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Music Spotlight: Not your usual Miku.


niconico link: sm14639636

Before you’ve reached even this far down this post, I assume you’ve listened, or are reading this while listening to the above music. I hope you’ve reached the same conclusion as me: “Sure sounds a lot like Radiohead.” Even if you don’t make the same connection, it’s not the usual upbeat Vocaloid music.

So is it really that different from any similar Vocaloid music? It’s a sound I hear all the time in the rock space of music: shoegazing and what not. But I hardly ever get to hear it in the Vocaloid community. It’s detached from the usual cheery stuff. All of the Vocaloid music I had been listening to are generally of the lighter-hearted and cheery sounding music. It’s meant to energize — even if the lyrics are to be interpreted as scary or anything other than optimistic. More importantly to me, the song I’m linking to is a Vocaloid being used for a focused sound: sinister and moody. The effectiveness of a voice among it’s own kind of instruments — synthesized — is incredibly powerful. The sounds of synthesizers amplify Miku’s ability to reach eerie tones, something I normally thought was reserved for the analog and living.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Vocaloid stuff. I’ve been around the stuff for a while, but it wasn’t until the last month or two that I decided to invest time into looking for Vocaloid music.  I gravitate towards the stuff that’s not very catchy nor flashy. I’ve found that I really like the music that uses the Vocaloid music banks — which we all recognize as characters (e.g. Miku, Luka, Rin, Len, Kaito) — as another instrument.

Yes, the previous statement sounds obvious, but there’s a fairly distinct and detectable difference between Vocaloid composers. On one hand, there are those who prefer writing lyric centric songs and have the kind of melody and backing that’s intended for the voice to stand out. In most cases, this is what people do. It is an easier way to write music for Vocaloid, and in no way do I dislike it. There’s plenty of songs that I’ve heard that are very good that take this route. Songs like Ura-Omote Lovers by wowoka and World Is Mine by Ryo are driven by the voice and lyrics, which should already be emphasized by the mix.

Then there’s the ones that feel like they’re written with instruments before Vocaloid is taken into account. To some, the order of things is writing the instrumentation first, then implement the voice, and later, back and forth tweaking to compliment the ranges and mood within the song. Often these songs have to be imaginative about structure and implement flourishes within the song to keep it interesting. Sometimes you can hear the vocals being mixed into the music at low volume, as if to the hide the lyrics. The melody might not be as catchy, but it fits right in with the rest of the instruments — never feeling like it’s stepping over heads just to be heard, nor is it way in the back to fly under the radar. Kiichi, a.k.a. NantokaP, is the kind that does this. Should be no surprise since he’s done BGM for games such as Corpse Party. Admittedly, while I’ve been addicted to his music, I’m not sure it would fit in a Hatsune Miku live concert. Wouldn’t complain if it showed up.

Keep an eye out for kiichi’s music. The caliber of his compositions are nothing to sneeze at, unless you’re near allergens and can’t help it. Speaking of which, kiichi wrote Fluticasone, a great song featuring Luka. Straight from wikipedia, fluticasone is a synthetic glutocorticoid that acts as an anti-inflammatory. The more common variant is fluticasone propionate, which is used to treat asthma and hay fever.

.. What a derail.

I suggest using this link to get an mp3. Just in case you folks want to download it.

-maserbeam