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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Song of the Week! 8 September 2018

We've had an arcade-exclusive pick last week, so it's only fair to have a console-exclusive track next, right?

 TD -28619029byte remix- Techno Drive
Allx5 (343)x7 (410)x8 (606)x9 (882)
 Taiko Switch

The latest Taiko title for Nintendo systems carries forward the Wii U-kickstarted trend of starring tracks from relatively-obscure videogames in the Namco days' history. The Nintendo Switch/Drum 'n' Fun take on this returning trope comes in form of a custom BGM remix of music from the 1998 Japan-exclusive racing simulation arcade Techno Drive (テクノドライブ). Running under the Playstation-based Namco System 12 motherboard, the game puts the players at the steering wheel of an hi-tech yellow car, testing one's own driving skills through 15 different minigames, being equally grouped under three different courses according to the shared skill areas of choice for the test: steering, footwork and practical technique.

This single-player game is mounted in vertical yellow cockpits since its preview versions for its pre-launch debut at 1998's Amusement Expo show for the Arcade Operator Union (nowadays merged with JAMMA to form the Japan Amusement Industry Association, or JAIA), on March 23rd; during the same event, it was also distributed a promotional soundtrack release for the game: the Techno Drive Promotion Disc. In the same day, many years later (2010), Bandai Namco publicly released an iTunes-exclusive soundtrack of the game -the Techno Drive Original Soundtrack- which also contained the previously-exclusive songs from the event-limited physical album.

It's quite crucial to have spent a good deal of words on this obscure arcade release's soundtrack history, as both their 'remix' tracks and the one "TD remix" song that is playable in the Nintendo Switch Taiko game share a quite peculiar trait! All four tracks, in fact, do include in their title the song itself's respective file size (in byte) upon receiving a conversion into the .wav format. Thanks to qbitfeet, one keen attender of our Taiko no Tatsujin Discord group, we've also come to know that it's possible to track out each of the remixes' length by applying the appropriate conversion factors into an expression:

File size / 44.100 / (16 * 2) * 8

In order, the numeral factors mentioned here respectively represent the standard sample rate for Audio CDs (44.100 Hz, or samples per second), the number of bits per sample (16) times the number of the involved channels (2) and the multiplying factor needed to mediate a conversion from bits to bytes (8, as one byte equals 8 bits). With TD -28619029byte remix-, the resulting length -as well as its real value- is 162.24 seconds. The same formula can also be applied to the other three TD remixes as well!

Koji Nakagawa (中川浩二) is the sole composer of Techno Drive's music which, by extension, makes him also the creator (in an indirect way) of the TD mix/remix tracks from the game's soundtracks and the Taiko-transplanted song, which is based on 5 different pieces of BGM from the arcade title: attract (demo screen music), select (course selection screens music) and the three pieces heard in the respective courses bearing the same name (steering technique, driving technique and practical technique, in that order). Taiko veteran Yuji Masubuchi (増渕裕二) is the arranger of the latest TD mix/remix, being his third unique contribution for the Nintendo Switch Taiko videogame; with the others being composing credits for Namco Original void setup and the guitar-playing portions in the Kabuki minigame.

One of the more taxing 9-star Oni newcomers for the latest console release, this beast of a notechart has everything to constantly keep players on their toes, as 1/16-1/24 note cluster hybrids intertwined with scrolling speed jumpscares will surely grant a notechart trial that is as visually challenging as its average note density (which spoiler alert, is quite high for the mid-tier BPM range!).

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