I’ve wanted to do one of these for a while! There’s quite a few albums coming out for C88, so I’m going to list them in some sort of vague order, with my most hyped albums first. Also, I was originally going to put Sally’s planned album ‘Less 2’ as #2 on my list, but according to a Twitter update by Wani, the album won’t be released at this event. It looks like he’s been having some personal troubles lately, so please send some positive thoughts his way 🙂
Also, I moved Machikado-Mapoze’s Greatest Hits album to #2 in place of the Sally album, but then they disbanded. So they won’t be releasing the album at C88. 😦
If you have any recommendations, or if there’s an album that you’re really looking forward to, feel free to comment! [I’m releasing an album, too…]
1. Butaotome’s “Maiden Purgatory Vol. 3” [少女煉獄 第三巻, ‘shoujo rengoku daisankan]
“Chinoiserie that swims through the night sky. A catharsis that speaks. We packed the maidens’ bittersweetness into a single CD, overflowing with Chinese tastes. This is a Touhou full vocal album in which neon lights sway – the third in the series.”
If you’ve been following along, you probably know that Butaotome’s one of my favourite circles, second only to Shinra-Bansho. And, of course, they don’t disappoint with this album! Based on the original themes alone, I’d say I like this one much more than the second one, and possibly even more than number one. It’s got both Sumireko and Kasen’s themes, and there’s even an arrangement from the LoLK demo, along with favourites like Desire Drive and Suwa Foughten Field. I could ramble on for ages, but basically I’m looking forward to it, and I’m looking forward to translating it! [There’s a best-of album for Paprika’s piano arrangements, too – just imagine that’s combined with this album…]
By the way, Violet (from the ‘Fried World’ blog) opened up a Butaotome fansite in English called ‘Tiramisu Cowboy’ – feel free to head on over and have a look around.
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3. Liz Triangle’s “インモータル フィロソフィー”
Kaztora suddenly announced that he’d made another album a few days after I posted up this list, so this album’s a bit of a late addition. Anyway, the title track is an arrangement of Kasen’s theme, which immediately makes it awesome in my eyes. I really like how kaztora blends chiptune sounds in his Liz Triangle albums, even if I like the vocalists featured in the Shinra-Bansho albums just a bit more. I get the feeling that インモータル is just a different spelling of ‘immortal,’ but I don’t want to make a judgement until I read the lyrics. Which will be by azuki *cheers*
4. AbsoЯute Zero‘s “Absolute One”
A new circle makes their debut with style! The main vocalist is Rute, from A-One [which explains the circle name], and the main arranger is someone called 梗. The album covers the tracks from the LoLK demo, which is awesome. I already translated the second track, and I particularly enjoy tracks 3 and 7, probably because I love the original themes. Of course, if male vocals aren’t your thing, steer clear.
(The Japanese title uses the first kanji from 妖, so using the acronym of the English title has a similar effect) Anyway, KOKYO Active NEETs is a sister circle of TOKYO Active NEETs, but focused on orchestral arrangements – live recordings made with a fully-equipped orchestra. They started off with Kancolle arrangements, but
thankfully they switched to Touhou. I have no idea how the leader managed to rustle all these professional musicians together, but if they manage to make one of these albums for all of the main games, I’ll be one happy orchestral music nerd. My one reservation is that they chose to arrange the Prisimrivers’ theme rather than ‘The Capital City of Flowers in the Sky.’ That would have made this album perfect!
In true Diao ye zong style, this album has a theme – ‘A World of What-ifs.’
[No relation to ‘A Tale of What-ifs’…] Unfortunately, Kushi [Φ串Φ] is absent this time, replaced with 3L (the 3L?). Doubly-unfortunately, I’m not really a fan of the track she stars in [vibrato issues, but oh well]. My personal favourites from the crossfade are true outsiders, カ-210号の嘆き, and A transient faith. I must admit, I’m disappointed there’s no arrangement of Sumireko’s theme this time. Maybe RD’s saving it for C89? In regards to the album title, I translated the kanji as ‘Metaphor,’ [since that’s apparently its meaning], but part of me feels like ‘Example’ might be a better fit (given that ‘tatoe’ sounds like ‘tatoeba,’ which means ‘for example’].
By the way, after actually listening to the album, I have to take back what I said about 3L’s track! I really enjoy it now. It’s one of those rare instances where the crossfade doesn’t do the whole track justice.
7. Hatsunetsumiko’s “Girls in the Mirror”
According to Twitter, Tim Vegas ran into some difficulties whilst putting this album together. Thankfully, he managed to get it all finished. Basically, this album is full of dance arrangements of tracks from the Sealing Club CDs. Is it just me, or are they getting arranged more lately? I’m not complaining. I’d say my favourite tracks so far are ‘Embrace’ and ‘Satellite Rendezvous’ [is that scatting I can here in there?]. There’s a Wind of Agartha arrangement in there as well, but I can’t really hear Wind of Agartha in there. That happened the last time it appeared in a Hatsunetsumiko’s album, too…
8. DDBY’s “Synth de Touhou II”
I was a big fan of the 1st Synth de Touhou album, which covered most of the tracks from UFO. The arrangements have that ‘old-school’ feel to them, without going all the way back to NES sounds – I think it’s refreshing. This one focuses on the tracks from the two photography spinoffs, Shoot the Bullet and Double Spoiler. Let’s face it, Double Spoiler tracks in particular are criminally overlooked. My favourite’s probably ‘The Mystery in Your Town,’ simply because I can count the number of arrangements of it on one hand. Thank you, DDBY.
9. TUMENECO’s “ヒミツナグモノ”
To be honest, I placed this at this spot before I even knew what the album was about, simply because I saw Sumireko on the front cover. And of course, the title track is an arrangement of Sumireko’s theme. And a pretty good one, too, judging from the crossfade! I held off from translating the title because it looks like a pun. I’ll save it until I get around to translating it, if it happens. Other than that, it appears to be a ‘best-of-album,’ lacking the rearrangements found in the RE.TMNC series. I don’t know if it’s just me, but TUMENECO’s releases always seem to be so disjointed, so a greatest hits album actually suits them quite well. Did I mention that the majority of the tracks are mashups? Awesome!
10. GET IN THE RING’s “An Ordinary Life”
Another solid album from GET IN THE RING. And, of course, it begins with ‘A.’ Apparently they do it so their albums are at the top of everyone’s playlists? I’m not sure if that’s the case, but if so, it’s a clever ploy… The standout track for me is Unbind. Simply because it’s an arrangement of Kasen’s theme. And the world needs more of them. I’m a Mie fan, and this album (kind of) makes up for her minor appearance in “On That Day, I Looked Up at the Sky.”
11. Sound CYCLONE’s “Touhou Funk Love” [トウホウファンクラブ]
I was doing some research whilst translating Soup (in A), and I discovered this album. Apparently, it’s been three years since Sound CYCLONE last released a Touhou album(?). The title’s a play on words – the katakana can be read as ‘Funk Love’ and ‘Fan Club.’ Clever. This album falls under the genre of funk, and it’s cool. It’s chill, whatever that means. And it’s got a Reverse Ideology arrangement, too, which makes it even more chill. I’d say my favourite tracks from the crossfade are #3, #6, #7 and #8. The Nuclear Fusion arrangement is great – definitely worth a listen. Hopefully it won’t be three years before they release another album… *sweatdrops*
12. Pizuya’s Cell’s “The Celestial Maiden’s Window Side” [飛天少女ノ窓際 – ‘hiten shoujo no madogiwa’]
Fun fact: Hiten was the name given to Japan’s first lunar probe, and it was given the English name ‘Celestial Maiden.’ The term itself originated in Buddhism. Putting that aside, I’m a big fan of Godwood’s piano arrangements (I started following them with his Ten Desires album). This album covers Immaterial and Missing Power, along with Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, and the arrangements are suitably awesome. They’re not quite as chill as Paprika’s arrangements, but they also avoid the trap of being straight-out covers, like in a lot of Marasy’s albums.
13. Toranoana’s “Uroboros 4 – ～dEATHtINYoVERdRIVE～ [東方幻奏響UROBOROS肆]
I though the title was pronounced “Death in Yoverdrive,” but I took a proper look at the logo and apparently it’s meant to be “Deathiny Overdrive.” Anyway, this compilation album seems like it’s a cut above the others – TUMENECO’s covering Wind of Agartha, NSY’s providing a Sally track, Butaotome’s providing their usual remix of Hartmann’s Youkai girl, and so on and so forth. But! The most exciting part of this compilation album (for me, at least…) is the fact that Shinra-Bansho is participating for the first time. Their track is an arrangement of Orin’s theme, ‘ハイカラ―’ (‘Stylish’), and according to a Twitter update, kaztora both arranged and wrote the lyrics for this one. It promises to be weird and wonderful…
14. Find Your Way’s “Fade / Time”
For those of you who don’t already know, Find Your Way is one of Veto’s circles, classified under the genre of “Touhou Emo.” Normally, I’d shy away from this style of music, but I gave the crossfade a listen, and it’s a really solid album! The first track ‘there’s the Burger King…’ is an arrangement of ‘A Soul as Red as a Ground Cherry,’ and it’s really addictive. I’m always up for more arrangements of that theme. Some of the tracks also feature live trumpet recordings, which is cool. Apart from the first track, I’m also quite fond of #2 (an arrangement of ‘Little Princess’ – awesome!), #8, and #11. Veto’s playing live in Japan next week, so send some positive energy his way!
15. DDBY’s “Cafe de Touhou 7”
The series reaches Mountain of Faith. To be honest, I normally listen to these albums when I’m studying or writing essays or stuff like that – they’re so soothing! (Especially when you have to write 9000 words of essays…) I quite like the arrangement of ‘Faith is for the Transient People,’ as well as the arrangement of ‘Suwa Foughten Field.’ I’m assuming it features the same saxophonist who featured in their EoSD sax album – it sounds too good to be a VST…
16. Cajiva’s Gadget Shop’s “Sept florum”
“Hey, Merry… How about a moldy occult tale to pass this sultry night?”
This album’s an instrumental album, just like DDBY’s one, but it’s not the sort of one I’d listen to to relax… *sweatdrops* It’s marketed as a ‘tribal house’ album, and the tracks certainly live up to that name. They all have such a strong, lively beat to them. There’s also not one, but two Last Occultism arrangements, so this one’s recommended if you’re a Sumireko fan.
17. Akatsuki Records’ “LOVE EAST -to the beginning 04-“
Defying tradition, Akatsuki Records is releasing another full-length album right after their previous one. Based on first impressions alone, I like their previous album more, but this one’s still good. It even has a cool arrangement of Rumia’s theme! Somehow, Stack manages to sing that really quick intro bit at the start of the original. There’s also an arrangement of Kasen’s theme, even if it’s missing my favourite part in place of a kind of generic verse-y bit… As always, Stack’s voice sounds great on the tracks she’s featured in.
18. Saga Novel’s “Tsukiyomi’s Dream” [月黄泉の夢]
I was browsing for albums to add to my list, and I saw this one, with Doremy on the front cover. I dug a bit deeper, and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s made up of arrangements of the title screen theme and the boss themes from the LoLK demo. There’s only 4 tracks, but they’re quite good. I like the vocalist on the second track, and I’m fond of their arrangement of Doremy’s theme [the full version’s here]. I might write the lyrics down and translate it if I get some time… It’s only 700 yen, so I might pick it up next time Shinra-Bansho releases an album if it’s still available.
19. TOKYO Active NEETs’ “Exploding Jazz 8” [東方爆音ジャズ８]
I feel like I placed this one a bit low on my interest list, but TOKYO Active NEETs’ albums have become very hit-and-miss for me. I won’t deny that they’re all very talented musicians, but their arrangements are a bit too… full-on for my tastes. Jazz can be subtle, too! Having said that, the medley is quite good. Probably because each track moves on before the solos can begin…
20. “A Deeply Mystic Music Collection ~ Sumireko Usami and the Clubroom of Secrets” [深秘的楽曲集 宇佐見菫子と秘密の部室]
The much-anticipated soundtrack CD to Urban Legend in Limbo, with 2 discs of the original and arranged tracks from the game. The XFD is for the arrangements of Kasen’s and Sumireko’s themes, along with the staff roll theme. They lose some of their intensity, but they still sound good. An interesting note about the title – the grammatical ‘的’ in the title is said to have been influenced by the English suffix ‘-tic,’ [see ロマン的, ‘Romantic’], which is why I’ve translated 深秘的 as ‘Deeply Mystic’ – if we’re going with ‘Deep Mysteries’ as a translation of ‘深秘.’ And now I’ve made this about translating, and not about music. Sorry…
21. Honey Pocket’s “Love Compilation -Revised Edition-” [恋綴里-改訂版-]
Wow, their recording quality is worlds better than it was last time I listened to them. Normally I’m a bit skeptical about ‘revised editions’ of albums, but when the recording quality’s been increased this much, I’m all for it. I don’t think I listened to the original album, but the tracklist seems solid. They always seem like they’re trying so hard, and they look like they’re having so much fun in all of their promotional images.
22. Pizuya’s Cell’s “Izanami’s Antinomy” [イザナミの二律背反 ]
Apparently, ‘Antinomy’ is a term that means something similar to ‘Paradox’ or ‘Self-Contradiction.’ For me, Pizuya’s Cell is a very ‘scientific’ circle, so I guess the more complicated term suits them better… Track 6 is quite mellow, which you wouldn’t expect from them, but I really enjoy it. The obligatory Godwood piano arrangement is also marvelous. I often find myself looking forward to the classic legend tracks, in which they overlay a mechanical voice reading out aspects of music history. They’re so random.
And that’s pretty much it for this event. Congratulations if you managed to get past all of my rambling and reached this point >_>