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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Song of the Week! 23 May 2015


In the past month, we got a lot of requests for a particular not-Namco Original tune to show up on our Saturday feature, and this time we're finally going to let it shine in this corner.

So, sit back and enjoy the flagship song of not only the jubeat series, but possibly the entirety of Bemani's rhythm game series as a whole!

 FLOWER DJ YOSHITAKA / jubeat
Version
Allx5 (274)x7 (369)x8 (645)x9 (721)
 Taiko 0 K
 346
 none
 ???


When it comes to Bemani games, there's always at least one song that is universally acknowledged as the 'Seal of Quality' of said series, the one whose popularity often leads it into other Bemani games in later years. In the case of jubeat's flagship song, its impact has been so huge that it has been the very first song for Konami's rhythm game division to sprout in external rhythm game franchises, thanks to the so-much-praised Tenkaichi Otogesai event of last year. Take a comfy seat for reading this entry- the lore behind FLOWER has a lot of trivia and secrets to share!

This "Trance Core" tune (as its fictitious genre refers to) has been composed by long-time Bemani contributor Yoshitaka Nishimura (西村宜隆), an artist of trance/pop music who is part of Konami's 1st generation for the in-house beatnation Records/RHYZE label. Born on February 9th 1979 in Nagasaki, Kyushu, he made its debut on the 11th beatmania IIDX arcade title (IIDX RED) as its sound director with veterans Takayuki 'dj TAKA' Ishikawa and Tatsuya Shimizu, while also providing original songs for the series under many aliases, the most recurrent of these being DJ YOSHITAKA. Since his debut, he created many other songs for other Bemani games while hitting other key roles in the beatmania IIDX series as its sound director for 4 consecutive entries -from IIDX 14 GOLD to 17 SIRIUS- before stepping down from the series and majorly contributing to the then-newborne REFLEC BEAT series, of which he always hit (up to date) key roles such as general director, head sound director and producer. While his song production ratio has been lowered while still being active for in-house collaborations, his producing roles for the latest entries in the pop'n music and SOUND VOLTEX franchises have worth him a promotion on March of this year as a First Production Lead within Konami. For a list of his songs in Bemani games, head to his profile page on RemyWiki.

Speaking of the song, FLOWER isn't actually a 100% jubeat-born song, as it originally was part of the APPEND FESTIVAL, a collaboration event featuring its jubeat debut title (jubeat knit APPEND) as its center piece. By playing a specific jubeat knit song in the other 5 participating Bemani games, a brand new song was unlocked for both the jubeat unit and said external game at the same time, with FLOWER being the song originating from a REFLEC BEAT unlocking process. For this reason, the song has a different jacket between jubeat and REFLEC BEAT games, featuring a differently-colored flower in each. Both album jackets are made by T-Da (T田), the same artist behind Scars of FAUNA's jacket.

After FLOWER's debut, as Yoshitaka himself mentioned in his Tenkaichi Otogesai interview, the song started to sprout slowly but steadily among the other Bemani-born franchises, up to the point of being featured in some titles without any fancy collaboration events! This lead to the song touching every single franchise of Konami's rhythm games division, with the only exception (up to date) of BeatStream. Combined with the fact of FLOWER being featured in Bemani's 2013 TV commercials, rhythm game fans started to see the song as the company's 'theme song', with its multiple appearances in so many games being part of a network of inside jokes. It's not uncommon among arcade communities to spot group of players simultaneously trying the song in different games at the same time, or to spot multiple-play videos about the song like this one!

Each game with FLOWER features some unique traits or special feats that are exclusive to selective games, most of the time. In general Bemani talk, it's the first song for the beatmania IIDX and REFLEC BEAT to feature 5 simultaneous notes that have to be held in order to be cleared, with the other games mimicking the section or scaling it to a stair-like succession for a similar effect. In beatmania IIDX and maimai, the background video that is played during the song features FLOWER's two album jackets and a live recording of Yoshitaka Nishimura playing the song at the January 2012 release party held for the launch of the album Rainbow☆Rainbow, made by Ryutaro 'Ryu☆' Nakahara (中原龍太郎). Said artist also made a remix of FLOWER - dubbed as the 'Ryu☆Remix'- which appears in the 2011 album cyber beatnation 2 -Hi Speed conclusion-. While some of the Bemani games feature a slightly-modified version of the original song, FLOWER had to be remixed for certain series in order to be playable, due to the lack of audio cues or musical instruments familiar to said games; that mentality gave birth to the 'REDALiCE Remix' by Yoshikazu 'REDALiCE' Nagai (永井良和) and the rock-based '-TLION69 Remix-' by Yoshiyuki Kinoshita (木之下慶行), which appeared respectively in the SOUND VOLTEX and GITADORA (aka the current naming for GuitarFreaks/DrumMania) series.

Gameplay-wise, Taiko no Tatsujin's take on FLOWER also offers some interesting trivia as well. For starters, the song is played at double of its actual BPM value, making it the song with the highest constant BPM in the series to date. It's also worth mentioning that Oni mode's pattern disposition has been made so that it could almost replicate the whole note pattern that is actually used for FLOWER on jubeat's Extreme mode, the highest-rated difficulty of that series. A quick comparison with this Autoplay video on a PC-friendly jubeat simulator should give a better idea for the comaprisons, with Taiko's drumrolls being the only different element for the two plays.

  FLOWER DJ YOSHITAKA / jubeat
Version
All


x10 (873)
 Taiko 0 K
 346
 none
 ???


For a proper and original trial for this song on Taiko we have to head to its Ura Oni mode, where the doubled BPM value has a true purpose. For all of FLOWER's Taiko modes, the scrolling speed of the song is halved in order to see the patterns at its intended BPM value while also making room for the Ura Oni's devilish 1/16 clusters. This is actually the first mode to encapsulate this gimmick for high-tier Oni modes, later to be used for 10* Namco Original Oni modes as well, such as Zeami/Tatsh's Xa and Souryuu no Ran.

As expectable, FLOWER holds a gorowase value that this time is being reserved for the Ura Oni's Max Combo in 'Ba-Na-Mi' (873), a mixture from the familiar 'Ba-Na-Mu' (876) for Bandai Namco and 'Ko-Na-Mi' (573) for Konami

2 comments:

  1. Yo gaise,just gonna add a bit of extra fluff just for the hell of it.

    Firstly,IIRC "Trance Core" is already an established EDM genre so it's not exactly made-up for songs like this one and Elisha from IIDX 17.Hard Renaissance (starting from bloody tears in IIDX 13 and including most of the 185 stuff) is made-up,however.

    I don't really know why FLOWER and Elisha aren't Hard Renaissance songs despite having a very similar style to Evans & co though. (BPM might be an issue,but JOMANDA is BPM195 and still a Hard Renai song)

    The alias DJ YOSHITAKA is mostly used for songs with BPM exceeding 180,otherwise slower songs (such as his earlier J-POP/RnB works) will make use of the DJ Yoshitaka alias.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also
      >not talking about the Yoshitaka tornado

      Delete