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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Song of the Week! 15 June 2014

After the latest arcade tournament's conclusion, the events that will be definitely remembered the most by Taiko fans are the identity revel of one of the most appreciated Taiko song composers and his latest composition for Taiko games, which has been teased several times in the past years.

Now, since my very first contribution to this blog has happened thanks to one of Zeami's song series, I decided to take a day off from the feature, so that I can make a deeper feature about the composer himself and the secrets lying behind his identity and his latest song. Off we go!

 Yuugen no Ran (幽玄ノ乱)
Allx5 (481)x7 (708)x8 (883)x10 (1262)
 Taiko 0 M, Taiko 3DS 3, Taiko Wii U 3, Taiko PS Vita 

Originally composed to be the final boss of Taiko Sorairo to be revealed at the Taiko Tournament 2013 finals in October that year (and whose title was inconspicuously shown on a promotional flyer for Taiko Codename Katsu-Don), Typhoon Wipha caused the event to be delayed. Namco chose the replacement date to be a whopping eight months after the original, so Yuugen no Ran would be the final boss of Sorairo's successor instead, which we came to know as Taiko Momoiro.

The composer is none other than Zeami, Taiko's infamous faceless, nameless composer. After years of wait and speculations, rumors about Zeami's real identity started becoming more and more concrete, until one of singer Ayane's latest albums and yesterday's tournament finals finally revealed that under the mysterious alias is Tatsuya 'Tatsh' Shimizu (清水達也), a popular freelance composer who used to work under Konami.

Born on March 1st, 1981, Tatsh is mostly known for his many songs on Konami arcades, as well as other contributions for games and anime series. He made his debut in Konami on the tenth iteration of the beatmania IIDX rhythm game series (10th style). After a couple of songs under the 'platoniX' alias (featuring singer Junko 'Ayane' Hirata, the same vocalist for Senpuu no Mai and Red Rose Evangel!), he managed to become one of the series' sound directors for three subsequent titles (11 RED, 12 HAPPY SKY and 13 DistorteD), while composing music under different aliases (mostly 'Tatsh') not only for beatmania IIDX but also for many other Bemani rhythm games such as jubeat, DanceDanceRevolution and REFLEC BEAT.

Due to health problems, Tatsuya left Konami in 2007 and started working as an independent music creator two years later, under his own music label Tatsh Music Circle. After a hiatus, he also returned as a commission artist, creating songs not just for Bemani games, but for other rhythm game franchises as well! The first of those external franchises is Taiko no Tatsujin, with the 'no Mai' and Rose songs under the Zeami alias. Using the same alias, Tatsuya also contributed to some of the more recent Taito rhythm games, with Music Revolver for Music Gun!Gun! 2 and a couple of exclusive songs for the arcade version of Groove Coaster: Groove Revolver (グルーヴ・リボルバー) and Seija no Kodou (聖者の鼓動). For a comprehensive list of Tatsh's works on bemani, check out RemyWiki's profile page for the artist. For more information about the man himself and his works overall, there is his official website and Tatsh blog.

Yuugen no Ran (lit. 'War of the Unseen') is the 12th song to use the Zeami alias, and according to a blog entry posted today, it won't be the last, despite the fact that he announced the next Taiko song would be using the Tatsh alias. Like Donkama 2000, the existence of the song has been known long before release. Much longer than Donkama, in fact; hints of the title has been spotted in many places, while Donkama was first known through a sound clip in the Sorairo soundtrack CD.

The title was first spotted, as mentioned above, in a promotional flyer for Taiko 0.5 (Codename Katsu-Don) which was actually being used to promote a crossover for Kimi to Hibiku Harmony, the theme song of Taiko 3DS. It was spotted in both arcade promo pamphlets and one of the 3DS game's help pages. Fast-forward to Sorairo Version, both a blurred hint from a Taiko Team blog entry and one of the secret morse codes from Sorairo's Normal Route of Soroban 2000 gave out additional hints of this song's existence, which was planned to be a giveaway gift for October 2013's Taiko tourney Finals. The typhoon occurrence was unforseen and unfortunate, however the wait finally ended on June 2014, when Tatsh stormed onto the stage challenging the champion Yosuga to an exhibition play, for the very first time in the world, of Yuugen no Ran (video). After Yumeiro Coaster, this is the second Namco Original song to be introduced by an arcade tournament contest held by Bandai Namco!

Yuugen no Ran is a 'final boss song' in every sense of the word. The entry style is reminiscent of Zeami's Ryougen no Mai in many aspects, as both songs start at a slower pace before speeding up and becoming much harder. However, Ryougen no Mai pales in comparison to Yuugen's absurd 300 BPM. The almost inhuman speed was utilized to its fullest with many 1/16 clusters and extremely long streams, which though simple looking, are almost impossible to pull off without special speed training. It is now at the very top of the records for highest base BPM, ousting Mikan no Uta's 286 BPM after 7 years holding the title, and highest number of hits per second, dethroning both Rotter Tarmination Ura and Yawaraka Sensha Ura.

Calculator, one of the 2013 CreoFUGA winners, had a short BPM 300 section at the end of the song with a 17-note 1/16 stream, which was already considered a mighty challenge to do properly. And that was just one stream. What is considered Calculator's most difficult stream is commonplace in Yuugen no Ran, testifying to its frightening difficulty.

At 1262 notes on Oni, Yuugen no Ran is the second Namco Original song to break the 999 note limit, and is second in quantity to Shimedore 2000 (+), which has 1414 notes. However, when all notes from all four difficulty courses are totaled, Yuugen no Ran trumps Shimedore, especially with its Muzukashii course being at a record high of 883 notes.

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