Friday, 27 June 2008

CD検討: CODE SPEED アニメトランス BEST vol. 1

It's fair to say that I am no stranger when it comes to anime theme songs remix collections. I have spent a lot of time with Shimokawa Mikuni's "Seishun Anime Song House Album" and enjoy all of its tracks, with her over-the-top rendition of "Geki! Teikoku Kagekidan" high on my list. Similarly, Yoko Ishida's "Hyper Yocomix" series have fueled many of my late night programming/study sessions. But in general, I am not the biggest fan of trance music on this planet. I did give months of my life to the Ghost In The Shell game soundtrack and I appreciate the majority (if not all) of I've Sound's trance work simply because they tend to feature real instruments and their vocalists are top of the line (KOTOKO, MELL, PEKO, SHIHO, etc.). When music is closely associated to anime or video games, whether it's trance, rock, denpa or what have you, I just have to check it out. So when I found out about "CODE SPEED アニメトランス BEST" and its impressive track list, I knew I had to get my hands on it ASAP. But before you go on any further, why don't you play the following youtube link in the background? I assure you it's not a trap.

1. KNEE SOCKS - もってけ! セーラーふく
(Lucky Star Remix) (3:56)

The remixers obviously wanted to go with what is currently the most popular anime OP as an ice breaker, it definitely makes sense if only from a financial point of view. While I am sick to death of hearing the original version, I caved in and gave this remix a try. KNEE SOCKS' rendition is pretty faithful to the original, only turbo charged and a bit more sterile.

2. Ma15 - ハレ晴レユカイ
(The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya Remix) (3:45)
Before there was Lucky Star, the world was blessed with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya... oh wait that wasn't that long ago, wasn't it? We all know this track, and the trance remix doesn't stray far off from the original. In fact, I can't tell of any liberties that were taken. Ma15 does well in this one, but her voice is a bit flimsy overall.

3. chum - 創聖のアクエリオン
(Sousei no Aquarion remix) (4:05)
Hell yes! Being the huge AKINO fan that I am, I was most pleased to hear this new take on one of the best kept secrets in anime music. I wouldn't say "創聖のアクエリオン" compares to "Go Tight!" however, which is leaps and bounds above it and so many other themes while we're at it. It's such a damn shame that she wasn't approached for more solo songs, since her voice is so captivating. Did you know she was born in Arizona and grew up there along with her brothers and sisters? Well now you do! Lately, all of the siblings formed a band called "bless4" and have been playing concerts around Japan. However, my personal opinion is that their new songs don't quite match the quality of her two OP themes.

4. KEIKO - God Knows...
(The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya) (3:50)

There we go again with another Suzumiya track. There's really nothing bad to be said about the remix, and KEIKO does a wonderful job of keeping up with the beefed up pace. If you liked the original, you'll like this. If you hated it... you wouldn't be here reading this right now.

5. NINE - Butter-fly
(Digimon Adventure Remix) (4:19)
Meh. At last we have the first male vocalist of the bunch, but the chosen song does little to hold my interest. It doesn't help that I've never watched Digimon, so I have no idea what the original sounds like. What I do know is that I still have no interest whatsoever in doing that after hearing the remix.

6. chum - 緋色の空
(Shakugan no Shana Remix) (4:01)
YES. Kawada Mami is one of my favorite I've vocalists, and "緋色の空" is definitely one of my top 3 songs from her. It was beautifully crafted from the ground up and became an important component of a strong series. The remix is impressive, save for the sometimes timid and reserved voice of "chum". They sure decided to pick some random artist names before putting this comp together.

7. KEIKO - 晴れてハレルヤ
(Mahoujin Guru Guru Remix) (2:52)
A bit of a weird remix, I'll just assume the original is every bit just as odd. The remix comes out sounding very much like "happy hardcore", one of the many trance sub-genres. I can't seem to enjoy this song properly so I'll usually just skip it.

(Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s Remix) (4:06)
Another solid offering from chum. While I have not watched this anime, I have watched parts of one of its sequels, "Nanoha StrikerS" and it just couldn't hold my interest so I dropped it. The song itself though is pretty appealing, especially in this remixed form. After the weird "晴れてハレルヤ", it feels good to hear something with a more serious approach.

9. chum - 夢想歌
(Utawarerumono Remix) (3:12)
chum is everywhere! Utawarerumono is a fantastic series that I highly recommend, and by proxy, its opening theme has become one of my favorite songs. Unfortunately here, while the remix is very well done, I feel it is a bit uncalled for. The original 夢想歌 by Suara is awe-inspiring and will definitely become a classic as it ages. Its slow pace and unique harmonies are standout features that shouldn't be altered. Sure, there's always room for remixes, but you absolutely owe it to yourself to check out the original at least once.

10. YURiE - ゆずれない願い
(Magic Knight Rayearth Remix) (2:45)
Ahh Magic Knight Rayearth. I remember the Working Designs / Media Blasters fiasco like it was yesterday. What's that... you don't? That's OK, the Sega Saturn game was pretty forgettable. The Clamp-produced series though, has proven itself a timeless classic. Not so much for the theme however. It starts with a really annoying melody that has me quickly reaching for the "next" button and doesn't offer anything worthwhile.

11. chum - Re-Sublimity
(Kannazuki No Miko) (4:06)

Unsurprisingly, this fantastic KOTOKO song lends itself to a trance remix very well, considering it is a trance song in the first place. Notwithstanding that fact, Re-Sublimity is easily one of the best tracks on this comp. My judgment might be slightly skewed considering I am a huge fan of the original in the first place... but what are you gonna do about it? I like that new alarm siren that they added, I don't remember it being in the original. But apart from that addition and an upgraded BPM, the songs are fairly identical and chum delivers her best imitation so far.

12. chum - ひぐらしのなく頃に
(Higurashi no naku koro ni Remix) (2:58)
Wow, that's 2 great remixes in a row, this time from one of my top 5 Japanese songstress of all time, Eiko Shimamiya (also known as PEKO on her earlier opuses). This sounds a bit more spaced out, with very little bass abuse. I wish the remixers would have respected the huge sonic breakdowns prominently featured in the original, but overall I am very satisfied with this new version. Too bad it's one minute short of the 4 minute average.

13. Ma15 - 最強○×計画
(Sumomo Momomo ~ chijou saikyou no yome Remix) (4:04)

By now you've watched the youtube video I made, so here is my appreciation. At first, I was apprehensive and just couldn't look past the different direction. The original is brilliant and untouchable, so why should I waste my time with a remix when I can have the real thing? But then the fast beat got to me and I realized that within the context of this compilation, the remix works very well. It helps that Ma15 delivered some beautiful vocals for this track and that they kept the male shouting. But the "musical" parts are pretty poor and sound rushed. I may not be the best person to comment on this remix as I am completely sold to the original version, but overall this is fairly enjoyable if taken at face value.

14. YURiE - DANZEN! ふたりはプリキュア
(Futari wa Pretty Cure Remix) (3:04)

Another skippable YURiE track. More "happy hardcore", nothing interesting. Best thing I can come up with is that she really seems to push her voice on this one.

15. Ma15 - 宇宙で恋は☆るるんルーン
(Galaxy Angel Rune) (3:47)
Two "happy hardcore" tracks in a row? 助けてください!I'm really taking a bullet for you guys by reviewing this. Ma15 delivers one of her poorest performances, or perhaps that is the fault of whatever vocal plug-in was abused. Put simply, she sounds like an お婆さん.

16. chum - プラチナ
(Cardcaptor Sakura Remix) (3:52)
The last chum song for vol. 1 of this series is a decent mix of techno and trance, with interesting melodies that don't stand out in the end.

17. KEIKO - Feeling Heart
(To Heart Remix) (2:47)
I think I've had enough "happy hardcore" for the rest of my life. Next PLEASE!

18. KONEKO PROJECT - 聖少女領域
(Rozen Maiden -Traumend- Remix) (3:07)
Oh, now we're talking! While I'm certainly not the biggest Ali Project fan on earth, I'm not one of their detractors either. Refreshingly, this track contains no vocals but since I haven't heard the original, I'm going to have to guess that it didn't either. Which is odd because I've always felt vocals were one of the most unique things Ali Project had going for them, along with the superbly crafted gothic melodies. This is one of the top tracks, by far.

19. NINE - 真赤な誓い
(Busou Renkin Remix) (3:36)
Busou Renkin was my favorite anime of the 2006/2007 season, mostly because of the series itself, yes, but also in large part due to its KICK ASS opening track. Imagine my surprise when I heard the trance remix without having seen it listed first. This new version isn't bad at all, but it will never replace the screaming guitars and balls-to-the-walls attitude of the original. I'm just glad they gave respect where respect is due. My only complaint is that the vocalist (NINE) lays it on a little thick. Understandably so, however, as this is a song that inspires strength, courage and hot-blooded emotions. I would have done the same, but I would have also painted the studio's walls red with blood due to an explosion of joy. That's it, I'm watching this anime again.

20. YURiE - アンインストール
(Bokurano Remix) (4:46)
Two great songs in a row, what a great way to end this comp! Uninstall is one of the hardest, most powerful theme songs out there and it goes hand-in-hand with its series, Bokurano. Songstress 石川智晶 has a deep and mature singing voice which YURiE respectfully emulates. She is also part of SEE-SAW, a popular group which has been pumping out quality themes since 1993. At long last, YURiE redeems herself after 2 lackluster performance. Musically, this may be the slowest song on CODE SPEED, but rightfully so as the original crushes everything in its path while moving like a ton of brick on a donkey's back.

As a last observation, all of the tracks are connected together, so you never get any awkward silence. This is probably standard fare for trance comps though, but I thought it was a nice touch. Now that the first volume has been reviewed, what about the others? Vol. 2 and 3 don't contain anything from MOSAIC.WAV, so there's little incentive for me to write about them on here. If I get some positive feedback, I may look into reviewing them, but my initial impressions are that Vol. 2 is a lot worse than 1 and 3 is in the middle. But one thing for sure, despite the number of duds, this thing is worth checking out as the comps harbor a number of solid remixes that will definitely challenge your aural sense, for better or for worse.

1 comment:

Nadirah said...

I like this compilation, but the 3rd one just blew it out of the waters. (Which, btw, has "Go Tight" as the opener song on the CD. Need I say more?)