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.

Music Spotlight: Not your usual Miku.

Miku & Gumi again.

Yes, they’re back, and I believe my last post on Miku involved these two. But besides that, I don’t write very often for the music section of this site. Let’s rectify that.

I stumbled upon a Miku & Gumi song called Matryoshka. It employs a favorite song structure technique that I tend to use myself. It shifts it’s key upwards towards the minor third from the first root heard. My wording is probably off; I never properly studied music theory so I can only do so much. Just imagine the standard guitar minor scale being shifted to the right on the neckboard (on a right handed guitar) three frets.

Anyways, there’s that. Back to playing the Final Fantasy XIV Open Beta.

Miku & Gumi again.

Gumi vs Miku! Fight!

Drawn by sakon

I’m pretty late to the party, but now or never. I found two VOCALOID videos of Miku and Gumi singing the song Dearest that’s from the ED of Inuyasha’s 3rd season. If you haven’t heard that song yet, you can go visit youtube and find it there. There’s a couple of duds though, so try to find the Japanese one with Hamasaki Ayumi singing. After that, hit these links:

(Miku version), and (Gumi version).

I already knew Miku and her cohorts would be able to sing like humans if they simulated the effects of breathing. A human sings on lung capacity and a machine doesn’t. I find that interesting to realize that a perfect singer (i.e. vocaloids) needs to have human flaws if we want to hear good singing.

In any case, my nutbladder nearly exploded when I heard Gumi sing Dearest. Japan, the land of Nutbladder Targetting Weaponry, I salute you.

Gumi vs Miku! Fight!

Will Miku Append put the “Crypt” in “Crypton”?

New Miku designed to thrill fans greeted with general discontent.
The "new" Hatsune Miku

The image above is of the “new” Hatsune Miku designed by Crypton Future Media which graced the cover of the box for the virtual idol’s second release entitled “CV01 Hatsune Miku Append”. Crypton is widely accepted to be the leader in the VOCALOID world when it comes to vocal quality and merchandising, so when Crypton made the unexpected announcement that they would be changing the pictures for all of their characters with the new releases, people were generally displeased.

It is not the fact that the image has changed that makes this so big a deal, it’s the principle of the matter. Put simply, Crypton made an unforgivable mistake. They forgot that their entire operation is 100% community-driven. In the VOCALOID world, making a change in what a character looks like is tantamount to changing the words to a national anthem. It’s true that it may not be that big of a deal on the outside, but it changes the heart and soul of the thing. Crypton’s decision to change what Miku looks like came without researching how the community would react, and now they feel the consequences. Sales of Hatsune Miku Append, though expected to be high due to very advanced technology and sound-quality, came short of what was expected and now Crypton has some serious decisions to make.

The main problem VOCALOID fans now face is, “Which one is the right one?”, and to a lesser extent, “what about the old images?” Crypton’s misguided move has possibly made tens of thousands of fan-created images incorrect, and more than this actually causes damage, it makes the community feel less attached to Miku, which is terrible news for Crypton indeed, given that their largest income comes straight from the people’s love for the virtual singer.

I understand that playing hardball in the business world is necessary, especially when it involves idols (virtual or not). But this is not the normal business world; this is a business that took off after a joke video that became an internet meme, and is supported entirely by a cult following. There is really no margin for error.

For now, the question remains unanswered, “Does this mark the beginning of the end for Crypton and Miku?” Possibly yes, and possibly no. Crypton still has enough income to stay afloat after a haphazard mistake like this, but if they continue with their previously-stated plan to re-design all of their VOCALOID characters, who knows what could happen?

Close-up of the new “Hatsune Miku Append” Figure

Will Miku Append put the “Crypt” in “Crypton”?

Enter, the VOtaku…

Miku vs. Loser

Koda-P here, I have been thinking for some time now about how I should start an introduction post, and I decided to go plain and simple:

I am a music-composer by hobby and career currently meddling in Game Music for indie projects as well as producing VOCALOID music for fun.

I will be joining this blog mainly to report on small musical discoveries that I make, but also to cover other non-related topics (such as one article-series that will be appearing very soon).

With this, I hope to be an informative, but entertaining source of knowledge to you all.

As a wise man once said: “Bye!”

Enter, the VOtaku…