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! :)



Monday, February 10, 2014

Piano Cover: Kyou ni Koiiro (Inari OP)

Although this anime season started off a little slow, an unassuming little show called Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha showed up on week 2 and captured my heart. It's a strange cross between slice-of-life and supernatural, revolving a girl who gains mystical powers from a ridiculously cute fujoshi goddess. It's a shame this show is only 10 episodes; it's been consistently solid so far.

Gamer goddesses = the best goddesses.

The OP for Inari is a collaboration between composer kz of livetune (perhaps most famous for the Hatsune Miku song "Tell Your World") and singer May'n. The result is as beautiful as you might imagine; livetune's music is great, and I'm definitely a fan of May'n's lovely voice.

While the tempo on the original song is actually fairly high, I thought the song lent itself well to a slower interpretation. (Either that, or it's an excuse because I can't play fast.) After some faffing around on the piano, this cover was the result. I actually tried to do something a little more complicated (for me, at least) with the left hand this time, to mixed results. In any case, cover:

Kyou ni Koiiro (Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha ED): Piano Cover

Artist: May'n & livetune
Date Completed: 2014-02-02
Software: Audacity, Sony Vegas
Instrumentation: Piano

I also put together some sheet music! Click here for the link. That's all for now! :)

Take care,


Friday, January 31, 2014

Global Game Jam 2014: Race the Rainbow

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of taking part in the 2014 Global Game Jam, a game-making marathon held at multiple locations worldwide over the course of 48 hours. The theme was "We don't see things as we are, we see things as they are." After some brainstorming of ideas and quite a bit of arguing, we decided on our game:

"Race the Rainbow" is, as its title suggests, a racing game. Each racer is one of four colors, and various colored tiles are scattered across the racetrack. When a racer is driving on a tile that matches its color, it gains a speed boost; if the tile is of a different color, it takes a severe speed penalty. Thus, although the racetrack is the same for all players, each player sees the racetrack differently depending on the color. (Yay loose interpretation of theme!) 48 hours is never as much time as you think, and I'm glad we ended up settling on this straightforward idea.

I was on composing/sound design duty for the entire weekend, which was a ton of fun: it's been a long time since I've been able to focus just on writing music. I had the pleasure of working with two other talented audiophiles/composers, and learned more about producing music and recording over a single weekend than I have in my whole life. Working with the other members of my team (programmers, designers, and artists) was a lot of fun as well.

I ended up being responsible for the main level theme, which we decided would be of a "modern chiptune" style. I tackled the composition in FL Studio (accompanied by FL-chan :P), which I had finally purchased over the past holiday season. After scrapping my first few drafts, the final melody idea came to me in my early-morning drive back home, and I subsequently put the rest of the piece together over the next 30 hours or so. A bit slow in retrospect, but given that I was simultaneously learning how to use FL Studio, I'd say not bad. Here's the full version of my song, "Chromatic Circuit":

Title: Chromatic Circuit
Date Completed: 2014-01-26
Software: Audacity, FL Studio
Composition time: ~15 hours

All in all, the weekend was a huge blast, and I'd recommend that anyone who has an interest in games check out the next Global Game Jam (January 2015). Check out our official Game Jam page here, and if you're interested in playing our game, you can either download the executable from the page or play in a browser here. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!



Thursday, January 16, 2014

Piano Cover: Oto no Naru Hou e (Gin no Saji)

First cover of 2014, and of the new season! :D To be honest, this season's been disappointing so far, so I was very glad to see Gin no Saji, one of my favorite shows from two seasons ago, return for its second run. The show's more-or-less the same (minus one particular farm animal), but that's a good thing: can't argue with seeing more of the super-adorable Mikage :D

There does indeed appear to be a silver spoon.

The song I decided to cover from Gin no Saji season 2 was the "Oto no Naru Hou e" (no idea what that means, honestly), the super-catchy ending by Goosehouse. Actually, likely the best part of me attempting this cover was discovering Goosehouse, who is a flat-out amazing musical group. While their work doesn't quite have the same immediate impact as some other artists, they clearly really enjoy what they're doing, and that comes across in both their music and their videos. Check out their YouTube channel here.

Anyway, here's my cover. I had fun with it, but after way more takes than I'd intended, I just gave up and went to bed. X_x The end result isn't as polished as I would have liked for it to be, but I hope you enjoy it anyway!

Oto no Naru Hou e (Gin no Saji Second Season ED): Piano Cover

Artist: Goosehouse
Date Completed: 2014-01-17
Software: Audacity, Sony Vegas
Instrumentation: Piano

Also, I finally managed to pull off widescreen, so no more random crops!

'Til next time,


Monday, January 13, 2014

Piano Cover: Just One Life (Samurai Flamenco)

Happy 2014! Except I'm still blogging about things from 2013. Typical T__T

Samurai Flamenco! Now in cherry, grape, peach, and lemon.

I honestly don't know what to say about Samurai Flamenco. At one point I would have recommended it without any reservations, but recent developments in the show have tempered my enthusiasm a bit. I'm still finding it fairly enjoyable for the time being, but suffice it to say, it's a very different show now than I'd have expected a few weeks ago. Nonetheless, I think it's still worth a watch, at the very least for the brilliant first few episodes.

I know this is a second image but I LOVE MAYA MARI OKAY

The opening to Samurai Flamenco, "Just One Life" by SPYAIR, is more rock-like than songs I typically cover, but as always, I dialed down the tempo a bit and offered a more liberal interpretation of the song. I think there's plenty of emotion in the song, particularly when matched with the opening footage. Here's my cover!

Just One Life (Samurai Flamenco OP): Piano Cover

Artist: SPYAIR
Date Completed: 2013-11-27
Software: Audacity, Sony Vegas
Number of Takes: Also don't remember
Instrumentation: Piano

New season's in tow, so look for more covers (hopefully in a timely fashion) soon!

From beyond to heaven,