Dark Model “Saga” – Review


“Sage” is potentially potent enough to replace your morning cup of coffee.
New York via Japan resident Tatsuya Oe’s Dark Model is an orchestral electronic masterpiece.  It is the second release under the Dark Model name by this award-winning music producer.  In the course of his 20-year career, Oe (also known as Captain Funk) has built an impressive list of accomplishments for his resume.  He has released hundreds of signature tracks that you have no doubt heard, and his music has been used in the trailers for the movies “Elysium” and “The Paperboy.”  Advertisement campaigns for Lexus, Verizon “Droid,” and Xbox also feature his work, and he has provided the music for a contemporary dance choreography for the Northern Ballet.  Tatsuya has also worked with high profile artists James Brown, Simon Lebon, and Chic.  What I just mentioned is simply a few of his accomplishments.

​Oe found his first Dark Model release, in 2014, nominated at the Independent Music Awards in the Dance/Electronica album category.  A great accolade for a first release of an experimental and nearly uncategorizable project such as Dark Model.

“Saga” is epic. Miriam Webster’s formal description for epic is:  extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope.  That is exactly what “Saga” is.   It is frantic, like World War III fought with musical genres.  It is uncategorizable and fast paced.  It is powerful, forceful, and ambitious.  It is also a beautiful work of art, like the finest oil painting done by the steadiest hand using the highest quality paints made of pigments containing the most exotic ingredients from around the world.
I found that each of the 13 tracks stand alone as individual pieces of art; as a film, as an experience, as a vision.  I also noted that collectively, all 13 tracks make sense in their positioning on the album, giving the listener a high energy, fast paced satisfying journey of epic proportions.  Through “Saga,” Oe takes the listener on a journey with peaks and valleys, with visual stimulation not often experienced through music alone.  There is so much going on in this release, at times I heard a four-minute visual description of a beautiful life from birth to death, at other times I envisioned driving fast on the Audubon.  I imagined a tragic foreign film filled with despair, death, tragedy; A Scandinavian “Highlander” of sorts.  In one track, I felt frantic and like caution was needed; as if I needed to make the decision of my life in a short period of time.  In addition to the stories that came to me through Oe’s composition, I found that contrasting artists would emerge.  For instance, on Track 3, “Rage and Redemption,” I imagined Finland’s symphonic metal band Nightwish and electronic DJ Skrillex double headlining at the famous Studio 54 in 1977.  Track 5 – Inferno Suite:  Norwegian black metal band Dimmu Borgir meets Adam Ant in 1982 came to my mind.

Oe absolutely got it right with “Saga.”  The beauty of this release is undeniable, the musicianship is stellar, and the conceptualization and composition is exquisite. Throughout, there is foreplay, buildup, climax, and then calm.  “Saga” is a universal work of art that will no doubt be universally enjoyed; it has no country, no ethnicity, no age, no era, no genre.
While you can potentially get a glimpse of what Oe might have been thinking by the track names, I’m sure he was intentionally vague in order to give us the gift of using our imagination.
While this release is stunning, I do not recommend listening to it while you sleep.  I found I was anxious, my heart was racing, and I felt a bit frantic, but I loved every minute of it.