Archive for the 'music' Category

MP3 Tracks At Amazon

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Amazon sells MP3 and not DRM-ed garbage like iTunes, so naturally I gravitate to it. Unfortunately, its J-pop library is very small. It’s mostly just Puffy (of whom I have everything on CD) and Utada (who I cannot stand for some reason). Just to make things harder, their recommendation system fails hard when the purchase density is small. So, as a public service to DRM-hating weaboo everywhere, here are two items I managed to unearth.

First is “Anime no Magic” album from “I Love You Project”. The vast majority of the schlock that I Love You Project pump out consists of poorly remixed anime soundtracks, typically instrumental. The cover artwork is horrifying, and heaven forbid you visit their website. Overall the operation would be better named Exploit People Who Are Desperate for Anime Music But Too Shy to Yarr From Nipponsei Project, but their Anime no Magic is an exception. Although the cover is just as tacky as everything else, the tracks, all of which are vocal, are competently performed and recorded.

Second is “Mirai” by Megumi Okutsu. This album has the essential sound that I seek (at least in some tracks). A quick google search indicates that Mrs. Okutsu was a one-album flash in the pan, which is too bad. She could stand some development, because what she did in Mirai sounds suspiciously like Yoko Ishida in her singles. Still, it’s something.

P.S. Forgot the ancient imitation of Ayumi Hamasaki, which is about as close to Ayumi Hamasaki as you can get at Amazon. That was kinda rad and a nice wedge in the mass market.

Japanese and their LEs

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

The The Idol@Master Master Box VI (notice the spelling) was bought out by the pre-order people more than two months before the release. Regular release is apparently not planned.

I blame DiGiKerot

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Why Box 4, you ask? Simple: it’s the only IM@S box that is not sold out yet.

UPDATE: Juri Takita on stage, poorly captured by my DVD player:

I recognize her instantly because of her very special brand of endearing ugly. Plus, the whole story of Kotori.

UPDATE: I remember how I was reading an interview of Hung (in that sadly short-lived series of Kabitzin’s investigations) and he said — in 2007:

I guess I’d say that Beta-Waffle is my favorite blog that still updates regularly. How can you not like a blog that has such an ugly layout and ghastly drawings on purpose? At least, I think they’re on purpose.

That was when I added it to my feedlist… And it pretty much went downhill from there. Beta-waffle quickly reached the top of the list by elbowing away Chizumatic (because Steven cannot decide if he wants to blog about ducks, beavers, computers, or Obama-sama), and stayed there. [Correction: he has, in fact, decided — Author]

I’m pretty certain DiGi is over IM@S by now though. But I am still fixated after the initial shock. I may even finish Xenoglossia one day.

That Miku

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

A random[1] video on Youtube said that an album with Miku made it to (somewhat close to) the top of charts, which was a little surprising. I didn’t think that common Miku tracks were worth listening, but I hit the Amazon, and Next (ver.i) is quite good. Better than even audio in Last Night Good Night, IMHO. Miku is not quite there to displace KOTOKO, but good enough to buy driving MP3s.

P.S. Sadly Megurine Luka does not step up from Miku. They really need to revise the software further.

P.P.S. Hatsune Miku is a rare exception to the normal name order that I accept (it is spelled in the weaboo order on the original game boxes, so I have no choice). The other exception is Rock Lee.

[1] The sequence was: a coworker twittered about Dokuro-chan, so I hit Youtube for the OP to refresh my memory, then “related” rendition by Miku, and then the abovementioned promo newsreel.

May’n and Megumi Nakajima at Anime Expo

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Anime-expo announced that “Megumi Nakajima and May’n will perform together on Friday afternoon, July 2, in Nokia Theater as well as participate in guest panels and autograph sessions.” I suppose that it’s a good antidote to the mooted staffers’ boycott. If they stage a strike now, I’m not going to have any patience for their pathetic labor disputes.

More IM@S loot, Hibiki and Takane

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Today’s shipment includes “Break 3” set, which I largely bought for the CD, because manga is too hard, and character CDs for Chihaya and Hibiki (actually a Hibiki/Chihaya combo).

Break 3 belatedly acquainted me with Hibiki and Takane. I was not on the scene when they were introduced, but now I get a feeling that they were sandwiched between the ridiculously popular fist wave of quirky personalities and… even more quirky personalities of the DS idols (hikky, trap, and Ai). I do not want call them “bland”, because they really aren’t, but my first listening impression was of a certain tint of genericity. Also, please pardon my amateur judgements, but Yumi Hara (Takane) and Manami Nakamura (Hibiki) just do not seem as well developed as singers as Akiko Hasegawa (Miki), what to say about the likes of KugiRie!

As you can see, for some reason the 2nd wave are presented as more mature types… Especially Takane is dominating in her woman charms. It’s like Azusa without the creepy obsession with the destined one and the permanent bride stigma. Yet, Takane is only 17 (Azusa was 20 years old). But that’s nothing, Miki was 14 back when she worked for 765, and you just look at the line-up now. Bet the same kind of age gaming is happening on the real idol stage all the time.

UPDATE: Thomas e-mails:

Took a few seconds to register but noticed the second picture is imitating characters from Bakemonogatari. Nice.

Ah, yes. I was just thinking why Hibiki’s left arm is bandaged… The stupid hat is another clue. But most importantly, Takane is holding a stapler! Here’s a primer:

Left to right: Tsubasa (Miki), Nadeko (Iori), Suruga (Hibiki), Mayoi (Yayoi), Hitagi (Takane).

UPDATE: I completely forgot to mention that everything was instigated by Kuro who yarred Break 3 and mentioned listening to it at #animeblogger. I immediately downloaded it too (after the disaster of Master Box IV, I swore off buying untested), and the rest is history. Also, Hikago went to order the box the next day after me, and it was already out of stock. Japaaaaaan.

Appreciate Miku Hatsune

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

My new Jeep comes with MP3 CD but no USB or SD, so I went back to burning CDs (it’s a purposefuly crude vehicle: no power windows, for one). Doing that, I misunderstood how the -path-list option of genisoimage worked, and thus created an ISO where all tracks were shuffled. I listened to that CD ever since, because I was too lazy to burn another one. Today, one of the tracks in Sososo’s i.Next came up, and I was shocked by the clarity of Miku’s singing. I could understand every word.

How did that happen? I blame Teto Kasane. I listened to her way too much recently, enough to sing along… “Watashi ha uta-hime na no, watashi ha uso ja nai no… la la la… MISOJI TO YUUUUUUNA!” And honestly, Teto’s speech is just awful with her 8-bit anounciation (sorry, UTAU fans, but it is). At first I was not sure if she actually pronounced any words or just made meaningless sounds… But gradually I started to understand her and that probably made something to my speech centers. That’s how Miku surprised me.

Toshiko Akiyoshi

Monday, July 26th, 2010

I went to see a Q/A with A.B. Spellman, which I gather is an annual affair where he gets to interview someone in front of an audience. The format is somewhat similar to a TV talk show. This time his interlocutor was Toshiko Akiyoshi, who is apparently a preeminent Jazz pianist and composer.

With no interest in Jazz, I enjoyed the session in my humble weaboo ways, primarily for the reference value. During the occupation, Mrs. Akiyoshi had to build her repertoire by listening to records, which were ludicrously expensive at 3,000 en each. At the time they had some of them playing as restaurant music, so she visited coffee shops and did her best to jot down the score, like an ancient Josh Agarrado. She also mentioned the Live House system, which, as we know from K-ON, exists to this day.

There was quite a bit more, such as a discussion of the luck and timing, which of course Nodame covered. One particularly funny thing was how A.B. attempted to talk what it was to be a 17-year old girl playing Jazz in postwar Japan (watched too much Basball Girls in Age of Toushou perhaps). Toshiko pushed back hard. She said there was such a lack of musicians that nobody cared if you were a girl or what you were, just as long you could play, and that nobody ever made anything out of it. Oh, my.

Finally, a dude in the audience tried to broach a subject of get Akiyoshi Big Band recordings released on iTunes. I knew what the answer would be since the problem is common in anime circles. I heard it discussed at Yoko Ishida’s panel once, for example. Basically, it’s a hell on a stick to get rights from the Japanese or even know who has the rights. In Mrs. Akiyoshi’s case RCA/Victor owns most of it, so only the first applies, but even so nobody succeeded so far.

Sososo’s “Reboot” is available

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

A couple of weeks I was marshalling Youtube links to troll Miku-haters at #animeblogger, when, entirely by accident, I noticed that Sososo posted a promo for an upcoming album “Reboot“. It popped up on Amazon today and I immeditealy grabbed a few tracks. It’s quite nice, if you’re into this kind of thing. DTO FTW.

Also… Actual tracks sound better than the previews at either Youtube or Amazon. Not sure why. At first I passed upon a bunch of them because they sounded like “been there, done that”, or, frankly, rejects from i.Next. But after buying a couple of them, I returned for more. Fortunately, there are no per-transaction fees.

Full Moon OP deja vu

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I was saving the netflixed DVD of Full Moon for later and heard the OP while checking the episodes. Surprise, surprise, I am sure I heard it somewhere… Like in one of the classical sweepers at JAR! I always thought that it was a Judy & Mari number, but ANN says “THE*SCANTY”. Never heard of them. Wiki suggests it’s a 2-album wonder that burned out in 2 years. Now it’s the choice of a collector’s import for $50 or antology of random for ~$25 (although this one has J&M too).