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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Made by You: Special Packer feature

Resident composer and notecharter Packer Woo has been on a crazy creative spree in the past two weeks, making so many songs we had to put some off from the last feature! So this edition will be all his songs in one fell swoop, both new ones and the ones we left out from previous features (also special mention to Jia Yi in this article!). Remember, you can always submit video links to us via Facebook, our chatbox or by email!

Two weeks is a bit misleading for this first song, which was made more than a month back but put off by special request. The song, NIAN, is composed by Packer for a very special project by Jia Yi, another great Taiko fan, and both wanted this song to be featured here only when the project is done. You're getting curious now. What is the big fuss about?


Jia Yi doesn't just stop at making music; he has been dabbling in film-making as well, using his collection of figurines from Puella Magi Madoka Magica and himself to make this ambitious half-an-hour stop motion movie! Titled "Puella Magi to the Rescue", Jia Yi puts himself into the movie as a likeness of his real-life person; a university student and aspiring drummer. After a motor accident which caused him to lose his arm (yikes, not in real life, dude), he fell into a depression and was taken over by a witch called 'Nian', inspired by the monster from ancient Chinese New Year legend. The spotlight is then taken by the diminutive fivesome of magical girls from the Madoka anime, who goes to vanquish Nian and save Jia Yi. Pretty awesome, huh? The entire movie took three months to make with all screenshots, video, special effects and voices by Jia Yi himself, and a large part of the music by Packer. Good job guys!

Now back to the song, NIAN. Underneath the ominous gospel sounds and piano melody of the witch's theme is a lively techno-style beat reminiscent of Blue Rose Ruin, which allows for many note clusters to be packed in together. The song is 5 minutes long, with one long intermission in the middle and the notes grouped into two parts of the song for difficulty, with a total notecount dwarfing that of Shimedore 2000. That's how it maintains as a 10*!

Packer goes full-on techno for this next track, experimenting with reverse drumbeat sounds and the piano to make this, titled "The Cat Who Could Predict Death". Although the connection between the title and the actual music is not easy to make, just play the chart; it is seriously fun. With a beginning part resembling many high-tier 9* Onis, the second part goes into full-on troll mode, and I don't mean Namco's usual scroll changes. Packer has taken full advantage of the Taikojiro software to add scroll changes for notes WHILE they're onscreen, and even freeze them in place! This form of scroll troll is common on god tier songs in Dance Dance Revolution but not yet seen on Taiko, but who knows? Maybe this sort of thing will become commonplace in the future.

A space-themed track with piano as the main melody again, but a vastly different vibe from the previous cat song. This one is "The Boy Who Came from Polaris", the northern star closest to the North Pole of the Earth. Aptly, the music has various outer space sound effects and gives off a cold, relaxed feeling. It almost sounds like videogame music too, and very well done at that.

The chart is labeled as 8* Oni, but is full of long 1/12 and 1/16 streams, harder than SORA-I and could fit into the 9* tier easily. You can thank the piano for making it so easy to cram notes!

This came about while some of us were chatting on Facebook, talking about a song on DDR which matches the name of one of the states in Malaysia ('Malacca' in DDR Supernova 2). So a song was created to match that, except with the landmark of the capital city of Malaysia, the Petronas Twin Towers. There are two charts to it, representing the left tower and the right tower, which are played simultaneously in the above video. Throughout the fast-paced techno song (Packer has a real affinity for techno), when one side has note clusters and streams, the other has very few notes, and the notecounts for left and right seesaw until around 700 combo when they sync together for once tremendously long stream (with one note missing in the left tower at around 800), ending at the same notecount for both. Challenging no matter which tower you pick!

Listen to the original song here.

Kuala Lumpur Evolved, the final song for today, has similarities to the previous song because they refer to the same city, but the origins of this is completely different from Twin Towers. The song is based on a current issue of debate in Malaysia, where a panelist prevented a student from voicing an opinion in a forum at a public university here. (full story and video link) The music is a parody of the regrettably embarrassing event, which sounds extremely similar to Twin Towers. Sound clips were taken from the panelist's voice and put in the song. Listen!

Another intense, fast-paced chart with crazy streams and relentless note clusters, putting Kuala Lumpur Evolved at a high-tier 10* Oni. Beware of scroll troll, like the ones in The Cat Who Could Predict Death, there are instant-approach notes and other gimmicks in the chart to make it more challenging.

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