Announcements: Vocaloid Paradise Extra Edition, Atelier Fes, and Faraway Asterism

This is something I’ve been planning for a very long time now, but: I will be participating, in person, in the Vocaloid Paradise Extra Edition (VOCALOID PARADISE 番外編) event at the Nagoya Congress Center on May 19, 2019.

Yes, it’s an event in Japan. Yes, I’m an American. I did say I’ve been planning this for a long time, right?…

Well, the truth of the matter is, tabling has been something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, but as it is now, such a thing is not exactly very easy when you’re in my position. Tabling with music is already somewhat of an impossibility in the West, where events like Comiket and M3 don’t exist, and anime convention Artist Alleys only have a market for a very limited type of product. Combine that with the fact my specialty is “folk music primarily with Vocaloids MEIKO and KAITO,” and you get something that has effectively no market at any sort of event here. It’s not that I’m adverse to tabling here in principle, but reserving a table for something where I’d be lucky to even sell a single copy would be a rather horrible embarrassment.

Vocaloid Paradise Extra Edition is home to KAITO Paradise and MEIKO Paradise and, this year, has started KaiMei Paradise for those with products featuring both. As such, it’s the one place where a product like the ones I make actually stands a chance of getting any reception. Moreover, it’s a precious chance to meet other creators and fans in one place. And although I haven’t been able to directly table at an event before, I’ve already participated in multiple works that were made for events, so it’s not like I’m a complete stranger to the concept. All I needed was to be bold enough to make the trip to Japan for it. Unfortunately, I tend to have a rather reckless personality, and so one thing led to another…

(That said, it’s not like I’m the best at Japanese, and my ability to speak is even worse, so I pray that I won’t become a burden on everyone…)

In preparation for this, I’ve been hard at work preparing what I hope to release as my first solo album, which I plan to release at the event. I’ll also be bringing extra remainder copies of the MEIKO compilation album Dark Chocolate and Maraschino Cherry for those who missed out on the Kickstarter (although there won’t be any bonus merch attached to it). In addition, accompanying me will be hyoujisama, who will be bringing a horde of KAITO-centric art products, so please look forward to those too (*^▽^*)

This brings us to our second order of business, which is that I have joined the Atelier doujinshi circle Faraway Asterism. The Atelier series is one that’s been particularly important to me for quite a long time now, especially in terms of its music — I first played Atelier Ayesha at the end of 2015, and became so enamored with it that the song I released shortly after, “anoi isál yu mlál“, drew heavy influences from its music. From there I started playing the other games in the series and completely fell in love with the music and atmosphere and characters. However, as a musician who was never much good at visual art, I never felt that there were many opportunities for me to provide something in terms of creative tribute, and I’m very happy that I’ll be able to start doing so with the cooperation of the circle.

Faraway Asterism’s first project is a fan book bringing together compiled creative work from overseas Atelier fans and giving them an outlet to express their love for the series, so I will be participating in it (although the details of how will be kept a secret for now!). The circle leaders, Fiora and Miri, will be bringing the book to this year’s Atelier Fes (アトリエフェス) doujinshi event on May 26, 2019. And by complete miracle happenstance, this year’s VoPara-Ex and Atelier Fes are within the same week, so while I will leave the primary handling of the table to Fiora and Miri, it would be silly of me to not drop by…and for the sake of the occasion, you might see something else from me besides just the book. (But details about that will have to remain a secret for now.)

I hope those of you who are able to attend either of the events can look forward to these, and if not, these things will be released for overseas purchase after the event, so please support us even then! In the end, because I am an American young adult, making trips to Japan is not something I can easily do at leisure, and I would not be surprised if I’m never able to attend another Japanese event in my life. But as someone who takes quite a bit of pride in being a Western creator, I am very much at peace with this, and once all this has passed I would like to focus my efforts more domestically in advocating for music-selling culture in the West, while also of course continuing to send my work abroad when the opportunities come. Music and art are things I firmly believe should cross all kinds of international boundaries.

Well, there’s a lot of work ahead of me, so wish me luck…!

anoi isál yu mlál (2019 ver.)

I made this song three years ago for ABCD Project, and thereafter it was a very large turning point for me and my music. This song has gotten a lot of good feedback, and I personally felt like I had quite a few good ideas with it, so I decided to try remaking it. Almost all of the instruments have been changed, the mixing was done from scratch, and the Vocaloid tuning redone in V5. The art was by Crispy, who also drew for the original video — thank you so much!

I’ve also put out the VPR and .wav file out on Patreon.

In the end, I hope this acts as proof of any improvement I’ve made in the last three years. Thank you for all of your support up until now.

CC2 song comments

COSMOCRYSTAL II side red has finally been released! (゚∀゚) Congratulations!! It was a long road, but I’m so happy to finally see it released!

Since both sides are finally out, I would like to talk about the songs I made for CC2, as I’ve been rather quiet about them so far…

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COSMOCRYSTAL II – clalliss re leat, maya re pat – EIHOU-BOUSYOKU

ARM (A Reyvateil’s Melody) will be releasing its new Ar tonelico fan album, COSMOCRYSTAL II – clalliss re leat, maya re pat – EIHOU-BOUSYOKU!

(“EIHOU-BOUSYOKU” = 映放紡色 = “Liberated Reflections, Woven Colors”, among other possible readings)

I worked on the composition for the fifth track, “solstine=brille.EXFLOW_cls.UNREDEMPTION::CHRYSOSKONI=LABYRINTHIA/.”.

The album will be sold at this year’s Winter Comiket event (C95, day 2, December 30, 2018) at Tokyo Big Sight, East Side (東地区) booth “ニ”26b. You can also place a preorder for mail delivery at BOOTH (for Japanese residents) or Isukado (for overseas customers). This is a continuation of last year’s “side blue” album, so there will also be a combined version of both at BOOTH (for Japanese residents) and Isukado (for overseas customers).

It’s been a very long time in development, but it’s truly amazing to finally see the CC2 project reach completion. I will be continuing to work with ARM in the future, and ARM as a circle will be both continuing the story of CC2 and pursuing other projects, so please look forward to it m(_ _)m

Fragrance

This song is a little different from my usual. I started this about a year and a half ago, but repeatedly got furstrated because I felt like my abilities at the time were insufficient for what I wanted to make…ah, well, I hope I was able to do it in the end. Don’t worry, this isn’t meant to be a permanent shift in style or anything, I just wanted to experiment once in a while ^^;;

As you can probably see, this is my first song using V5. It’s taken a while to get used to, but ultimately the difference between English transitions between V4 and V5 is pretty incredible…Since I expect the majority of my songs from here on out to be in English, this is a huge help for me.

The art is by Krystal, who put a lot of care into the difficult request I gave her — thank you very much!

The VPR and .wav file are out on Patreon as well, so please take a look!

I don’t think I will be able to upload another song this year despite my best efforts, but CC2 side red is still on schedule to be released during Winter Comiket, so please look forward to that! Otherwise, let’s meet again on KAITO’s birthday next year!

Dark Chocolate and Maraschino Cherry

In honor of MEIKO’s birthday, Oxy and I would like to announce a project we have been keeping under wraps for a while: a compilation album staffed primarily by overseas creators, Dark Chocolate and Maraschino Cherry! In addition, we’ve started a Kickstarter to fund a CD print of it, so if you have interest, please take a look!

This has been something that has been in the works for over a year now, and is one of those things that started from “something we should do sometime” and somehow became a full project. It’s admittedly somewhat ambitious — trying to fund a physical print of an overseas Vocaloid album is a difficult task. But I have a personal attachment to CDs, and it just wouldn’t sit well with me if we went through all this only to settle for a digital-only release.

Technically speaking I’m a “manager” for the project, but I feel like most of what I was doing was just sending emails! In the end, what’s making all of this possible are the dedicated efforts of all the participants who put their utmost into it and really love MEIKO. I think this is why I have such an addiction to compilation albums — they represent the variety of talents and efforts put in by all sorts of different people.

We will do our best, so please support the Kickstarter if you can. Thank you (*^▽^*)

Patreon and other things

Generally speaking, I hold a stance that the music I make is something to be shared as much as possible, and lately, I’ve been thinking about it and realizing that I’m a lot more closed up about my work than I would like to be.

That said, there are things that I ultimately end up fussing over. For one, I’m insistent that my work should be left more up to interpretation by the listener, and so I’m always worried that revealing too much would force one specific reading. On top of that, there’s a difficult balance between sharing your behind-the-scenes creative work and completely laying yourself bare; although there are times in the past I’ve openly shared completely unfinished things or rather personal data (such as fully tuned VSQx files for Vocaloid work, etc.), most of the time I’m not entirely comfortable putting out such things out for anyone and everyone to take…

But on the other hand, being too closed and shutting myself out entirely is not something I want to do, either. I want to open up anything that might be interesting or helpful to those who are looking for it, and as someone who was also helped by and inspired many people along the way, I feel like it’d be unfair to completely shut that out to others as well.

So in the interest of that, I started a Patreon. I don’t think it’s a perfect solution, but it seems like it at least satisfies some of my concerns, so if you’re interested, please do take a look.

I think the majority of the content distributed there will be things I normally wouldn’t have been comfortable with putting out otherwise, such as fully tuned VSQx files or such. I have no intention of locking what I do behind a paywall, so everything I was giving out earlier (vocal guides and instrumentals, etc.) will be open to everyone as usual.

In the interest of that, I think I would like talk more freely about my work in general, especially on this blog. It’s a bit difficult because every time I post something here I have to write it in three languages, but I’ll do my best ^^;; Thank you for your support in the future.

Love Butterfly

I wrote lyrics for two of the tracks on maya‘s new album Love Butterfly!

1. Pride Deadlock
7. wisteria

The album will be sold at Comiket 94 (Day 1/August 10, 2018) at Tokyo Big Sight, circle “asanagi” at table 西と03b. It was an honor to work on it, so please check it out if you’re interested! You can also preorder it on Toranoana or Melonbooks (Animate will be added later).

In addition, although it’s not a new album, copies of COSMOCRYSTAL II side blue will be sold on the same day at the ARM (A Reyvateil’s Melody) booth, table 西ぬ16b.

As for personal work, I’ve been working on a new Vocaloid song since last month…I decided to experiment a bit with a departure from my usual style, so it’s quite challenging and taking quite a bit longer than usual ( ´ ▽ ` ) That said, I’m now completely in the middle of moving, and so it’s forced me to put all musical activities on hold…in addition, ARM is currently planning on making a release for this year’s Winter Comiket, so I’m going to have to subsequently shift my efforts there for a while.

But I definitely want to finish a solo Vocaloid song soon, since I ended up not being able to make one for several months due to my health, so I’d like to aim for getting the new one up sometime in September if possible. As I’ve largely recovered I’ve started to solidify plans for some projects later this and next year, so please look forward to that!

Adult life is hard, but every day I would like to strive to deliver the best music I can (*^▽^*)

Pride Deadlock

(Nico Nico Douga)

I wrote the lyrics for maya‘s song “Pride Deadlock”! The illustration is by しーな (Shiina) ☆

I’ve written lyrics in quite a few different languages up to this point, but English is the language I was born and raised with and have the most intimate relationship with and so in the end that really is the one I’m most comfortable with…and thus I’m always really honored to be able to write English lyrics for others.

So upon first hearing the song, I thought “okay, I have to make lyrics to fit this really cool song,” and then “if it’s gonna be cool, then what kind of subject should it be about?”, and then eventually it became a story about “a struggle between two people”. So as for what kind of relationship that entails, that’s probably best for everyone to come up with their own interpretations about (but then, I say that a lot, don’t I?)…

I also have been a fan of the works of the two other people involved for a really long time, so it’s really been an honor ><

And by the by, it’s Gumi’s ninth anniversary! Seriously! You know, when I first got into Vocaloid in the summer of 2009, she was the most recent Vocaloid released at the time…and now she’s 9…seriously…

Incidentally, while this doesn’t have any pertinence to the main topic, in case anyone’s wondering “wait, what about your own original stuff?”…the truth is I had a really, really nasty cold throughout the entirety of May and spent the whole month lying in bed and unable to do anything (orz) When you’ve been spending the whole month in bed doing nothing but watch tokusatsu, it ends up getting really hard to get back into the rhythm of things after that. I’m really sorry…

That said, being a composer is my own kind of pride of sorts, and of course I’m not going to be abandoning my ARM work, so I’m slowly, slowly getting myself back on track! Lately my working hours have gone up and there’s a possibility I might move residence, so I’m a lot busier than I was last year, but I really want to have a full album out by next year, so I’m gonna do my best.