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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sympho-Neighbours - SWEEP-Men and the Masters of Sampling

SuperSweep Records has always been a background stage actor in the rhythm gaming scenario, usually not playing a lot of parts in many different rhythm game series but always coming up with unique and exclusive original works thanks to its associated artists.

So far in Taiko gaming, we've seen the coming of the independent label thanks to the many tracks made by Shinji "Sampling Masters MEGA" Hosoe and Ayako "Sampling Masters AYA" Saso. What about having a look to some of their other rhythm gaming-related works, then?

Chronologically-speaking, the Sampling Masters' first works were for bemani's beatmania IIDX series, with the videos above showing some of their earliest works with MEGA's rottel-da-sun (from IIDX 6th Style) and AYA's Wow Wow 70's (from IIDX 9th Style). While the former song has also been ported in the pop'n music series later on, the latter is still an IIDX exclusive.

Later on in the years, MEGA and AYA have also had some of their songs available for a couple of 2010s spin-offs of the DanceDanceRevolution series, with the 2012 DDR Classroom Edition receiving one song from both artists that has been originated from Konami's 2010 Wii title Walk It Out! (also known as Step to the Beat in Europe) and the discontinued 2013 i-device title DDR Pocket Edition receiving the WIO songs alongside two new songs. Sadly, there's no video footage of any of the songs, so this is the best that we can do on this instance.

While AYA didn't appear in anything else bemani (up to this feature's posting date), MEGA had some of his other works to share in other series! For one of the Playstation Portable titles in the pop'n music series, for example, we have the song Chat! Chat! Chat! sung by Riko Hirai (平井理子), with the lyrics written by the nick-named Nima.

For Konami's widescreen touch-based arcade BeatStream, we can find some Game Music arrangement magic in Twinbee's Home Town Song, a remix of the Konami NES shooter's first stage BGM. This is actually not a song by the Sampling Masters as it was composed by in-house Konami musician Sota Fujimori (藤森崇多), but the artist notes credit MEGA as the song's arranger, so it still fits in this feature fine and dandy!

Originally, this arrangement of Twin Bee's Home Town Song has debuted in the first sequel of Konami's mini-drum music arcade Miraidagakki FutureTomTom (FTT Ver.2), but -again- no video of the original source material can be found as of today.

Rewinding Father Time's clock by nearly a luster of years, we finally venture in the Sampling Masters' years of working as ARIKA employees, being responsible -among other tasks- in the music creation department of the 2001 PS" title Technictix and its JP/NA 2004 sequel Technicbeat. While the original Technictix only has original songs from in-house musicians, Technicbeat inherits the former title's songlist and expands it with many GM remixes from Namco and Capcom videogames.

Both games have the player in control of one of the titles' characters waling in a stage mat, where circle markers periodically appear. It's up to the player to step in and hit them by pressing a button, with the help of their own characters' speed and special moves that range from carrying markers to move/hit multiple markers in different ways! Above are videos of MEGA's TGM in the Bottle and AYA's Phone Dead Room.

Later on, all of the two games' songs have been ported to the iOS ARIKA game Pitapat Beat (てくてくビート) with new additions from Taito gaming, which later on lead to some of the songs getting ported into the Groove Coaster series. Below are the available videos for the two songs in the later-released rhythm games:

TGM in the Bottle
Pitapat Beat
Groove Coaster

Phone Dead Room
Groove Coaster

Now that we're on the subject matter, let's also talk about ARIKA's mobile rhythm game! Released on August 2014 worldwide as a revival of the Technictix series, Pitapat Beat mainly features the former music games' earliest characters, Rain and Knitty, now running under the rhythm of many songs from both past and present times. In order to clear the song, players have to tap the colored piano buttons on the bottom as they horizontally align with the running character's running position at the top.

While MEGA has made some new songs for the game, the currently-available video footage on Youtube of the game mostly shows the gameplay videos of songs that have been ported from Technictix/Technicbeat, such as MEGA's Roteen da Moon and AYA's Night Life.

Much like with the former couple, these two songs have also been ported to Taito's Groove Coaster series due to collaboration efforts! See them in action with the links below:

Roteen da Moon (Groove Coaster)
Night Life (Groove Coaster)

For some other solo MEGA action, Taito's Music Gun!Gun! series comes in aid, with the song Crowded space being one of the title's highest-rated difficult songs of the arcade's sequel.

Expectably enough, the song has been ported later on in the Groove Coaster series as well.

But after all this side 'Groove Coaster talk', has the latest Taito music series actually got some exclusive originals that were not originated by other ports? The answer is yes, and the exhibits are up there! For MEGA, we have the Indian-sounding Wacky Dance Ethnic, while AYA has supplied the techno track known as Five to Seven.

Venturing to Sega territories, there's only MEGA to swing the SuperSweep Records flag! For one of maimai's first boss songs, for example, here's the [Reborn] version of the iconic GM song Like the Wind from Sega's 1988 kart racing title Power Drift. You can also hear shouts claiming that Sega's games are the best ones in the world!

For the inception of the CHUNITHM series, instead, MEGA went full on board for an originally-composed song, going under the title of The wheel to the right. While the fast/slow/fast overall structure may remind the musical metric used for Taiko gaming's Rotter Tarmination and Dodon ga Do~n, it surely has some extra flairs to considered its own Sega-related exclusive, such as voice samples from the aforementioned Like the Wind [Reborn]!

Thanks to a hint from crystalsuicune, we can complete this feature with one last piece of music from MEGA, originated from a rhythm game series that has totally slipped our minds during this blog entry's first version! Seeing how the franchise is about to return to a world-wide scope soon, it also seems the right timing to talk a bit about the DJMax series.

Created in 2004 by the South Korean sub-company that is nowadays known as Neowiz Internet, this rhythm game series has the player hit the note markers appearing on the horizontal display in a clockwise manner, be it with buttons like the earlier arcades and most of the series' console entries of by directly touching the screen in the TECHNIKA sub-series fore more recent arcades and Ps Vita/mobile devices. It's from said division that MEGA's Bamboo On Bamboo originates from, which is shown in the video above.