. No, a whole song as a tonguetwister. xD

          • Ohhh my god that takes me back to Japanese class in college. We were challenged to “Nama mugi nama gome nama tamago” (raw wheat raw rice raw eggs)…back then it was so difficult! I would love to hear GACKT doing tongue twisters. Preferably while drunk. He’d probably trip up and get all cute-frustrated about it. Kyaaa! XD♡

          • Wait, I found one! XD This is a recording from when GACKT was doing radio shows. This one’s from 1999. Someone wrote in and asked him to do a tongue twister, “Bun bun bun.” GACKT replied that actors often sing this kind of thing when studying, and said that he was pretty good at this sort of thing.

            Video here:

            I think the words don’t mean anything, but maybe they do?

            ぶるんぶるんぶるん 
            はるちるがるとるぶるん
            おるいるけるのるまるわるりるにる
            のるばるなるがるさるいるたるよる
            ぶるんぶるんぶるん
            はるちるがるとるぶるん

            Burun burun burun
            Haru chiru garu toru burun
            oru iru keru noru maru waru riru niru
            noru baru naru garu saru iru taru yoru
            burun burun burun
            haru chiru garu toru burun

          • Aw thank you! ‘Burun burun burun’ 🙂 It was very cute
            Meant to ask you about something he said on another episode of the show. In the clip below, what does he say after ‘I was totally shocked’? I’ve had a friend translate it all for me except the final part which is too fast. Since you’ve done such a good job with Fragrance, this one should be a piece of cake, I think. 🙂

            (I’m sorry, I just can’t figure out private messages on wp.)

          • Hm, far as I know, there are no private messages on WordPress itself.

            I think I heard Takumi’s voice mixed in there, is this clip from the new video BloMaga? I stopped keeping up with the blomaga over a year ago… Haven’t watched Game Center either.

            Anyway, I couldn’t catch the very last thing he said (it might be a reference to something that happened earlier that isn’t in this clip), but what he said after being shocked was “Not ‘Jakuto’! The kanji would be ‘weak person,’ so [????].”

            It’s kinda funny because in English “Jacked” could mean “very muscular” but if “Jakuto” were a name it might be written 弱人 (“weak person”). LOL

          • There are no pms on wp? But I did come across a couple of tutorials that could help installing some plugins or something for pms. Weird. What other lies have I been told? xD

            Uhm, no, the clip is just as old as the Burun burun burun one. The voice you could hear must be the man who was there in the studio with him back then.

            Why thank you! Now it all makes a little more sense.

            Just in case, is there any other site WITH PMS I could contact you on? 🙂

          • Ahh, no, you weren’t lied to, but the people (including me) you spoke to gave you inaccurate info.

            Blogs hosted through wordpress.COM (like mine) don’t support the addition of plugins beyond those the blog plan came with. Sites built with wordpress.ORG, however, do allow for plugins, such as various PM ones. But with wordpress.org you have to host the site yourself, and do a bunch of other stuff yourself, and I wasn’t sure how to do all that so I went with a .com blog. XD

            I can receive PMs on LiveJournal even though I’m using it through OpenID. You’re in Oh GACKT You Didn’t, right? If you go to the latest CAGS posts you’ll see comments from me as “scales_of_libra [wordpress.com]”; if you hover over my user pic you should get the usual menu that includes “Send message.” I assume. I’ve sent PMs to proper LJ accounts and received responses so it should work. ^_^v

          • I’ve tried reaching you on lj following the instructions that you provided, but all in vain. I just can’t see the ‘send a message’ option on the menu.
            Do you thnk you could send me a message on lj? http://1-aeryn.livejournal.com/

            Thank you!

    • Thanks! Would you happen to have heard of Gackt before? If not this (“Fragrance”) is a beautiful track to start with. Maybe not the live version as the visuals might be… distracting on the first listen.

    • That would actually make a lot of sense! I can hear “By…my…SELF!” at the very end, but when he first starts whispering the sounds are a bit shapeless. That said, I didn’t try listening to it over and over and over since I figured it would be pointless without a high-quality sound source.

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