This post is later than usual, mostly because I was waiting for the ShinRa-Bansho announcement. It’s also coincidentally exactly three years since I published my first roundup post. Happy… anniversary to me, I guess?
Putting that aside, we’ve got another official spin off coming too – Touhou 16.5. It’s called Hifuu Nightmare Diary: Violet Detector. It’s another photography game, except Sumireko is taking over Aya and Hatate’s role. Poor Hatate is slowly being phased out of existence…
There’s been a lot of developments on the western side of things, too. (*Inserts shameless plug for my own album, Rosethorn*). Apart from that, Redditaisai 2018 took place on the 28th of July. There were too many wonderful submissions for me to list here, so I highly recommend that you look at the index and see what everyone submitted! A lot of these circles are releasing new music for this event, too, so be sure to follow the artists you like on social media!
It’s a packed event, but I capped my list to 20 albums to save space. Like always, leave a comment and let me know what you’re looking forward to! There’s a bunch of albums I left off (including new releases by FELT, TAMAONSEN, and GET IN THE RING), so feel free to share your thoughts or let me know what you’d like to see!
Bear in mind that most title translations aren’t official translations, and are presented for the sake of convenience.
1. ShinRa-Bansho’s “Netaminity” [ネタミニティ]
I was a little worried we wouldn’t get an album, since it looks like kaztora’s hard drive started failing at the last minute. But! Everything worked out! And we have an awesome album to show for it!
The standout track is undoubtedly 無間嫉妬劇場『666』. I can’t wait to get my hands on the booklet when my copy arrives so I can delve right into the world it conjures up. ‘666’ is the number of the beast in most English-speaking countries, so I bet it has a bitter core. Did I mention that ‘The Bridge People No Longer Cross’ is one of my favourite themes from Subterranean Animism?
Apart from that, kaztora received arrangement support from a bunch of people this time including ACTRock, which I think is really cool. We’ve also got a bunch of old and new lyricists, including the return of Seiji!
In other news, ShinRa-Bansho is holding a live concert later in the year called ‘Shinraism,’ featuring of their albums (and yes, that includes their first one released 10 years ago which is technically a Liz Triangle album).
2. Kokyo Active NEETs’ “Touhou Philharmonic Orchestra 8: SA” [東方フィルハーモニー交響楽団８ 地]
After taking two albums to finish MoF, Kokyo Active NEETs is back with a single album covering SA. Unlike last time, the title of the album doesn’t indicate that we’ll get two SA albums, so if you’re a fan of ‘The Bridge People No Longer Cross’ or ‘Hellfire Mantle’ like I am… you’re out of luck (that is, unless we get a SA + SWR album as #9 in the series, which is very possible).
Like usual, the orchestra makes everything sound great, and there are some outstanding arrangements in there. My personal favourite is ‘Lullaby of Deserted Hell.’
If we don’t get SA + SWR as the next album, we are potentially two releases away from a Ten Desires album, which I am incredibly hyped for.
(Tokyo Active NEETs is also releasing a LoLK jazz album).
3. “Utopia Hides beneath a Starry Night” [星降る夜のユートピア], by TUMENECOx四面楚歌 feat.京都幻想劇団
TUMENECO have transcended reality. Their Sealing Club power has grown so strong it has finally manifested in anime form.
Well, it isn’t actually a real movie. What it is, though, is a fascinating collaboration between TUMENECO, Shimensoka (四面楚歌), and the Kyoto Fantasy Troupe (京都幻想劇団). It includes a 2-disc CD, a short story, and an anime trailer. You’ve got to respect the love and passion that’s gone into this.
If I had a spare month or so I’d love to sink my teeth into this and translate it…
4-6. BUTAOTOME’s C94 collection
BUTAOTOME spoils us with not one, not two, but three new albums!
The first is the long-awaited 4th installment in the 少女煉獄 (Maiden Purgatory) series. In case you missed the others, this series is made up of dark, Japanese-style arrangements. It’s my favourite BUTAOTOME series, so I’m super excited to see it return! I rank the ‘Bibliophile with a Deciphering Eye’ arrangement highly. When Ranko sings together with the piano, it creates a lovely staccato effect.
The second is the sequel to last event’s 大貧民 (Extreme Needy). It’s called 大富豪 (Grand Millionaire), focusing on the other Yorigami sister and the other side of the Japanese card game. It’s a complete tonal shift to the other vocal album they’re releasing at this event, sounding more like one of their original albums. I can still hear the original themes, though, which stops it from being another Animal Path (^_^);
The third album is the 16th (!) installment in the 東方猫鍵盤 (Touhou Keyboard Cat) series. Paprika is here, and she’s doing what she does best. Unlike previous albums, it’s a piano-only album. I prefer the extra touches she adds to the arrangements since there’s so many other piano-only albums out there, but this is fine for a change of pace.
7. Feuille-Morte’s “ゲキノウタ” [The Play’s Song]
And so, RD begins a new song. A new chapter. This one begins with a man awakening with nothing. No memories of who he was. No family. No loved ones.
This is only a short album, but if it’s anything like other short albums by this circle, it’ll be packed with symbolism and musical awesomeness. We’ve even got a new vocalist this time – 頼経 遥 (Haruka Yoritsune). She brings a touch of theatre and opera to things.
The final track is, for me, the most intriguing. It’s called 『劇作家』の独白 (The Playwright’s Soliloquy), and without a sample, it makes me picture Merami talking with some ambient music in the background. Overall, RD does theatre really well, which makes me quite interested in this album.
8. touhoujihen’s “prologue”
“Oh no! It’s a compilation album!”
Well, yeah, but there’s a new track! It sounds sooo gooood! The other tracks appear to be the ones from the 3-single barrage that haven’t made it into any albums yet, along with two Melonbooks tracks.
So, you can kind of understand why this album exists. I didn’t buy the singles, so I can finally own a copy of them! Awesome!
9-10. Hatsunetsumiko’s C94 Collection
Hatsunetsumiko’s turns 10 this year, so we have two compilation albums to celebrate this milestone! The first, Reunion, features re-recordings of a number of well-known tracks. It also features IN MY LIFE, from Groove Coaster, as a bonus track. The reimaginings are all so fresh and clear.
The second album is a more traditional compilation album. It features all of the vocal tracks released last year and this year. I remember not being quite convinced by some aspects of Twice, so I wonder if the “treatment and mastering” extended to it…
Happy 10th anniversary Hatsunetsumiko’s! May you stick around for many years to come!
11-12. Cajiva’s Gadget Shop’s “Stray Cats & Nippy Dogs” and AramiTama’s “Poorest Celebrities”
Cajiva’s Gadget Shop has put together a compilation album of tracks from 2013-2017. It’s 4 discs and 37 tracks of tribal house goodness. You could put the album on and just lose yourself in the circle’s cool, rhythmic world… I’m a bit disappointed that there’s no digital release this time, but there’s not much I can do about that.
AramiTama’s album, as the cover implies, is based on Antinomy of Common Flowers. It’s billed as “Splendid music for the paupers” and it features 4(!) arrangements of Egoistic Flowers! They’re split up into two sets, with each track in the set representing a different sister. The third track features some cool saxophone samples, so I’m fond of it.
13-16. Pizuya’s Cell’s C94 collection
That’s an intimidating list of albums. Let’s go through and dig a bit deeper…
The first album, ユビキタス・グリニッジ (Ubiquitous Greenwich) is the Pizuya x Futoumeido album that you’d expect from this circle. This has more of a rock feel to it. Let’s face it, I could sit here and listen to Futoumeido sing about megastructures all day.
The second album, 鏡花あやかしの扉 (The Door of Kyouka Ayakashi, perhaps a reference to author Kyouka Izumi), is a godwood HSiFS piano album.
The third album, 非実在性プラネタリウム (Unreality Planetarium), is a compilation album of tracks that feature Futoumeido. There’s two discs and 30 tracks of nothing but Futoumeido goodness!
The fourth album, Express Border Tour, is technically brought to us by Piznian. As the name implies, it’s a collaboration between pizuya and hellnian. It features a series of instrumental rock arrangements.
(Pizuya’s Cell is also publishing another TOHO no RAN album, featuring a series of live recordings.)
Did you know? Pizuya’s Cell has an official Youtube channel! Go and show some love and hear official uploads of their albums!!
17-18. Akatsuki Records’ “Shout It Out Loud!!!” and Inorai’s “ツナガル セツナ” (Connected Moments)
Whoa, it actually happened. This Akatsuki Records album keeps it in the family, with Stack providing all the lyrics, vocals, and 2 arrangements, and Stack Bros. providing the other arrangements. It has a more rock sound than I’m used to hearing from Stack Bros. but it’s really cool. We get the traditional drama track in ‘Witchcraft Heptagram,’ which I think is really cool. And hey, I don’t know if I mentioned this, but the official English translation of the album’s title track comes courtesy of Robin! Awesome!
ACTRock, on the other hand, has started his own personal circle and taken cheluce with him. It’s also a collaboration album with ShinRa-Bansho! ShinRa… Bansho! I mean, we already knew that ACTRock and kaztora are good friends, since ACTRock contributed a track to M other and Akatsuki Records and Liz Triangle did a collaboration album. This is a really cool album. I mean, you already know how much of a cheluce fan I am, so I can’t say no to more albums featuring her, especially when we get some gorgeous arrangements by kaztora too. The album is basically two friends having a great time, and I’m totally on board with that.
19. ACCORD ON CODES’ “Shade of your reverie”
Some more jazz! It goes without saying that this circle produces polished, quality jazz arrangements. This album has a Sealing Club focus and… it has a Wind of Agartha arrangement! I love that theme!
I like this sort of album more than, say, an explosive jazz album because it’s smooth and subtle. To me, it says more with less.
20. AkatukinoSizuku’s “VielE:Autoplast 結”
From the people who brought you the Touhou x Kingdom Hearts album, we have… a NieR parody?!
Apparently one of these albums was already released? It must have been quite popular. The circle does a good job of capturing the essence of NieR’s music while still staying true to Touhou. My favourite track is, of course, the True Administrator arrangement.
You can buy their albums on Melonbooks DL too if you’d like.