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Ken Hisuag

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Ken Hisuag last won the day on May 24

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About Ken Hisuag

  • Birthday 09/04/1974

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  1. This entire document was very confusing to me. At first, it seemed to be intended to serve the same function as the forum's "Intro to Touhou" article, but for the fandom rather than just the games. The canonicity questions seemed a bit odd to me, as I didn't think there was much confusion over this, and it seemed a waste of time to separate each question rather than just group them together under "what is canon?" Then it brought up Inaba of the Earth and Inaba of the Moon (which I have never heard of before), and from that point onward each question felt increasingly unnecessary, if not outright gatekeeping. F9 might have functioned well as its own article, but it needed to be a discussion rather than a proscribed "this is how it is, deal with it" (not because the author is wrong, but because presenting it in this way shuts down discussion, in which case why bring it up at all?). The remaining F-questions were all of similar caliber, and despite finding some of the information interesting, I didn't appreciate its presentation. The problem gets worse going into the "Common Misconceptions" section. The majority of these are harmless misconceptions that aren't going to bother anyone, and the remaining entries are subjects of ongoing discussion in the community that are better served as such (specifically CM1, 8 & 11). Ironically, there's nothing I noticed in the entire post that I disagreed with (though some of the later parts went over my head), but the arrogant and overly invested presentation ruined any interest I initially had at engaging further. The beauty of Touhou and its imaginative setting is the ability of others to participate in creative ways. This includes discussions of lore interpretations, memes, and even misconceptions. If we're going to take little things like "Sakyua = Dio" memes so seriously as to reprimand in capitals, then we've become too invested in a fictional series. BTW, this criticism is directed at the original document, not any of the responses, which I'm sure are in good fun.
  2. Wait, I'm confused; this piece sounds similar to One-Way Accelerator. Which came first? If Maiden's Short Life was based off of Sentence of Death, is there a connection between these and The Kappa's Way as One Said? Or are the simularities merely a coincidence? I recommend the channel of asi14, which regularly releases new PC-98 remixes: https://www.youtube.com/c/asi14
  3. I mentioned Ben Prunty last week, so I might as well take the opportunity to feature Subnautica: Below Zero. The first game was characterized by a sense of the unknown and intimidating; The world is hostile, you are the only person alive, and your number one goal is to stay alive. Its soundtrack reinforces these feelings using ambient, melody-light tracks focused on atmosphere. Below Zero is more focused on mystery and discovery; others have been here before you, and you want to find out what they did here. So the music is different, too; atmospheric ambience is still present, but a lot more of the soundtrack features progressing melodies and motifs to work alongside the story that accompanies your progress. The instrumentation varies according to the nature of the area and locations, and a select few leitmotifs identify relations between these and story elements.
  4. Some original piano solos. Laurence Manning - Dance with the Wind Zach Parrish - Natalie Brayden McArthur - Nostalgia
  5. Ironically, I'm not a big fan of TD's boss themes; the only track I especially appreciated of that classification was Futatsuiwa from Sado. To be fair, I appreciated Akiyama's arrangement of Omiwa Legend in HM, and I suspect it's more the arrangement style than the instrumentation. A similar issue presents itself in the first three boss themes from DDC, though with those I think ZUN was still figuring out how to balance out his guitar VST against other tracks. Bamboo Forest of the Lost is another underrated stage theme that I believe suffers from its arrangement style.
  6. Top tens are rather difficult for me to formulate, as I have a tendency to overthink my positioning. Usually I can definitively place the top three to four, and then it collapses into "well, I like that one, so it should be in there somewhere." Nonetheless, I believe this to be a useful exercise when done right; it encourages the ranker to evaluate the reasons any particular entry appeals to them, and sharing it can help both to give perspective to others and tell something about themselves. As such, I will try to hold as close as possible to a list of ten, and perhaps create a new topic later for series-wide ranking. #1: Ghostly Band ~ Phantom Ensemble Specifically the PoFV version, which is in a different key from the original and has a smoother intro. Normally ZUN's [. . . remasters? re-covers? remixes? whatever they're called . . .] don't stand out from the originals too much, as indeed they often aren't that different in arrangement, often merely consisting of a key change or alternative balancing. As such, whether a person prefers one over another is often very subjective, and this is such an instance. I appreciate Phantom Ensemble for its progression, adding instruments as it goes and building up into its different sections, getting increasingly more chaotic without losing its form, climaxing in a clashing harmony before dropping into its interlude for the loop. Technically, it only has two motifs, but the strength of the piece is in its progressive variations thereon. #2: Septette for the Dead Princess Thus far, some of the most diversity in musical applications that I've come across in the series. Name a genre, and there's probably an arrangement of this piece of unusually good quality. The elegance of its uncharacteristically light accompaniment compliments the progression of the melody, and (ironically for my initial statement) the zunpets and slightly out-of-tune piano of the original composition add further to the piece's atmosphere. It's been twenty years, and I'm of the opinion this is still one of the best pieces ZUN has ever composed. #3: Pure Furies ~ Whereabouts of the Heart It's been seven years, and I'm of the opinion this is the best piece ZUN has ever composed. Where some of his longer compositions have seemed stretched out with too few motifs or insufficient variation, this masterpiece of musical progression tells a story through its movements. The two step intro is an epic chord progression into an initial drop, individually introducing the basic accompaniment and its secondary motif before rectifying them into the main body of the song. The first interlude introduces a unique motif that maintains the tone, launching directly into a seeming loop of the song in a new key. The second interlude seemingly commits to the loop with a return to the intro, then subverts the expectation with another key change and variation, before finally climaxing with the main motif. The journey the listener is taken on within this single piece of music rivals entire epics (in the classical use of the term), and is difficult to forget. #4: Necrofantasia This is the point where the clarity of my ranking is in doubt. PCB is noteworthy for setting up its music with preceding tracks; each stage theme sets the tone and style for its accompanying boss theme (with the rather bizarre exception of Ultimate Truth, but that's another conversation), and the entire game is musically building up toward its finale of Bloom Nobley, Ink-black Cherry Blossoms, which itself "leads in" to Border of Life (PCB may be the most impressive musical feat ZUN has ever crafted, and Bloom Nobly would be my #3 but for the existence of Pure Furies; both pieces technically lay claim to the same achievements, and though I believe the latter did it better, the former certainly had the better buildup). Post-finale, the game continues this trend into its extra stage, only to go even further by rehashing its "last" two tracks for the surprise "phantasm stage." As such, Necrofantasia is the culmination of all that has come before it, fittingly tying together everything of the game's story, characters and world, all into the introduction for one of the most important characters in the series. Nor does the song fail to meet the high standard set for it, all but eclipsing its technical predecessor and becoming one of the most recognizable pieces in the franchise outside the meme songs. It might perhaps suffer from over-exposure (as, indeed, most of the meme songs have), but judged on its own merits it deserves its recognition. #5: Our Hisoutensoku (full ver.) The most underrated song in all of Touhou. Uni Akiyama doesn't get enough respect in general for his original compositions, but I see especially little appreciation for this piece. This is Akiyama at his best, featuring the jazz influences he's known for mixed into rock that compliments the motifs perfectly. This may not be an especially "deep" piece, but it's certainly one of the most fun in the series. #6: Faint Dream ~ Inanimate Dream The Pure Furies/Bloom Nobly of the PC-98 era. The arrangement style and hardware limitations of the era often undercut the quality of ZUN's motif compositions at the time; this was mostly rectified with the Untouched Score remasters, though with some pieces more than others. Inanimate Dream is as strong a piece as any other Touhou track, and despite having a slightly weaker loop has somehow become one of my favorites. There's a specific remix that enhances the progression via improved balancing and diversified instrumentation, but I'll save that for Musical Discoveries. #7: Gensokyo Beloved Not the track's actual title, but I've referred to the piece by this name for years now. Innocent Treasures may be the official series's anthem, but to me this track embodies the spirit of Touhou. Not quite mournful, but nonetheless reminiscent in tone, it beautifully intones the emphasis on wonder and imagination that defines the world of Gensokyo. Yuuhei Satellite's Even the Blossoming Flowers Eventually Scatter was the remix that truly pulled me into the fandom, and the original's familiar motifs continue to be a reminder of what I love about the series's music. #8: Retribution for Eternal Night ~ Imperishable Night Aside from Silk Road Alice (which isn't technically a Touhou Project piece), this is to me the fullest realization of the motif from Theme of Eastern Story. Carrying the signature otherworldly style of IN, it works as the contrast to Genoskyo Beloved in depicting the darker side of the Touhou world. Of course, it's not that dark, but there's a more serious, urgent tone to this piece. The shifting time signatures also implicate the ever-shifting nature of the series; calculated, not quite confusion, but unpredictable. #9: Eastern Memory of Forgathering Dream (Arrange) The definitive Akiyama arrangement; with the inclusion of the Broken Moon variant of the track's motif, this piece works as the balance of the previous two. Ultimately, the world of Touhou doesn't take itself too seriously, being a means to the end of artistic expression for the sheer joy thereof. Be that sweet, bombastic, playful, or all three and more, it remains compelling for the display of imagination and creativity. So it is to me. Beyond that, it becomes much more difficult to pick out favorites. Strange Bird of the Moon, Illusion of the Mysterious Cat comes to mind, though it'd be an ordeal to explain the details of why. Desire Drive, Green Eyed Jealousy and Interdimensional Voyage of a Ghostly Passenger Ship all deserve honorable mention. I would definitely include Beloved Tomboyish Girl, but I'm specifically fond of Akiyama's arrangement thereof from UNL, and I'm not sure how valid including a remix would be, official or not. Informally, consider that my #10.
  7. I suspect the issue is exposure, with the added aspect of personal preference. From just the most recent three main titles, some of the best tracks (assume subjectivity) were stage themes; HSiFS had Illusionary White Traveler, WBaWC had Unlocated Hell, and UM had The Perpetual Snow of Komakusa Blossoms. TD (commonly attributed to Modern Era 1, but I tend to associate it with Modern Era 2) is full of great stage themes, including The Hall of Dreams' Great Mausoleum, Welcome to the Youkai Temple, Let's Live in a Lovely Cemetery, and of course Desire Drive. Since entering the fandom, each new entry has taken me about a year to get into the soundtrack, but so far I've always been able to appreciate the music without too much hesitation regarding its preceding comparatives.
  8. Even more extremely late, but this time not so much my fault; been feeling a bit under the weather over the weekend. ESTi - Fantastic Summer of Youkai This is from the Seasonal Dream Vision CD, so it may be straying a bit too close to "official," but it's one of the best arrangements of the piece that I've found. Adazakura - Complete Darkness ~ The Missing Revenger (2019 ver.) There's a lot of Complete Darkness remixes out there, but considering the above feature I was hoping for something a bit more obscure. It sounds a bit too compressed to me, but otherwise it's a fine arrangement with good progression. mocchie - Phantasm Love I initially found a different remix, but I didn't think it contrasted favorably with the previous two in this feature, so I went with this one instead. I'll post the other one later. This does unfortunately mean I am reutilizing a previously utilized artist for this project; I'd like to avoid doing this as much as possible, so as to diversify the featured styles. On an unrelated note, y'all think it's better to credit the individual remixer or the circle? The Missing Revenger was released under the Reset All Controllers circle, but specifically arranged by Adazakura; which one seems the preferable option?
  9. The name Lifeforce caught my eye in my recommended, and it turned out to be connected to the soundtrack of Tunic. I'm familiar with Lifeforce from his Fastfall album, and despite that being ten years ago, there's a definite similarity in style. Most tracks begin with a balanced layered synth, but gain energy as they progress, either into expansive ambience or fast moving action. It's hard to tell how much of the music is from co-artist Janice Kwan, whom I have no familiarity with, and the sound reminds me strongly of Ben Prunty or Disasterpiece compositions. I suspect I'm not doing this soundtrack just representation; the game has a reputation for subverting expectation, and I have little doubt the music is as much a part of that as anything else. I may feel compelled to return to this another time, based on the possibility of my learning more about the context of the music.
  10. Extremely late! My fault, though. Glad I already have these prepared . . . Hazama Yuutou - Bet on Death [EoSD Style] This is a "targetted" zunish, trying to transpose the source material into the style of a different entry in the series. While this isn't the best example thereof, it showcases the kind of changes that take place in the endeavor; the lead instrument, the accompaniment style, etc. It also demonstrates the potential of the PC-98 themes have to compare with the newer themes, for those who struggle with the unique sound. Elice - Rubrum Pythonissam The infamous Himorogi, Burn in Violet, but with an even more cryptic title. For as acclaimed as this piece is, I'm surprised I don't hear more remixes of it (granted, that could be said of many PC-98 themes). K2HAmu - Love Color Restraint I spent some time deliberating whether to consider Love Colored Magic and Love Colored Master Spark as separate remix sources. My decision was determined by the desire to find a remix that specifically credited Magic over Master Spark; they do exist, but they aren't usually worth the trouble to pick out from the rest. The only other track this should be relevant to is Maiden's Capriccio (Flower View's remixes are in too close proximity of their originals to differ by much, and I say this as someone who prefers the Flower View version of Phantom Ensemble).
  11. Mega Man is one of many mainstream series that I've been too intimidated by to really delve into yet. I know a few of the more iconic themes, and I recognize motifs here and there; eventually, I'll have to get around to featuring something (assuming no one else covers it first). On that note, today's feature is from another one of those high-reputation franchises. From my previous experience with Kirby music, I had anticipated Kirby and the Forgotten Land to consist mostly of cheerful, friendly arrangements with interspersings of slightly more serious but still upbeat tunes. To be fair, there are tracks that fit this description; the overall style of the soundtrack, however, is far more varied, with a strong jazz influence and surprisingly balanced reliance upon leitmotif. The collection was also far larger than I was expecting, yet I did not feel a lack of variety to the tracks. In summary, I was impressed, and I look forward to checking out some of the preceding titles.
  12. I kinda miss the artwork, but the site seems to load better so I'm not gonna complain. I love the dedicated accessibility options in the tab bar; I'd appreciate having the "all activity" button available both logged in and out. If I notice anything else, I'll bring it up. BTW, this topic doesn't show up on the front page (given the forum it's in), so you may want to find some way of drawing attention to it in case it gets missed/buried in the activity feed.
  13. That is the plan; early next month, with the possibility of late this month if Jerome makes a return. @Gou the frog (and I suppose anyone else interested), there's a playlist with all the previously submitted features (currently missing one, because I can't bring myself to add the video): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbKXeKXEr2ZWAaMhx4ClOU_tQog7DJVhX I agree that an art contest has a good likelihood of catching on right now, but I will leave it up to the artists to figure out how to bring it about (Nitorium did something a while back, right?). For a group gaming event, your best bet would likely be to set up a thread for those interested to pool game suggestions (e.g., "What Multiplayer Games Do You Play?"), and work on coordination from there.
  14. In relation to today's Musical Discoveries post, but then just cause: Some heavy metal, some synthwave metal, and some techno.
  15. @Gou the frog Not the ambitious project, but potentially an honorary companion considering the volume: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLADHzEaWA6KAU6VfZBMmhErDn-qoe7fvO LndWnd - End of Daylight ~ Dawn of Dark I'm not confident in my genre identification for this piece (nor in my choice of artwork, but Noroiko is even harder to search for than Elis). Mama Purity - Power of Darkness RMX (Remake) I remember back when I thought this was the full extent of EDM; thanks to the tournaments, and especially Shionne, that is no longer the case. Stone McKnuckle - World of Empty Dreams Hidden gems like this are why I'm committed to this current project. The acoustic [hybrid] intro is enough to carry an arrangement on its own, but the main body of the track stands out just as much. There isn't much more Touhou in the artist's repertoire, but I'd still recommend checking out some of his other works.
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