Monday, August 18, 2014

Band Cover: Startear (Sword Art Online II ED)

My newest cover with CollaboDaisakusen, the ending song to Sword Art Online II. Make no mistake that I do not have positive feelings about the Sword Art Online franchise -- I won't go into detail here, but read my friend's blog post for a general idea. However, I don't dislike the music, which was quite solid, and was nonetheless happy to jump aboard another CollaboDaisakusen project. So here's my second band cover:

Startear (Sword Art Online II ED): Band Cover

Lyrics: saku
Composer: saku
Performer: Haruna Luna
Starring: YorozuyaNeesan, Conway, Fireteamtorch, Rob A. Ranowsky, Raz, Makino Jou, Sno

Embarrassing admission: For the longest time, I legitimately thought the title of the song was "start ear" rather than the more sensible "star tear." I'm still not completely convinced the former interpretation isn't the right one, though.

See ya,


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Piano Cover: Future Fish (Free! Eternal Summer ED)

Last summer's Free! was a show that I enjoyed a lot more than I like to admit. Even aside from the (what I found to be hilarious) fanservice and adorable Matsuoka Gou, I actually found the plot to be pretty interesting. (Maybe I should watch more sports shows.) In any case, Free! is back for another season in Eternal Summer, and I'm quite happy about it. ^_^


The opening song for Free! Eternal Summer was a solid piece, but didn't quite stick out to me. The ending, on the other hand, has a lot of style, and is catchy as all hell. (I'm still not quite sure whether I prefer this ED or the first season's infamous Splash Free, though. :P) This piece was a bit challenging for me to cover, since it's quite a different style than I'm used to, but I ended up having a lot of fun with it anyway. Hope you enjoy!

Future Fish (Free! Eternal Summer ED): Piano Cover

Artist: Style Five (a.k.a. Free! cast)
Date Completed: 2014-07-31
Software: Audacity, FL Studio, Sony Movie Studio
Instrumentation: Piano

More cool stuff coming soon! ^_^

'Til next time,


Monday, July 28, 2014

Piano Cover: A/Z (Aldnoah.Zero ED)

All hail the new anime season! There have been a number of enjoyable shows this summer, including one Aldnoah.Zero, a mecha show about robots from Mars. I'm not typically a big fan of mecha shows, but Aldnoah.Zero's definitely come out pretty strong. I wouldn't say it's my favorite so far -- I'm somewhat more intrigued by Tokyo Ghoul and (especially) Zankyou no Terror, but it's definitely one I'll be watching and looking forward to.

Honestly, New Orleans wouldn't have been my top choice to invade...

Scoring Aldnoah.Zero is one Hiroyuki Sawano (perhaps you've heard of him), also known for the soundtracks of Guilty Crown, Kill la Kill, and Shingeki no Kyojin, among many others. His is a distinctive style, so I was a bit surprised upon hearing the ending theme, which was a calm and peaceful number. And since "calm and peaceful" is my preferred style for piano covers, I jumped right on that. My piano cover of "A/Z" (what the heck does that mean?) is below!

I also (finally) discovered a nice piano VST (TruePianos), so you can hear it in action!

A/Z (Aldnoah.Zero ED): Piano Cover

Artist: Hiroyuki Sawano & mizuki
Date Completed: 2014-07-19
Software: Audacity, FL Studio, Sony Movie Studio
Instrumentation: Piano

Stay tuned for more projects as the season progresses! Thanks for dropping by~


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Band Cover: Ambiguous (Kill la Kill OP2)

Before I happened upon CollaboDaisakusen earlier this year, my dreams of being in an anime band were just that: dreams. Well, sometimes dreams do come true, because working with CD has been one of the most fun and rewarding experiences I've had so far. And at long last, my first project with CD has finally been released! Hope you enjoy, and please support us!

ambiguous (Kill la Kill OP2): Band Cover

Lyrics: meg rock
Composer: toku
Performer: GARNiDELiA

That's all for this time! Look forward to CollaboDaisakusen covers (in addition to my typical piano covers) in the future! ^_^

'Til next time,


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Concert Review: Angela @ Anime Central 2014

Another year, another Anime Central. Aside from being another phenomenally fun weekend, ACen was also home to this year's visiting musical guest: Angela. Angela had previously performed in the United States at Otakon 2004, so this year marks their first performance in the U.S. in almost a decade. But let's face it -- Angela is a hell of a lot more popular now after their recent songs appeared in a few hit shows.

Compared to the Kalafina concert last year, Angela's performance was significantly less crowded, taking place in one of the convention center's larger ballrooms rather than taking up an entire performance hall. Sadly, the crowd was both a bit small and rather subdued, which was a shame because Angela's performance was full of energy.

I hadn't explicitly investigated Angela before and didn't know many of their songs offhand, so I was surprised at the number of songs I actually recognized at the concert. Angela performed three songs from the 2012 show K, all of which I recognized. I was particularly thrilled when they performed "Tsumetai Heya, Hitori," one of my favorite anime songs ever and one that I was totally unaware Angela had written. In addition to the K music, Angela also performed "Angel" from Coppelion, which I knew from working with my collab group, as well as the OP to the new show Sidonia no Kishi. Unfortunately, it didn't seem that many in the audience knew even fewer songs than I did, which may have contributed to the low energy.

Angela was a fun band to watch. While atsuko (the vocalist) wasn't as animated as, say, KOTOKO, she was nonetheless fun to watch and sang beautifully. KATSU (the guitarist), on the other hand, was simply overflowing with energy, and the bassist and drummer who were helping out were equally enthusiastic. During one particular song, "Asu eno brilliant road" from Stellvia, atsuko taught us a cute little dance, which was quite fun.

Below is the setlist for Angela's Anime Central performance in no particular order, or at least all that I can remember. (There are probably a few missing, but oh well.) Click the little "x" to the left of each song to check it out on Last.FM.

[x] To Be With U (K Project)
[x] Tsumetai, Heya, Hitori (K Project)
[x] KINGS (K Project)
[x] Angel (Coppelion)
[x] Tooku Made (Coppelion)
[x] Sidonia (Sidonia no Kishi)
[x] Asu eno brilliant road (Stellvia)
[x] Separation (Stellvia)
[x] Shangri-La (FAFNER in the Azure)
[x] Beautiful fighter (Corpse Princess)
[x] Gravitation (Corpse Princess)
[x] Boku janai (Valvrave the Liberator)
[x] A new song whose name I can't recall

After closing their setlist, Angela came back to the stage after the audience demanded an encore. They'd performed all of their most recognizable songs by that point so I was a bit curious what they would perform, but nothing prepared me (or the audience, judging from the density of the cheers) for their encore:

[x] Cruel Angel's Thesis (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

(Apparently it's one of KATSU's favorites.) It was a bit ironic that their most popular song ended up being one that they didn't actually write, but it was still a very pleasant surprise.

Because I couldn't quite get enough of Angela even after the concert, I attended both Angela's poster signing, where I was able to briefly meet and interact with atsuko and KATSU. (My friend had the pleasure of sharing an elevator with atsuko, that lucky bastard.) I also attended Angela's final panel, where I learned (via their translators) a couple fun tidbits about the group:

-atsuko and KATSU were once in "rival" bands, but joined forces after moving to Tokyo. According to atsuko, they joined up was because they knew each other from high school.
-Angela was a struggling street band when the director of Stellvia approached them after hearing a performance. According to KATSU, anime "saved their careers."
-atsuko's favorite song they've produced is "Asu eno brilliant road."
-KATSU's favorite anime that they've produced for is Sidonia no Kishi.
-atsuko's favorite recent anime is Kill la Kill. (I wish I hadn't ditched my cosplay by then...)
-KATSU grew up on mecha anime, and a favorite of his is Neon Genesis Evangelion.
-KATSU's catchphrase is "she's a babe," which he learned because "it would be useful."
-Before composing each song, KATSU will thoroughly read the source material for inspiration.
-Angela writes over 8 different drafts for each anime song before sending it to their producers.
-atsuko has no formal training in music (despite being such a wonderful singer!).
-The music video for "Angel" stars Chiaki Kuriyama of Kill Bill fame.

Though I may not have been an Angela fan going into ACen, I definitely emerged as one. Angela's friendliness, passion, dedication and talent won me over, and I can't wait to hear the music they produce for anime in years to come.

'Til next time,


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Piano Cover: Niji no Kakera (Ishuukan Friends OP)

This anime season is one of the most exciting for me in quite a while. There are plenty of shows I've been absorbed in, from the eccentric Ping Pong to the ridiculously over-the-top Brynhildr as well as a large serving of sweet in Soredemo, among others. But my favorite show, at least so far, might be an unassuming little slice-of-life/pseudo-romance piece called One Week Friends. I won't spoil the first episode for anyone, but it is one really cute show.

Seriously, look how cute she is.

I fell in love with the opening song, "Niji no Kakera" ("Fragments of Rainbow") pretty quickly; it's a really nice ballad-like piece that fits the style of the show well. I decided to do a piano cover blah blah blah 20 takes blah let's skip straight to the cover~

Niji no Kakera (Isshuukan Friends OP): Piano Cover

Artist: Natsumi Kon (昆夏美)
Date Completed: 2014-04-17
Software: Audacity, Sony Movie Studio
Instrumentation: Piano

Look forward to more covers as the season progresses! ^_^

Have a great week,


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Piano Cover: Main Theme (Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha Insert)

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha finished up a few days ago, marking the beginning of the Spring 2014 season finales. I'll be honest: the show kind of let me down toward the end, but I more or less enjoyed it, for what it was worth. I wish they'd focused more on the interesting and awesome Uka-sama rather than Inari and her middle-school antics, but whatever. :P

Meet Uka-sama, the cutest crazy cat fox lady ever.

Although the show itself may have been disappointing, the music was not. Written by composer Takeshi Senoo, the music in Inari was amazingly beautiful, perhaps reminiscent of Joe Hisaishi with a distinct Eastern flavor. In particular, the main theme of the show (or what I consider to be, at least -- it plays each time between the first and second halves of the show) really struck a chord with me, and easily takes a spot in my list of most nostalgic anime songs ever. In episode 7, there's a beautiful piano rendition that plays in the background during a particular scene, and I decided to transcribe and cover it! Enjoy~

For those interested, you can find the piano score here.

Main Theme (Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha): Piano Cover

Composer: Takeshi Senoo
Date Completed: 2014-03-18
Software: Audacity, Sony Vegas
Instrumentation: Piano

Thanks for stopping by, as always. The next season is coming up soon, so hopefully you'll hear more from me soon! :)