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Friday, August 5, 2011

Song of the Week! 6 August 2011


Back to the J-Pop genre this time! This is nice, one of our user requests will actually become one of the August downloads for Taiko PSP DX.

 Polyrhythm (ポリリズム) Perfume
Allx4 (130)x6 (210)x5 (308/268/235)x8 (573)
 Taiko from 11 to 14 (excluding 11A), Taiko 0 to 0 R, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko 3DS, Taiko Wii 1, 4

The girl group who sang Polyrhythm in September 12, 2007 is called Perfume (パフューム). It was founded ten years ago in Hiroshima, Japan, and consists of three girls, Ayano Ōmoto, Yuka Kashino and Ayaka Nishiwaki. They're big fan of electronic voices it seems, as after dabbling in various electronic music genres ( Electronica, Bitpop and Electro House), they settled for Electropop in 2005. Thanks to several MAD Movies published on Nico Nico Douga (in tandem with Idolm@ster songs), Perfume gained a lot of popularity online, which led to several best-selling albums on Amazon.com. (not something you see very often with artistes like this) As of April 2011, the group has released twelve major label singles to great success, and Polyrhythm is one of them. It was the second single of their second album, Game, and the 10th overall.

In musical terms, a polyrhythm (also called cross-rhythm) is the simultaneous sounding of two or more independent rhythms, played concurrently; in a nutshell, its physical basis can be described in terms of interference of different periodicities: for example, we can have 3 evenly-spaced notes against 2 (3/2), with different executing speed for both, 5 evenly-spaced notes against 3 (5/3) and so on. Appropriately, the namesake Perfume single's bridge is polyrhythmic too, incorporating 5/8, 6/8 in the vocals, common time (4/4) and 3/2 in the drums.

Polyrhythm's songwriter - and the person responsible for bringing the group together - is Yasutaka Nakata (中田ヤスタカ). His compositions are not just found in Taiko either; the group's popularity found their way into arcades more than one, and mostly the various rhythm games made by Konami. Polyrhythm appeared in Konami's Dance Dance Revolution and Pop'n Music, which was sung by Pink Lemonade. But the real worldwide baptism of this Japanese hit was with the Pixar film Cars 2, where Polyrhythm was included in the film's soundtrack (the scene). Perfume's girls themselves attended the film's world premiere in Los Angeles! This peculiar movie soundtrack contribution is also addressed on the most modern Taiko games as the song's subtitle.

Instead of a cover version, Taiko's Polyrhythm is a direct extract from the original, which is over 4 minutes long. Its 8* Oni features long successions of note clusters. The Go-Go time highlights the song's 4/4 and 3/2 cross-rhythm by recreating the exact drum pattern heard in that part of the song, though the beat dividers remain as 4/4 throughout. Following this unusual rhythm can be hard even for the more experienced players, but Polyrhythm's low BPM makes things easier (just don't follow the metronome!). The song's Max Combo value, 573, can be read as "Ko-na-mi" in Japanese, perhaps to note that Polyrhythm made its debut in rhythm game starting from Konami's stuff (with DDR X and pop'n music 17 THE MOVIE). Polyrhythm also appears on Synchronica, Bandai Namco's second arcade rhythm game franchise.

 Sweet Lay
Allx4 (136)x5 (181)x6 (374)x8 (598)
 Taiko 14, Taiko DS 3, CD Full Combo (Extended version)

Sweet Lay is, as the title suggests, a sweet-sounding Namco Original which made its debut on Taiko DS3 and later ported to arcade 14, though it hasn't been seen anywhere else and is quite obscure. The song is sung by a freelance vocalist called Kyah, who has her own blog (link), while the composer is Hiroto Sasaki (佐々木宏人). This is Kyah's first foray into Taiko, but not for the composer, as he's already made two songs for Tobikkiri Anime Special on PS2, THE IDOLM@STER and Mirai e no Kagi.

Sweet Lay is another of Taiko's few songs to be in complete (broken) English, and the lyrics are ironically not about sweets at all. Despite the soft and delicate nature of the song, Sweet Lay is quite a challenge to overcome for the average player, with many tough areas like the streams in the middle. There are no drumrolls, so scoreattacking is purely accuracy-based.

Despite sliding into obscurity game-wise, Namco was not ready to give it up. On March 2012, Sweet Lay got its very own long version on the Full Combo! soundtrack CD, which is about 4 minutes long and contains a proper second stanza after the first chorus, and a bridge.


  1. Oh wait LOL in Pop'n Music 17 if you select Cho-Challenge mode or 9 button Challenge Mode, Polyrhythm is the first song in the list! So that's why this song sounds so familiar lol...

  2. When you said J Pop I thought it was Sakuranbo XD
    Btw the sotw bar on the left still shows metal hawk