MEISHI SMILE – mYSTERIOUS sUMMER vACATION
I saw this release all over my dash for awhile and eventually checked it out because the cover was cute. A bad reason but hey, that’s lead to some to some really good stuff in the past. Just as it did here.
I originally expected this to be original stuff and was pleasantly surprised when I found out it was remixes. The imagery track is (obviously) a Mysterious Girlfriend X ED remix. I kind of liked the OP but wasn’t a big fan of the ED. Still 放課後の約束 (☼ SUMMER BREEZE ☼ RMX.) sounds really good. The OP does show up in ✄ LOVE ORCHESTRA ✄ though which is a collab with Secret Imouto. At first I really liked the first track but after listening to this album a billion times I can definitely say I prefer LOVE ORCHESTRA more. My hands down favourite track is バーモント・キッス (DREAM POP RMX.) though. If my inclusion of ambient-ish albums in the last three volumes of this weren’t a hint, I really love mellow, laid back music. Finally, I’d have to give a special mention to FOR U (♂ INNOCENCE RMX. ♀) which take’s Rie Fu’s originally melancholy song and turns it into a bubbly pop piece.
You can get over here.
salvation by faith records – 魔法少女 にとり★マギカ
Candid Friend is my favourite song from the entire Touhou series so I’ve always really liked this album, with or without the novelty of the Madoka theme it has.
The first track, にとりコネクト, is an arrangement of The Gensokyo The Gods Loved in the style of Connect. It’s actually a really good arrangement (a lesser group definietely would have messed this album up because the arrangement is great here) but the vocals are kind of amateurish. Being that Candid Friend is my favourite song, it’s a double bonus for me that it’s arranged with Decretum since Sayaka also happens to be my favourite character. 奇跡も胡瓜もあるんだよ is an arrangement of Candid Friend in the style of Decretum. The problem is that it the original song is more prominent than Candid Friend is so at first I couldn’t tell what it was an arrangement of. It was a bit more obvious after another listen. The second problem is that it’s the second shortest track. What a shame.
あたしって、ほんとバカ fairs a bit better, arrangement wise. It’s Beloved Tomboyish Girl (I was disappointed they went with Cirno’s theme, really) and Symposium magarum which, of course, is Oktavia’s theme. It’s all over the place (following the original closely before turning into a rock rendition) but still sound really cool and works with both themes excellently. Credens Solis deserves a special mention though I like it a lot less than I would have hoped. The vocaloid vocals actually reminded me a lot of Persona 3 for some reason and I only get a vague feeling that it’s supposed to be based off of Credens justitiam. Furthermore it isn’t a very good arrangement of Nuclear Fusion. Luckily it still does sounds kind of cool though.
The rest of the album (I pick and chose the Madoka themed songs but there are others like that) is really good though and are a lot better (Nitori and Cirno and maybe even GtGL arrangements excluded) than those I listed.
MONOMIND＆ROMANTIC MELLOW – きみをよぶこえ
Doubling down on my theory that if Suwako is on the cover, there’s a pretty high chance of it being exceptionally good (though historie is amazing. Did I not make that clear enough?).
Azzurre, the opening track, starts off with just piano and the sound of water but grows more and more urgent as the song goes on while gaining a house-sound near the end. Like the majority of the album, it’s laidback and relaxed while still remaining engaging and interesting. Though Symphony manages both of those things even better. It starts off very jazzy before abruptly switching to slightly more eastern sound and with a heavier emphasis on piano. It switches back to jazz but it’s just odd enough to stand out.
V.A – STEINS;GATE SYMPHONIC MATERIAL
So this isn’t doujin music. That doesn’t matter. It’s amazing.
The original soundtrack is OK though I always, always remember when Gate of Steiner plays at the time when Okabe realizes that to save Mayuri he has to let Kurisu die and it just made the scene. Would you call it the theme of the series? If not, it’s still pretty iconic for fans. The GATE OF STEINER arrange here is just the star of this album. Back when the album was previewed in a crossfade, it was that song that sold it. I’ve never been a big fan of orchesatrated arranges (I think most doujin albums with that theme are poorly done oops) but when 3:30 happens? It just floors me every time.
There are also three tracks that feature Itou Kanako and one by Yui Sakakibara who originally did the OP and ED for both the show and the main game. スカイクラッドの観測者 is the only one that really stands out. I mean, the other Itou Kanako tracks are good but it’s the Sakakibara track that suffers for me. Her vocals don’t really work in this setting but Itou Kanako ends up sounding great, which is weird because normally her stuff is really hit or miss for me.
OPERATION SKULD doesn’t have the same impact that Gate of Steiner does but it’s still pretty cool. It’s a lot more intense than most of the other tracks though. Which isn’t to say a more low key like hesitative consideration (which borrows on the Gate of Steiner theme) is lacking. It still has it’s own edge and the build up is fantastic.
Go listen to the Gate of Steiner arrange right now. Go do it. Improve your life a little bit.