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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sympho-Neighbours - Classical Rivalries

Classic songs in rhythm games isn't a new trope at all, as it helped the foundation of newborne series by supplying precious material from the many, many musical composing giants of the past, for a genre of playable songs who found very early its identity and place in music games together with popular licenses and series-exclusive, original tracks.

I still stand on my point when I say that the Classic genre is my favorite one on Taiko games for the exceptionally-huge music library the genre has built up (and still counting!), but other music franchises from both old and current times have supplied their own spin on the topic with many custom arrangements, medleys or other musical renditions. Here are 5 of these gems today for all of you to enjoy!

Our first track is directly related to the Taiko video in the thumbnail, as this one is also a remix of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee!  This particular remix, simply titled Bee, comes from South Korean arcade developer Andamiro's Pump It Up series, making its debut on the Premier 3 arcade entry. The concept of the 'Bee' in the titles has been played around with the background video of the song, as the training endeavors of the boxer pictured may associate the bee with legendary boxer Muhammad Ali's view of boxing with the famous quote "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee".

About the game itself, Pump It Up is played like Konami's DanceDanceRevolution series, with the players jumping on panels in the floor as soon as the notes in the game draw near to their respective markers. The key differences between the two series lie in the number/location of the panels (which in PIU are the diagonal directions and the center pad) and the availability of a in-house group of musicians for both parties, with Andamiro having the Korean group BanYa (반야) for most of their original songs and Classic arrangements, such as this one.

Our next stop is another custom take of a song that is also available on Taiko games as a close-to-the-original arrangement! The oddly-titled Thor's Hammer happens to be a bemani-born remix of Franz Liszt's La Campanella from the pianist's "Grandes études de Paganini" series of etudes. The song comes from a rather recent installment of the beatmania IIDX series (20 tricoro) and it's the second collaborative track between Toshiyuki "L.E.D." Kakuta (角田利之) and Jun "wac" Wakita (脇田潤).

Also from bemani grounds we have Übertreffen, an arrangement from Johann Sebastian Bach's Lute Suite No. 2 (BWV 997) - Prelude and one of the new boss songs for pop'n music 14 FEVER!, its debut title. This remix has been made by Takayuki "TAKA" Ishikawa (石川貴之), and it's his second remix of a Bach song overall.

Coming up to more young rhythm game franchises, Taito's Groove Coaster series also has some Classic remixes among its very first tracks from their iOS debut. This one is a custom arrangement of Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D Major, made by independent artist Freedom for the first GC app.

The version of the song you can hear above is an extended cut originally made for the Groove Coaster arcade version, which was built up from the shorter, original cut and then included back to the iOS/Android version of the game with the version update to Groove Coaster 2 Original Style.

The last track of this bunch proves us that Taiko games weren't alone in making Classic music medleys! The song above is the second of the CLASSIC PARTY song series by Hideyuki Ono (小野秀幸) for GUITARFREAKS & drummania, the guitar&drum-based music series which has been the direct inspiration source for the making of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises. Much like the two more recent series, GF&DM are played by hitting specific markers with toy guitar and drums instruments, featuring separate charts for guitar/bass/drums instruments. Later in the years, the series has been renamed to GITADORA, still living in both arcade and iOS devices.

Coming from GUITARFREAKS 4thMIX & drummania 3rdMIX, CLASSIC PARTY 2 features bit-sized, rock-styled rendition of famous tracks from Strauss, Mozart, Necke, Bizet and Tchaikovsky, some of which also appearing in Taiko titles in some fashion or another, like the Turkish March and the Air de Toreador from the Carmen.

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