Wednesday, 13 June 2012

例大祭9: Birdtune, Innocent Key, Forest Pireo, IOSYS + more

Not a single post in over a month, boy have we gotten lazy! The ninth annual Reitaisai event took place on May 27th 2012, where thousands of new albums were released. Although we're past fashionably late on this article, let's take a quick look at some of the most interesting stuff for denpa fans. You can still order most of these through Toranoana or MelonBooks, just check each individual album's page.

First up is 「東方惑星探検隊!」 which is a brand new album from beloved studio Birdtune! What's most interesting here is that nanano is handling producer duties, which leaves KuKuDoDo extra time to focus on his side projects (such as a boy band?). Speaking of whom, he's not the only arranger on board this time around. Make way for child prodigy かめりあ and his ridiculously catchy remixes! We have another newcomer in 麻痺 who provides a sweet intro and another track with slight hardcore edges. nanano is doing vocals on most tracks, except for a guest performance by まこと. Very cool to see Birdtune alive and kicking after a few shaky years.

Innocent Key is another popular studio 'round these parts, especially since they've stepped up the quality in the past couple years. Their (believe it or not) 21st album 「東方ぺろぺろ」 is yet another example of just what yohine and 溝口ゆうま can do. You can always count on ココ and 大瀬良あい to provide unique vocals, but Nimo, めらみぽっぷ and quite a few others are also on board. This album seems to have more of a focus on lovely pop and lush soundscapes (including a few hilarious drama tracks), but rest assured pure denpa songs such as 「さとりと こいしの ランデヴー☆」 will titillate your sense of hearing.

Next we have monoROSETTA, an IOSYS spin-off that's definitely paid its dues at this point. Their second touhou arrange album 「Sweet Beat TV」 is seven tracks of stylish pop à la older Capsule. IOSYS mainstay void once again arranges all tracks, but this time we have guest vocals such as めらみぽっぷ and even 野宮あゆみ. It's a wonderful package of bubble-gum pop that's sure to put a smile on your face.

Forest Pireo keeps getting better and better which each release, which now go to 19! Although it's not very clear what sets 「T★GIRLS.03」 apart from their other releases, it definitely has a focus on "cute and sexy arrangements" and thus has slightly more moe/denpa content than usual. Prepare to be blown away right as the first track drops, since it features Lord Tenkomori with 月葉 on vocals, their second performance together since C80's explosive 「じゃあ僕もう二度寝の歌作りますよ!」 which made it to our "best of 2011" article. Then you have another killer pair in the form of めらみぽっぷ with Good Guy きくお. かめりあ with みぃしゃ? ななひら? kana? Y'all betcha. Seriously, quality album right there, make sure this one's in your collection!

Even though it's long played second fiddle to the mainline albums, the "東方アゲハ" side-project has become a fully-featured denpa series (and that's according to IOSYS themselves). ARM was mostly responsible for the first two, but in this third outing he teams up with an old flame! That's right, Princess miko is doing vocals on all eight 「東方アゲハ NIGHTMARE」 tracks, including a duet with BeatMario. Other than pure denpa, some other genres explored include EuroBeat, Soul and "Gothic Horror"! ARM can do no wrong, forever a winner. Real fans with an open mind will also check out his solo album 「distant」.

While we're at it, let us also mention two more IOSYS albums, namely 「東方ENCYCLOPEDIA」 from ユウノウミ (side-note: she's actually a he) which includes FOUR excellent かめりあ compositions. The other is their 21st album 「風櫻 SECOND PHANTASMA」 (warning: broken website) which includes a fair amount of denpa songs, such as uno's 「きのこが好きで好きでたまらない魔理沙が歌う歌」 . Can you believe this is the same guy as RoughSketch??

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