This event is shaping up to be yet another one packed with great releases! Of course, the main event this time is the release of the demos of both Touhou 15.5 and Touhou 16. Both are looking very promising, and I know I’m looking forward to hearing new themes in both games and learning more about some new characters!
On the western side of things, we have a new release by Frozen Starfall, VIBRANT DANCEFLOOR. Find Your Way is also releasing another collaboration EP with Shinigiwa Satellite. I’ve also got another album coming, too! It’s called Willowbane, and it’s a DDC arrangement album.
Like usual, the albums at the very top are in some sort of vague preference order, but as we approach the bottom, the focus shifts towards albums that I’d like to introduce to everyone (e.g. albums by new circles). So this doesn’t mean that I like the albums at the bottom the least.
1. Shinra-bansho’s “Itazura Sensation” [悪戯センセーション]
XFD || Official Site
In the end, I was completely wrong about this album. I thought it was going to be a compilation of all those event-limited CDs… but hey, instead we have 7 new tracks! 7 awesome new tracks! Let’s face it, I could just sit here and hype Shinra-bansho up all day, but I need to actually write something with substance (^_^);
Anyway, among all this kaztora goodness, there are three highlights:
-Mie is here! Her track sounds so good. Powerful and emotional – I can’t wait to translate it!
-The title track features Ayaponzu and Ayo singing a Remilia + Flandre duet. It has that kind of chiptune Liz Triangle sound, but it’s also unmistakeably Shinra-bansho.
-The final track. Ayo + azuki’s lyrics + The Hall of Dreams’ Great Mausoleum. I am in heaven.
Unfortunately, there’s no new Liz Triangle album at this event. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there will be one last album at C92, but based on information from Twitter, lily-an hasn’t been doing to well health-wise. Please keep her in your thoughts!
Incidentally, kaztora tweeted that he’s been feeling really good about music-making lately, and that the slump he’s been in for the last 5-6 years is finally lessening. Some of my favourite albums were made during this period, so I can’t wait to hear what’s next for kaztora! It’s always good to feel positive about music-making.
2.Diao ye zong’s “Manima'” [随]
So in the end, we ended up getting that Kosuzu album after all. It’s not called 鈴, but I think this title is better. The title means something like ‘at the mercy of/doing as one is told.’ You could simplify it to something like ‘Obey,’ but please let me know if you have any other good ideas!
The album itself pushes all the right buttons for me. Nayuta? Check. Old Adam? Check. Dolls in Pseudo Paradise? Check. The Forbidden Scrollery theme? Check – there’s not one, but three arrangements of it. Just based on the demo alone, I like all the vocal tracks, and I’m really looking forward to translating all of them if I get the chance!
My favourite track is Grasshoppers. No doubt about it. It reminds me very strongly of 葬迎 from Hohuri, which is my favourite Diao ye zong track (I will translate it one day). Grasshoppers is an arrangement of Mamizou’s theme, but I think the two tracks are secretly related. Well, I guess we’ll find out when I translate it!
3. Ringing Volcano’s “Phantasmagoria and Wolf” [Ookami to Gensoukyou – 狼と幻想郷]
Yet another wonderful album from Ringing Volcano. You can probably tell from the title, but this album is a cross between Touhou music and the world of Spice and Wolf. Traditional instruments are used to give the album an authentic middle ages/Renaissance/Celtic sound. I fell in love with it upon listening to the demo since it reminds me a lot of the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles soundtrack.
My favourite track is the last one. Eternal Steam Engine is a criminally underused theme, but the arrangement here is perfect. If you need convincing, just listen to it here.
The album should be available to download from BOOTH, so I’ll add the link here once it’s available.
4. Riverside’s “opt”
Riverside has returned after what feels like a really long break! This single strips away the more electronic elements heard in releases like Chateau Bleu and embraces a more traditional sound. There’s only 4 tracks, but I enjoy them all!
By the way, according to vocalist Sara Matsumoto (Twitter), something Riverside related may take place at the end of the year. The details aren’t finalised, but when we hear them we’ll be surprised, or something like that.
5. minimum electric design’s “PARTICLE”
If you’ve been following my posts for each event, you would have picked up that I’m a big fan of mineko’s voice. There’s lots of mineko on this album, which makes me happy. minimum electric design has kind of flown under my radar for a while, but not anymore!
The album itself features all my favourite Old Adam tracks alongside a healthy selection of Sealing Club standards. I feel like we’re in some sort of Sealing Club renaissance, but I’m not complaining at all.
6. Touhou Jihen’s [Yasashii Uta – ヤサシイウタ]
XFD || Official Site
This single, for a change of pace, is more laid-back. The theme is summer, and it has more of a pop sound. It just shows how versatile NSY is! As you can tell from the cover art, the single is based on Mountain of Faith, though there’s also a lounge/bossa nova version of irony, which I’ve already translated.
Also, it’s likely that Touhou Jihen won’t be appearing at C92… because NSY forgot to apply for a space there (Twitter). How unfortunate! Hopefully NSY will be able to organise somewhere at the event to distribute past CDs at the very least.
7. Kishida Kyoudan and the Akeboshi Rockets’ ANCIENT FLOWER
I was not expecting this.
But yeah, the demo sounds awesome! If you’re a fan of Kishida, get on board the hype train!
The Magus Night arrangement just jumped out and shook me by the eardrums. It sounds so good…!
8. Kokyo Active NEETs’ “Touhou Philharmonic Orchestra 6: MoF Pt. 1” [東方フィルハーモニー交響楽団６ 風 第一幕]
XFD || Official Site
Kokyo Active NEETs is boldly continuing on with this series. It’s quite exciting to think that, at this rate, they might actually cover the whole Windows series. That would be so awesome! This is part one, but I have a feeling that the next album might be a split between MoF and SWR. Unless they decide to just do all the tracks they didn’t do this time (which is unlikely, given that they didn’t do that with Imperishable Night).
The music itself oozes with the quality that we’ve come to expect from this circle. I’m thankful they included the extra stage theme, which sounds magnificent here.
Also, Tokyo Active NEETs is releasing a jazz album at this Touhou-only event. It features arrangements of themes from our favourite entry in the Touhou series: Kancolle.
9. “Beneath the Cherry Blossoms” [Ouka no Shita – 桜花ノ下], by Hastsunetsumiko’s
This album follows on from the pop sound of the previous album. For me, the standout track is the last one. The vocalist (EL.J) has such a wonderful tone!
The other tracks are quite varied, as we’ve come to expect from Hatsunetsumiko’s. If you buy the album, you get a code to download a short story and an instrumental version of the last track.
10. TOHO BOSSA NOVA 6, by ShibayanRecords
It wouldn’t be Reitaisai without another volume in this series. I love bossa nova, so these albums are always a pleasure to listen to. There are two vocal tracks this time – the first was arranged by milka, and the second by Shibayan. If I get a chance, I’d love to translate them.
Other than that, there’s not too much else to say – I’m glad this series is still going strong, and I’m glad Shibayan is still keeping in touch with the Touhou scene. I’m always impressed by milka’s arrangements, though. I wonder if she has her own private circle…?
11. “Fucsia” by Cajiva’s Gadget Shop
This circle’s productivity continues to amaze me. I mean, I was just writing about a new release by this circle, and here’s another!
This album, as you can tell from the album art, is a Yukari x Reimu album. I say this all the time, but I can’t get over how unique this circle’s music sounds. The vocal samples blend really well with everything going on around, and the guitars add a sort of traditional atmosphere to the tracks. It’s an excellent blend of old and new, demonstrating sheer craftsmanship.
Plus, it features an arrangement of Two Worlds. You can’t go wrong with that theme!
12. Yuuhei Shoujo Active NEETs’ “Act 2, Concerto: Clouds Over the Moon, and Wind Over the Flowers”[第2幕 協奏曲「月に叢雲華に風」]
XFD || Official Site
This album is the second installment in this series, a bizarre and yet incredibly satisfying collaboration between Kokyo Active NEETs, Yuuhei Satellite, and Shoujo Fractal. Like last time, there are two albums, and vocal and instrumental tracks are split evenly between the two. So you need to buy both if you want the full experience. The tracklist is interesting – some standouts include a Pure Furies arrangement and Bad Apple!!
(which sounds a lot like the Alstroemeria Records version)
If you get a chance, watch the demo – it showcases the vocalists, and most are decked out in really cool outfits. Watch out for the Pure Furies vocalist.
13. BUTAOTOME’s “An Introduction to the Pseudo-Family” [Giji-Kazoku Nyuumon – 疑似家族入門]
In the end, I was really anticipating BUTAOTOME’s previous album based on the original tracklist alone, and I ended up disappointed when most of the tracks didn’t really sound like their original themes. This time, it doesn’t look like I’ll have that issue. But who knows. From listening to the demo, the first track impresses me the most. The last one, on the other hand, is basically an original track (^_^);
This album seems to deal with the ‘bonds’ of the main characters, who have spent so much time together. That’s where I think the title comes from – they’re so close they’re a pseudo-family.
14. “The Boundary’s Crossgate” [Kyoukai no Kurosugeeto – 境界のクロスゲート] by Pizuya’s Cell
I just want to take this opportunity to express how much I think the mastering of Pizuya’s albums has improved over the last year or so. I’m really particular about that stuff, so it makes me happy to hear vocals that aren’t overpowered by the backing track and audio that isn’t so loud it clips out.
The album itself is a mashup/pairing album, presumably inspired by Touhou 15.5. I prefer Pizuya’s jazz style, but this album is still good. It has more of a rock sound, so if rock’s your thing, check it out!
(Also, I didn’t see a classic legend track on the tracklist, which makes me sad. Hopefully it’s still there in the full album…)
15. Akatsuki Records’ [Shoujo Kyuusei-Ron – 少女救世論]
I turned away for an event or two, and all of a sudden Stack and Stack Bros. have basically taken over this circle (^_^); Also, following on from KILLOVE FIREPROOF, it seems like they’ve officially dropped the ‘to the beginning’ brand for their albums.
I enjoy Stack’s vocals, so I’m liking the Stack-centric nature of this album. I did enjoy cheluce’s vocals, though, so it’s a shame she couldn’t make an appearance, too. Otherwise, I think it’s a solid release! The third track seems to be one of those programmatic songs, kind of like the Satori one and the Flandre one from previous albums.
Still, I can’t believe how much this circle has changed over the past year or so. I wonder how they’ll develop from here on out?
16 + 17. GET IN THE RING’s RTS14 releases
Two releases from GET IN THE RING this time – Aria and Activity Case 7.
I didn’t really get on board their last album, but this set of albums sounds great so far. Mie’s voice is great, like usual, and most of the tracks are cool mashups. Like, the second track of Aria contains 5 tracks – that’s so awesome!
Activity Case 7 is the standout for me – the first track is so haunting, and all 3 tracks feature newer, underappreciated themes, which is a bonus. The second track is also a duet featuring Mie and Aki – they sound great together.
18. TAMAONSEN’s “She Saw”
That album art is stunning! The colour design is so effective.
Other than that, this album is what you’d expect from TAMAONSEN, but it still sounds different from their previous albums. Unfortunately for me, there’s no Yuu Kanade, but I’ll survive.
I like the tracks arranged by Coro the most – ‘Changes’ in particular is one of the best TAMAONSEN tracks I’ve heard in a while (apart from Dreamy Noise sung by Yuu Kanade).
19. AdamKadmon’s “Adam”
XFD || Official Site
I think AdamKadmon has been on an upward streak lately, so I’m looking forward to hearing more from this album. It follows the typical AdamKadmon structure: vocals by Tamari, arrangements by Kamiya Shiro, and a guest arrangement by Wani.
On a related note, monochrome-coat is also releasing a new album, but the details hadn’t been released at the time of writing. Similarly, Wani is officially launching his new circle with a Sealing Club CD. It’s called ‘POOL‘ and it features instrumental arrangements by a bunch of different people. On top of all that, an event-limited CD ‘trip!blue‘ by SOLA is also being distributed. It features a single track composed by Kamiya Shiro and sung by Nao (ナオ).
20. Crest’s “Dual Circulation III”
This is the third album in the Sealing Club series and, appropriately, it features Sumireko.
There are some really rare themes in here – like, we have a Chinese vocal arrangement of An Everyday Life with Balls. That is so random, but I love it. There’s also an arrangement of Kasen’s theme that sounds a bit like something by Evanescence. And, better yet, Godwood has also contributed to this album! I stopped following Crest for a while, but while I was away it looks like they’ve forged a really strong identity as a multilingual circle, so they have my respect.
Crest is also releasing an album called ‘Crest,’ in which new(?) vocalist Nagisa MK-02 covers some of the circle’s old tracks.
21. Honey Pocket’s “Love Compilation -Chapter 8- pt. 2” [恋綴里-改訂版-]
XFD [Track 4]|| Official Site
Finishing what the previous album started, this album is an Old Adam album. When I say ‘Old Adam album,’ I mean they went through and arranged every track from the album, even the old ones.
We’ve only got one track to listen to, but it has such an earnest, positive vibe. Honey Pocket’s style has remained consistent through the years, though they’ve really improved their recording quality. If you want something positive to listen to, give Honey Pocket a shot!
Also, it seems like they’ve recruited guest guitarists from a lot of different circles, including TUMENECO. I think NSY also makes an appearance!
22. Karento (歌恋人)’s “Carpe diem”
XFD || Official Site
This circle has really flown under my radar, but I like the sound of this album. I thought they were new, but it looks like this is actually their 10th album (^_^);
If I had to describe this album in a few words… I’d call it dance music. It has a kind of 90’s feel to it. I was about to say ‘Spice Girls,’ but I forgot what their music actually sounds like.
23. Konpeki Studio’s “COLOR RING DAYS”
This circle is still quite new – this is only their 4th album. They started with EoSD and have been releasing albums in order. It’s basically a pop rock album, but there’s quite a bit of versatility in there (I’m looking at track 4 in particular).
The title track has a PV which can be watched on Youtube – check it out here and support this new circle!
24. LSD and activity’s “Colourful Note” [カラフルノート]
From looking at the official site, it seems that LSD represents Merry, and activity represents Renko. So it isn’t actually a collaboration between two separate circles.
It’s a Dr. Latency + Old Adam album, and it alternates between two different male vocalists (presumably representing Renko and Merry). It has that kind of indie boy band feel to it. Anyway, this is a must-listen album if you like male vocals.
25. Cold Sleep Girlfriend’s [Shoukou no Hibi ni Saita Hana – 消光の日々に咲いた花]
And rounding off my list… we have a new circle. Or so I thought. It turns out they’re just releasing their first album after 7 EPs, and they’ve actually been active since 2012. Whoops (^_^);
Anyway, this circle is really versatile. I know that’s one of my favourite adjectives, but it’s actually relevant here! This is an album that features screaming alongside emotional ballads. They themselves note that their album is based in emo, hardcore, metal, punk, and pop music. Wow.
Anyway, that’s it for another event! Please comment if you’re looking forward to any of the albums on the list, if you have any you’d like to recommend, or… well, anything else, really (^_^)