Attention please! We are looking for a new writer!

電波の世界 started in December 2007 and while our passion for the genre has only increased over the years, it's been difficult to find time for new articles and features. That's why we (denpanosekai and mandichan) are looking for an enthusiastic new writer! Here are some typical articles and tasks:

※ album previews and reviews
※ event reports (comiket, M3, live, etc.)
※ artist spotlights and interviews
※ denpa watchlist renewal
※ a new theme would be nice!

Do you want to make a difference and contribute to the original and leading source for English denpa news worldwide? Please contact denpanosekai [at] gmail [dot] com today!

Monday, 28 July 2008

CD検討: GWAVE's 2007 2nd Drivers + SuperFeature's vol.9

Somehow these completely slipped under my radar, but GWAVE recently released two albums; one of which should be especially noteworthy to those of you looking for new denpa sensations. But since this is the first time they are covered on 電波の世界, maybe they should be introduced a bit. If you're not familiar with the group, you should take a quick look at their impressive discography and then browse their equally well-designed website, which stunningly includes insightful commentary on all of their songs. Just like I've Sound, they are a major competitor in the eroge theme song arena of doom but despite their ginormous amount of songs, they aren't as popular as they lack star power and prime time partnerships. A strong percentage of their compositions can be considered denpa, but they also delve heavily in pop, light rock and the occasional ballad/weird track.

They have two main product lines, one being the relatively recent (2005) 「GWAVE Super features」 and the other a bi-annual compilation of all of their game themes that hasn't skipped a beat since 2003. That's right! These guys don't mess around with expensive singles. So far, they have kept up with the impressive cadence of releasing these comps in June and December (which is why I said I was surprised I missed this). To this day, there are 9 SuperFeature's and 10 game song compilations, with different subtitles each year (Drivers, Beat, Strike, Impact...) A slightly confusing aspect is that the SuperFeature's albums can also contain game theme songs, but substantially less often so. In contrast, they allow GWAVE to take musical liberties or introduce new themes. It is also within the context of this series that guest artists appear, Sakakibara Yui and OdiakeS (Key founding member) come to mind. Are we good now? 良かった.

Album: GWAVE 2007 2nd Drivers
Release Date: 2008年06月27日
Performed by: Too many to list
Complete Info: VGMDB, GWAVE

Now that introductions are out of the way, the first order of business today is the June 27 2008-released 「2007 2nd Drivers」. Confused? This is a 2008 release of all theme songs released in the second half of 2007, as the first half was taken care of in 「2007 1st Drivers」 which was released in December 2007. Ahh, now you get it. This is how it's always been with GWAVE. About the music itself, you'd think that with so many releases each year, the quality must take quite a dive. You'd be right if this was a review of the first couple years GWAVE were around, but luckily they've since developed a knack for making each and every single one of their songs stand out. From the pedal-to-the-metal-denpa 「1×8ラブ?バレット」 (井上みゆ) to the mysterious 「Adenium」 (Rita), every possible genre that can be applicable to game intros is covered here. There's some pretty powerful indie rock sounding stuff in here like 「夢のスガタ」 from 神村ひな. 「HappyLeap」, sung by 榊原ゆい (Sakakibara Yui) sounds like the lovely songs ROUND TABLE usually provide us with. Fans will be glad to know she contributes three of the album's 16 tracks. And I'll be damned if Rita's orgy of blast beats 「Sugar+Spice!」 is not a thousand times more punk than all of the mainstream poser bullshit that comes out these days, unless we're talking about the venerable Bad Religion of course. Overall, compared to previous "Main Series" offerings, this one ranks quite high. In fact, I daresay there's not a single track that's not worth your time.

Album: GWAVE SuperFeature's vol.9 U☆MYSTAR -Frontwing Complete Best!!!-
Release Date: 2008年05月26日
Performed by: U(ユウ)
Complete Info: VGMDB

The other series, SuperFeature's (their spelling, not mine) is GWAVE's way of branching out into themes. Volumes 2 【Ultra:U】 and 4 【U☆TOPIA】 were entirely devoted to (and mostly composed by) U, a denpa-oriented vocalist who then changed her artist name to Yuu and lately seems to be using the two together. If you ask me, both are utterly stupid in the first place, but that's just my worthless opinion. The big draw here as you probably imagine is that this is GWAVE's denpa series-within-a-series. But don't walk in here expecting to hear the next MOSAIC.WAV challenger, neither composers nor performers involved on U songs could hold their ground in front of the Akiba giants. Not that there's a huge difference in quality, just that they aren't necessarily shooting for the same thing. Useless comparisons aside, there are some absolutely solid tunes to be enjoyed. As the title implies, this is a compilation album specifically for all FrontWing related tunes. MOSAIC.WAV also worked with them in the form of the batshit insane きみはぐ OP. They are a highly regarded game company, so this means sales for this compilation should be strong.

Much like 2nd Drivers, there are no poor tracks on here and it should serve as a perfect introduction to U if you've never heard her before. You should still be on the lookout for her previous albums if only for the fast and furious 「なの☆なの」 which will be right up your alley if, like me, you eat up everything that's punk-rock paced. An interesting point about U is that she writes and composes the majority of her songs. Of course she also does a lot of collaborations, notably with KOIKE-aniki on her previous albums, whom is said to have taught her quite a few guitar lessons. Perhaps the most interesting track on Vol. 9 is 2003's 「ONLY YOUR WITCH」 which serves up dope denpa-infused surfer rock that isn't without similitude to Momo-i's 「Romantic Summer」. You also have the slower paced 「CHANGE OF LIFE」 which hits you with a solid 8bit-flavored arrangement. The last three songs are brand new and absolutely epic, which bides very well for GWAVE's future. 「S・O・S ラヴ」 might clearly be modeled after Perfume's most successful tunes, but that didn't take anything away from my appreciation. Clearly, this is one of the top denpa albums to be released this year, so please look for it. In fact, this is more of a preview than a review, so I'll definitely come back with a complete track-by-track analysis in the future.

But I don't think I'll ever review most of GWAVE's back catalog other than U's stuff. Even though they're doing pretty well these days, the fact remains that some of their older work completely sucks. But at this rate they're sure to become a household name in no time, if only out of respect for their outstanding work ethic. It took them a while but they never gave up and you gotta respect that. These two new albums completely won me over, so I think you should check them out or at least give them a second chance if they didn't impress you the first time around!

Thunder Force VI trailer will blow your mind

Although I've rarely used the "video games" tag on 電波の世界 so far, don't let that fool you. I'm absolutely, positively, irrationally crazy about collecting video games and playing the shit out of them. It so happens that SHMUPs (which Thunder Force VI embodies to the max) are one of my top 3 genres, along with RPGs and "whatever the heck feels good". TFVI revives a series that has been dormant for the past 10 years and shooting fanatics around the world are reacting to this news with great enthusiasm. Even if you're not a fan of these games, you have to admit that the trailer kicks major ass, if only for the ironic eighties adulation vibe it gives off. Indubitably, {heavy metal+SHMUP} is an infallible equation whose limit tends to infinity, and don't you dare divide it by zero. Case in point: Lords of Thunder aka "Ever since my baby's born, that's all I ever do".

I'm lucky to have a good friend who is also a huge shooting fanatic and actually kicks my ass by a wide margin (more like I waste all the credits away before he even needs one). Incidentally, said friend was supposed to start writing occasional SHMUP articles for this blog but just hasn't gotten around to... maybe this friendly little poke is all he needed? Actually I believe that SHMUP games are prime discussion material for this blog, if in no small part due to ZUN's fantastic Touhou series which have inspired so many IOSYS songs... oh yeah, complete IOSYS article coming up.

Friday, 25 July 2008

New MOSAIC.WAV うじゅ image song

It seems my lustful prayers and dark sacrificial ceremonies were not in vain. A new うじゅ single will see the light later this year and a short version of one of the songs has already been made available. Titled 「ねばねば♥スイーツ」, you can sample the MP3 directly or get crushed by the massive NicoNico walls of texts. Alternately you could also check out the Joraku page for said track, since it also includes a lyrics sheet and the story which inspired the song.

Bottom line? Although this is not exactly the うじゅたま follow-up song I was hoping for, it's the next best thing indeed. So far it might not have the same long-lasting qualities that 2007's 「電脳合戦×うじゅの陣!」 possesses but it's growing on me and definitely redeems itself when you consider the absolutely devilish arrangements that Kayamori-san once again cooked up. Plus, it's only the short version of one of the two songs (or more? don't rule out another ドラマ) which will be available once the single drops later this year so I shall reserve my judgment until then. I'm guessing October 18 is the exact date (which is when the Uzumasa Sengoku Matsuri hits) and you can bet on a MOSAIC.WAV performance too, much like they have last year.

PS: Intro was taken from Dvořák's Symphony No.9 ("From the New World" - 4th movement.) Thumbs up for bridging the gap between denpa and classical music...


Monday, 21 July 2008

CD検討: Perfume 「love the world」

A mere three months after the highly successful 「GAME」, Perfume drop new music with their 12th single 「love the world」. Given the short delay between both releases, you'll be forgiven for thinking these two new songs are nothing more than extra B-sides that didn't make the full-length cut. But in fact, even though the two new songs "love the world" and "edge" are very similar to what you would find on 「GAME」, they hold their own quite well and serve as the perfect companion to an already perfect record. There are four tracks in total, including an instrumental version of "love the world" and an extended remix of "edge". The cover gives off a retro/60's vibe which can be felt in the music. All of them are looking nothing short of hot (with Nocchi on top) so my chauvinistic side is hoping the next cover follows in line!

love the world: The opening track wastes no time introducing the poignant little jingle that will make a recurring appearance for the next 4:35 to come. In accordance with the song's name, this is a fairly cheerful track that may or may not entice you to actually love said world. I don't really dig forced child labor in India and the endlessly ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, so I'm gonna assume that they're singing about a fictitious, dream-like world. That much I have no problem with... good try though. Musically we're really close to GAME's "Plastic Smile", which I have really grown to love due to my girlfriend's abusive favorite-song-on-replay policy. Yet again, there are no surprises on here, high quality production values are all over the place and the song never drags on or becomes boring.

However, I'm starting to understand long-time Perfume fans when they say they prefer the older stuff. Not that I'm on their side, but the girls' role might as well have been diminished to showroom mannequins. They don't sing at all anymore, they merely push harmonious sounds out of their tiny mouths while they prance around in a faux-popping fashion. The vocalizer plugin does all of their work while Nakata-san serves up his greatest compositions to date unto the unsuspecting masses. One quick comparative listen to "Sweet Donuts" and even momoi-produced "アキハバラブ" reveals that the girls used to have to sing their way into their fans' heart. This is apparently no longer necessary given the new style, but I'd still like to see them turn off the cruise control someday...

edge: Whereas "love the world" was purely written Perfume-style, "edge" is... ちょっとちがう, a little different. It doesn't sound anything like a Perfume song, but rather a capsule one. This is 中田ヤスタカ having fun 2 da maxxx obviously, but I'm not sure how well the die-hard fans will receive this. Personally I'm quite pleased given how much I love capsule, so I welcome the crossover initiative with open arms. But what exactly makes "edge" capsule-sounding? It opens with an arcane groove pattern tucked under a laser-cut precise drum pattern. Appropriately this time, the girls sing in a darker tone, bathing this tune in a gloomy aura that you just can't shake off. Definitely not the lollipop stuff they were singing about 3-4 years ago. I appreciate the change but I'd still really like to see some new songs performed in the key of yon.

edge ~extended remix~: Why yes, I am reviewing a remixed song, thanks for noticing. This one (probably the intended cut) adds a whole 2 minutes to the watered-down version for a whopping total of 8:41 minutes. The girls don't start "singing" until about 1 minute in, due to the long intro. The rest of the song is actually very similar, except for elongated passages and an even darker mood due to some sullen chanting and morose homophony that mirror the vocal patterns.

I'm completely sold to Perfume, so I'm not gonna say "this isn't bad" or anything like that. 「love the world」 rules. Hard. If you enjoyed 「GAME」 there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't get this なかま single. Japan seems to think so as well; with an astonishing 80K+ units sold in the first week, this single is on par with the full-length album's 315K copies so far. There is just no stopping this Oricon-raping Perfume train!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Upcoming 榊原ゆい album 「JOKER」

The ever-so-prolific 榊原ゆい (SAKAKIBARA Yui) will release her fourth full-length album on September 10 2008. That's just two weeks after C74, so don't rule out advance copies being available that weekend. Much like her three previous albums, 「JOKER」 will be a compilation of her (11) most recent game/anime themes along with four new tracks. Similarly to Haruko Momoi, she covers a select variety of musical genres but mostly oscillates between cute JPop and straight-up denpa. I've actually been aware of her work for some time, but didn't think about featuring her on 電波の世界 until 愛撫 from I've Sound Blog made the suggestion. The cover isn't available at the moment, but StarChild has a rather nice promotional picture which clearly hints at the art direction; not that it's entirely unexpected. She clearly has no issue with demonstrating her assets, as she has shown in the past. Here's the track list... Get Love Power!!!

01 Love Game


03 Einsatz
(Dies irae OP主題歌/light)

04 Believe

05 Happy Leap
(タイムリープ OP主題歌/フロントウィング)

06 Over the Light
(七彩かなた 挿入歌/千世)

07 Together
(暁の護衛 OP主題歌/しゃんぐりら)

08 ふるふるっ☆
(ふるふる★フルムーン OP主題歌/Little princess)

09 Till I can see you again
(Chu×Chuぱらだいす EDテーマ/ユニゾンシフトアクセント)

10 Get Love Power
(こんぼく麻雀 OP主題歌/あかべぇそふとつぅ)

11 Aqua Voice
(朝凪のアクアノーツ OP主題歌/Fizz)

12 Ready Go!!
(Fate/タイガーころしあむ OP主題歌/カプコン)

13 Imitation
(Imitation Lover OP主題歌/light)

14 Girl meets Boy

15 message!

In related news, she will be performing alongside Momoi and many other artists who had their songs collected under 5pb.'s massive 「THE WORKS~志倉千代丸楽曲集~」 game themes compilation series, all three volumes of which will go on sale on July 30th. If you're near Tokyo's Studio Cube 326 on August 23, then you know exactly what to do. Seeing as how this series should contain a lot of denpa tunes, expect to read more about it in the coming weeks.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

MOSAIC.WAV @ 「Animelo Summer Live 2008 -Challenge-」

2008 is clearly shaping up to be MOSAIC.WAV's biggest year so far! Today, they announced their participation at the two-day ANIMELO live event on August 30-31 2008, possibly the biggest Anime music concert out there since it first started in 2005. The event is already sold out: over 10,000 fans are expected to gather at the Saitama Super-Arena and with good reason too! Look at that crazy list of artists and singers which will appear on stage. Among others: 桃井はるこ, GRANRODEO, miko (from IOSYS/Albatrosicks), THE IDOLM@STER girls, 石川智晶 and the motherfucking JAM Project!!! Note the absence of any I've Sound members, which is surprising considering their strong Shakugan no Shana contributions. To be fair though, I don't think they ever participated in the previous festivals. Final observation: previous Animelo concerts had live DVD releases... so this should mark MOSAIC.WAV's first official DVD appearance!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Internet radios for the discerning denpa listener

AnimeNfo Radio
This one is on top of the list and by far. They have a huge variety of songs, probably terabytes of MP3s at their disposal. MOSAIC.WAV frequently gets requested, although they mostly offer their anime songs. As for KOTOKO and the rest of the I've gang, while none of the SHORT CIRCUIT songs are up (for shame!), all of the compilation albums are. They have JPop and JRock blocks as well as a recent "happy hour" where only the most popular songs are played, as voted by the users. My favorite aspect of AnimeNfo Radio is that I frequently discover fascinating new anime series just because I like the theme song. For example, "2x2=shinobuden" has a furious opening theme and the series is just as upbeat with its ton of non sequitur moments. Of course I've discovered a ton of artists that aren't necessarily associated with anime, such as can-goo, Kimura Yuki and Yousei Teikoku. I have been known to donate once in a while, perhaps you will too once you discover the vast selection they have to offer.

There used to be a time when AnimeNfo, despite all of its greatness and our monetary contributions, was on very shaky grounds. The server would crash all the time and Doff (animenfo admin) was busy on service in Norway so that's where Kawaii Radio came in for most people. Although they started out very small and still pale in comparison to AnimeNfo to this day, their selection has vastly improved over the past couple of years. They even started including some Touhou-inspired artists such as IOSYS and Silver Forest, so clearly they know what they're doing. My biggest gripe is that their regular listeners enjoy requesting the same songs over and over, resulting in huge déja vu whenever I tune in. One thing I absolutely love about this radio is the sleek website interface that loads instantly, something AnimeNfo should look into.

Although I don't listen to Kohina as much as I used to, it is still a ton of fun to tune into every once in a while. The premise behind this unique internet radio is to feature nothing but remixed versions of classic 8/16 bit games or the occasional "demo" tune. Unfortunately the updates seem to have slowed down, with no new songs this far in 2008. This radio is clearly not for everyone as it is highly gamer-oriented, but I still think you should give it a try, especially if you're a fan of chiptune bands such as YMCK.

If Kohina was too rough around the edges for you, then perhaps ormgas is what you were looking for. Again, the same premise of user-remixed video game songs applies, but in this case there are no restrictions on what subset of instruments can be used. The quality is overall much sharper and possibly easier to listen to, depending on your preferences. The systems covered here are mostly the NES and SNES, but there is a lot of Genesis and even Dreamcast thrown in there for good measure. I love how users can vote on-the-fly which song should be played next, and considering the high number of listeners that log in recently, I'd say this new project is fairly successful in its execution.

Micro Music
So you like the idea behind Kohina, but would like to hear original tunes? Then look no further than Micro Music. Again, we're talking about 8/16 bit sounding songs, but taken to the extreme. What I like the most about the radio interface is that you can skip tracks as well as use one of ten filters, going from "lovely" all the way up to "fucky". Guess which one I always pick. This site is even nerdier than Kohina: with song titles such as "how to meet local hot women" and artist names such as STA$D400, you can practice your flirting techniques and assembler skills at the same time! While the radio service is prominently featured on Micro Music, the website also acts as a gateway of sorts to the electronic music community. Overall this is a great radio to tune into, but eventually you'll find that their selection is somewhat limited. At this point you could check out the 8bitcollective repository, which sorely lacks a player.

Currently, the VGamp website isn't much to look at as it's undergoing a facelift. But the Toronto-based station is still kicking it with the best video game music of the past 20 years, all styles included. No remixes here, unless they are official of course. From Akumajou Dracula X to Ikaruga, Jet Set/Grind Radio to Silent Hill, the gang's all here and just waiting for you to jump in. Alternately, you could download all these songs one by one from Galbadia Hotel, but that would be a pain in the ass, not to mention that the venerable Hotel is (once again) rumored to close its doors.

So what do you think? Any of these radios tickle your fancy? Feel free to share your favorite stations, too!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Upcoming MOSAIC.WAV summer events

Two events have recently been added to the official MOSAIC.WAV website. The first one is the "twilight listening party vol.4", an official gig thrown together by Lantis Records which showcases its artist. This is on July 24 2008 at Shibuya's "DUO music exchange" club. Featured artists are yozuca*, MOSAIC.WAV and Little Non. Except for Little Non, which I find pretty boring myself, this should be an exciting night. MOSAIC.WAV need no introduction, but yozuca* has sung some kick ass anime themes in the past, notably the ones from Girls Bravo and Da Capo. The second one is a DVD release event for 「狂乱家族日記」 or "Frenzy Family Diary" as it's unofficially known in the west. The MOSAIC.WAV clan has recently confirmed its performing participation, with August 24 2008 as the date. Location? Akihabara's ISHiMARU, fabled home of so many gravure idol events.

Update: Added one more summer event.