Loli Salad’s Bi-Monthly Music Feature: Volume #15

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bi·month·ly
ˌbīˈmənTHlē/
adjective
adjective: bi-monthly
  1. occurring or produced twice a month or every two months.

I’ll admit, I’ve been in a slump lately. I have lots of things to work on but I I’m either too busy to work on them or when I do have free time, I’m too exhausted to do so. Which just leads to me being angry at myself for not being motivated enough to work and blah blah blah.

So because of this, posts are scarce and will likely continue to be so until the end of September because my schedule should free up a lot around then.

Continuing on, here’s the actual post that only took me four months to actually write.

NieR Tribute Album -echo-

So during the time where I didn’t write this post, I started playing NieR. It was a game I always wanted to play and after seeing NieR 2 announced, I knew I had to start. Drakengard 3 has probably my favourite game soundtrack so the music was a big draw for me in this game.

Unlike Drakengard 3 though, there’s a quite a few arrange albums that celebrate how awesome the music is. I chose this one because the style of arrangements is more in line with the kind of music I like rather than the jazz or piano arrangements. Not to mention this one features quite a few artists in charge of the remixes that I’m quite fond of.

For instance, -echo-: NieR Kainé / Salvation ~ Kainé / Escape 1 which is done by Sen of matyroshka. Matyroshka is what introduced me to good ambient-style music way back when so I might just have a soft spot for this track which puts minimal focus on the song and everything into the vocals. The Wretched Automatons is another track with an ambient/downtempo sound to it that I’m kinda fond of.

Emil / Sacrifice, arranged by Amestub, is one I like because of how much liberty they took with the arrangement. Something the former doesn’t play with at all. In this case though I almost wish there was less focus on the vocals in the middle of the song because everything else they had done with the song is so cool and Emil/Sacrifice has never had the strongest vocals in parts of its song originally.

Though it isn’t a track I particularly like or anything, it would be remiss of me not to mention The Incomplete Stone. What is in an originally drab and dreary song is given a funky disco arrangement by Nobu44. It’s incredibly jarring but certainly… unique. So I must give it at least some credit for that.

Song of the Ancients / Devola ~ Song of the Ancients / Popola is an arrangement by sasakure.UK because of course it is. He’s everywhere. Sadly, a little underwhelming from him though. The first half of the song is rather boring but the second half is interesting. Again, when the vocals aren’t the focus. Which is nothing against the original songs and their vocals. I just think some songs didn’t utilize them very well.

And ending off the album in a long finale is Snow in Summer ~ The Dark Colossus Destroys All by World’s End Girlfriend. Sampling sounds and effects from the game, this track is an impressive mix of drama and emotion. Fitting for a song from and about NieR, then. This eight minute long track evolves from a slow paced piano centric piece into something more dire and urgent until the finale where it becomes completely frenzied and chaotic. It’s an impressive track that does great justice to the original and to the game.

There’s variety in the stuff I didn’t mention, including a track from Go-qualia that’s grown on me. Generally, I’m pretty sure there are no real tracks I dislike. Overall, it’s really well done and I recommend it even if you aren’t familliar with NieR and it’s superb soundtrack 2.

Gatchaman Crowds Insight Original Soundtrack

This is the first new Taku Iwasaki soundtrack all year 3 so I’m pretty excited. Not to mention it’s a follow up on what might be one of his best soundtracks of all time.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this one is quite as excellent as the first one. It’s still great though, don’t get me wrong.

Though to be fair, what can really compare to Unbeatable Network? Of this album, I’d say in exchange for my life… is a pretty strong contender. Though that’s purely in sound. Unbeatable Network felt like certain emotions turned into music and it was beautiful. But maybe this is like that too. Unbeatable Network felt like hope and strength while this feels… not sad. Hopeful in it’s own way.

I’m sure I can put a name to that feeling in the context of the show later on when it plays but for now, I’m glad to have it experienced it without that context clouding my mind. Definitely the top track from the album, I’d say.

Passion is similar track with the tribal sound that’s carried over from Jormungand and Akame ga Kill. An interesting mix to be sure.

And Nirvana sounds straight out of Soul Eater. Except DEATHCITY was a better track, unfortunately. Actually, a lot of tracks end up feeling like Soul Eater again. Though the rap parts don’t have as big a focus as they do in Soul Eater, they end up sounding very similar. God, and then there’s Da sprang die Katze rot! which also feels Soul Eater-ish but has Yuri Kasahara poorly utilized. Her operatic tracks were phenomenal on the previous album but here… uh… not really.

I’ve compared  a lot of these tracks to his previous stuff but you know what sounds really unique from his previous works? Bringen Sie den Palm. What an interesting track. It’s got an oppresive feel but despite that it that makes it difficult to guess where it might fit in the series. Like the first track I mentioned, I’m glad to have heard it now before hearing it in the show.

GATCHAMAN Make my day is a fun track, at least. There’s quite a few upbeat tracks on here but this one is my favourite. Plus it’s neat to hear Iwasaki himself, haha. It might not be as iconic as the first theme but gosh, I find myself continuing to come back to this track. It feels a lot like the show. Something sinister in the background, masked by energy and fun.

I feel like everything on the original Gatchaman Crowds soundtrack was golden and I could pick any one track and enjoy it immensely. So this one may have never stoof a chance. It may never have compared, unfortunately. It holds up on it’s own, sure. But now I’m worried that Iwasaki has peaked and we’ll never have an album like Gatchaman Crowds OST where it is solidly and completely 100% fantastic.

But hey, how many soundtrack composers even get one album like that? Guess I shouldn’t complain too much then.

Sasaki Sayaka – SAYAKAVER

I love (anisong) singers covering anisong or j-pop. It’s my favourite thing and I constantly go out of my way to look for it. This cleverly named album is nothing but covers by Sasaki Sayaka who you hopefully know firstly from Nichijou but otherwise, uh, Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai? Or the Senran Kagura anime? Ok, ZZZ is cute and Nichijou is great. That’s what I always associate her with.

I love albums like this. One where the artist has a variety of songs that aren’t just the classics 4. In fact, Sasaki is so high level, it featured a song from a show I’ve never even heard of before. Well I’m not a mecha fan but for a show by Tomino and with Yoko Kanno, I have NEVER heard any one talk about Brain Powerd before.

Connect shows off what a pleasant voice she has (while the former Brain Powerd OP, In My Dream showed her powerful sounding side). One other thing to mention that I really like is the flair the songs have. They aren’t just straight copies off the original tracks that she’s covering. They have a little extra flair to their arrangements. This is the same and the extra piano focus really compliments her voice a lot.

This is one of those tracks I was really looking forward to because I still love me some Nirgilis. The intro is a little weird but her voice is so different from Acchu’s that it’s kind of refreshing. But the track just doesn’t work for me. The tempo is much faster than the original (which results in the weird cherry blossom parts) and makes the chorus sound a little bit weirder than it should.

DISCOTHEQUE was the second track I was really looking forward to because I’ve always liked this song but not never thought Nana Mizuki was right for it. Unofrtunately, Sasaki Sayaka wouldn’t be my first choice for it either. Still, she does a find job and the song arrangement makes it feel fresh in a completely different way from the original.

Now if I don’t expect her to do a song like the former, I would expect her to do a song like Platinum. And of course, she’s fantastic at it. She may not be Maaya Sakamoto’s strength but she does a fantastic job. However in this case the song arrangement does subtract from the enjoyment a bit. Well, enjoyment as a cover. It feels like a completely different song and that different song isn’t bad at all, I guess.

The biggest surprise of this tracklist was Snow Halation. Though I feel it’s a pretty standard Love Live track to go with. Will Love Live enter the classic track roster after all?! Haha, I seriously doubt it. Sasaki nails it thought. Both the song arrangement and herself sound wonderful in a cover that pretty much puts most of μ’s to shame.

The rest of the tracks don’t stand out as much though I was fond of JUST COMMUNICATION, Can Do and LEVEL5 -judgelight- I suppose.

Notes:

  1. I’ll be omitting the -echo-: NieR in the other titles so just assume they’re there
  2. Though really, you should be
  3. Not including Akame ga Kill since that aired last year and really, there were only like two stellar tracks on those albums
  4. Which I’ve bitched about a million times before and won’t do today

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