Saturday, 19 November 2011

Don't be afraid to download this free Youkai Denpa compilation

True otaku nerds will balk at the notion that the "best things in life are free", insisting that they can only be purchased at Comiket, M3 and various gaming stores in Akihabara. So how are we supposed to handle a brand new FREE denpa compilation album? What's more, one that offers original songs based on various Youkai, legendary creatures and apparitions deeply rooted in Japanese mythology? Regain your composure, don't call Ghostbusters and head to the official 「きゅん×2カーニバル 百萌夜行」 website to download your free copy now.

As its first official release, STUDIO1COURS published this compilation in physical format for the occasion of M3-2011秋, but just recently made the whole thing available online. The package comes with 10 individual illustration cards that also double as lyric sheets, one for each song. Online, you can click each illustration card to reveal an MP3 player and lyrics. In total, 31 artists (vocalists, illustrators, and composers) were involved in this project.

This is ART my friends.

This compilation includes composers and vocalists with different levels of skill and experience. Many of them seem to be making their debut here, which is actually endearing in many ways. A fair number of tracks seem to be highly influenced by denpa giants MOSAIC.WAV, particularly the opening 「化けちゃう☆にゃん♪」 which is ridiculously cute and sounds rather professional (both 天城あくる and タキモトショウ have impressive pedigrees). 「こんっと☆ナインテイル」 sounds so adorable and was composed by 2P_Yu who's buds with なゆ. Additionally, 「Princess of envy」 almost brings a miko+ARM combo to mind, so IOSYS fans should check it out.

A number of songs are pretty rough and gritty, which is also a good thing and pretty much expected from a compilation about supernatural monsters. 「はちゃめちゃあうんずせんせーしょん」 hits like a ton of bricks with its sharp transitions and unpredictable melodies. Definitely a denpa song! It was composed by こたつ, who's partly (if not completely?) in charge of STUDIO1COURS. If you want more of his raw tunes and vicious percussions, you should check out his other project The Azai Sisters. Track #4 「内田百閒の件」 is another heavy-hitter, as it oscillates between graceful and grotesque from one verse to the other.

The finale is 「テレビ子哀歌」 which combines traditional Japanese music and wild denpa in a rather humourous but nostalgic manner (lyrics are about "big ass CRT" televisions going away due to the digital switchover). Overall this compilation comes highly recommended, especially considering the quality and diversity at hand. The fact that it's free is just icing on the cake (I would have easily paid 1500yen for this). Thanks again to こたつ and STUDIO1COURS for making it happen, hopefully this won't be the last we hear from them!

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