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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Song of the Week! 30 November 2013

We're back again, after last week's Wii U craze! Today we look to another couple of user-requested tunes.

 Kaze no Naka ni Su o Kufu Kotori (風のなかに巣をくふ小鳥)
Allx3 (149)x5 (204)x5 (342)x6 (496)
 Taiko Wii 4, CD Donderful

Let's start off with another console-exclusive NO tune, requested by tetsutaro from the chatbox earlier this week. Kaze no Naka ni Su o Kufu Kotori (lit. 'Hungry Chicks in a Nest in the Wind') is easily the most peculiar song among Kettei-Ban's new additions to the genre due to both its origins and the people being involved in its creation.

Starting off, it's composed by Katsuo Tajima (田島勝朗) and sung by Kaori Nishina (仁科かおり), who has been active with being additional chorus voices of artists like Minori Chihara (茅原実里) and Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎あゆみ). Starting from the most familiar faces in Taiko grounds, Katsuo is also the composer of the GM-related 'Symphonic' song series. And previously working closely the artists of other licensed songs in the past like the OP/ED themes of the Haruhi Suzumiya anime for Minori (after all, she's the seiyu of one of the anime's characters!) and three different J-Pop tunes for Ayumi (UNITE!, July 1st and independent), you might have heard Nishina's voice before, albeit more subtly.

That leaves with the song's main singer. Born in October 1970, Kaori is a feamle singer who is currently signed to the Japanese label PURETONE MUSIC as a multi-faced artist. After attending several private, music-oriented learning institutes, she started her career as the main singer of two different groups named TWIN FIZZ (1990) and eye's (1993), both lasting for about a year. Nowadays, Kaori performs as a solo singer under different aliases (with the current ones being kaori2luv and ASAKO・ASACO), while also being a song composer/arranger, a sound recorder for several other artists (like Kumi Koda, Ken Hirai and AKB48) and even a voice trainer! Before this song in Taiko, she also made another appearance in the rhythm games grounds, with the song dream of love for DanceDanceRevolution SuperNOVA2.

Speaking of the Taiko song itself, it turns out its lyrics actually come from a Japanese poem, which was written almost a century ago by Ote Takuji (大手拓次) (1887-1934). Born in the Gunma prefecture, he wrote an huge number of short poems heavilly influenced by French symbolism which were published after his death with three different collections, with the first of them being released in 1936 under the name of Ai iro no Hiki (藍色の蟇, lit. 'Indigo-colored Toad'). Kaze no Naka ni Su o Kufu Kotori as a poem comes from this collection as a tribute to the lovers of October. Now that this information has been brought to you, it's kinda strange for a song which made is debut with a console game being released on November, isn't it?

Anyway, the two main BPM values of the song allow the presence of notecharts which feature different time signatures while still being a relatively-easy challenge to beat, ranging from the beginning's 1/16 slow-paced fragment to the rest of the song's upbeat rhythms which are suitable for 1/12 note clusters. Overall, the slow/average speed of this song makes it a good training ground for beginners's hand-switching skills, whether it's being play with buttons or with toy drumsticks.

 Karon (カロン) Negoto
Taiko 0x3 (114)x3 (152)x4 (262)x6 (371)
Taiko 0.5x3 (114)x3 (152)x5 (262)x6 (371)
Taiko PSP DXx3 (114)x3 (152)x4 (262)x7 (371)
 Taiko 0 to 0 M, Taiko PSP DX

Requested by kathy some months ago, here's another song on Taiko games whose title begins with 'Ka', although it's more suitable to translate the Japanese title with 'Cha' instead. Why, you ask? Well, keep reading to learn more.

Published on March 2011, Karon is the first single being released for the four-piece female rock band Negoto (ねごと, lit. 'Somniloquy'), featuring Aoyama Sachiko (蒼山幸子) on the keyboard, Masuda Mizuki (沙田瑞紀) at the guitar, Fujisaki Yu (藤咲佑) at the bass and Sawamura Sayako (澤村小夜子) at the drums. The band's name was chosen because people can sing whatever they like in their dreams, often leading to this band to perform in their pajamas during live concerts with Aoyama as the main singer and the other girls giving their vocal support during their songs's chorus.

Negoto was born in 2008 as a result of the reunion of the members of a prototype school band, founded in 2006 by Aoyama, Masuda and Sakamura during their first high school year's summer holidays, in 2006. The band had to be stopped in 2007 as Masuda had to pass the graduation exams, but the band was reborn two months later as Negoto with Masuda's return and the entrance of Fujisaki in the group. In 2008, Negoto held its first live performance and after joining several teen contest, they became officially associated in 2010 with Sony under the label Ki/oon Records, With Karon as their first single.

As mentioned before, a more appropriate translation for this song's title would be 'Charon' instead of Karon, as personal feelings are deeply linked to the astronomical imagery in its lyrics, much like with Bump of Chicken's Tentai Kansoku. For those who don't know, Charon is the name of the satellite who belongs to Pluto, the Milky Way minor-planet which was previously considered as one of the main 9 planets of our galaxy. Charon peeked at the 11th play in the debut week's Oricon chart and, as the song's subtitle on Taiko games reminds, it has been used for the commercials of LISMO, Japanese provider au's online music service.

On Taiko, this was one of the first J-Pop tracks which have been introduced by one of Taiko PSP DX's DLC packs, shortly followed by an arcade release as well. Some rating changes occured between the arcade and console ports, as the scarce presence of clusters and an overally-average difficulty ratio aren't seen anymore as valuable material for the modern 7* Oni average, though the Muzukashii mode has been judged harder during the operational period of the Code-name Katsu-Don firmware.

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