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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Song of the Week! 27 July 2013

It's Wii game time! Suggested by aquabluu/pikaby, this week's double feature stars a couple of Namco Original coming from the same Wii Taiko.

 Theremin Rhapsody (テルミン狂想曲) No. 42 'Pathetique'
Taiko 0 Sx4 (108)x6 (138)x6 (234)x7 (401)
Taiko Wii 3x4 (108)x6 (138)x6 (234)x8 (401)
 Taiko 0 S, Taiko Wii 3, Taiko 3DS 3, CD Sorairo

It's dark, it's gloomy, it's composed under the guise of a real trip into a haunted mansion and it's going to jump into arcade games really soon! Theremin Rhapsody has all these traits and more, being one of the two Namco Original songs related to the third Wii game's minigame mode.

This tune is the main theme of the Haunted House minigame from Taiko Wii Sandaime's Minigame Land mode, and also featured in Taiko Wii 5's minigames. The main topic behind Theremin Rhapsody from beginning to end is an "instrumental journey" into a spooky manor, as the titular theremin musically mimics the visual appearances of the many ghostly encounters which are typical of this movie-like ambiance. The composer of this song is Torine (トリ音), a female freelance composer who is specialized in the use of the theremin, and incidentally this is the first and only song in Taiko no Tatsujin to have made use of this instrument. It's possible to know more about her works on her website (in Japanese).

For those who are unaware about what a theremin actually is and how it works, here's an abridged explanation. Originally developed and patented in 1919 by Russian/Soviet inventor Lev Sergeyevich Termen (romanized as Leòn Theremin, hence the name), this boxed musical instrument is controlled by moving the hands near the instrument itself without touching it; two metal antennas sense the position of the player's hand and control the electric signals produced by the theremin itself (in the image linked above, the loop antenna on the left controls the volume, while the other one on the right modules the theremin's oscillators, and thus the pitch of the instrument). The electric signals produced in this way are then amplified and sent to a loudspeaker. The screechy, squeaky sounds they make are not unlike the sounds you get when tuning an old radio.

As told by Torine in an extract of the Sorairo soundtrack, Theremin Rhapsody's sound direction was originally aimed to deliver a more scarier outcome, as the ghostly appearances suggested by the theremin were intended to be from eerie malevolent presences in a dark manor; however, the song's overall vibe has been soften up of a "Peek-A-Boo" kind of vibe due to the fact of the song being part of a mini-game featuring not-that-scary ghostly appearances (Taiko games also cater to a young demographic, after all!). The rejected version still found a way to be enjoyed by more people, due to the track appearing in Sorairo Version's limited soundtrack as Theremin Rhapsody's "Prototype Version".

Later on, the song made its way to the third 3DS Taiko game, where is also used as one of the solo mid-boss fights against Hexaglia member Deborah.

Theremin Rhapsody's Oni chart has a good mix of 1/12 and 1/16 clusters, and together with balloon and yam notes (replicating the drumroll struggle in the minigame itself) created a very varied 8* Oni experience. The song's ID is w3at1x, where w3 is for Wii 3 and at1x is for the first song made for one of Minigame Land's attractions. And speaking about minigame music...

 Ikasama Pirates (イカサマパイレーツ)
Allx3 (117)x4 (144)x6 (268)x7 (466)
 Taiko Wii 3

From a horror atmosphere, the other Original from Wii 3's minigame mode takes a more adventurous vibe.This one is more likely to evoke images of sea travels and Taiko-syled pirate adventures! Ikasama Pirates is yet another instrumental original song, composed by long-time Taiko contributor Oogami Masako (大上昌子), which is also credited for most of the ac. series songs and console themes for Taiko games. The song is the theme of the co-op minigame Pirate Don-chan and Friends, and its ID reflects this (w3at2x).

Unlike Theremin Rhapsody, Ikasama Pirates is more linear and average, with the entire chart being made up of 1/12 clusters. The lack of any particularly intriguing clusters and scrolling changes makes its Oni mode more suitable for a 7*. Ikasama Pirates is still a Wii-exclusive song, left out of Sorairo's August 2013 unlocks by its "brother song" Theremin Rhapsody, due to the massive difference in theme. In a certain sense, next Thursday can be also remembered as the day we almost got (as arcade unlockable) the Namco Original Ikasama Pirates, can it?

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