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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Song of the Week! 16 May 2015

This time, we are going to take a look at two songs from dōjin circle Silver Forest, which in later years ended up being one of the front-runners in the Touhou BGM arrangements side of modern Taiko arcades. Off we go!

 Kero⑨Destiny (ケロ⑨destiny) Touhou Project Arrange - Silver Forest
All arcadex4 (167)x6 (235)x6 (438)x9 (769)
 Taiko 0 K, Taiko Wii U 3, Taiko +

Founded in April 2006, the vocal/computer graphics dōjin circle Silver Forest has gained a wide share of popularity among the Internet in almost 10 years, thanks to their fond appreciation of the Touhou game series and the many songs/viral videos they have created around the saga's ever-growing lore. One of their first hits is about a mountain goddess and her love for frogs, which managed to reach the public Taiko arcades last year, after being exclusively playable in the previous edition of the Reitasai.

Kero⑨Destiny made its debut in the last day of the year 2007, as the second-to-last track in the Silver Forest remix album Touhou Blue Sky Songs (東方蒼天歌), originally being sold at that year's Comiket (Japan's largest fair for independent hobby circles to sell their merchandise). The song is a derivative tune from Native Faith (ネイティブフェイス), the boss battle track that belongs to outside-Gensokyo goddess Suwako Moriya, who made her debut in Touhou Fuujinroku ~ Mountain of Faith (東方風神録 ~ Mountain of Faith) -the 10th main-line title of the series- as said game's Extra Boss.

The song is made by many staple members of the music-focused dōjin circle, featuring NYO as the main arranger, bit as the lyricist and Melamine Pop (めらみぽっぷ) as the voice of Suwako, singing about the goddess' fascination of frogs and her passive-aggressive hate towards the ice fairy Cirno, who is used to freeze and re-animate frogs as her favorite hobby, mostly resulting in the unlucky amphibian shattering into pieces most of the time. This easily explains the reason behind Suwako's temptation to eat Cirno in Kero⑨destiny's lyrics, as well as the use of her trademark "Nine-Ball" symbol for the song's title. While the original Native Faith was made as a tribute to one of the most memorable boss BGMs in shooter history (more specifically, "Boss6" in Taito's Night Striker), this remix follows the staple shared by many other Touhou remixes of parodying Internet fads and subcultures closer to Japan, such as Yaranaika?, Nice Boat., Futae no Kiwami, Let’s Go, Yin-yang Master!, Kotonoha Katsura (from School Days), Japanese celebrities and TV commercial movies.

Kero⑨destiny also appears in the 2012 collection Silver Forest 2006-2012 BEST I and 2010 album Touhou Electric Wave ⑨ (東方電撃波動⑨), where is also found a remix by IOSYS circle music arranger ARM, dubbed as the 'Auau Mix'. Other variants/derivations of this song from Silver Forest also include an instrumental version for the 2008 album Rebirth, a retort to the remix titled ⑨destiny ~ Always Cirno's Turn (featuring Cirno's point of view) and Final Showdown Ribbit⑨revolution, which merges both Kero⑨destiny and its retort in one song.

On Taiko, the popular Touhou arrange arrived by cropping part of the original song, so that sentai notecharter Kan (カーン) could make fun charts without exhausting the players with over 3 minutes of constant drumming. For the song's 9* Oni mode, the charting plans shine more clear, as it's mainly made of consecutive cluster sections and note streams running at average BPM values, with some fun flairs being sprinkled in. As the Perfect Play video above shows, the Oni chart is being crafted so that players who reached the pause section by scoring only gold hits and no misses would see their Tamashii gauge to the Clear side right at the large Don note before said pause! Not only that, but the Max Combo value is a goroawase to the arrangement's title, with 769 standing for 'Kero⑨'

 Chiheisen no Aeolia (地平線のエオリア)
Allx4 (155)x6 (237)x7 (427)x7 (563)
 Taiko 0 Taiko Wii U 2, Taiko +, CD Donderful

Despite their heavy influence in Touhou fan lore, the very first time we heard about Silver Forest in Taiko was with one of the current arcade line's very first new Namco Original tracks, a turning key for both our drumming franchise and the dōjin circle's personal story as well.

Being the first song partly-commissioned for a rhythm game, Chiheisen no Aeolia was also one of the last songs made by the circle before retiring from the music-making community in May 2012, as a result of the poor health conditions of Sayuri (さゆり), one of the lead singers; in fact, the previously-mentioned Silver Forest 2006-2012 BEST albums were intended to be the last ones, as their final 'Thank You' message to their listeners. However, the circle came back in 2013's Comiket fair, with the introduction of singer maicoro-phone and a more prominent presence in rhythm games, both for their already-popular Touhou tracks and -in Taiko games' case- even original pieces such as this song, Mugen no Sora and Yami no Mahou Shojo.

As anticipated before, Chiheisen no Aeolia (lit. 'Aeolian Horizon') doesn't shine of Silver Forest talent alone: while the singer Natsumi (なつみ) is indeed part of the music circle, the song is actually composed by Nozomi Iwase (岩瀬望) and K-MASERA from the JBG Music Academy, with the lyrics written by Sariya-jin (サリヤ人) about the limitless feels that the sight of a beautiful scenery can inspire, such as the titular horizon from the mythical floating island of Aeolia as told in the Odyssey, one of Homer's Greek epic poems.

Being one of the first specimen under today's 7* Oni standards, Chiheisen no Aeolia's patterns fare into the average territory of single notes mixed to small clusters, which eventually tend to become longer and repeat themselves towards the end of the song until the finishing, slightly harder portion of the notechart.

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