…yup, that’s a pretty awkward post title, but whatever.
This time there’s something special from us: a collab review of a compilation (in itself another collab) album. It began when one day I thought, “hey, wouldn’t it be nice to do a collab review with echan.” To my surprise, she welcomed the idea. This is our first collab work though, and we’re not going to smoothen every contrast between us two, because that’s what makes a collab article interesting. You see, I personally know little about music™, but can stand today’s popular woob-woob music. On the other hand, echan knows more about musical technicalities, but said to me bluntly: “woob-woob music is repetitive and boring.” So hopefully by doing a collab we can cover most of the song types on the album, as the album itself is a loose compilation album. If you are wondering why the text uses two different colors, it’s our attempt to show you who’s writing what. The orange color will be me, petrichor; teal will represent echan.
No, I never said anything like that! What I said was, “woob-woob music is not my cup of tea.” And I’d like to clarify something: I also don’t know much about musical technicalities, I just happen to have a tendency to find ‘exotic’ songs to fall in love with. Oh, and one more thing. echan = anmitsu. He insists to refer me as echan, so I’ll insist on referring him as niitan also.
Okay enough small talk, let’s get started on the album. The title is re:TUNED. I wonder how many albums with that “re:” names are out there today? But most likely the number is close to few hundred thousand. Seriously though, why?
Probably they worked so hard for those albums, re:perfect them every time so we will re:play them over and over, that’s why they put “re:” in front of them? *re:ponders*
In any case, re:TUNED is the first compilation album from a rather new vocaloid doujin circle from Indonesia, crafTUNER. Even if the circle itself is new, the producers involved are not new players in Vocaloid music. Some of you might already heard of REDSHiFT, idoyklik, or for those who are familiar with Touhou doujinshi, Vesuvia.
Let’s start by stating this first: to be honest, reviewing a compilation album is a bit more complicated to do, because it consists of many producers, with all their unique genres — so we can’t simply highlight few songs that stands out, because that will make the review unfair.
But that’s why I gladly accepted your whimsical idea. It will be interesting!
That being said, some compilation albums do have a common theme — take for example VOCAROCK series, which you might know, consists of mostly rock songs or Galaxy Odyssey series, which consists of experimental music from varying genres. This doesn’t seem to apply to re:TUNED. The album doesn’t have a common theme, much less than same genre. It’s more like ETP (EXIT TUNES PRESENTS) the best of GUMI or VOCALOxx series. Yes, we know that as the first album, it would be logical to use it as a ‘show of force’ of some sorts. Still, many will expect some kind of theme to thread all the songs together. Or will crafTUNER release a VOCALOxx-like compilations album forever? That’d be risky, as the VOCALOxx series is like a recap of what’s currently popular in the scene. Some will argue this means the album lacks a solid concept.
I think crafTUNER as a new doujin circle delivers new songs, even though, like niitan said earlier, the producers have been around Vocaloid community for some time. Moreover, usually people form a group because they share the same view, belief, or same goal. Let’s just see what kind of interesting stuff they have in store for us.
I’ll begin looking at the album art. It looks quite futuristic with some lowpoly-like shapes and of course, their mascot — named SYNTHIA (I did not misspell that). Talking about SYNTHIA, it’s a well thought mascot, complete with personalities. She likes good music and cats, dislikes power outages and bugs (now tell me this mascot isn’t actually based on echan). The illustration for SYNTHIA is beautiful. It also looks fresh because in this vocaloid world where everyone seems to be a loli, SYNTHIA was brought forth as a cute teenager. Nice decision there. (though personally I prefer lolis).
Don’t forget her twin brother, ARTHUR. But yeah, she is indeed beautiful. And tall. Now that I pay closer attention, her likes and dislikes are quite similar to me. How come I never knew? But I still hold the loli prestige. I’m the personification of Miku! Don’t you know that … *goes off to delusional world*
Ahem. Sorry I lost my composure earlier. Alright, let’s get down to business. I like how Dandelion is placed as the first track of the album. Composed by farhan, it acts like the appetizer. It sounds so universal, a catalyst to draw in everyone from multiple genre preferences. The tune is quite catchy, with strong pop accent. Also, GUMI’s voice sounds so melodious, isn’t she? It’s brimming with confidence and idealism. Unsure what the world will bring you, what do you want to do in this world. Even with all the hardships, even if you’re like a dandelion, so small and light (and cute, if you may), easily carried away by wind, not knowing where it will bring you. Surely, someday you will find your passion. You will grow, and eventually, you will bloom gloriously.
Yup. This track has a very good vibe to start the album. Adding to my amazement is the fact that farhan is a teenager, like 19 (or how old is he again, I forgot). This guy really has musical talent, and this song is a strong testament to that. Upon listening you’ll notice the harmony of musical instruments here — it’s just so smooth. Oh and did I tell you the producer is a teenager? What, I already did? Dayum.
Home (#5), a song by Mixtrelle, is sung by Hatsune Miku. The first thing that piqued my interest was the language used in the lyrics. After some research and asking around, Goth-sama told me that it’s called gibberish language. They don’t mean anything, only the lyrics writer knows what they really mean, he said. So I took liberty to summon a mental image. I interpret this song as “Journey”. Quite an opposite from the title, “Home”. The song starts with a deep cello solo, followed by thick string instruments. As if contemplating whether to start a journey to the far far away place, there are hints of hesitation and anxiety here. After some pondering, the decision is made, she confidently marches forward. The journey seems uneventful and looks like she will arrive at the destination without anything eventful happening. Until the first obstacle appears in front of her. She staggers and suddenly her anxiety comes back. She tries to solve the obstacle impeding her way but her efforts are futile. Unexpectedly before she can get it solved, more obstacles keep coming her way from all directions. She’s in the middle of her journey, she is losing confidence and there are only two choices — give up or finish it. Remembering that she has come this far, she just can’t give up now. She steels her resolve and pushes through the problems one by one. For the most part, this song gives a fantasy-like, contemporary classical vibe, showcasing its allure. It feels mystical, beyond rational, enchanting like a mantra.
Maybe this journey can be seen as a metaphor of life. There are times when we face the ups and downs of life. What will we do? Do we simply give up after countless problems and bad things happening? It’s up to our choice and eventually, if we follow our heart, after such hardships, we’ll become someone we want to be. We’ll arrive at somewhere we belong, our… Home. [life lesson now? Delete this paragraph later =.=a]
Nah, I’m not gonna delete that, lol.
Note: how echan managed to freestyle this kind of story is always something beyond my comprehension.
Now we have something sung by IA, Fate Fraction (#6). This song is composed by aoWAVE in collaboration with Vesuvia. The song exhibits the “chaotic” feel excellently. Everything is out of order and it reflects in both the lyrics and music. Mood swings, easily provoked, fatigue. Just like PMS. The instruments sound atonal and inharmonious, they carry so much complexity. Overpowering trumpet (or is it saxophone? I’m not really sure but it sounds rad). Fierce piano arpeggio. Animated bass. Screeching guitar. Static sounds here and there, emphasizing its dissonance. The lyrics speak about a messy life, in the distant future, the world is not so friendly anymore, full of war and betrayal. It’s like even if there’s any hope, it’s just an illusion. Or something like that. I believe I’ve read somewhere that this kind of music is called New Complexity Music. I can’t help but wonder how this song sounds if the singer was MEIKO instead (*incoherently mumbles* don’t pay much attention to this). That reminds me. HeLiOSPHERE (#9) also has the same color, although it’s considerably tamer.
Now imagine if it uses KAITO …. Okay, not a good idea. But that’s only because this song is already brilliant to begin with. Each of the instruments is very well played. The pacing is indeed fast and its complexity is pushing this song out from the pop realm. Just listen to the drum pattern — it’s dope. The trumpet-sounding instrument (whatever that is) — mmh, so catchy and I really dig some of the bass lines. This is the kind of song that will never make you bored no matter how many times you play it (unlike your SO … kidding, bro). This one’s my favorite song in this album.
Moving to the next song, Uragiri no Memento (#15), a song by Vesuvia, sung by Hatsune Miku. This song is inspired by the Touhou song titled “~ Green Eyed Jealousy ~ Touhou 11 SA ~ Parsee’s Theme”. Uragiri no Memento is literally translated into memento of betrayal. This song has two main instruments — piano and violin. You can guess from the song title, along with the instruments involved, it’s a sad song. Well, not really sad per se, but it’s heart shattering, more like regret. High pitched agonizing violin accompanied by oppressed piano. Furthermore, the rain falling sound also accentuates the soul crushing remorse. The song gives a cold and detached vibe, as if you’re alone in the world. Reaping what you sow, you’re stuck with the guilty feeling for your betrayal, and it leaves a scar in your heart and soul. Anyways, this song is quite enjoyable for me, probably because I love slow songs and I have a thing with 3/4 or 6/8 timed signature songs. Sue me.
This is totally not my kind of song. No need to sue me, though.
Now’s my turn. I want to start with something pop. So let’s talk about a song from the (probably) most popular producer in crafTUNER, REDSHiFT. 4U, Track #10, is a very good sample. It carries every aspect of good electropop song, catchy tunes, a bit of added details like piano here and there, plus high-pitched vocaloid tuning to match the tempo. There’s nothing much to dislike from this song, but that’s also where the trouble starts — it doesn’t have that little something special to make it really stand out from the rest of electropop songs. Like, seriously, I can put this song in my electropop playlist and will never know who the producer is. I wonder what echan has to say about this song.
*coughing frantically* sorry, I gasped when niitan wondered about that, and it went down the wrong pipe. Okay, I’ll be honest. When I first knew about vocaloid, I was so attached to songs by kz — our pinnacle of electropop. But along the way, I somehow shifted away from that genre (you can find what kind of music I like in my previous reviews, not like it’s important for you, though). I can safely say this song is catchy. So, yeah. I can’t disagree towards what niitan said about how it doesn’t really stand out. But probably, that’s only because of my current music taste, so this opinion is biased.
Continuing down the pop road, we have another (but mostly similar-sounding) song from Vamaera, track #11: Summer Day. I can’t actually say what makes this song unique either, but that doesn’t change the fact that this song is also catchy. It has even less details than 4U, so maybe it’s a good song to be played in the background while you’re doing something else. Meanwhile, Track #13, Don’t Leave Me Alone, has a lot more soul. It’s a collab work from REDSHiFT and Vesuvia. Combining the good electropop music with a (sort of) hip-hop vibe, this song is pretty interesting to listen to. Pretty cool.
Hey, I heard that Vamaera is new in the vocaloid doujin community. A newcomer, but such a great job. Bravo. I have to add: sweet lyrics <3. Hmm… As for Don’t Leave Me Alone (#13), there is something that bothers me quite a bit. I like the intro, even like it more when GUMI’s voice comes into play. But whose deep raspy voice is that? It’s too low for my taste.
Dropping the ‘pop’ stuff we have a very good electro song in this album, which is track #8: Boundless by PG2125. What the genre it is, I’m not really sure but my best guess is trance. But I’m sure I love those bridging tunes between the riffs. It’s downright cool, even possibly becomes an earworm. A must listen song if you like electro song.
See, this is what I called “not my cup of tea,” so I can’t say much. This one below, has an interesting title, though.
Now’s rock time, baby. Track #4, PALSU by idoyklik, is an interesting rock song. The lyrics is in Indonesian, and has a fair amount of negativity in it. This song proves that you don’t need slower your tempo to convey your sad/dark vibe. The intro is very satisfying to listen to, especially when Luka’s beautiful voice kicks in. As a rock song, this song leans more toward mainstream side — and that’s a good thing. It sounds simple, and everyone knows a lot more work is needed to make something look (or in this case, sounds) unique. An even more easy-listening song, track #7: THX4CMИG, is also awesome. Go ahead and try it.
Oh man, Luka’s low husky voice is irresistible. Yeah, some fast paced songs are also good. And even though niitan said it’s mainstream, those… how to phrase “ratatatatatatatata drum pedal”? They actually make my heart goes doki-doki.
Considering all that, this album is a very good show of force from a new vocaloid doujin circle — from a country where vocaloid is seen as something so … niche. Upon more listening, I found that the songs in this album actually has the same vibe to them — a quite unique doujin vibe, legacy of Vesuvia (the exception being idoyklik’s songs). Fortunately it happens to make the album sounds quite a bit different from vocaloid albums from Japan.
Yeah! I’d like to listen to more songs like “Home”, or something along that line. It has become my favorite.
We can safely say it’s a fresh kind of vocaloid music, so we’d recommend it to y’all vocaloid fans.
So! How many MikuDB rating this album gets? *heavy breathing intensifies*
Tada! re:TUNED receives 3.5 out of 5 Mikus!
*the rather mediocre star is caused by the lack of
lolis a solid concept in this album as a whole. The songs are great by themselves.
Ah, and crafTUNER will release their second album at this year’s AFAID on September 25, 2015. I’m too poor to attend AFAID but rest assured, I’ll be sure to get the new album once crafTUNER opens the pre-orders.
It’s too bad I can’t attend AFAID. I’ve read somewhere that their second album, AZURESSENCE will have an Underwater theme. A theme, niitan! Just like what you mentioned earlier. Nevertheless, it is satisfying to find that we have talented Vocaloid producers from our beloved country, Indonesia. A big shout to you guys: “Maju terus musik doujin Indonesia!”
this post was a collaboration work between petrichor and anmitsu.
we’d also like to thank WoobiE for doing the editing work. thanks mate!