Another event, another one of these posts!
A new music CD was released at Reitaisai 13, but… there are surprisingly few arrangements of themes from it this time! Join me as I run through some of the albums I’m looking forward to – there are a few surprises this time!
On the Western side of things, I’m releasing a Dr. Latency x Impossible Spell Card album, ‘The Reign Falls.’ Veto (Find Your Way) is releasing a covers EP, ‘CROW FLIES’ and Frozen Starfall has a new album out – Ocean of Blossoms. Solair Echoes is also releasing an album – check out the preview track here!
As always, feel free to leave a comment if there are any albums you’re looking forward to that I haven’t covered here, or if you want to share any predictions/theories or anything like that.
1. Team Shanghai Alice’s “Dateless Bar ‘Old Adam'”
Another Sealing Club album! ZUN is promoting this one as Dr. Latency’s ‘flip’ side. I love Dr. Latency’s Freak Report (Planck has quickly become one of my most loved music CD tracks), so I have high expectations for this one. I have no idea what the story will be like this time, but Renko actually looks kind of suspicious in the album art. I’m used to Merry being the suspicious one, so we’ll see how it plays out…
Anyway, this one follows the traditional formula: 5 new tracks, 5 arrangements of earlier tracks. ZUN’s promising more ‘difficult’ music this time, so I’m looking forward to arranging the new themes.
2. Liz Triangle’s “Shinso Diver” [シンソウダイバー]
In case you’re not already aware, Liz Triangle is splitting up after C92 (next year’s Summer Comiket). According to lily-an, it’s due to her physical condition and issues with scheduling/time. I don’t think it’s anything serious – the word she uses (体調 – taichou) is an all-encompassing term. She might just be getting tired or something like that.
Anyway, with that in mind, we’re slowly counting down until Liz Triangle’s final album. I didn’t realise the finality of it all until I listened to the crossfade demo for this album. I’m not ready to say goodbye just yet…! On the music side of things, this album delivers yet again. The first track is my favourite so far. It’s definitely one of the best arrangements of Sekibanki’s theme out there. I’ve fallen behind on my Liz Triangle translations, but I will definitely get back to them once I have more free time. They deserve it.
So what’s kaztora going to do once Liz Triangle disbands…? Well, he mentioned that he intends to make Shinra-Bansho his main circle. The possibility of more frequent Shinra-Bansho albums is exciting, but it’s bittersweet…
3. Pizuya’s Cell’s “The Maze of Time Paradoxia” [taimu paradokushia no meikyuu – タイムパラドクシアの迷宮]
And the award for ‘biggest surprise’ goes to…
Well, I started listening to the crossfade, and I had to check to make sure I was actually listening to a Pizuya’s Cell album. This time, he decided to go with jazz, and I think it suits him perfectly. I… actually think he does jazz better than SWING HOLIC. This album is also a Dr. Latency album, which gives it bonus points. Did I mention that it features Ranko? As in, Butaotome’s Ranko? Well, it does. Sadly, her tracks aren’t jazz. Other positive points include the mixing, which sounds much better than it has in the past. What’s my favourite track from the crossfade? I’d say it’s a tie between the first and sixth tracks. I can’t finish my writeup on this album without mentioning that the ‘classic legend’ series is back after a brief hiatus. I need my dose of music history!
(Also, is it just me or does Renko look really suspicious…?)
4. Ringing Volcano’s “Komorebi Sketchbook” [こもれびスケッチブック]
Ringing Volcano delivers, once again. Seriously, these are some of the best ‘genre’ arrangements you’ll find anywhere. Each theme is completely transformed, and you discover aspects of the original themes that you didn’t even think existed.
Like usual, there are some rearrangements of tracks we’ve seen before, including ‘Library Rag’ and ‘INVIDIA.’ They sound like completely different tracks, so don’t feel let down or anything! And finally, each page in the booklet has been drawn by a different artist. The full lineup is on the official site – you might see a couple of very familiar names there! My two favourites are the fifth track and Strawberry Tango (the last track).
But of course, the best thing is that it’s available to buy at BOOTH now! As in, right now! What are you waiting for…?
5. Butaotome’s “FREAKS”
I was vocally disappointed with Butaotome’s RTS13 album, but they’re back in top form with this album! If you remember last year’s ‘folie a deux,’ this is kind of the same (it’s a Sealing Club album) but with a couple of extra tracks. It even features ‘A Sky Enclosed in Tears’ [涙閉じ込めた空] like folie a deux did…
Anyway, the tracks are pretty evenly split between Comp and Paprika, but what I like the most is that they never forget their original themes. My main criticism of the last album was that most of the tracks sounded like originals with a tiny bit of Touhou thrown in, but the majority of the tracks this time seem like they’ve been delicately crafted. Which, for me, is a good thing! Which track do I think is the most promising? I’m a big fan of track 4 because it gives ‘Unknown Flower’ a sense of playful energy I didn’t think it had in it. Track 9 is also nice because I love Planck.
(This time Merry’s the suspicious one. I’m definitely looking forward to this album’s lyrics…)
6. Diao ye zong’s “Utsutsu” [夢]
I feel like this one will grow on me. There are a lot of themes in this one that we’ve seen before, but the concept is pretty neat – for the first time ever, the title doesn’t match the kanji used. The kanji is ‘yume’ [夢], but the romaji is ‘utsutsu’ [reality]. The album itself is split into two parts [kind of like Tadori and Izanai], with Doremy’s theme starting and finishing the album.
I can’t pick a favourite just yet, but I’m glad to see nayuta again. It’s a shame 3L and Kushi don’t also feature in the album. Maybe they’ll appear next time along with the legendary Pure Furies arrangement…!
7. Touhou Jihen’s “The Night of Dawn” [yoake no ban – 夜あけの晩]
The second of three consecutive singles. I… wonder what’s going to happen after all 3 are released? Will they be compiled into an album? Or will NSY just announce a different project? One can only wonder…
Anyway, the theme this time is PCB. But the second track totally sounds like an arrangement of ‘Pristine Beat.’ Like last time, the third track was featured in a compilation album. This time, it’s 落花流水 [‘rakka ryuusui’ – Mutual Love], which I translated when it first came out. Putting all that aside, the two new tracks sound great. I wonder what the next single will be based on? I can only assume that the Melonbooks compilation track will be included, so I’m willing to bet the album will be based on that. Since it’s Hartmann’s Youkai Girl… I’m going to make the bold prediction that their next single will be a SA one.
As a side note, if you’re into bishounen Youmu, IZNA made some wallpapers that you can use for your phone. Download them from Twitter.
8-9. AdamKadmon’s “Lily” and “Forest”
XFD || Official Site
Like a certain circle beginning with F and ending in ELT, I have a complicated relationship with AdamKadmon. I kind of liked them to start off with, then I stopped liking them for a while, and now I’ve started liking them again. I used to dislike KamiyaShiro’s arrangements for sticking too close to the source material, but he’s branched out over the past few albums and developed a really unique style! I’m quite excited about these, because he’s selling them as ‘concept albums.’ Take the beginning of ‘Forest,’ for example: it includes a narrative section. I can’t help but think of NSY’s old Chata arrangements and feel all nostalgic. Anyway, they’re doing their bit to add to this event’s Latency count, so they get two thumbs up. Renko and Merry also look so happy! Good for them. Having said that, though, Poisonous Paradox has an entirely unexpected feel to it. Maybe these albums aren’t as innocent as they appear…?
10. TAMAONSEN’s “STELLA”
It feels like ages since TAMAONSEN last released an album (I know they’ve released stuff, but I haven’t really been keeping track…). But, this album looks like a return to form – it’s full of new(?) tracks, and they all sound great! It doesn’t exactly have the best selection of original tracks, but TAMAONSEN keeps them fresh. STELLA MIC RELAY should be fun to listen to as well.
Hopefully TAMAONSEN will be able to return to a regular schedule! I’d definitely like to hear some LoLK/Dr. Latency arrangements from them.
11. Cajiva’s Gadget Workshop’s “GOOD EVENING Ms ETAOIN & SHRDLU”
It sounds like Cajiva has finally got the hang of his vocal samples! Apart from LEADING, they all fit in really well. Putting that aside, this is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from Cajiva – he’s in his very own genre. This is a Latency album, so he’s arranged all of the tracks (including the old ones, except for the Pure Furies tracks). He’s also, like, the only person to arrange ‘Eternal Short-Lived Reign’ for this event. Bless his soul. I’m looking forward to hearing more about this ‘Mr. John’ person…
(For a change of pace, Renko doesn’t look suspicious. She just looks… determined, I suppose? Well, Cajiva did release a free Undertale set, so…)
12. “Touhou PARTYBOX 2,” published by Melonbooks
Another compilation album by Melonbooks, taking over from Toranoana’s similar series. It also features not one, but 2 Butaotome tracks, and neither one is Hartmann’s Youkai Girl! Instead, NSY arranged Hartmann’s Youkai Girl for Touhou Jihen, according to Twitter. There’s also a Liz Triangle track. I know kaztora contributed some Shinra-Bansho tracks to Toranoana’s compilations, but it’s good to see a Liz Triangle contribution! Exciting! I also want to mention here that I recently became addicted to TaNaBaTa, so I’m glad to see there’s a TaNaBaTa track on this album.
13. Butaotome’s “Touhou Nekokenban 12” [東方猫鍵盤12]
I don’t normally look forward to these albums, but this one has a really good concept. It’s a horror piano album. Didn’t Paprika make one of these before? Either way, she’s showing off how much she’s improved as an arranger. This series started off with just piano, but it has evolved along the way to become something quite nice!
To be honest, these tracks wouldn’t sound out of place in a sound novel. Think Higurashi/Umineko no naku koro ni. And I just realised that the last track is called BAD END, so the joke’s on me for not realising it sooner. These tracks were actually designed for use in videos/games.
14. monochrome-coat’s “DIARY”
(Well, looking at the tracklist, it looks more like Wanichrome-coat now?) This time, merami’s the main vocalist, and IZNA doesn’t appear at all. I’m a bit disappointed, but Wani’s arrangements are sounding great, so it’s not so bad.
Wani’s also releasing a single – an arrangement of Hiroshige that he’s been working on for a really long time now. I think he mentioned that he’s going to put it in another album. He just wants to release a single now. He posted the lyrics on Twitter, but through a cruel twist of fate, they’re low-quality so I can’t read them… >_>
15. Pizuya’s Cell’s “The Etiquette of Playing in the Miniature Garden” [hakoniwa asobi no reigisahou – 箱庭アソビノ礼儀作法]
Note: Pizuya has released a message informing everyone that, for various reasons, this album will not be released at C90.
This album is a 2-disc behemoth containing all of the tracks 3L has sung for Pizuya. I only discovered Pizuya’s Cell last year, so I missed all of these tracks the first time around. So… it’s kind of like a new album for me! I like the jazzy ones the most. I thought Pizuya’s new album represented a new style, but it looks like he’s dabbled in jazz before. Anyway, if you’re a 3L fan, this album looks like a must-have!
16. Sound of Swing’s “Sound of Swing with Strings”
They’ve returned! And I didn’t even realise they ever left…
Anyway, this album is exactly what it says on the tin – Sound of Swing with strings. We have 4 chill jazz arrangements featuring a live string quartet. They all sound great! I’d be more excited for this, except there’s only 4 tracks, and they aren’t exactly the greatest of original themes. Hopefully the release of this album means that SOS will start releasing things more frequently again? I’d love to see a Planck arrangement from them…
17. Arisaki Works’ “Touhou String Ensemble Compilation” [東方弦合奏集]
XFD || Official Site
Some more arrangements for string ensemble. It looks like Arisaki hired a violinist [Croy] this time to play his arrangements. The end result is quite nice! There’s a pretty broad selection of tracks, including 3 from LoLK [Seiran, Ringo, and Doremy’s themes]. If you like string music, check this album out!
18. FELT’s “Parallel Cross”
I only found out about this one from stumbling upon its page on BuyDoujin… >_>
Anyway, those of you who have been following these random posts of mine will know that I have a… complicated relationship with FELT. This time, though, I can actually say that their album is sounding pretty good! There are some new sounds this time, which I really like. Free to Believe sounds so positive, and the instrumental tracks in there sound good, too. So hopefully this is a sign of things to come – perhaps a FELT album will be the one I look forward to the most one day?
19. Hachimitsu Lemon x Aftergrow’s “Touhou Six String 03 – Ties [結]”
The collaboration continues. Their first two albums were Sealing Club albums, but it looks like the next two will be ReiMari albums. I’m predicting it right now -Touhou Six String 04 will be called 界.
Music-wise, I feel like this album is more balanced than the last one. The list of original tracks is honestly a little boring, but the arrangements sound great. I’m just a big mineko fan, so it’s good to see that she’s still out there singing. This album also includes some old tracks, including fleur rouge.
20. Pizuya’s Cell’s “Bunjinbokkakku Kiunsou” [文人墨客起雲荘]
[I’m not too sure what the title’s supposed to mean. The first part means something like ‘Writers and Artists,’ but the second part is a mystery…]
Paprika’s piano albums are an example of a series that has developed over time… but godwood’s piano albums are an example of a series that has stayed the same. Which is fine, since he’s a wonderful piano player. I can’t help but feel a sense of diminishing returns, though. My favourite album of his is still the Ten Desires one, since he branched out and used a few other instruments. Putting that aside, this one features the Dr. Latency tracks, which is a bonus. More Planck is always a good thing! It’s the main reason why I’m looking forward to it.
21. Akatsuki Records’ “DOWN DOWN DOLL -to the beginning 07”
I honestly liked Akatsuki Records better when they focused on quality over quantity. But they still put out some good stuff! Take track 4, ‘The Haunted Castle.’ It totally sounds like it was inspired by ‘who killed u.n. owen,’ but it reveals one of Stack’s key strengths – she has a great character voice. It’s so expressive, and I can really feel the demented atmosphere behind it. There’s also another event-exclusive CD, and track 4 is amazing.
But seriously, I know ACTRock isn’t the only arranger, but how does Akatsuki Records manage to cram so many tracks into a single CD?!
22. Fuling Cat Mark’s [フーリンキャットマーク] “Baby Little City” [ベイビーリトルシティ]
XFD || Official Site
I came across this circle by chance. They sell themselves as being a ‘Shibuya-Style x Jazz’ circle, which is probably one of the weirdest combinations out there. The overall result leans more towards bossa-nova, and it’s actually quite nice to listen to! The first track is a rare arrangement of LoLK’s stage 5 theme, which I’m thankful for. Track 2 is nice – it has that kind of whisper-rap thing Chata does so well. Tracks 3 and 4 wouldn’t be out of place on a TOHO BOSSA NOVA album. I know this is near the bottom of my list, but it’s actually really good! I’ll keep an eye out for this circle in the future…
23. COOL&CREATE’s “Bridal Amanerio” [ブライダル あまねりお]
This is here for its novelty value – Amane and Beatmario got married, so they decided to release an album to celebrate it. Congratulations, Amane and Beatmario!
It features contributions from Alstroemera Records, Butaotome, and more.
24. TOKYO Active NEETs’ “Touhou Explosive Jazz 10” [東方爆音ジャズ10]
I said in the first version of this list that KOKYO Active NEETs would be releasing another Touhou orchestral album. Well, it turns out they’re not. They’re releasing another Kancolle album instead -_-
As for this album… well, I’m not sure what to make of it. I can’t deny that they’re all very talented musicians, but I’ve found myself liking their style less and less as time has passed. I’ve been trying to figure out why, and I still don’t have an answer. Of course, if you liked the previous albums, this promises to be more of the same. Perhaps their TD jazz album will be enough to win me back over…?
Oh yeah, Shinigiwa Satellite is releasing an album, too.