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Ken Hisuag

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Ken Hisuag last won the day on October 11

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  1. Unchiku Company - Children's Festival ~ Innocent Treasures Elegance and serenity are the moods I want to associate to this piece, so a piano solo seemed the ideal arrangement to look for. Surprisingly few had the creative quality I sought, most being "carbon-copy" covers. This piece, however, accomplishes exactly the balance of originality and consistency I wanted. Curly Hamilton - Utopia! Elegance and serenity are the moods the original piece contains, and this departure from that tone while remaining consistent with the progression caught my attention. This is where the line between "remix" and "arrangement" blurs, because all the parts of the original are identifiably present, but undeniably different. O-Life Japan - Nostalgia of the Girls of a Science Era I probably shouldn't be using an O-Life Japan arrangement, but I couldn't pass this one up. This mix of different folks is what makes this circle noteworthy, and it continues to impress me every time I discover another example of it.
  2. Happy Thanksgiving! Riverside - Silence I found this after doing the feature that would otherwise have represented the track, so consider this an addendum. O-Life Japan - When they Gather they Head to the Shrine A few of the motifs I otherwise missed are incorporated into this arrangement. It's as close as I could get, and has all the hybrid folksy flair O-Life is known for. DJ Abner - The Autumn Breeze has Obtained its Wish A final bonus for the holiday. One of these years I'm not going to have anything fitting for the occasion, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
  3. In an effort to be topical, I picked Stardew Valley for this week's soundtrack; as a farming simulator (I think), it can be loosely tied to the American harvest holiday of Thanksgiving. I anticipated the music to be mostly low-energy and relaxing, potentially interspersed with unique event-related tracks. The instrumentation and style reminds me very strongly of old JRPG soundtracks, and I found the listening experience to be oddly nostalgic as a result. Although no melodies stood out to me, the arrangements are pleasant enough and cohesive without being too similar. I've chosen to gimmick this feature by using themes from each season, both because of the significance to the time and because it genuinely seems to sum up the soundtrack fairly well.
  4. ZTS - Oriental Memory of Forgathering Dream ~ phantasmagoria ~ & ZTS - a vision To find two arrangements of the same piece by the same artist with such difference between them is a noteworthy situation by my reckoning. Especially surprising to me was my contrasting preference between the two, but I shall leave that unspecified in the interest of intrigue. Meylan (Oto Same) - Witches' Ball ~ Magus I've saved this one for last because of its unique status as a Touhou piece, in as much as it arguably wouldn't be one but for its inclusion in 7.5's soundtrack. Out of the few Touhou-related Seihou themes, Witches' Ball was delayed from adaptation by ZUN into the main franchise until later, and eventually ended up becoming a different piece instead. I like to think this has inadvertently led some to discover the existence of the Seihou Project when they otherwise wouldn't have. This particular arrangement is more akin to the original piece than the remix it technically represents here, but I've always preferred the elegant tone ZUN's composition initially had.
  5. On of the soundtracks I had "missed" last year was that of Infernax, a classic Castlevania inspired game that took its gameplay, visual and audio cues from that series. While I know very little about the game itself, from the music I guess it to have a darker aesthetic; the melodies feature limited movement and incorporate minor discordance in their progressions, resulting in a darker tone. While the compositions themselves are alright, I didn't find anything that especially impressed me; I suppose I'm spoiled by modern chiptune and its intricacies, but I've heard soundtracks that manage to be both reminiscent of their inspiration while still feeling creative (Shovel Knight and Cathedral come to mind).
  6. Almost missed today. Tonchi - Broken Moon ~ Festival This fits better with the game's story, imo; a jovial festival theme as a prelude to battle. KurowaD - Oni's Island in the Fairy Land (Cross Remix) For this oft overlooked-with-acknowledgement piece, I wanted something that conveyed the power of its motifs while retaining the many twists of the original. While the instrumentation for this one isn't quite what I expected, it accomplishes more than I could have asked for in atmosphere and progression. SilentBird - Waltzing at the End of Summer Surprised, delighted and grateful am I for this remix. Reinforcing the "ending" identity of the piece, it also serves as perfect contrast to the previous two.
  7. I found Super Mario Bros Wonder to be exactly the imaginative musical experience I expected. The franchise has always had a reputation for this style of melodies, and while this certainly felt like they leaned in to it more this time around, I personally wonder if they shouldn't have leaned in heavier. Between the new themes, variations, and "wonder seed" tracks, I perceive a slight reluctance to commit too strongly to the various gimmicks. For example, each level theme has a unique variation for the new elephant power-up, which usually consists of replacing the main instrument of the piece with brass; I think they should have done something similar for all the power-ups in a level, or at least for the other new one, so as to reinforce the idea of the world being treated different based on available abilities. This isn't to say there's lack of variety; the wonder seed tracks alone ensure the soundtrack is interspersed with all manner of creative compositions, and despite being such a large album, I fully enjoyed the listening experience.
  8. The day will eventually come where I say something more original on this thread rather than just posting the analysis of someone else; but today is not that day. What especially engaged me with this video wasn't just hearing a professional musician say things I've been thinking for years, but also the variety of comments referencing the contrast between the older styles and the newer styles.
  9. Unknown - Swift Battle I was really surprised to find an arrangement for this. If I understand the description correctly, it's an arrangement in the style of Touhou Puppet Play, not actually from the fangame itself (but maybe it is; I can't really tell). Hidenori Fan - Night Falls ~ Evening Star (Synth Techno Style) I don't think Night Falls gets the credit it deserves; it's essentially Hartmann's, but with better character integration. This arrangement may not stray very far from the original's tone, but I don't think it needs to; the intro's subversive eeriness contrasted with the main body's progression is already everything it needs to be. t=NODE - Theme of Yukari ~ OP ~ I moved this down to after Evening Star because included references, and also because its tone and scope fit better as a closer. The range this arrangement traverses is impressive, yet I think it somewhat fitting for the source material as a more complete encapsulation of its greater context.
  10. This was supposed to be a double-feature, but listening to two new soundtracks at once proved too much for me. Sonic Superstars is the latest installment in its series, noteworthy for being the more official return to the 2D classical style (Mania being more of an official fangame, and Origins being a remaster). Several composers from previous entries were called upon to contribute to the soundtrack, making it something of a collaboration project. In theory, this would result in a nostalgic musical smorgasbord. Unfortunately, I think the variety of musicians ultimately hurt the project. With such a range of styles, the soundtrack lacks cohesiveness, and struggles to establish an identity. There are plenty of great compositions, but there are also a lot of mediocre ones which clash with each other. I've tried to pick the most "Sonic" sounding tracks while featuring more of the different artists involved; this may not be an accurate depiction of what the soundtrack has to offer, but does highlight where my interest in it lies.
  11. Missing Tracks {NKZ - Intermezzo}* *Williatico - Intermezzo Technically several of these missing tracks have been "covered" by this person, but they're ultimately more recreations than remixes, and as such I do not consider them sufficient for this project. Nonetheless, I though I ought to use at least one for sake of awareness, and decided on this one because of the perceived irony of the name. Stas Gavrik - Unexpected Visitor (Ambient Ver.) I'm not normally a fan of Gavrik's "ambient remixes," but I must admit his style suites the source material in this case; mayhaps he'll consider doing more from 7.5 in future? Missing Tracks {NKZ - Demonic Place} Ringru Touhou Piano - Bad Omen Short, but excellent; there's creative effort in this arrangement, especially in the accompaniment. Missing Tracks {NKZ - Inner Heart} Ika Keshi - Skypia Skygazer was the one pre-battle theme that I found extensive coverage of; for whatever reason this track has received all the attention that the others lack. Beyond, this is a great chill arrangement.
  12. I need time, so this week is a fracture feature. First up, every name I'm familiar with in the metal remixing community (and then some) collaborating on possibly the most iconic metal-esque piece in all VGM. When I first found this next track, I thought I'd eventually find the rest of the soundtrack and do a feature for it. But the little research I did seemed to indicate the piece to be unique to its collection, so I'll use it for this instead (some might guess as to what put it into my mind recently). To round off, I realize I've not mentioned the Octopath Traveler arrangement albums before. IMO they're a bit hit-or-miss, but there are several tracks I'm especially impressed with, especially this one.
  13. The Piano Guys recently announced a new album, and in so doing refreshed in my mind all the great music I've enjoyed from them over the years. These are some of my favorites.
  14. Touhou 16 ~ Hidden Star in Four Seasons I tend to think of this as my entry point into the series; while two spinoffs had already followed, this being the most recent mainline game somehow established it in my mind as the "current" state of the franchise. That being said, I didn't actually give it much time initially, since I was still familiarizing myself with its predecessors. I remember briefly listening to a few of its tracks, thinking the boss themes were a bit rough, and failing to properly comprehend any motifs (for honorable mention, I was initially impressed by Into Backdoor simply for its unique tension and atmosphere). Since then I've had the chance properly listen through these pieces, and thankfully found my first impressions to be embarrassingly hasty. My favorite tracks are without a doubt Illusionary White Traveler and Concealed Four Seasons, simply for their strong motifs. Touhou 15.5 ~ Antinomy of Common Flowers Funny story to this one; when I first came to this site in search of soundtracks, the download for this one was a gamerip rather than the official OST, and thus included duplicate tracks from 14.5 while missing the bonus arrangements from the CD. In fact, most (if not all) of the Tasofro soundtrack downloads were messed up in some way or other, and being somewhat particular about metadata I ended up doing a lot of digging to determine what the albums were supposed to look like. It was in this way that I learned about Uni Akiyama, ZUN's unofficial musical sidekick. I've consistently praised his contributions to the series thus far, for the unique musical character he has added as a contrast to ZUN's standard style. In many ways, this is the culmination of his work; many of the tracks are rearrangements of his previous compositions from across the series, with enough originals scattered in to make this the largest and most diverse collection of such pieces. The piece that stands out the most to me, however, is a reoccurring theme that is expanded as the game progresses; its final form, The Blooms of Spirit Possession, is not actually in the game itself, which I find somewhat symbolic. As though to match the soundtrack's magnitude, ZUN delivered some of his best fighting game compositions yet, perfecting their unique style with Tonight Stars an Easygoing Egoist (Live ver.) ~ Egoistic Flowers. Honorable mention for the new arrangements of Eternal Spring Dream and Battlefield of the Flower Threshold, both of which bring some much needed character to their motifs. Touhou 16.5 ~ Violet Detector I've seen a lot of things said about this game, which is a wonderfully vague statement on my part. My primary (and sometimes sole) focus is still the music. I believe Nightmare Journal is the popular pick, and to be sure its atmosphere is quite good, especially for a menu theme. But my favorite has to be the confusingly like-named Nightmare Diary, which is a more standard sounding track, but if it ain't broke . . . (I sometimes wonder about my own tastes, whether they are consistent or not). Touhou 17 ~ Wily Beast and Weakest Creature This was the first entry to be released after I had become familiar with the franchise, and may be my second favorite from the second modern era. Entrusting the World to Idols ~ Idolatrize World is undeniably a masterful composition (if not as good as Pure Furies), but the rest of the soundtrack is by no means lacking. My initial opinions of each piece as compared to its companions varied widely with my initial listenings, and even now I'm not always convinced of my preferences. But when they are sufficiently separated from each other, I believe Unlocated Hell wins out, both for its strong motifs and for the perfected usage of the guitar sample as the lead. Joutounin of the Ceramics and Beast Metropolis would be the next closest contenders, though. I should not have started this so late, but I have successfully reached what I consider to be another milestone (more on that next time). Shalom!
  15. Shishimai Brothers - Fantasy Seasons I expected Forgathering Dream to be a lot harder to search for, given that its later counterpart has more notoriety, but there are in fact a fair supply of arrangements for the piece. This one has the same mood as the original, but with an additional ethereal tone through its performance. It is here that I reach the first "breaking point" of my endeavor. Despite my best attempts, I could not find a remix of the next chronological track in the series. In fact, most of the original pieces from Touhou Suimusou are lacking attention among the musical talents of the fandom. Being thus forced to skip over these pieces, I have decided to mark their absence as I go, as evidence of my search. (Also, given 7.5's odd formatting, I decided to order them with alternating composers--just cause.) Missing Tracks {NKZ - Wanderings} {U2 Akiyama - Silence} {NKZ - The Moon} SMXE - Dive An unusual remix that's a bit too discordant for my tastes, but at least it's something. Gan-san-ko Usagi - Eastern Wind This one almost feels like a technicality, given the poor quality of the recording, but it's still a cover at the very least. Missing Tracks {U2 Akiyama - Solitary Place}
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