Kyoukai Kara Mieta Keshiki 4 Roundup

We’ve already reached the 4th iteration of Kyoukai Kara Mita Gaikai [境界から視えた外界-至-, Cajiva refers to it in English as ‘Scenery Seen From the Boundary]. 至 (shi) sounds like 四 (shi – four), which explains why it’s included in the title. How clever. I’ve been a bit disappointed that more people haven’t arranged the new themes from Dr. Latency and Old Adam, but thankfully… this event exists. It’s a Hifuu-only event, which makes it the perfect time to arrange all those new themes!

Also, if any of you are following 夢想吟遊詩人 (Musou Gin’yuujin – The Dream Troubadours), they’re apparently distributing a card with the details of their next Sealing Club-inspired CD, 歪曲列島. Cirtus Resuscitation and The Victors’ Space Odyssey were amazing, so I’m awaiting their next release with bated breath…


sachlich1. BUTAOTOME’s “sachlich”

XFD || Official Site

Hot off the heels of their major debut album ‘Fullbokko’ (フルボッコ), BUTAOTOME is releasing another Touhou album…! This time, there’s a twist. There’s 8 tracks in total: 5 instrumental tracks, and 3 vocal tracks. But the vocalist…

Is Ranko’s sister. If you’ve ever watched this video, you’ll know what her voice sounds like, but it turns out she can sing, too! According to the official site, the album is based on the ‘taboos’ one embraces while they are children. It’s a dandy, old-fashioned album. It certainly sounds unique. Ranko’s sister’s voice reminds me of Yuu Kanade from TAMAONSEN, and I think we need more voices like that, so I’m hoping she makes more appearances in future albums.

I love this album because it reminds me of the I LOVE albums. You can almost think of it as I LOVE HIFUU but without rap… This is more jazz-inspired, I suppose. My favourite vocal track is track #5.


Cajiva2. Cajiva’s Gadget Workshop’s “Grenze”

XFD || Official Site

Cajiva Gadget Workshop is back with another tribal house album. They’re pretty much the only circle who does this, but they do it really well! It feels like there are less vocal samples that on previous albums, but there’s more vocal percussion. If that makes sense…

I think the track selection is quite solid – some rare Ghostly Field Club tracks make an appearance, and two of my favourites (The Barrier of Ame-no-Torifune Shrine and The Darkness Brought in by Swallowstone Naturalis Historia) are also represented. Overall, it sounds promising. This circle is great at dragging you to different places…


artworks-000213723548-065fdx-t500x5003. AramiTama’s [荒御霊] “Cruithne” [ヒミツパビリオン]

XFD || Official Site

“Are you approaching the other side?
…Or are you approaching from the other side?”

I always feel that AramiTama’s albums complement Cajiva’s really well (well, they’re always distributed at the same booth, after all). Cajiva’s music is always so organic and vibrant, whereas AramiTama’s music is much colder and calculated. I… I mean that as a compliment! If I had to draw a comparison to another genre, I’d go with Baroque music (think Bach). The sounds are tight and precise, and its mechanical nature has a charm of its own. This time, the tracks seem to be split into multiple parts, which I think is a nice touch. This time, there are a few rare Sealing Club tracks, too – I particularly appreciate the “Children of the Age of Science” (科学世紀の少年少女) arrangements.

Incidentally, Cruithine is colloquially known as Earth’s second moon. It shares the same orbit around the Earth as the sun.


tumblr_static_ctrrk252wls8sg4040kw0ss4g4. Echollapsar’s “Artificial Eden”

XFD || Official Site

This single marks the debut of a brand new circle! Apparently, it’s a preview track from the circle’s first album, which will be released at a later event (possibly RTS14). This single is being released alongside a cosplay photo album.

The music itself is bittersweet yet soothing. It reminds me a lot of Secret Messenger and QLOCKS, so if there are any fans of those circles out there… give Echollapsar a try! I say this every time a new circle forms, but since it’s such a rare occurrence, throw your support behind them…! The XFD links to their official Youtube channel, and their official Twitter account is here. Overall, I think it’s a very promising debut, and I’m looking forward to listening to (and hopefully translating) their first album when it comes out!


artworks-000211054740-yavomr-t500x5005. Cajiva’s Gadget Workshop’s “ARCHIVE545”

XFD || Official Site

This album is a bit out of the ordinary: it’s a compilation album featuring tracks from a variety of different arrangers. The twist is that most of them feature dialogue instead of vocals! I really like that sort of stuff, so I thoroughly enjoyed the demo. The subject matter seems to range from Renko and Merry talking about dreams to… Renko talking about wanting to become a cat? There’s a wide range of subject matter, so it should satisfy anyone (like me) who likes hearing people speak over music.


Curio6. Kijou no Kuusouriron’s [机上の空想理論] “Dream Curiosity” [夢幻のキュリオシティ – ‘Mugen no Kyurioshiti’]

XFD || Official Site

This circle is pretty new as well: this is only their third release. It’s billed as a ‘multigenre arrangement album’ and it certainly delivers. There’s upbeat tracks, guitar tracks, and even a smooth track here and there to balance the mood. All the arrangements are by Chair (ちぇあ), a mysterious figure who I haven’t heard about before.

Track 4, “Jazz Bar Old Adam” is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s so smooth, and so jazzy, and I didn’t even realise I wanted the original theme arranged in that way but I’m so glad it is. Another standout track for me is the final track. It’s chill, and I love how the electric piano transitions into a fuller orchestration.


A-GEAR7. A-GEAR’s “Reminiscent Bricolage” [追憶のブリコラージュ – ‘Neko no Anmin DISC’]

XFD || Official Site

Bricolage is a word which here means “constructed from a variety of different things.” You can think of it as a patchwork of sorts.

This album is constructed around a trio featuring piano, bass, and drums. The jazz influences can be clearly heard, as well. It’s a smoother jazz than something you’d hear from Tokyo Active NEETs, which I appreciate. They do some great things with the melodies of the original themes, especially Dr. Latency’s Sleepless Eyes. They make jazz out of themes I didn’t really think of as being very jazzy…


Bassy8. Glassy:oceaN’s “Clear Expedition” [明晰エクスペディション – ‘Meiseki Ekusupedishon’]

XFD || Official Site

This… is a very curious album. It’s based in electronic music, but each track has a different genre: French House, Future Bass, etc. It reminds me a lot of Cajiva and AramiTama, but it has its own unique style. The main theme is ‘exploration’ and, let’s face it, the Sealing Club is made for this kind of stuff.

The track that impressed me the most was the third one, a Future Bass arrangement of G Free. It has a kind of chiptune style that I really enjoy. Does all Future Bass sound like that…? I feel like there’s a whole ocean of music out there waiting for me now…


artworks-000210890026-7q60v7-t500x5009. ATMOSPHERIC’s “電腦祕封EP -DEN NO HIHU EP-

XFD || Official Site

I thought this was their first album, but it looks like they released a bunch classified under the ‘Touhou Dreamscapes’ collection [東方夢景色]. It’s a collection of synth arrangements, and you know what? It reminds me a little of the Synth de Touhou series by DDBY.

The first track has that ‘opening’ feel to it, and I really enjoyed the short snippet in the demo. Overall, if you like synthesizers, this album is definitely worth a listen!


UNION10. Sound Refil’s “UNION II”

XFD || Official Site

It looks as though the first UNION album was released in 2013, so there’s been a fair gap between installments…

Like the majority of albums released at this event, it’s more electronic in style, but it sounds completely different when compared to the other electronic albums. (Let’s face it – I really don’t know much about electronic music…). Actually, scrap all that because the 3rd last track is an orchestral style arrangement, and the one after that adds in an… erhu? This is a true multigenre album.

If my ears don’t deceive me, there’s an arrangement of Adventurer’s Tavern of the Old World in there that also mixes in Oriental Dark Flight. That’s a unique combination! I really like the second last track (the one with the erhu). It soothes my soul.


Parallel11. Girl’s Logic Observatory’s [少女理論観測所] “ParallelEnd Observer”

XFD || Official Site

This is an old album, but I missed it the first time and it features Ayaponzu*.

C91 Roundup

We’ve reached the end of another year, and you know what that means – Winter Comiket is here again!

I’m releasing two albums this time – Side Effect (an Old Adam album) and Welcome to the Satellite (an updated version of my first album). If you’re interested, please check them out! On the Western side of things, there are also new albums out by Frozen Starfall, Solair Echoes, and Orange★Jam. Check them out and support Western artists!

There were a few more albums I wanted to add to my list, but it’s long enough already. Some honourable mentions include ANSWER//TALKER [Konpeki Studio], Wild Sweetheart [A-GEAR], and SYNCHRONICITY (Eternal Melody).


jake1. Shinra-Bansho’s “The Happy Egoist” [シアワセエゴイスト]

XFD || Official Site

Shinra…

BANSHO!

Woo, two albums in one year! I feel so lucky! This album features a new vocalist – Ayo (あよ). She sings in tracks 3 and 5, and both are absolutely divine. Mie is also back with an English-language track. Sadly, azuki only wrote the lyrics for one track. Instead, we have more kaztora lyrics, and more ticat lyrics.

Anyway, it features a great selection of themes, like usual.


tsutae2. Diao ye zong’s “Tsutae” [伝]

XFD || Official Site

The theme of this album seems to be ‘communication.’ More specifically, it follows the structure of a traditional Noh play, mixing vocal performances with non-vocal performances. Like usual, the concept is neat.

This album’s crossfade drew me in more than the crossfades for recent Diao ye zong albums. I guess it’s because there are so many themes in there that we haven’t seen RD arrange before? I’m talking about The Lost Emotion, Pristine Beat, Kasen’s theme, and (of course) Pure Furies. It also features some excellent ‘character’ singing from Merami, which I’ve missed.

Of course, now that Kosuzu finally has a theme related to her, I’m looking forward to seeing what RD can do with it. Perhaps his next album will be called Suzu (鈴)…

[I’m tempted to translate the title as ‘Legend,’ since that seems to be another major theme of the album. I’ll have a better understanding when I get to look at the lyrics, I guess…]


pavilion3. Liz Triangle’s “Secret Pavilion” [ヒミツパビリオン]

XFD || Official Site

Two more events to go now. I wonder if there will be new albums at both of those events… Well, I guess there will have to be something new at C92, since it will be Liz Triangle’s last event. Maybe they’ll release a complete collection or something like that…

Anyway, this is a Sealing Club album, which is unusual for Liz Triangle. It features 5 new arrangements, and 5 old ones. And of course, World of Electrolytes is included! It’s a shame there aren’t any Dr. Latency or Old Adam tracks, but still, it’s kaztora, so the arrangements sound great anyway.


tpk5_l4. Kokyo Active NEETs’ “Touhou Philharmonic Orchestra 5: PoFV” [東方フィルハーモニー交響楽団5 花]

XFD || Official Site

I was really, really looking forward to this album last time… but it was postponed in favour of another Kancolle orchestral album. But, based on a tweet by Akai Ryuusei, this album is coming out at this event! Woo!

I was hoping to see Medicine’s theme on this album, but it isn’t there. Instead, we have Cirno’s theme, which they skipped over when they did EoSD.

Either way, I’m glad to see that this series is still progressing. I think we’ll have two Mountain of Faith albums, except one will be a crossover with Scarlet Weather Rhapsody. Unless they fit Shoot the Bullet in there somewhere…


jacket_big5. BUTAOTOME’s “Paradise Lost” [ぱらだいすろすと – ‘Neko no Anmin DISC’]

XFD || Official Site

Another solid album from BUTAOTOME. It follows their ‘usual’ style, but it draws from an interesting selection of themes (including Satellite TORIFUNE! Finally!). The surprising standout track for me is the third track, an arrangement of Adventurer’s Tavern of the Old World. I say ‘surprising’ because it’s a rare example of a ZUN track I don’t like, and BUTAOTOME makes me like it more. Track 6 is great, too – it’s orchestral, and it gives off strong ‘The Creation God Protects‘ vibes. It’s good to see Paprika experimenting with some new styles! Overall, I’m looking forward to reading and translating the lyrics, like usual.

Oh yeah, in case you missed out on the news, BUTAOTOME are having their major debut next March! Exciting news!


paradox6. Touhou Jihen’s “Boundary Paradox” [限界パラドックス – ‘Genkai Paradokkusu’]

Demo (‘Paranoia’) || Official Site

So, after releasing three singles this year, Touhou Jihen finishes it up with an album. I was expecting it to be the three singles put together in a single album, but it looks like there’s a good amount of new content in here! Only the three title tracks were taken from the singles, so we have 6 new tracks. Exciting!

This album is also full of little surprises. There’s a guest arranger this time! It’s MiYAMO from Conagusuri (こなぐすり). Apparently, they give the album “the coolest EDM vibes.” I’ll take them at their word. IZNA’s also singing a duet with ヒロキ (Hiroki, @higakurerecords). Finally, NSY is contributing death vocals to a track. Why not.

There’s also a special limited event-only single. It’s called ‘錬-len-,’ and it features Chata and lyrics by shuriken. It looks like NSY will incorporate it in a future album as well, so keep your fingers crossed because we’ll never hear it otherwise…


ringing7. Ringing Volcano’s “My Scarlet Devil Mansion” [私の紅魔館 – ‘Watashi no Koumakan’]

XFD || Official Site

This album is focused on the Scarlet Devil Mansion crew, which I wasn’t too thrilled about. But come on, the album sounds amazing anyway. ‘Mercury’ in particular is like something from another dimension. It’s simply stunning. I talked about wanting RD to arrange Kosuzu’s theme, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what Ringing Volcano will do with it. After all, Kosuzu is basically this circle’s mascot!

Also, I just want to stress that a downloadable version of this album is available to download now! It’s being sold through Ringing Volcano’s BOOTH page. I can’t express just how happy that makes me, and I really wish more circles would do that.


memories8. Ringing Volcano’s “Memories From This Year -2016-” [今年の思い出 -2016- ‘Kotoshi no Omoide -2016-‘]

XFD || Official Site

Another Ringing Volcano album, and this one is also available on BOOTH. It’s basically a ‘best of’ album, with generous selections from each album. I didn’t really need to pick it up, since I have all of Ringing Volcano’s albums, but I decided to get it anyway. The last 4 tracks are from singles that were released throughout the year, so they’re kind of rare, so it’s worth getting this compilation just for those tracks alone.

Plus, how can I not support a circle who’s so willing to put their stuff up for digital purchase? I’d be so poor if more circles did that…


halozy-room9. Halozy’s “A Constellation of Dog-and-Cat-Like Electronic Songs” [犬猫的電子座曲]

XFD || Official Site

I have no idea what that title’s supposed to mean, or even if I’ve interpreted it correctly.

Anyway, this album is a 14-track bonanza of the greatest macaroom tracks featured in Halozy’s past albums. I’ve already translated quite a few of them. As a compilation album alone, it’s worth buying, but 4 of those 14 tracks are new! And…

One of them features IZNA as a vocalist. That’s right, if I’ve read Asahi’s Twitter updates correctly, Touhou Jihen’s IZNA is singing a track by Asahi. Just thinking about it makes me excited!


cloud10. Floating Cloud’s “Touhou Irish 8”

XFD || Official Site

It feels like it’s been so long since Touhou Irish 7. But Floating Cloud is back!

This time, they have a vocal track. And… it’s Wind of Agartha. Oh my gosh. I nearly fell out of my seat when I heard that familiar melody. It feels like an eternity since I’ve heard that theme arranged, and this arrangement is simply stunning.

Anyway, it’s Touhou. It’s Irish-style. It’s excellent.


mameya11. Mameya’s “Secret Sealing Club Piano Arrangements: 雪音終永” [秘封倶楽部ピアノアレンジ「雪音終永」]

XFD || Official Site

I’ve never really paid much attention to this circle before, so I was surprised by the quality of these piano arrangements. The album’s focused on Dateless Bar “Old Adam,” too, which is a bonus! As was the case with BUTAOTOME, this circle’s arrangement of Adventurer’s Tavern of the Old World makes me dislike the original theme less. How strange.

The album has a bit of a classical feel to it, but the liberal improvisation on the original themes keeps it fresh and interesting. It’s kind of like you’re listening to someone writing a poem.


twice12. “TWICE,” by Hatsunetsumiko’s

XFD || Official Site

After what feels like 3 years of dance tracks, Hatsunetsumiko’s has returned to its original(?) pop-ish style. Following on from this, the dance side of Hatsunetsumiko’s has been christened ‘Danceness☆miko’s,’ contrasting with Alkaloid’s ‘Darkness†miko’s.’ To be honest, I’m just surprised to hear Japanese lyrics in Hatsunetsumiko’s again. I really like the vibe of all of the tracks, but I have a soft spot for Sunshine in the Rain. It’s just so peppy and positive!


artworks-000199813485-7m1i1f-t500x50013. Akatsuki Records’ “KILLOVE FIREPROOF”

XFD || Official Site

Stack Bros. is my idol. And this album is pretty much all Stack Bros.

I didn’t even know I wanted a track like DANGO ON FIRE, but it’s here, and I love it. The other tracks are great, too – track 5 is like that haunted castle track we saw before, with strong Tim Burton vibes.

If that’s not enough, Stack herself gave arranging a go, and was in charge of track 7. Considering it’s her first time arranging, she did a pretty good job. I’m looking forward to seeing how her style develops.


cat14. BUTAOTOME’s “Touhou Keyboard Cat 13″ [東方猫鍵盤12 – ‘Touhou Nekokenban 13’]

XFD || Official Site

Somewhere along the line, these albums stopped being purely about the piano, and turned into broader ‘instrumental’ albums. I’m quite happy with this change, and you can really tell how Paprika has evolved as an arranger. This time, each track is based on a particular region of the world. My favourite tracks so far are the third one (Old Yuanxian), and track 8 (a lovely Spanish version of Flower Land). It’s a diverse album, and there’s definitely something in there for every listener!


xion15. xi-on’s “GROOVY MOON”

XFD || Official Site

The official site describes this album as a ‘jazz/funk/fusion’ album, and it certainly lives up to that description. Each track is so groovy! It’s also a LoLK-only album, featuring favourites of mine like Eternal Spring Dream and The Reversed Wheel of Fortune. I like the balance of this album – not every track is loud and in-your-face, and the more subdued tracks, like ‘September Pumpkin,’ give you time to breathe. If only they had a real brass section – they’d probably top Tokyo Active NEETs if they did that.


tama16. TAMAONSEN’s “STILLING”

XFD || Official Site

TAMAONSEN appears to have settled back into a regular stream of releases. This album lacks the grittiness of Another Line, which I’m a bit disappointed about, but the typical TAMAONSEN quality is there. I quite like track 4 – Dream Land arrangements are so rare. The vocalist kind of reminds me of Paprika.

I’m still waiting for Comp and Paprika’s Imperishable Night rap album…


yuuhei-neets17. Yuuhei Shoujo Active NEETs’ “Act 1, Concerto: Even the Blossoming Flowers Will Eventually Scatter”[第1幕 協奏曲「色は匂へど散りぬるを」 SIDE A]

XFD || Official Site

This is a collaboration between Yuuhei Satellite/Shoujo Fractal and Kokyo Active NEETs. Yes, you read that correctly, some of Yuuhei Satellite/Shoujo Fractal’s greatest hits are being performed by the crew behind the Touhou Philharmonic Orchestra albums. It alternates between vocal tracks and orchestral-only tracks. The demo hadn’t been released while I was writing this, so it’s at #13 based on anticipation alone. Side B is also being released, featuring an ‘opposite’ tracklist to SIDE A (vocal instead of orchestral, and vice versa). I wonder if you have to buy both CDs separately…?

Funny story – I saw 森羅万象に触れて in the description of one of Yuuhei Satellite’s C91 albums, and I got pretty excited because I thought it was a collaboration with Shinra-Bansho (森羅万象). It isn’t.


pz

18. Pizuya’s Cell’s “Intersecting Distortion” [交錯ディストーション – Kousaku Distortion]

XFD || Official Site

This album didn’t leave a strong first impression on me, but having listened to the demo a second time, I think I’ll actually like it. I think I’ll like it quite a bit. I mean, personally, I don’t think it’s possible to release a better album than The Maze of Time Paradoxia, but this is pretty good. I like the first track – it reminds me of Capgras Syndrome, which is still one of my favourite Pizuya tracks.


kosuzu19. AramiTama’s “Inkstone Noises: Frequency Scroll” (硯音 Frequency Scroll)

XFD || Official Site

“The sounds and melodies of the maidens who might someday become youkai…”

Hot off the heels of Dateless Steam Visions, released during Kouroumu 12, AramiTama is back with another full-sized album! As you can tell by the cover art, it features several arrangements of Kosuzu’s/FS’ theme, along with a few other themes. I’m surprised Arami managed to get them out so quickly…

The album as a whole pretty much sticks to the usual formula (synthesised sounds and heavy percussion), which is a winning formula, so that’s fine by me. Apart from the Kosuzu tracks, I really like the sound of tracks 4 and 6. Listening to the demo makes me want to work on an FM-synth inspired album of my own…


tribal20. Cajiva’s Gadget Workshop’s “TRIBAL TUNING MECHANISM”

XFD || Official Site

This album seems to be some sort of ‘best of’ collection, featuring arrangements by Cajiva that have appeared on the CDs of other circles. The official site finally answered one of my longstanding questions – yes, Cajiva actually does use a real vocalist. Her name is Atori, from As/Hi.

Like usual, Cajiva offers his unique tribal house style. This means that the tracks get quite gritty and dirty, and they have a lot of character. The bass is quite strong, too, and at some points it doesn’t quite match up with what’s going on in the melody, which makes you feel uneasy.


pianism21. SOUND HOLIC’s “TOHO PIANISM III”

XFD || Official Site

Thankfully, the wait between II and III was much shorter this time. As the title suggests, this series features piano-only arrangements of your favourite Touhou themes. Is it just me, or are we seeing more and more of them lately…? Putting that aside, the tracklist looks pretty good. My eyes immediately stopped on The Lost Emotion, Faraway 380,000-Kilometer Voyage, and Desire Drive. Like the above album, there’s no demo yet, but this should be a quality release.


22. Touhou PARTYBOX03, presented by Melonbooks

XFD (Disc 1) (Disc 2) || Official Site

Melonbooks has taken up Toranoana’s mantle, and has another Partybox album for us this time. I’m only looking out for the BUTA, Shinra-Bansho, and RD tracks. So… that’s pretty much 4 tracks. Interestingly, though, the third disc contains old tracks from some circles… and they’ve actually been rearranged! Wow!

I’m quite excited for the Shinra-Bansho track, though – it’s a Bucuresti arrangement, and the vocalist is Ayaponzu*. She’s quickly becoming Shinra-Bansho’s main vocalist…

Which reminds me, I’m still hurting because Shinra-Bansho’s last release was that event-limited CD I’ll never be able to listen to…


ddby23. DDBY’s “Two Travelers in the Wilderness 2: Trojan Green Asteroid” [荒野の旅人2 鳥船遺跡 ~ Trojan Green Asteroid]

XFD || Official Site

This is an instrumental album, featuring arrangements of themes from Trojan Green Asteroid in a variety of different genres. Trojan Green Asteroid is my favourite Sealing Club Album, so I’m glad to see it get some more love! I like track 3 the most – the vibe suits Trojan Asteroid Jungle really well, and I like the swells in the melodic instruments. I can’t say no to track 6, either.

Maybe next time we’ll get Synth de Touhou 3? That would be nice…


logical24. logical emotion’s “Touhou Project: acoustic arranged instruments 3”

XFD || Official Site

This album seems to focus mainly on Shoot the Bullet, though the LoLK rabbits are well-represented, too. It’s quite chilled-out, stripped back to just piano, bass, and/or percussion. I’m looking forward to hearing the September Pumpkin arrangement.

Listening to stuff like this makes me want to make a stripped-back album of my own.


25 + 26. Nanagen Straße’s (七幻シュトラーセ) “DESTINY” and “VISION”

XFD (Destiny) (Vision) || Official Site (Destiny) (Vision)

This circle is an offshoot of Rokugen Alice that started up earlier this year. Based on the demos for both albums, it seems as though this circle’s signature style involves bombastic orchestral/trance arrangements, accompanied by a stern, dramatic reading of a text. DESTINY is an Old Adam album, and VISION is a PoFV album. The demos make you feel like the world is ending around you. They have that sort of apocalyptic charm. Is charm even the right word…?

I’m not entirely sold on the female vocals, but I have a feeling that they’ll grow on me. Overall, though, I’m afraid that I’ll be sick of the dramatic verse-reading thing after listening to two albums of it. But then again, I love it when people talk over music (see Pizuya’s classic legend tracks), so that’s unlikely. Once I’m more familiar with this circle, they might jump up my lists pretty quickly – I have high hopes for them!


pz227. Pizuya’s Cell’s “Irony Juuhachi Bancha” [アイロニー十八番茶]

XFD || Official Site

Another Godwood piano album. This time, the tracks covered come from Impossible Spell Card. It also features a cool, jazzy arrangement of Eternal Short-Lived Reign.

I’m… not quite sure what else to say.


fluster-escape28. FELT’s “Fluster Escape”

XFD || Official Site

FELT continues to puzzle me, yet soothe my soul at the same time. To start off with, ‘Different Kind of Love’ is amazing, and might possibly become one of my favourite FELT tracks. The last two tracks are beautiful, too.

Putting that aside, though, there is a massive elephant in the room. And that elephant is how loud the first two tracks on the demo are. I’m hoping that it’s just a glitch in the demo, because they’re… almost painful to listen to. Maybe it’s just me…?


Shinigiwa Satellite is also releasing their 3rd album.

Kouroumu 12 + Autumn Reitaisai 3 Roundup

This time around, I’m covering two events: Kouroumu 12 [K12, held on the 9th of October, 2016] and Autumn Reitaisai 3 [ARTS3, held on the 16th of October, 2016]. I don’t understand why they’re held so close together, but both events are too small to have their own pages, which is why I combined them.

Oh yeah, this isn’t related to the events, but according to Wani’s Twitter banner, he’s starting a new project in 2017. He hasn’t revealed any information yet, but it’s likely to have something to do with the single he released with monochrome-coat at C90. The official site is registered under ‘Knife,’ which will probably be the name of his new circle. It’s old-ish news, but I know there are some Sally fans out there who might be interested in a quick status update.


jihen-arts1. Touhou Jihen’s “Redemption” [贖 – ‘Aganai’]

[ARTS3] XFD || Official Site

I predicted last time that the last single in the Touhou Jihen 3-single project would be a Subterranean Animism single, but it looks like I was wrong.

But still, we finally get to hear NSY arrange some themes from Imperishable Night! I was really looking forward to the Sally Imperishable Night series, so this single kind of makes up for it. All three tracks are new, and they’re great. It also features Mooned Insect, which makes me happy.

A postcard featuring artwork from the three singles is also being distributed with this one, and it says that a new album is coming soon. I wonder what themes the album will showcase? Will it just be a compilation of the three singles that were released this year…? Or… could it be a Subterranean Animism album?


shinraeventonly2. Shinra-Bansho’s “The Milky Way’s Super Dream Gravity Star” [銀河超夢重力エトワール – ‘Ginga Chou-Yume Juuryoku Etowaaru’]

[ARTS3] XFD || Official Site

I’m always happy to see more Shinra-Bansho stuff. This single features an arrangement of Marisa’s theme along with an arrangement of ‘The Centennial Festival for Magical Girls.’ They sound great, but… it’s an event-limited CD. In other words, it’s not being sold at stores, so I’ll probably never get a chance to listen to it. It’s like the Liz Triangle single that was released around the same time last year.

Either way, I’ll translate the lyrics if kaztora posts them on Twitter, and I’ll keep replaying the crossfade demo until he decides to put these tracks on another CD…


cat-krm3. BUTAOTOME’s “The Cat’s Quiet Sleep Disc” [猫の安眠DISC – ‘Neko no Anmin DISC’]

[K12] XFD || Official Site

This is a piano-only album by Paprika. The songs on it were selected from a poll that was conducted a month or so ago. It features tracks from BUTAOTOME’s first 12 albums. It’s being advertised as an album to help you sleep, but… I don’t think that ‘To Death in Love’ [恋死に] will help you sleep. ‘Y’ is pretty up-tempo, too…

I voted in the poll, and my favourites [‘Pitch-Black Snow’ (真っ黒な雪) and ‘Y’] made it in, so I’m happy. I’m looking forward to the next volume of this collection, and I’m also looking forward to the next Comp x Paprika rap album! I was kind of expecting that to be released this year, but it looks like we won’t be seeing it until next year…


another-line4. TAMAONSEN’s “ANOTHER LINE EP”

[ARTS3] XFD || Official Site

This is a Chen album, and the second track is called ‘Chen Reaction.’ I… can’t believe nobody’s used that name before.

I don’t quite know how to describe it, but this EP has a different feel to it. The tracks seem… ‘dirtier’ than normal? Like, the album has a darker sound to it. I think it’s because it’s missing ill.bell. Anyway, there are only 6 tracks, but they’re 6 quality tracks.


casket25. Casket’s “Fest noz: reter 3”

[ARTS3] XFD || Official Site

It feels like Casket has been off the scene for a while, but they’re back with not one, but two new albums! It seems like both will have an Irish sound to them.

I can’t really judge the two albums since the crossfade demos haven’t been released yet, but I put this one above the other one because it features an arrangement of ‘Starry Sky of Small Desires,’ which nobody wants to arrange anymore.

Thanks, Casket.


casket16. Casket’s “Pribuskers 2”

[ARTS3] XFD || Official Site

The second Casket album. This one doesn’t have ‘Starry Sky of Small Desires’ on it, but it does feature arrangements of the Perfect Memento in Strict Sense tracks. If you’re an Akyuu fan, it seems like it will be worth a listen.

Hopefully Casket will arrange some tracks from Old Adam soon. I think their style would really suit it.


orchestra7. Takuan’s “Takuan Vol.2 feat. Touhou Project”

[ARTS3] XFD || Official Site

This is a relatively new group, specialising in orchestral arrangements of video game music. Their first album was a Kancolle album, but now we have a Touhou album. It mostly contains old favourites like Septette and UN Owen, but I like their sound. It’s refreshing to hear another live orchestral group, and it makes the wait for the next KOKYO album more bearable…

If you’d like to hear more from them, check out their Youtube channel!


hana8. [※論理について。] About Logic’s “Sensitivity to Flowers” [花のあはれ – ‘Hana no Aware’]

[K12] XFD || Official Site

I’ve never heard of this circle before, but I was quite impressed by the album’s demo. According to the official site, they haven’t released a Touhou album in a while, and this album just contains re-recordings of past tracks. They justify it by saying that the original album didn’t sell well, so there are probably lots of people who haven’t heard these songs before.

It features smooth male vocals, and it has sort of a Satellite Himawari-ish guitar sound. If you’re a fan of male vocals, it’s worth a listen.


aki9. GET IN THE RING’s “Aki -秋-” [‘Autumn’]

[K12] XFD || Official Site

Another GET IN THE RING album, another ‘A’ title. We’ve seen a few experiments in heavier genres like rock in the past, but this one sticks to what we’ve come to expect from GET IN THE RING.

It kind of reminds me of AQ, but I like the original themes used in AQ more, so I don’t think this is quite as good. Still, Mie sounds great, like usual.


dateless-steam-visions10. AramiTama’s “DATELESS STEAM VISIONS”

[K12] XFD || Official Site

“Though the abandoned machines no longer move, they continue to let off smoke in the illusory threshold.”

Well, that’s what the Soundcloud page says. Just from listening to the demo, I can see the image they’re trying to create – this album has a very electronic, dirty sound to it. Listening to it makes me understand even more what ZUN was saying about trying to make Old Adam ‘hard to listen to.’ If I’m not mistaken, this is the only album on my list featuring themes from Old Adam. Hopefully we’ll see more arrangements at the next event…


nina11. Shounen Vivid’s “Images of Nina” [ニナの群像 – ‘Nina no Gunzou’]

[K12] XFD || Official Site

This appears to be a collaborative album between Shounen Vivid and Tengu no Mai [天狗ノ舞], but… both circles are new to me.

This features more male vocals. Is it just me, or are there more CDs featuring male vocals this time around? Maybe I just haven’t paid enough attention to them in the past…

As a whole, I think I like the Tengu no Mai tracks more. Track 3 (‘thistle’) is my favourite from this album.


no-way

12. Akatsuki Records’ “No Way -Gravity-”

[K12] XFD || Official Site

After a bunch of consecutive album releases, Akatsuki Records tones things down a bit with a single. I’ve found myself liking Akatsuki Records less and less as time goes by, but this single isn’t bad. The three tracks aren’t related in any way, but this single feels more focused than previous releases; even though the three Akatsuki arrangers [ACTRock, Stack Bros. and Neko Manjuu] contributed one track each, it feels… more cohesive than usual.

The third track is my favourite so far, which is a surprise since I don’t normally like Neko Majuu’s arrangements. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for Akatsuki Records!


godwoodfairy13. Pizuya’s Cell’s “Pretty Little Wars” [プリティリトルウォーズ]

[K12] XFD || Official Site

Another Godwood piano album. This time, the tracks covered come from Fairy Wars.

 

 

I’m… not quite sure what else to say.


chiptune14. Francois’s yomogi farm’s “Witches in Chiptune Wonderland”

[K12] XFD || Official Site

Just like the title says, the witches are in chiptune wonderland. In other words, it features chiptune arrangements of Alice, Patchouli, and Marisa’s themes. There’s also a random arrangement of AN ORDEAL FROM GOD, which nobody ever aranges.

Thanks, Francois’s yomogi farm.


sisters315. Ganemes’ “sister’s♯3”

[K12] XFD || Official Site

Rounding off my list, we have an album featuring nothing but arrangements of ‘Romantic Fall’ and ‘Because Princess Inada is Scolding me.’

So, if you can’t get enough of the Aki sisters, this is the album for you. I never realised the two themes could be arranged in so many different ways.


And with that, we’ve reached the end of another list. Yuuhei Satellite, Shoujo Fractal, Hachimitsu-Lemon, and IRON ATTACK are also releasing new albums, so if you’re a fan of any of those circles, seek them out!

C90 Roundup

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.


Adam1. 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.


Shinsou2. Liz Triangle’s “Shinso Diver” [シンソウダイバー]

XFD || Official Site

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…


Pizuya 13. 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]

XFD || Official Site

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…?)


jacket_4P_01-124. Ringing Volcano’s “Komorebi Sketchbook” [こもれびスケッチブック]

XFD || Official Site

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…?


FREAKS5. Butaotome’s “FREAKS”

XFD || Official Site

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…)


utsutsus6. Diao ye zong’s “Utsutsu” [夢]

XFD || Official Site

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…!


yoake7. Touhou Jihen’s “The Night of Dawn” [yoake no ban – 夜あけの晩]

XFD || Official Site

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.


LilyForest8-9. 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…?


tos033_jak10. TAMAONSEN’s “STELLA”

XFD || Official Site

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.


Cajiva11. Cajiva’s Gadget Workshop’s “GOOD EVENING Ms ETAOIN & SHRDLU”

XFD || Official Site

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…)


Partybox 2212. “Touhou PARTYBOX 2,” published by Melonbooks

XFD [Disc 1] [Disc 2] || Official Site

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.


Paprika13. Butaotome’s “Touhou Nekokenban 12” [東方猫鍵盤12]

XFD || Official Site

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.


MCCD-018-100014. monochrome-coat’s “DIARY”

XFD [Primula] [十六夜物語] || Official Site

(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… >_>


Pizuya 3L15. 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]

XFD [Disc 1] [Disc 2] || Official Site

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!


SOS16. Sound of Swing’s “Sound of Swing with Strings”

XFD || Official Site

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…


Violin17. 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!


FELT18. FELT’s “Parallel Cross”

XFD || Official Site

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?


Six19. Hachimitsu Lemon x Aftergrow’s “Touhou Six String 03 – Ties [結]

XFD || Official Site

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.


Pizuya 220. Pizuya’s Cell’s “Bunjinbokkakku Kiunsou” [文人墨客起雲荘]

XFD || Official Site

[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.


Doll21. Akatsuki Records’ “DOWN DOWN DOLL -to the beginning 07”

XFD || XFD [Bonus Album]

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?!


artworks-000174971117-urf7d4-t500x50022. 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…


Amanebeat23. COOL&CREATE’s “Bridal Amanerio” [ブライダル あまねりお]

XFD || Official Site

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.


Jazz24. TOKYO Active NEETs’ “Touhou Explosive Jazz 10” [東方爆音ジャズ10]

XFD || Official Site

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.

RTS13 Roundup

Another event, another roundup post!

Like usual, some albums are being released by Western Touhou circles: Frozen Starfall (Babbe’s new circle) is continuing with their ‘DANCEFLOOR’ series with PROMISED DANCEFLOOR. Veto and denshuto are also being featured on Shinigiwa Satellite’s WOW!! EP. Also, Shoop has released an album, ‘Where no Miko has Gone Before.’ Check them out if you’d like to support the Western community!

Also, I’m releasing my 4th Touhou arrangement album! It’s called ‘Mastermind,’ and it’s another LoLK album. It features all of the themes that weren’t featured on my last album.

Just stressing that these are all my opinions! If there are any albums I haven’t put here that you’re looking forward to, mention them in the comments! (Oh yeah, any title translations are also unofficial. Just putting that out there.)


ensekihakubutsukancdjacket1. Team Shanghai Alice’s “Dr. Latency’s Freak Report”

I was hoping for ZUN to release another Sealing Club CD. And… he delivers! I’ve been spending too much time since the album was announced imagining what the new themes will sound like, imagining how I’ll arrange them, etc. Yeah, my 5th album is definitely going to be a Dr. Latency album.

Anyway, there have been a few theories regarding the title and what the story will be about. Some people think that Renko is Dr. Latency, observing Merry (hence, ‘Dr. Latency’s Sleepless Eyes’). No matter what happens, the story should be interesting, and the music will be great, too. Also, it makes me happy to see that ZUN is giving ‘Eternal Short-Lived Reign’ the attention it deserves. Thanks, ZUN.


jacket_16002. Ringing Volcano’s “Chitchat at the Teahouse ‘Bakeneko'” [Kissa Bakeneko de Oshaberi wo – 喫茶化猫でおしゃべりを]

XFD || Official Site

Yep. Amazing. Simply amazing. If you are remotely into instrumental arrangements of Touhou themes, you need to visit the circle’s BOOTH page and do everything in your power to buy their music.

This album sounds so good I don’t even want to waste your time talking about it. Just listen to the crossfade. Please.


2. Shinra-Bansho’s “M otherMother

XFD || Official Site

Right on schedule, Shinra-Bansho has returned with another release. (It takes joint second place because I can’t decide whether I like it more than Ringing Volcano’s album…)

If you’ve been following my translations, you’ll know how much of a Shinra-Bansho fan I am, and this album doesn’t disappoint! This one is more like Paraiso, since it doesn’t have a musical. But it does feature Ranko instead (a total of 2 times!). Awesome!

Like always, one vocalist is emphasised. This time, it’s あやぽんず* (ayaponzu). It looks like she’s new to the circle, so she’s been flung into the deep end, singing a total of 4 songs including the title track. She leaves a pretty good impression – she has a bit of a ‘cutesy’ voice, but it doesn’t overpower everything else. That probably didn’t make sense. Lyrics-wise, kaztora and azuki have taken care of 2 songs each, and Seiji (the newcomer from the last album) has taken care of 3 (!) songs. I’m interested to read his lyrics to see how he’s improved over the last year.

Also, the last track is brought to us by ACTRock. I bet you weren’t expecting that.


revoltech3. Touhou Jihen’s “revoltech”

XFD || Official Site

“Why are you putting this album so high when there’s only 3 tracks, and one of them is ‘Addicted!!’ which has already been released?”

Well, according to the Melonbooks page, this is the first in a series of 3 consecutive singles! So rather than waiting for over a year for a new album, NSY is splitting it up into parts. Based on this album, it seems like they’re all going to be based on DDC, though it could end up being different. Anyway, the title track is great, but track 2 is, in my opinion, the best. IZNA really shines – you can tell that NSY knows exactly how to play to her strengths. Also, ‘Addicted!!’ is still one of the only best arrangements of ‘Thunderclouds of Magical Power.’ So overall, the first single leaves me with high hopes for the next 2!


kakages4. Diao ye zong’s “Kakage” [掲 – ‘Declaration’]

XFD || Official Site

The theme this time is spellcards. RD also said that he’s aiming to make an album that everyone can enjoy and get into. Which, honestly, is a massive departure from his last album.

Anyway, as can be expected, the songs sound great. I’m not entirely sold on the themes he chose to arrange, mainly because he’s arranged most of them before and there’s a whole game’s worth of themes that need arranging *cough cough Pure Furies* but that’s his choice, and I’m okay with it when the results sound as good as this. I like the instrumental tracks more than usual this time, and it looks like Evil Sign “Hao Xioaogui” (邪符「ハオシャオグイ」 ) is the Desire Drive/Old Yuanxian mashup I was waiting to hear. It has 3L, too, and unlike last time I feel much warmer towards her voice!


Akatsuki Triangle5. Akatsuki Records x Liz Triangle’s “First Memory/Next Memory”

XFD || Official Site

Yes, you read that right. Akatsuki Records and Liz Triangle have joined up to create a completely unexpected album. Have we seen a collaboration like this before? I don’t think so.

Anyway, the album consists of new and old arrangements, and each track is influenced by both circles in at least one way. It all makes sense if you look at the official site. It’s interesting to hear how the two circles combine, and to be honest it makes ACTRock stand out for me a lot more than he usually does. I never thought I’d hear lily-an sing LOVE EAST (arranged by kaztora), but it actually works. It seems like the song pushes her out of her comfort zone, which is what a collaboration should do. Stack does an awesome job with who killed U.N. Owen, as well. The theatrical nature of the song suits her voice perfectly. I’m a bit disappointed that Stack Bros. doesn’t make an appearance, but that would have made the album too crowded, I suppose…


tphill4_l6. KOKYO Active NEETs’ “Touhou Philharmonic Orchestra 4: IN + IaMP” [東方フィルハーモニー交響楽団4 永+萃]

XFD || Official Site

So, that’s not the full crossfade – instead, it’s their version of Dream Battle. Anyway, if you’ve been following my roundup posts, you’ll know how much I love this series. I’m… slightly disappointed that they didn’t go straight to PoFV, but I’m still happy with how this album sounds. My biggest concern is that… they had 2 albums to arrange Wriggle’s theme/the stage 1 theme and they didn’t! As if! And, for reasons that will probably never become clear, they decided to release a second Kancolle jazz album at this event instead of Explosive Jazz: UFO edition. Isn’t this… a Touhou-only event?!

(Also, is it just me or is their orchestra getting smaller with each release?)


hlzy-0025_jacket

7. Halozy’s “Lucky 7”

XFD || Official Site

The album is called ‘Lucky 7’ and completely through coincidence, it ended up at 7th place on my list…

I’m here for the Asahi/Emaru track, and boy does it deliver. It’s everything I could have ever hoped for in an arrangement of ‘Wonderful Heaven.’ (I still can’t believe it took me so long to learn about him…)


Godwood8. Pizuya’s Cell’s “The Mallet and Stylus of Magical Power” [魔力の小槌とスタイラス]

XFD || Official Site

Another Godwood piano album. This time, the theme is DDC. Like usual, Godwood gives us some excellent piano playing, and his version of the original themes sounds fresh. He’s kind of like the antithesis to Marasy.

I don’t know if it’s just me, though, but these albums are beginning to sound a bit same-ish. Harmonically speaking, it seems like Godwood has the same patterns that he keeps coming back to. I was originally captivated by his Ten Desires album because it had some extra instruments, too, but he never went back to that style. Part of me wants to hear that style a little more… Anyway, don’t let that turn you off. It still sounds great!


kamisama_Jt9. Akatsuki Records’ “God’s Stories -INNOCENT- -to the beginning 06-” [神様Stories-]

XFD || Official Site

I stopped believing in Akatsuki Records for a while. I came close to ignoring this album, too, because I wasn’t too fond of the first two tracks. But then I heard the third track – wow, I haven’t heard this vocalist before! And then track 6 hit me. The beginning is so haunting, and then the tension just ramps up [plus, I love the original theme]. It turns out it was arranged by the enigmatic Stack Bros…

Speaking of Stack Bros., there’s also an event-limited CD full of arrangements by Stack Bros. Are they… planning on splitting off and forming their own circle? Honestly… I’d be okay with that.

Also, the title track has already been translated over at stargazer, so check it out!


artworks-000158891166-tu02ns-t500x50010. Shibayan Records’ “TOHO BOSSA NOVA 5”

XFD || Official Site

As expected, we have another iteration in the bossa nova series. This time, there are two (!) arrangements of Desire Drive, and Shibayan has only arranged one (!) of the tracks. There’s also only one (!) vocal track – a wonderful arrangement of Futo’s theme. There’s also an arrangement of LoLK’s stage 4 theme + Sagume’s theme, but I’m not too fond of it. With bossa nova, you have to be careful or else it will sound too generic (a problem that I’ve faced a couple of times).

So, even though I’m not as hyped as I was for the previous bossa nova albums, it’s still going to end up pretty good. Shibayan has also released some of his older albums on BOOTH, so go and check them out if you’re interested!


Adam11. AdamKadmon’s “moon”

XFD || Official Site

I don’t know what happened, but this is probably the most I’ve enjoyed an AdamKadmon crossfade. You can tell that Kamiyashiro has improved – I used to feel that his arrangements stuck too close to the original theme, but it looks like he’s found the confidence to step out a bit, which is an encouraging sign. This is also a LoLK album, which is a bonus. It also features a track by Wani (in collaboration with Sepia, which is a first). It has some weird gestalt thing going on – I can’t directly hear ‘Faraway Voyage of 38,000 Kilometres’ in there, but I can still feel it there. I can’t explain it. Anyway, it’s good to hear Wani arranging again. It’s like hearing from an old friend you should keep in touch with but never find time to.


Activity12. GET IN THE RING’s “”Activity” Case:06 -Shining Future-“

XFD || Official Site

This is a compilation of all of the previous ‘Activity Case’ albums, and it also features two new tracks. GET IN THE RING sometimes suffers from the ‘sounds the same’ syndrome, but I’m a big fan of their mashups. And these tracks all manage to be pretty unique, even though their original themes overlap here and there. I wonder if this is the final volume in the series? Since we’re getting a new music CD, it probably isn’t. I’m sure we’ll see it again someday…


Rute13. AbsoЯute Zero’s “Trident World”

XFD || Official Site

You might recall that I was really hyped for Absolute One, this circle’s first album. Well… I didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I thought it would. This album’s kind of the same story – the crossfade sounds really good, but in the end, I know that the full songs probably won’t capture my interest. For me, they’re better listened to in short bursts, because they kind of blend together a bit after a while (like with the Godwood albums). Putting that aside, there are some good tracks in there, and there’s actually an arrangement of LoLK’s ending theme – I never thought I’d see one of them!


Party14. “TOHO PARTY BOX – Hakurei Shrine Ver.” presented by Melonbooks

XFD || Official Site

The sequel to the one released last year. By the way, did anyone notice that there’s no UROBOROS album this time? I’m honestly… a bit disappointed. Anyway, I like the sound of the new Hatsunetsumiko’s and Diao ye zong tracks. There’s also an arrangement of ‘Eternal Spring Dream’ in there. Nice!


Pizulolk15. Pizuya’s Cell’s “The Sweet Joker’s Trump Card” [スウィートジョーカーの偽切札]

XFD || Official Site

I don’t like the way Pizuya masters his tracks, which turns me off a lot of his albums. Considering that I really love Futoumeido’s lyrics, it’s a shame. With that in mind, the track that I love the most is track 5 (the arrangement of Sagume’s theme). I love it because it’s subdued. It doesn’t assault your ears with violins and harsh pianos. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pizuya didn’t arrange it…

Also, I want to take a moment to mourn the passing of the -classic legend- series. I knew something was up when the last one began with “I forgot what I was going to write here, so I’ll just put random stuff in. Sorry.” It was a niche series, but I loved it all the same. Now who will I go to for my amusing takes on music history?


kyou_ga_saigo16. Butaotome’s “The Long Goodbye” [今日が最後の一日]

XFD || Official Site

“These songs are for the humans who continue to live here.”

The title properly translates to ‘Today is Our Last Day,’ but since ‘The Long Goodbye’ is written on the jacket, I assume that’s what they want it to be called.

I don’t really like this album based on what I’ve heard so far. Butaotome have arranged most of these songs and (in my opinion) they did a better job the first time around. My main problem with it is the arrangements themselves – there’s too much original material for my tastes, which was the issue I had with Animal Path (my least favourite Butaotome album). If you said tracks 3 and 4 (and probably 6 and 7 as well) were original tracks, I’d believe you. So, in that sense, I don’t think the album is bad. I just think that Butaotome could have done a better job arranging the original themes. So I’m kind of judging it on a different level.

That sounds really harsh, but there are are still positives. Ranko sounds great like usual, and I’m honestly sure that the full album will sound awesome, like we’ve come to expect from Butaotome. I just can’t get into it this time. I feel like there’s something wrong with me! *hides in a corner*


FELT17. FELT’s “Rebirth Story III”

Official Site

So I was kind of impressed by FELT’s last album, having never been a fan of them before. It looks like this album is another ‘best of’ collection. I suppose this gives me the perfect chance to go back and revisit some of the songs I missed during my long absence from the world of FELT. I don’t know how many of the songs have been made specifically for the album. I assume the first is new, since Kokoro’s on the front cover… But they’re all new to me since I hardly ever listen to FELT >_>


And, to finish it off, I need to say that Shinigiwa Satellite is releasing CLOWN EP. It is a thing. It has Clownpiece on the cover.

C89 Roundup

So, I’m here with another one of these posts. C89’s shaping up to be an awesome event (or at least, it is for me), with lots of LoLK albums set to be released. I’m chipping in and releasing my own LoLK album, ‘Apollo Rises,‘ so be sure to check it out if you’re interested! Anyway, without further ado, here’s my list of all a few of the albums I’m looking forward to.

I’ll update this post as more XFDs come in.


Hisoka1. Diao ye zong’s “Hisoka” [密 – ‘Secrets’]

XFD || Official Site

Yeah, that’s the cover art. The theme this time is ‘secrets,’ and those who expose them. I was upset that RD didn’t arrange Last Occultism for his last album. Luckily, he’s included not one, but two arrangements of it in this album! They are ‘The Aftermath’ and ‘Ms. lonely hedgehog,’ and they’re the opening tracks. nayuta also shines on this album, with 2 solos and a duet with Merami, ‘Secret Disclosers.’ I can’t help but feel that it’s going to be linked to ‘True Outsiders.’ Kushi also returns, and 3L’s absent this time. Which is a shame, since I ended up really enjoying 3L’s song…

Anyway, why have I put this album at top spot? Well, to me, it seems like it’s a more balanced album than Tatoe. I can honestly say that I like every track on the album so far. Also, Kirisame Eversion has Witch of Love Potion mashed in. Who can say no to an arrangement of that theme?  ‘Alice, the Enigmatic Doll’ [アリス・ザ・エニグマティクドール] also has Circus Reverie in it. I love Circus Reverie.


Touhou Jihen.jpg2. Touhou Jihen’s “Peerless Patrolwoman” [絶倫パトロール – ‘zetsurin patorooru’]

XFD || Official Site

The long-awaited sequel to 悦楽バージン [etsuraku baajin – “Pleasure Virgin”]. Well… I was waiting for it, at least.

So, this circle is another one of Sally’s branch circles. The main members of this one are NSY and IZNA, and their sound is deliciously old-school. I was a bit afraid that Touhou Jihen’s second album would be a PCB album, so I nearly lost it when I found out that it’s a LoLK album. It’s basically what I would have expected from Sally if they moved on to LoLK. Anyway, one of the standout tracks for me is 神楽0 [Kagura 0]. It’s a duet between IZNA and Ranko! They work so well together! I also like the title track – I need more Eternal Spring Dream arrangements in my life. It also features IZNA rapping. I never expected that. But the whole album is really impressive. And it makes me want to go and translate the first one. One day…


3. Ringing Volcano’s “Shinmyoumaru’s Little Adventures” [針妙丸のちいさな冒険 – ‘shinmyoumaru no chiisana bouken’]

XFD || Official Site

This new circle was founded by Nakasako Sakana [中迫酒菜], the main arranger of Machikado-Mapoze. So it’s like Machikado-Mapoze, but with a different name. I honestly thought I’d never hear from any of them again after Machikado-Mapoze disbanded earlier this year, so seeing a new album is like a dream come true. Like always, if you want arrangements of Touhou music for chamber instruments, there’s no equal. Seriously. All the tracks sound amazing. Track 5 is also an arrangement of Eternal Spring Dream… and I’m sure you know how much I love that theme! Anyway, I love the crossfade, and if I can buy a downloadable version of this album, I will. No questions asked.

And isn’t that cover art the cutest? Onigiri always does such a great job.


buta4. Butaotome’s “Lunar Probe” [ゲツメンタンサ – ‘getsumen tansa’]

XFD || Official Site

Butaotome! The theme this time seems to be the moon (as you can probably tell from the title). But… about half of the tracks are arrangements of themes that Butaotome’s done before. And… they actually sound quite similar to their last arrangements. Isn’t that cheating?! That’s just me nitpicking – they still sound good. And the LoLK arrangements sound great, too! Especially the Sagume and Clownpiece tracks. No Eternal Spring Dream arrangement, though. I’m kind of getting TRASH BOX vibes from this album for some reason…


ether5. Liz Triangle’s “ether”

XFD

Liz Triangle always announces their albums later than everyone else (which makes it hard to make these sorts of lists…). Anyway, the dream trio has worked their magic on LoLK – kaztora’s provided some wonderful arrangements, lily-an’s provided her wonderful and unique vocals, and I can only assume that azuki’s provided some wonderful lyrics. Which leads to a wonderful package all-round. It may seem like I’m looking forward to this album less than Immortal Philosophy since this is at number 5 instead of number 3, but I’m actually more hyped for it. There’s more of a ‘power creep’ this time – my top 5 albums slot neatly into the empty 2nd spot from last time. If that makes any sense.

Anyway, looking at the music – I really like Sagume’s track. Hecatia’s one is really good too. And there’s an arrangement of Eternal Spring Dream, which fuels my desire for more good arrangements of that theme. Hopefully I’ll actually translate this album this time, instead of saying I will then abandoning it…


Kishida6.Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets’ “SUPER SONIC APPLE RABBIT”

XFD || Official Site

So, C88 saw the return of Sound CYCLONE, and C89 sees the return of Kishida. I’m excited for this release, since it’s their first one since I became a fan of them earlier in the year. I already translated the first track, Reach for the Moon, Immortal Smoke, back when it was still known as mokotan_demo. There’s also an arrangement of 昔話わんだーらんど [Legendary Wonderland]. I definitely wasn’t expecting that. It’s probably going to be a while until their next Touhou release, so I’m going to enjoy this one as much as I can.


Less Extra7. Sally’s “LessExtra”

XFD || Official Site

So, after being delayed due to personal issues, the fabled ‘Less 2’ is finally being released! The last time I put this album on one of my lists, it was cancelled, so I’m tempting fate by putting it on there this time… It’s a bit less of a ‘Less 2’ than some might have been hoping for – there are only 3 new tracks (1 by Shrimp, 2 by NSY), and the other 3 include a remix of zen, a re-recording of Forecast (未来予報 – mirai yohou), and a Ranko version of did. So why am I looking forward to it? Well, NSY is one of my favourite arrangers, so it’s always good to see more tracks for him. Also, hopefully this release means that Sally can start releasing stuff more regularly again. Having said that, Wani seems to have been struggling through some personal issues for a while, so please send some positive thoughts his way 🙂


Orchestra8. KOKYO Active NEETs’ “Touhou Philharmonic
Orchestra 3: IN” [東方フィルハーモニー交響楽団3 永]

XFD || Official Site

This series has finally exited EoSD/PCB purgatory, and is now approaching the games that I like more. I know that’s harsh, since I really liked the first 2 albums, but I feel like those 2 games always hog all the attention… Anyway, even without a crossfade, I know that this album will satisfy my inner orchestral music nerd. It looks like all the main themes are being covered, except for the stage 1 theme/Wriggle’s theme, which makes me a bit sad. The crossfade sounds amazing! There’s also some orchestral piano in there, which is cool. There’s also a bit more clarinet than last time, and less oboe, which I think leads to a better balance between everything. Maybe I’m just biased since I’m a clarinet player… It’s nice to see that there’s more mashups this time – there’s a Mystia mashup and a Keine mashup. I’m already looking forward to the inevitable PoFV album, and the distant LoLK album… >_>


Felicidade9. “FELICIDADE,” by Hatsunetsumiko’s

XFD || Official Site

Junko’s on the front cover, so you know what that means – a dance arrangement of Pure Furies! It’s chill. I almost thought that the third track was an Eternal Spring Dream arrangement, but then I realised that it was an arrangement of Eternal Shrine Maiden instead. I was a bit disappointed, but I always enjoy Ark Brown’s vocals, so it’s not too much of a loss. The last track is supposed to be an arrangement of Faraway 380,000-Kilometer Voyage, but I can’t hear it in the bit that’s in the crossfade. I can only hope that it’s more prominent in the full song. As a whole, this album’s more subdued than Girls in the Mirror, with less inventive scatting and stuff like that. But I think it still sounds really good.

The cover art’s also really nice. Someone needs to give their artist a raise… >_>


Rem

10. monochrome-coat’s “ReM”

XFD || Official Site

So, monochrome-coat’s releasing not one, but 2 albums for C89! As you can tell from the Doremy on the front cover, this album contains arrangements of the themes from stages 1-3 of LoLK. It also features IZNA in a grand total of 3 tracks! (2 by Eiji Hijikata (土方 英司) and the other by buoy). It’s hard to judge this album when there’s no XFD, but I’m sure it’s going to be a good one based on the arranger list alone.


Object 211. monochrome-coat’s “Object2”

XFD || Official Site

The second monochrome-coat album. This one’s a sequel to Object, and it’s full of Sealing Club arrangements. I put this one a bit lower since it only has one IZNA track and more merami, but it also features an arrangement by NSY! An arrangement of Greenwich in the Sky! It also marks the debut of a new vocalist, Yoru Shirasawa (白沢よる), who’s been helping out at the live shows. She’s covering Warp Time Letter, by mono. I’m following her on Twitter, so I’m interested to see what her voice sounds like.


Recollection 12. Foxtail-Grass Studio’s “Re*Collection”

XFD || Official Site

Some of you may remember the 4 season-related albums Foxtail-Grass Studio put out about 4 years ago. Maybe not? Well, I do. This album is apparently some sort of a commemorative album, continuing in the same spirit. It’s heavily focused on Trojan Green Asteroid and Neo-Traditionalism of Japan, but there are some old favourites in there, too. The Wind of Agartha arrangement is amazing! Also, they managed to get Wild and Horned Hermit’s artist to draw the cover art. Nice!


Agony13. GET IN THE RING’s “Agony”

XFD || Official Site

Hey, look – it’s Sagume! This is another LoLK-heavy album, with GCHM bringing his trademark parody style to the table. I love Mie’s voice, and she shines on pretty much all the tracks. Track 3 deserves a special mention, simply because it’s called “What the hell is going on?” I also like the relaxed atmosphere of “Sweet Dreams.” It’s also an arrangement of Eternal Spring Dream, which I can add to my slowly-growing collection…


14. Toranoana’s “Uroboros 5”

Official Site

The title uses 業 (‘gou’), which kind of sounds like 五 (‘go’ – 5). But it means something different – I guess that means it’s actually Uroboros Karma…? >_>

And the very first track is a Shinra-Bansho track. It’s an arrangement of Little Princess. That’s it – I’m sold! Other highlights include Butaotome’s track (an arrangement of Kyouko’s theme… finally!), Sally’s track (arranged by Shrimp), TAMAONSEN’s track (I swear they put more effort into their compilation tracks than their real releases), and RD’s two(!) tracks.


Victors Space Odyssey15. 智慧人狂想曲 ~ The Victors’ Space Odyssey, by 夢想吟遊詩人 (The Dream Troubadours)

XFD || Official Site

This ‘group’ only came into existence this year. They’re basically a collection of composers who compose music in ZUN’s style, including well-known figures like リュウオウ and Pesot. This album mimics ZUN’s Mysterious Works, containing new tracks and rearrangements of old tracks, as well as an original Renko x Merry story. Their first one, Citrus Resuscitation, was awesome, so I have high hopes for this one. If I feel like it, I might even arrange one of the tracks…


Pizuya16. Pizuya’s Cell’s 怨みを溶かしたダージリン [‘urami wo tokashita daarin’]

XFD || Official Site

Normally I’d try to translate the title, but I’m actually not too sure about it this time. If I had to translate it, I’d probably translate it as “My Darling, Who Melted Her Grudge.” This album is pretty much Godwood meets LoLK. It has a similar sound to his other collections, and it doesn’t look like there are any extra instruments (which is a bit of a shame for me since I thought the other instruments gave the covers more character). Anyway, needless to say, it has an arrangement of Eternal Spring Dream.

Pizuya’s also releasing a regular album, 共犯ストラテジー [Complicity Strategy – ‘kyouhan sutoratejii’]. Like last time, I’m looking forward to the classic legend track, which is an arrangement of LoLK’s stage 1 theme.


Cajiva217. Panday@Works 2: Boobs the universe

XFD

“This album is C89 venue limited.
Then, the arranger is not a real person.
Please only person who understands pun.”

Hecatia as a Hindu God. Just let that sink in for a bit.


Moon18. Cajiva’s Gadget Shop’s “MOONTRIBE”

XFD

The above album is meant to be a supplement to this one. Cajiva made up a fake persona to do Indian Touhou arrangements, and they even have a Twitter account out there somewhere. Anyway, MOONTRIBE offers more of Cajiva’s unique sound. It also has not one, but two arrangements of ‘Eternal Spring Dream.’ Sweet! To be honest, I’m not a fan of the vocal samples Cajiva uses, but I’m sure they’ll grow on me. There’s also another Last Occultism arrangement, along with Pure Furies and Clownpiece’s theme.


tumeneco19. TUMENECO’s “Secret Winter”

XFD

They say there was once a king called Midas, who was cursed with the power to turn everything he touched into gold. Centuries later, a Japanese doujin circle called TUMENECO was granted a similar gift – every theme they touched would, like magic, become related to Renko x Merry. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I like the concept of this album – a bunch of unrelated themes are mashed with Renko x Merry themes, which at least justifies the lyrics. And I love mashups! I also love Crystallised Silver, and there’s not one, but two mashups incorporating it! Overall, it sounds like a charming, winter-themed album.


Six String 220. Hachimitsu-Lemon × Aftergrow’s “Touhou Six String 02. Sealing” [封]

XFD

So, it looks like this might be a series. To be honest, I think I’ve had enough Sealing Club albums this year to last me a lifetime, but I guess more is always a good thing! It’s also good to see that Aftergrow is still going in some form. I have a certain nostalgia for that circle… Sugar in Black is deliciously calm, and the Satellite TORIFUNE arrangement is awesome!


Swing Holic21. SWING HOLIC’s “SWING HOLIC VOL.16”

XFD || Official Site

I think I started to lose interest in this series somewhere along the line. But SWING HOLIC’s still at it, churning out arrangements of each game’s OSTs. They still have a bunch of games left, including the first 2 PC-98 games, LoLK, and the 13.x and 14.x spinoffs, but they’re actually coming close to arranging everything. You have to admire their dedication: some circles start off with the goal off arranging every game’s themes, but I think SWING HOLIC is one of the only circles that’s actually close to achieving that. To be honest, I really like Mystic Square, so I’ll probably like this album more once I hear the whole thing.


Kasen22. flap+frog’s “rosa canina”

XFD || Official Site

Kasen on the cover is no lie – in an event flooded with LoLK arrangements, flap+frog is releasing an album with not one, not 2, but 7 arrangements of Kasen’s theme. And only Kasen’s theme. And they all manage to sound different, whilst basically being easy-listening music.


FELT23. FELT’s “Spatial Moving”

XFD || Official Site

Last, but not least, we have FELT. I don’t consider myself a FELT fan, and I usually pass over their albums, but I listened to this album’s crossfade and I was pleasantly surprised! There’s some lovely Japanese-language songs in there, and there’s also MAGIC! (a dance track that sounds like it belongs in a Hatsunetsumiko’s album). Doloza is also really hypnotic. The only track I really don’t like (apart from the remix) is Untitled. It has a promising beginning, but then… something happened and it just jarred with the rest of the album for me. We’ve also got some Lost Dream arrangements, which are always welcome. FELT probably always sounds like this, and I’ve been missing out the whole time… >_>


There’s some more albums being released at the event that I didn’t fully cover here. In particular, a lot of Western circles are releasing albums this time! Veto’s releasing a new EP, and Frozen Starfall [Babbe’s new circle] is releasing an album, too! There’s also a collaboration album called Collection of Dreams by Last Dream coming out. The majority of these are available on Bandcamp, so getting them won’t involve outrageous shipping costs. Also, Shinigiwa Satellite’s releasing an album two albums. I can’t forget about them.

Autumn Reitaisai 2 Roundup

I’m back with another one of these posts! In case you don’t know already, Autumn Reitaisai (or ARTS for short) is like the Reitaisai that’s held in May, only it’s held later in the year. In 2014 it was held at the end of November, but it was moved back over a month for 2015 – it’s now going to be held on the 18th of October. Unfortunately, there aren’t many albums being released this time (and there’s no Shinra-Bansho release like last year…).

Anyway, I’m going to list the few albums I’m looking forward to, along with links to the official sites and crossfades. Also, if you’re a Sally fan, you’ll be pleased to know that according to their official site, if they pass the ‘ballot’ and make it in to C89, they’re definitely going to release their new album.


I LOVE CHERRY1. BUTAOTOME’s “I LOVE CHERRY”

XFD || Official Site

DJ Comp and MC Paprika make their triumphant return, casting their… magic (I suppose?) on the tracks from Perfect Cherry Blossom. Basically, it’s a PCB rap album that somehow manages to put even the likes of TAMAONSEN to shame. Comp has an amazing command of language, and even if the songs sound like they’re jokes, you can tell that a lot of thought went into the lyrics. So far, I like the first track [‘Dance Dance Dance’] and the 4th track [‘one life’] the most. Overall, I think it’s more balanced than I LOVE RED, and Comp seems to take over more of the rapping. He sounds so cool >_> Either way, the crossfade has left me looking forward to this album and the next one… which will probably be I LOVE NIGHT, or something like that.

You can download track 8 here.


Touhou Irish 72. Floating Cloud’s “Touhou Irish 7: Phantasm Festa” [東方アイリッシュ7 Phantasm Festa]

XFD || Official Site

And Floating Cloud returns after last year’s wonderful Touhou Irish 6. This album drops the DDC focus the last one had in favour of a more eclectic collection of original tracks. I’d say my favourites so far are #6 ‘Intermission ~ Pilgrim’s Way’ (幕間~巡礼道程, ‘makuai ~ junrei michinori) simply because I need more arrangements of Gathering the Mysterious from All Around Japan, and #7 ‘Riddle-solving Step’ (謎解きステップ, ‘nazotoki suteppu’) because of its transition from a slow tempo to a fast tempo. I don’t think it’s quite as good as the last one, mainly because I’m fond of DDC’s OST, but it’s still seems like a really great album.


Piece of Clown3. AbsoЯute Zero ‘s “Piece of clown”

XFD || Official Site

Get it? ‘Piece of clown’ because her name’s… Clownpiece. >_>

Anyway, Rute’s following up the impressive ‘Absolute One’ with a shorter mini-album (which is a bit disappointing, but I guess there’s still hope for C89). The title track is the star here, mashing up Clownpiece’s theme with Faraway 380,000-Kilometer Voyage. It’s full of energy. There’s also a PV available on NicoNico, if you’re interested (Youtube mirror). The second track is a mashup of Last Remote and Koishi’s theme, and the third track is an original. How random. Anyway, it’s solid – hopefully C89’s release will be an album with the rest of the LoLK tracks!

Update: According to the PV description, C89’s album is actually going to be an original album, and the third track is a sample track from it.


Pianism4. SOUND HOLIC’s “TOHO PIANISM II”

XFD || Official Site

The sequel to TOHO PIANISM I, which was released in… 2009. And I though there was a big gap between Sound CYCLONE’s Touhou releases!

Anyway, the crossfade is very convincing. It’s basically a piano album, with some extras as well. So… it’s kind of like Godwood’s piano albums with Pizuya, in that respect. For me, the standout tracks are the Pure Furies arrangement, the Fantastic Tales from Tono arrangement, and the Unknown Flower, Mesmerising Journey arrangement. But the whole album seems pretty good!


Punk It5. IOSYS’ “PUNK IT!TOUHOU!3

XFD || Official Site

This is the 3rd album in the series? I didn’t even know there was a 1 and 2… Anyway, this album is exactly what it says on the tin – punk arrangements of past IOSYS hits. It seems like they already covered their most notable ones, but this album includes well-known tracks like ‘Make Us Your Brides!’ and ‘star river.’ Aki does a good job with ‘star river,’ but I don’t think anyone can beat asana. I must admit, the Hatate track is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine (partially because Hatate’s such an overlooked character), so I guess the punk version makes it… a bit less of a guilty pleasure, I suppose?


6. A-GEARA-GEAR‘s “Rubbish Recycle” [我楽多再生 – ガラクタリサイクル, ‘garakuta risaukuru’]

XFD || Official Site

A Sealing Club piano (+ extras) album. I’ve never heard of this circle before, but this album looks pretty good. It has a very… jazzy feel, and we don’t see that enough with Sealing Club tracks. Tracks 1-6 appear to be recycled from a previous album: 我楽多灯籠 (‘Junk-O’-Lantern’). I’m very fond of the new Last Occultism arrangement, though the other tracks have a great easy-listening vibe to them – perfect for listening to whilst stressing over essay-writing >_>


By the way, Rolling Contact [Melonbooks link – click サンプル1, etc. for samples], KRASTERII, and IRON ATTACK [Melonbooks link] are releasing albums as well. I just didn’t make a write-up for them because I’m not really interested in them >_<

Anyway, that’s pretty much it for this event. There’s not much coming out, though there are a couple of good albums hidden away there.

C88 Roundup

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…]


artworks-000125376449-7wac90-t200x2001. Butaotome’s “Maiden Purgatory Vol. 3” [少女煉獄 第三巻, ‘shoujo rengoku daisankan]

XFD || Official Site

“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”Inmortal

XFD

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 ZeroAbsolute Zero‘s “Absolute One”

XFD || Official Site

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.


Philharmonic5. KOKYO Active NEETs’ “Touhou Philharmonic
Orchestra 2: PCB” [東方フィルハーモニー交響楽団2 妖]

XFD || Official Site

(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!


Tatoe6. Diao ye zong’s “Tatoe” [喩 – ‘Metaphor’]

XFD || Official Site

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”Girls in the Mirror

XFD || Official Site

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…


Synth8. DDBY’s “Synth de Touhou II”

XFD || Official Site

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”ヒミツナグモノ

XFD

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”An ordinary life

XFD || Official Site

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 LoveSound CYCLONE” [トウホウファンクラブ]

XFD || Official Site

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*


Pizuya112. Pizuya’s Cell’s “The Celestial Maiden’s Window Side” [飛天少女ノ窓際 – ‘hiten shoujo no madogiwa’]

XFD || Official Site

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.


Uroboros13. Toranoana’s “Uroboros 4 – ~dEATHtINYoVERdRIVE~ [東方幻奏響UROBOROS肆]

Official Site

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…


FYW14. Find Your Way’s “Fade / Time”

XFD || Official Site

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!


Cafe de Touhou15. DDBY’s “Cafe de Touhou 7”

XFD || Official Site

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”Sept florum

XFD || Official Site

“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.


LOVE EAST17. Akatsuki Records’ “LOVE EAST -to the beginning 04-“

XFD || Official Site

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.


Saga Novel18. Saga Novel’s “Tsukiyomi’s Dream” [月黄泉の夢]

XFD || Official Site

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.


Bakuon19. TOKYO Active NEETs’ “Exploding Jazz 8” [東方爆音ジャズ8]

XFD || Official Site

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…


ULiL20. “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]

XFD || Official Site 

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…


Love21. Honey Pocket’s “Love Compilation -Revised Edition-” [恋綴里-改訂版-]

XFD

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.


Pizuya222. Pizuya’s Cell’s “Izanami’s Antinomy” [イザナミの二律背反 ]

XFD || Official Site

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 >_>