I ended up taking a bit of a break from this series last event, primarily because I was relaxing back at home. But now, I am using the power of doujin music to heal a head cold, and I feverishly typed away to bring you this post!
The most obvious hype point for this event is Touhou 17: Wily Beast and Weakest Creature. The demo is coming out, and I bet it will be awesome.
We’ve also seen the arrival of Touhou music to Google Play and iTunes, and even BOOTH has gotten on board, too. BOOTH was a recent addition, and you can find all albums released on the service here. It appears as though circles won’t be able to self-publish Touhou arrangement CDs on BOOTH from August 1st unless it’s under the 東方同人音楽流通 label (see this tweet for more information in Japanese).
My issue with all of these distribution methods is that scans of the booklets aren’t offered, which means I still need to buy physical albums if I want to guarantee access to lyrics. That is absolutely a first-world problem and does nothing to diminish the significance of this development.
I’ve gone with a more genre-based listing approach this time. As always, leave a comment and let me know what albums you’re looking forward to! Also let me know if you’re releasing anything so I can share it here too.
Bear in mind that most title translations aren’t official translations, and are presented for the sake of convenience.
1. ShinRa-Bansho’s “Eternity Parade” (エイセイパレード) and “Shinra Museum” (シンラミュージアム)
I knew the first album was coming since Melonbooks spoiled it, but the second album was a complete surprise. So, let’s start from that one! It’s a compilation album featuring tracks that ShinRa-Bansho has provided to other circles or publishers. The last track is also brand new. Since some of these are quite rare (not everyone was able to get their hands on the Melonbooks releases, and I didn’t even hear about the album the first one is from), this is a mostly new album for me. The first track is a standout for me – it shows how much Ayaponzu* and Ayo have developed in terms of their duets.
(By the way, the Ayo version of まっすぐ is included in the album instead of the Merami version. That works fine for me since the Ayo version is the one I haven’t heard!)
The second album is a spiritual successor of sorts to Happiness Egoist (シアワセエゴイスト) – the third track is an arrangement of it. I look forward to seeing how it’s related. Other than that, I think this album cements ACTRock as a member of the circle. He takes on most of the lyric work. I guess you could say this is the third phase of ShinRa-Bansho? The first is their formative musical albums, the second is the ticat phase (which was a transitional phase where we saw the appearance of Ayaponzu* and Ayo), and now we’re here.
And like that, I’ve run out of space. It’s good that ACTRock has found a new home after… whatever went on with Akatsuki Records. I don’t like the selection of original tracks as much in this album, but kaztora brings his all to each track.
2. Touhou Jihen and N+’s “解体少女/ロンリーデーズ” (Demolition Girl/Lonely Days)
It’s a split disc – one new Touhou Jihen and N+ (NSY, Chata, Shuriken) track and two remixes. It’s a bit light on content but I’m addicted to both new tracks already and I haven’t even heard the full versions! The first is really high energy, going from determined to eccentric in a heartbeat. I wonder what other idiosyncracies await in the full version…
The N+ track is very much in the same vein as the new tracks from the previous N+ album. It’s not the same post-apocalyptic whisper rap from Sally, rather a more chill experience. I also think NSY samples “Easy Game” a bit there.
3. ShibayanRecords’ “TOHO BOSSA NOVA 8”
(yes this technically came out a bit earlier but it’s awesome so I’m including it here anyway)
Happy Junko will visit you and heal you of what ails you.
I’m getting up on my soapbox and shouting from the rooftops – this has the best vocal tracklist of any bossa nova album! Mainly because I love LoLK.
And 3L’s voice. That Eternal Spring Dream arrangement healed my cold and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We also have not one but two arrangements of Night Sakura of Dead Spirits. Why not. I love that theme too.
I think the series has evolved a bit over the past 8 years. It’s nice to see different arrangers get on board each year and try their hand at one of the most comforting genres of music.
You can already buy it here, so… well… what are you waiting for?
4. Lampcat’s mystery single
sasakusa mentioned on Twitter that they were working on an event-limited CD for this event. I’ve been addicted to Lampcat since I discovered them, so I’m looking forward to this whatever it ends up being. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to secure a method of getting physical copies of CDs this time, so I won’t be able to see what they’re offering at I-27a…
This is a friendly reminder that all of the circle’s albums are available on Bandcamp! Hopefully this one will be available too.
5. Mano’s mystery project
“I announce my new work in early May.
Then it will easy to obtain overseas.
Please look forward to it:)”
Mano, April 27, Twitter.
It’s been a long time since Automata Girl… Mano’s space is J24b, and they published a little demo here.
6. Diao ye zong’s “Kanade” (奏)
There’s not too much to say about this one. The theme is “Music”, and it’s the same sort of Diao ye zong we usually get. I think RD has looked at all of these themes before except for “The Rabbit Has Landed”, so it’s not the most inspiring tracklist. The tracks all sound great as usual, though.
I like track 7 – we get a lot of Kyouko/Mystia duets, but I think this is one of the most convincing versions.
7. minimum electric design’s “TRAIL III”
minimum electric design is 10 years old! Congratulations! I was a latecomer to minimum electric design, so a compilation album like this will be perfect for me. I can catch up and get my mineko fix at the same time.
The mini album features a bunch of new tracks. I love it when mineko and dalin sing together, so the first track is an absolute standout. I love the other vocal tracks too, and I’m glad dalin gets a chance to shine. She’s really grown on me. You’ve got another three instrumental tracks closing out the album, which demonstrate the circle’s desire to ‘design’ sounds.
8. Hatsunetsumiko’s “SLOW”
So, on April Fool’s Day 2019, Tim Vegas announced a new project: 微熱巫女〜ず37.1℃ (Binetsumiko’s 37.1℃, lit. Slightly Feverish Miko’s 37.1℃). I thought it was nothing but a joke, but oh it’s actually a real thing. So what makes our slightly feverish mikos different to our regular mikos? I’m not too sure. I think the guitars are more pronounced. It’s like, base Hatsunetsumiko’s takes you to a greenhouse, and this takes you to an alleyway surrounded by brick walls with ivy growing on them.
That’s the only way I can explain this. Either way, it sounds great. Please make your music available for digital purchase soon, Hatsunetsumiko’s!!
9. Cajiva’s Gadget Shop and AramiTama’s “ARIAKE”, and AramiTama’s “Undercurrent Resistance”
These circles go hand in hand, so a collaboration between them is a match made in heaven. The theme of ARIAKE is ‘Renko and Merry travel in a world that has met its end”. Each track has that sort of apocalyptic feel to it, and the vocals fit really well.
Undercurrent Resistance is billed as an underground techno/electronic album. It’s a Double Dealing Character only album, which is also nice. I don’t think we’ve seen one of those in a while. I love this album for its atmosphere – perhaps even moreso than the apocalyptic collaboration. Like, I can hear the power in “Thunderclouds of Magical Power.” I can’t say I’ve heard that in many arrangements of that theme. Now do the same to Magical Storm, please!
Cajiva is also collaborating with As/Hi Soundworks to release CIDER TAKES ME HIGHER E.P.
10. Accord on Codes’ “Live 2018”
This is exactly what it says on the tin. The circle was able to make high-quality recordings from their performances at two live events in 2018. The quality is seriously high, and each track is a treat to listen to. I feel like Subterranean Animism’s soundtrack is best suited for jazz arrangements, so it makes me happy to see so many tracks represented here.
I like this style of jazz more than explosive jazz. It’s so smoooootttthhhh…
11. DDBY’s “Night Cafe: Cafe de Seirensen”
This is another one of those albums where the music is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s UFO music, but in the same style as music you’d hear in a cafe after dark. It’s really chill and really smooth. I love how DDBY accepts music from so many different arrangers, yet still manages to maintain such a consistent sound. Every album seems to exist in its own universe.
12. Fuling Cat Mark’s 星の砂漠のマルクパージュ [A Marque-page (Bookmark) Made from the Star Desert]
This circle has such a great feel to it. Their music is so comfy, and it gives me really strong magical girl vibes. Like, Patchouli’s just ready to go out and do anything. You go, girl! Each track has the sort of starlit, neon-lit street feel that we’ve come to expect from the circle. That mix of bossa nova and jazz is sublime, and this circle does it so well.
You can listen to the first track here!
13. Honey Pocket’s 恋綴里 -第十話- [Love Compilation -Chapter 10-]
You can’t talk about comfy circles without mentioning Honey Pocket. Their sound quality has improved so much over the years, and I feel like I’ve said that more than once recently. As you can tell from the cover, the theme of this album is beasts. If you don’t have fluffy ears or a tail, you’re not welcome in this album. The arrangements stick quite close to the original themes, but the extra elements they add (watch out for a wolf howl) keep things fresh.
14. paroleise × Satellite Himawari’s “unfinished”
I haven’t heard of paroleise, but I love Satellite Himawari. I’m a fan of Ars’ voice – the whispered tones in his low-mid register are so evocative. Reminds me a bit of TaNaBaTa. I think the mixing could have lowered the volume of the vocalists and added a bit of dynamic contrast, but the arrangements still sound interesting. Give it a listen if you’re a fan of either circle!
15. Ridil’s “Music of the 3rd Eye”
The artist kotoinari contributed art to 3rd Eye, a recent game where (as Koishi) you use your 3rd eye to navigate a mysterious and dark world. It was programmed by Sai and the script/dialogue was written by ittetu. Importantly for our purposes, Ridil provided the music. It’s really evocative, and it expertly conveys the game’s mysterious and dark mood. It has a bit of a deserted funfair, circus feel to it.
I just really love atmospheric music. And the game looks quite cool as well.
16. LASCAUX V, by ごんばこんなかのなか。
I’ve never heard of this circle, but they’ve been there making electronica arrangements for a while now. That’s why I like making these sorts of posts – they force me to find circles I might not have heard of otherwise.
I lvoe electronica, so there’s something to like about each track. The 4th track in particular captures me in its vice grip and doesn’t let go. The pauses are so sharp and punchy. I don’t think I’ve heard an arrangement of Fires of Hokkai that’s that intense…
17. RED FOREST and Girls Logic Observatory’s event-limited single
This post will age very poorly, since the whole single will be posted on Nico Nico on the 30th of April, 2019. The arrangement is by RF, the guitar is by Tera (テラ), and the vocalist is Ukine (うきね).
RED FOREST makes some very moving, emotional arrangements, so it’ll be interesting to see what this combination offers up. I need to listen to more Girls Logic Observatory music…
18. SHINATO, by 道草バンドワゴン
I’m not sure what to call this circle. Should we go with Michikusa Bandwagon? Michikusa means loitering while on your way somewhere, or it means ‘wayside grass’.
Anyway, I love Celtic Touhou arrangements! Omg this is so good! Is this Floating Cloud, or do we have a new Celtic powerhouse on the scene? The sound is so strong and authentic and lively and I haven’t felt like this since Floating Cloud. Just go and listen to the demo right away!
I’ll have to pick this up at some point. I have to. It’s too good not to.
19. VERMILLION, by #9th
It’s pronounced ‘Sharp 9th’, not ‘Hashtag 9th’.
Rounding off my list, we have a brand new circle. The vocalist is Amane Reona (Twitter) and the arranger is ixa. The demo is quite promising, and the circle seems to offer a strong rock sound. But wait, there’s more! The lyrics are by azuki and Seiji, who formed their own lyricist unit called Flick Lyrics! Can we expect big things from this circle? Probably…
And that’s it for this event. Let me know what you’re looking forward to! Will I be back for C96? Who knows…