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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Song of the Week! 7 July 2018

Riding the wave of "endurance-test" viral phenomena like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from a few years ago, I'm going to feature some of the songs I'm usually -not- very keen on listening to.

Sure, this is not made for an higher cause like spreading awareness towards the existence of deadly degenerative diseases, but I hope you'll appreciate the personal effort of going through this miniature-hell for our reading audience's amusement...

 SstTAarR* M-O-T-U feat. Hatsune Miku
Allx5 (237)x7 (406)x8 (557)x10 (848)
 Taiko 0 W, Taiko 3DS 3, Taiko +, CD CC-5

If you know me by this point, you might already know my usual stance on Hatsune Miku songs (and Vocaloids in general) and for those who are unaware, let me just say it's... less than rosy. Luckily for my ears though, I (very rarely) happen to find some tunes I can stand better than the usual trend, like this first track! It's also quite fitting to talk about it today, with July 7th being the Tanabata (lit. 'Star') Festival day in Japan...

This Miku-powered composition was created by the nicknamed M-O-T-U for the Taiko World Championship 2016's CreoFUGA contest, being praised by Taiko Team leader Yuhei Etou for its ability to gradually build up the musical tension all throughout the track. Like the other CreoFUGA-spawn Vocaloid songs for Taiko no Tatsujin gaming, this song is included in the third of the Taiko x City Connection official soundtrack albums.

The victory of SstTAarR* has led its creator to have a Taiko song-making history of song-making with the likes of the one of Yomii: first a contest winner for a Namco Original (in M-O-T-U's case, it was Calculator) and then a contest winner for a Vocaloid song; what made M-O-T-U's achievements shine brighter, however, were the post-contest accolades that the song SstTAarR* has managed to achieve, becoming first a Hall of Fame Vocaloid song on video-sharing websites and being picked up by the Spring 2018 edition of the "Professional Composer Training Lecture ~ Yamaguchi Seminar" (プロ作曲家育成講座〜山口ゼミ〜),  a CreoFUGA-affiliated musical program that rewards the creators of the best CF song selections per seasons with some private musical lectures.

Drawing another parallel with the CreoFUGA-famed Yomii, M-O-T-U has also had its share of glory outside of Taiko in the music gaming field, being the composer of selected songs for mobile games: the Hatsune Miku track Snowman (for Rayark's VOEZ), Red Liquid and the recently-released Envy Luvs Melancholy (for C4Cat's Dynamix).

Since the Vocaloid song genre's inception, this is the first 10* base Oni song that was created for said genre, with its notechart set being designed by Arihotto (アリーホット). With its heavilly pressing BPM average speed and the consecutive, merciless note cluster sections, SstTAarR*'s Oni is a fancy reminder that different timing signatures are not mandatory to make the body of modern top-tier difficulty songs! There are also some scrolling speed changes along the way that are played more for the eye-candy than for making things more difficult, from selected x0.75 portion to the x4 final enhancement for a jumpscare cluster zooming by the end.

 Tsundere Cafe e Youkoso☆ (ツンデレCafeへようこそ☆) Nekojaga*
Allx4 (154)x6 (226)x7 (322)x9 (555)
 Taiko 0 S, Taiko Wii U 2, Taiko +, CD CC-6

Today's second track also comes from the pool of CreoFUGA winners, and I'm just going to say... this is the one for me.

The worst one.

No other playable song in the entire history of Taiko no Tatsujin thus far makes me want to turn off the volume as fast as possible and YES, to me it's even worse than the average Vocaloid fanfare! I could talk for hours about the reasons of my deep-ish hatred on this track, but this is definitely not the place to do so; we've been tasked to spotlight this song through one of our chatbox users and I'm going to talk about its backgound with the same care and methods as for any other song on this corner.

One of the 2015 CreoFUGA contest winners, Tsundere Cafe e Youkoso (lit. 'Welcome to Tsundere Cafe') is the Taiko-approved song entry from the independent unit Nekojaga* (ねこじゃが*), consisting of lyricist/vocalist Haxchi (はぁち‏) and composer Fe~nn (ふぇん). Singing of the perks to be served in a fictional cafe where the waitress staff is bitter to serve you on the outside (but is secretly hoping to see their customers' return), this peppy song has the unique merit of being one of the few CreoFUGA-spawn tracks to warrant a full version, appearing in Nekojaga*'s first album release Ainoomoi (アイノマヨイ) for the 32nd edition of the Japanese experimental music fair M3, on October 27th 2013.

The Nekojaga* act was disbanded in 2014, but the vocalist Haxchi has continued to have her own share of general music game time as the singer of several songs made by Kaneko Chiharu (かねこちはる), consisting thus far in the Namco Original Shounin YokkQ and a couple of tracks for bemani's SOUND VOLTEX series: Dunga Dunga Rhapsody (ドゥンガドゥンガ狂詩曲) and Suki Tokimeki to Kiss (好きトキメキとキス), which was also crossed over to the now-defunct MÚSECA series (link).

The most accurate comparison I can give concerning the Oni mode of Tsundere Cafe e Youkoso is a fast-paced version of the Off Rock's modern Oni notechart, with the swing rhythms being mainly dictated by a 1/12 charting approach with some nasty note-dense clusters in-between Go-Go Times and at the very end. The song's notechart set was handled by current Taiko Team lead Etou (エトウ).


You may have noticed how we've labeled today's tracks with never-heard-before album credits from the City Connection album series... and that's because the definitive song list for the Taiko Kaki-goori and Watagashi soundtrack albums are finally out! Stay tuned for our page listings for the 5th and the 6th albums in 2018's official Taiko album series.

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