Syrufit / Poplica* – Love Hearts Album Review

Syrufit – or also known as Poplica*, is a composer I’ve only discovered most recently. I crossed over his work, Jailhouse69 when I was listening to Diverse System’s works.2, pretty awesome album too at that, and I was actually hoping that I could find more songs similar to it.

So it turns out that he already has a couple of albums under his circle name Syrufit “Studio Comfiture”, with quite a number of them being Touhou remixes. Now there was a time where I was seriously into Touhou music but as it progressed I got disillusioned with the amount of different but similar (oxymoron lol) interpretations from Comiket and Reitaisai. It would annoy me most to hear the regular tune of Youmu’s theme from PCB or Lunatic Princess of Imperishable Night. I just couldn’t shake off the feeling ‘oh it’s this again.’

Now Love Hearts turned out to be one of Poplica’s Touhou remix albums, but I didn’t actually discover it till the through half of the CD. It’s exactly my point as well – Poplica has them remixed so much that it’s hard to tell it even came out of ZUN’s drunk composing.

There’s many prominent female vocalists, featuring 3L, Aki Misawa, and Mei Ayakura, and with vocals there’s bound to be doujin lyrics. Every song features an unaltered voice track (an exception for the first and last), and those which don’t, have voice sequences. Very vocal heavy but they aren’t exactly frontliners, and thankfully the voices are tolerable unlike certain albums which they-just-don’t-go-with-the-song, ruining a perfectly good arrangement.

The main highlight of this album is Poplica’s and Linjin’s badass arranging skills, where every song regardless of genre just comes out fitting. Voices come out good, they don’t compete with the sound and everything is crisp and clear. A pat on the back for the arrangers.

The best song? Amidst all the heart pumping trance like tracks, Track 6’s ‘Everything’ just stands out, a simplistic song with 3L’s soft spoken voice, pianos reminiscent of a love ending theme and minimalist use of beats. ‘you’re the fire’ by Linjin is slightly more uptempo with a cheery feel. For those electro trance lovers, proceed straight to ‘true blue’, ‘BAD’, ‘Myosotis alpestris’ and ‘Rewire’. They’re great, but it needs time to get it stuck in your head. Oh and beware, BAD has Japlish in there.

Rating score for Love Hearts – 2.5 out of 5. (I’ve been on a slow roll recently, and if it wasn’t for those two slow songs this album will just get a measly 2. I’m not easy to impress.)

Mintjam – Million Knights Vermilion Original Soundtrack Review

It’s a real shame how the fighting game genre is falling apart these days. Never it was anymore like the good old times – young scrawny teenagers with a stick ball in hand, buttons on the other, poised to kill in virtual violence for victory. When the dust settles the fallen would be offered a hand in friendship, and they would make a solemn promise to challenge each other if their fates would ever cross paths again. No. Win, and expect to have the arcade cabinet flying at you, thrown by an enraged, burly man in a dirty tank top as if you pointed out in front everybody that his hairy nut was showing.

So people being people – they work around their problems, instead of dealing it face to face. Fighting games eventually joined the internet bandwagon, and you could now fuck each other up in cyberspace.

Did I just make a rhyme?

I’m not much of a SF fan. The game plays upon a tried and true formula of three buttons for fists and another three for feet, which in my opinion does not introduce any depth to the game as it seems from its exterior. This is the reason why I enjoy more doujin games nowadays is because they they try to break out of the mundane cycle, introduce some wacky mechanics into the mess they’ve made and then slowly tone it down, learning from mistakes. That’s the kind of game I’d want to play.

So we have Million Knights Vermillion, a fighter from NRF, scored by Mintjam. Mintjam has been known for their fantastic electric guitars, whether in backing or in front. Forgive the non-sensical terminologies I use, but you can get the gist. They’ve been featured in Highschool of the Dead and Kud Wafter as well, but they aren’t going commercial likely yet.

(Protip: MKV is largely terrible by standards. The only two things worth mentioning is its character design and the music.)

The game’s soundtrack largely features a good mixture of drums, synths, natural instruments and ambient effects saturated to emphasize the dark, gritty atmosphere of the game. There’s nothing that drones on and on, and it is absent of any ‘character song’ feel to it. Likewise it is original, does not feel flat nor uninspirational, and there’s a healthy dose of the electric guitar everywhere. It is close to being that good, even if you did not play the game (don’t).

No SoundCloud sadly, so this will have to do. Nice of them to provide samples, aside which you can listen when you have the game.

‘Bloody Nightmare’ is the theme song of MKV, and it is certainly fitting of one. Hitting full throttle with the percussion and electrics this should, and most probably the first thing you need to hear. ‘Let’s Rumble’ may do for some as well, but some may disagree with the doo-wops, which I think is a little cheeky to have in my opinion. Anyhow, still good with me.

‘Damaged Blade’ is another track, almost pure Mintjam style. Starts off strong and hard, ends off light. I like.

Those who like to hear more than just Mintjam’s specialty should hit up ‘Archenemy…?’, and ‘Crimson Butterfly’. Keeping the best for last would be ‘Mad Temptation’ and ‘Endless Sorrow’ – I never knew the inclusion of exclaims, sniggering and laughter of Yuri’s (possibly Tamara’s as well?) could turn the song around so much. Having said so these two tracks are easily the best you can find in the entire game.

The soundtrack gets a 3.5 out of 5, if it wasn’t for those meddlin’ – I mean, happy songs in the CD. Seriously Mintjam, it just felt pretty out of place.


GEARBOX – SORALIS (Crossfade Impressions)

 

A friend recommended previous titles from GEARBOX (members lawy, satella and Kenichi Chiba), so I figured that it had to be at least good from her perspective.

satella’s and Kenichi Chiba’s had always been a hit-or-miss situation, but it’s even worse for lawy. Never really liked his direction but maybe with SORALIS it’s set to change?

 

 

 

Lysia –  those with a fetish for traditional instruments will like this one. And rugal’s theme for CvS2. I quite like this.

Sailing to the Horizon – interesting start, but don’t think many would appreciate it

Armillaly Sphere feat. kalon. – never liked vocals in my trance, unless they came in distorted. but would still hear it anyway.

Fromage – cheese? awesome buildup, and it lands hard and tight.

Turbulence – piano kinda felt out of place. the landing just didn’t make it for me.

Girly Girly – yuzo koshiro SOR2 remix! still, will take this up.

Vanishment – static effects ahoy!

NEW! – the stuff that would make ravers happy and the entire club would burst with sunlight and confetti

Loose Leaves – this is awesome. great use of ambient music with drizzling rain. will be hyped for this

 

Tentatively, I’d give this a 2.5 out of 5.

Lifeformed – Fastfall (Dustforce Soundtrack) Review

Fastfall cover

Dustforce is an interesting game. You run, you slide, you slash, you leap and you cling, for the best times. I’ve seen a friend of mine totally engrossed in it, doing runs and trials of a level just to shave off milliseconds off their records. One mistake, and oops, you find yourself smashing your keyboard in anger for that little delay you made. As you can tell by now this is a game for the patient and ready – totally not what I’ll spend countless hours on.

Which comes to today’s review – Dustforce has a pretty solid soundtrack, beautifully interweaved with the game’s art direction, where everything is dim, washed out and serene – but unbelievably goes against its assumed pace. You’d expect ramming electric guitars, raging drums and distorted voices – but there is none to find in Fastfall. Instead, the music is slow, cool and collected, unlike the gameplay where speed is king.

 

The tracks are reminiscient of a cold, sombre jungle in the night after a heavy pour – and this is its charm. Utilizing grevious amounts of reverb, strings and manually pitched wind instruments with a touch of 8 bit effects, Terence Lee has definitely laid down his best for this 18 track CD.

All time favorites include ‘Cider Time’, ‘9-bit Expedition’, and ‘Fifty FPS Forest’, which extrues a happy cheerful stroll through the lint-filled woods – and then there’s the melancholy ones which I suppose they are found in the harder levels such as ‘Swimming While It Rains’, ‘The Magnetic Tree’, ‘Electric Relic’ and ‘Upside Down Staglamite’.

 

To those who demand variety from their composers, Fastfall might be a hard letdown. It toes the line with its ambient feel, and it does not digress. Some may find it repetitive and stale after a few, but if you listen closely each track has its own personality and identity – as long as you stay awake to listen to it.

rear end

Fastfall gets a 4 out of 5. Check out where the music came from here.

Review – Diverse System’s AD : Trance

Cover 1


 
As the name of the album implies, this CD from Comiket 81 is full of it. Not too recent though as I have many more other albums left for listening which is currently residing in the stack.

Being a fan of modern/futuristic depictions of abstract art, I absolutely love the jackets.TOHRU MiTSUHASHi is a frequent contributor to most of their album art, and I would say he’s absolutely versatile in depicting the tracks from a visual view.

Most of the tracks in this CD really jive here with synths and effects which really blend in and does not feel out of place – something which DS has managed to pull off most of the time with their releases. Nothing sticks out like a sore thumb, and doesn’t go ‘hey this shouldn’t be here’ sort of thing. I love the influence of electro in trance, but just as sugar and milk goes into your coffee you can’t have too much of it.

Cover 4

The first track opens with Destination, a fairly short track. A great opener but not something that would likely be stuck in your head for a while with its repetition.

‘The Surreal Sky’ sounds as if it was pulled out from the Wangan Midnight MT series. Race junkies would definitely dig this.

‘quark’ definitely wins my vote for the best track in the entire CD. RIGHT STUFF just has the magic touch. Other notable mentions include ‘Dependence’, ‘Hello and Again’, and ‘When the rain’.

If you’re looking for something funky that deviates slightly from the genre, ‘Kaleidovision’ and ‘Sugar Beauty’ would probably be your first picks.

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Check out a crossfade of the CD above or at their official website here – you’ll see what I mean. An overall score of 3.5 out of 5.