Announcements: You, in the Endless Starlight / Vocaloid Paradise Extra Edition

I would like to announce that my first album, You, in the Endless Starlight, will be releasing on May 23, 2019! You can preorder the digital version on Bandcamp, iTunes, and Amazon (TBD), and it will be available on BOOTH, Spotify, and other services on release!

In addition, there will be a limited physical edition (digipak), which you can also preorder on Bandcamp — orders will ship out starting June 1, and will be available for as long as there is stock! I will also be selling early release copies at Vocaloid Paradise Extra Edition on May 19 (more on this below).

The tracklist is as follows:

1. Philia
2. anoi isál yu mlál
3. Sentinel
4. Thank You, It Was Fun
5. Fragrance
6. The Moment Before the End
7. Starlight Mist
8. From the City of Lost Dreams

Please look forward to the release, and pick up a copy if you like!

Now, in regards to Vocaloid Paradise Extra Edition: I will be tabling at KaiMei Paradise (カイメイ PARADISE) with Winter (hyoujisama) at tables B25/B26! Winter and I will be bringing the following goods (the graphic is in Japanese only, sorry):

I won’t be bringing any of the Kickstarter bonus items, but if you happen to be going to the event, this is a chance to get your hands on Dark Chocolate and Maraschino Cherry if you missed the Kickstarter, so be sure to check it out!

I still have many things I want to say about this album and my participation in the event, but I’m still knee deep in preparation for it — but I’ll definitely have much to say afterwards, so stay tuned!

Remainer

The overseas MEIKO compilation album that we funded with Kickstarter, Dark Chocolate and Maraschino Cherry, has finally been released!

I prefer to use this site for matters related to myself, so I’ve been posting matters related to the project there instead of here, but personally I would like to express how thankful I am to everyone who helped make this project happen. I’m honestly amazed that this little project I suggested to Oxy at midnight on a whim ended up going so well, and so free of problems, too…Honestly, thank you so much to everyone who’s supported us.

I’ve participated in collaborative projects in the past quite often, but this was my first time heading one myself! Of course, I would have never been able to pull this off if not for Oxy’s help, but it was a very different experience being a project manager instead of simply a participant. Thank you to everyone who put up with me during all this!

I would definitely love to try doing other compilation projects in the future (I’ve gotten multiple inquiries over whether I have any interest in a KAITO one…), but for the time being I am quite exhausted so I think I’ll take a break first 。(*^▽^*)ゞ

Now, about the song I wrote for the album, “Remainer” — I wanted there to be at least one song with V1 on the album, so I asked Geiky of ARM to write lyrics for me. I trust him very deeply with lyrics, so other than the base theme behind the song I left the rest to him (I know people have started to associate my lyrics with flowers, but this time it actually was not my idea at all!). In the end I’m very satisfied with what he gave me and am truly thankful.

Right now I’m still undecided on whether to post the song to YouTube and Nico Nico Douga, so for now, here’s the English translation of the lyrics!

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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.

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 (*^▽^*)

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.

VY1 and VY2

For a chance of pace I’ve decided to use the blog more often for things not strictly related to new releases, so in the interest of this month’s VY Day I decided to talk about VY1 and 2 for a bit.

To be honest, as far as Vocaloid is concerned, under most circumstances I’m hesitant to talk too deeply about “my version of ________”…although I do have my own personal mental images, I don’t take those images into account when making music and I’m afraid of getting it conflated with it. In general, I’d prefer it if people interpreted my music the way they wanted to without taking my personal preferences into account. However, in regards to the VYs, since they don’t have any official characters to begin with, I figured it’d probably be better to conversely describe the way I portray them in a little more detail.

Of course, if you don’t want to see it that way, I’m perfectly fine with that as well ( ´ ▽ ` ) I just thought it would be fun. For this purpose, I decided to redraw some concept sheets I drew around this time last year. (Please mind the dust as I still have a long way to go in terms of artistic skill…)

I based my designs for VY1 and 2 off the concept of spirits (or tsukumogami, if you will) whose “real form” are the objects depicted on the boxart — as a result, I wanted to make the character designs look like the objects themselves taking human shape.

A concept for VY1V4. It might be a little difficult to tell with my drawing style, but she’s intended to have the appearance of an adult in her 20s.

Actually, if you look closely, I think this kind of hairstyle would be quite impractical in real life, haha…The impression I had of V4’s boxart was that it was a fusion of traditional and modern elements, so I wanted to give off that image as well. Since it seemed impractical to reflect the kanzashi in exactly the same way it appears on the boxart, the one she’s wearing is a fairly simple one, but as you can see there’s a bit of an aura coming from it.

The glasses are merely my own preference — I initially drew her without them, but once I put them on her I couldn’t take them off…( ´ ▽ ` ) Incidentally, I don’t think tsukumogami would need glasses in the first place, so they’re probably fake…

VY2V3’s design is comparatively simpler than VY1V4’s, but as much as I considered modifying it multiple times I never found myself to be satisfied with anything more complex. Now, if VY2V4 were to be a thi

The overall concept is not too different from VY1’s, athough I’m not very good at drawing men _(:3」∠)_

This is just a fun little thing to think about, but when I put these two next to each other I can’t help but imagine a sort of loose cannon and straight-man pair…VY1 has a very strong and bright voice that sometimes has a bit of a petulant quality to it (especially in V4), while VY2 sounds a lot more grounded…but that’s just in my head, of course. ( ´ ▽ ` )


It’s a somewhat tangentially related topic, but there’s something I wanted to address sooner or later…

VY1 and 2 were my first Vocaloids, and because of that they hold a very special place in my heart, but lately I haven’t been able to use them as much as I want to…in 2014 or so I became too uncomfortable with writing lyrics in Japanese due to my lack of skill with the language, meaning that I could only use them for songs written in conlang. Lately I’ve been trying to improve at it, so I started experimenting with writing again, using MEIKO and KAITO in case I ended up unsatisfied and needing to switch back to English. If I can get more comfortable with it, then…

In any case, from now on I really would like to use them more often, so as the time and opportunity allows I’m going to do my best.